25th September

In today’s gospel Jesus speaks to us about being the light of the world.

GOSPELlight1
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 8:16-18
A Lamp is put on a lamp-stand so that people may see the light when they come in.

Jesus said to his disciples; ‘No one lights a lamp to cover it with a bowl or to put it under a bed. No, he puts it on a lamp-stand so that people may see the light when they come in. For nothing is hidden but it will be made clear, nothing secret but it will be known and brought to light. So take care how you hear; for anyone who has will be given more; from anyone who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.’

The Gospel of the Lord.


*************************

Today’s Gospel Reflection     Monday,      Twenty Fifth Week in Ordinary Time      Luke 8:16-18

In the liturgy of baptism, just after their child has been baptized, the celebrant addresses the child’s parents in the following words: ‘This light is entrusted to you to be kept burning brightly. This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. He/she is to walk always as a child of the light. May he/she keep the flame of faith alive in his/her heart’. We were all enlightened by Christ at the moment of our baptism. The light of his loving presence shone upon us at that moment and ignited the flame of faith in our hearts. Whereas in John’s gospel Jesus says, ‘I am the light of the world’. In Matthew’s gospel, addressing his disciples, Jesus says, ‘You are the light of the world’. Both are true. We are called to reflect Christ’s light to others, as the moon reflects the sun. In this morning’s gospel reading, Jesus says that a lamp is always put on a lamp stand so that people may see the light when they come in. By means of that image, Jesus is telling us that our calling us to allow his light to shine through us for others to see. A light is not meant to be hidden. If we have been enlightened by Christ, we are to let his light shine for others to see. In that sense, there is always a very public dimension to our relationship with Christ. That relationship may be very personal to each of us, but it is never private. We are the public face of Christ to others. We pray this morning that we would be faithful to that calling.

__________________________________

The Gospel reflection comes from WEEKDAY REFLECTIONSTo know the love of Christ 2016/2017 by Martin Hogan published by  The Messenger c/f www.messenger.ie
_
_________________

 

Advertisements

24th September – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

This Sunday I decided to speak primarily about the sacraments with supporting references to the readings.

sacramentAs Catholic Christians, sacraments play a big part in our lives. We become Christians in the first place through the sacrament of Baptism. When we reach the age of reason we make our first Confession and receive our first Holy Communion. As young adults we receive Confirmation by which we make an adult confirmation of our baptismal promises and receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit to live this out.

If we discern a vocation to Christian marriage we receive the sacrament of Matrimony. If we discern a call to the priesthood, we receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. When seriously sick or of senior age, we receive the Sacrament of the Sick for its strengthening – and perhaps even healing. When we receive this sacrament at the end of life, it is called the Last Rites.

But what is a sacrament about in itself and how does it fit into our Christian Big Picture?

Well, the word SACRAMENT comes to us from the Roman Legion – the army of the Roman Empire which ruled the world into which Jesus was born and that of the early Church. When a new recruit had finished and passed all his military training, there was a graduation ceremony. He would come before his Legion commander and make a sacred pledge or oath of fidelity to him. He was in fact committing his whole life to the commander, even to the point of giving his life if necessary.

This sacred promise was like what happens in court when somebody puts their hand on the Bible and summons God to witness to the truth of the testimony they are about to give. It goes without saying that if the new legionary wasn’t sincere or truthful in his commitment, he was committing an act of perjury and despoiling his personal integrity.

This commitment was a mutual one. The Legion commander was also pledging his protection to the soldier. For example, if he was taken as a prisoner of war he was duty-bound to try and get him back.

When the Church wanted a word to describe how we pledge our lives to Jesus as Lord and how Jesus pledges himself to us, they borrowed this word SACRAMENT for Church use.

In the Second Reading, we have the example of St Paul who has completely given his life to Jesus and the Kingdom:  “Christ will be glorified in my body, whether by my life or by my death. Life to me, of course, is Christ, but then death would bring me something more…” (Phil 1:20) The something more that Paul refers to is complete union with Christ in the glory of heaven. At the end of the Second Reading, St Paul speaks about respecting the great dignity that we have as God’s children:  “Avoid anything in your everyday lives that would be unworthy of the gospel of Christ.”

In today’s Gospel, we see something of God’s commitment to us in the person of the landowner.  All through the day he goes out into the market to give employment to those with no work or livelihood. In his generosity he gives a full day’s wages to those hired at the very end of the day because of their need.

The Psalms speak in beautiful terms about God being our refuge, our salvation and the rock foundation of our lives. This is because he is always faithful to his Word and never reneges on his promises – as we are so prone to do.

Every time we receive Holy Communion , we are making an oath of fidelity to Jesus. At the same time he gives us himself to strengthen us in our Christian living.

If we separate ourselves from Jesus by serious sin – if we are unfaithful to him – we must renew our commitment to him in Confession, the sacrament of Repentance. Afterwards we are able to receive him worthily in Holy Communion and avoid an act of perjury. If we can’t receive Holy Communion worthily or truthfully, then we can come forward for a blessing with our hands crossed.

When parents come for the baptism of a child, I inform them that they are making the sacrament, the sacred promise to God: namely, to bring up their child in the faith. The 3 pillars of a committed Catholic Christian life are that we pray daily, come to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days and keep the Ten Commandments. Parents renew this sacred promise to God when they present their children for First Holy Communion and Confirmation.

In Summary: In each of the Seven Sacraments, we pledge our lives and faithful love to Jesus, our Lord. He in turn pledges his life and faithful love to us.

******************************************

Before the distribution of Holy Communion I said: “On this occasion, let us try to make a special focus on what we are doing as we receive Holy Communion: We are pledging our lives and faithful love to Jesus, our Lord. He in turn pledges his life and faithful love to us.”

 

23rd September – Ss Eunan & Padre Pio

Today in the Raphoe Diocese we celebrate the feast of our patron St Eunan, an abbot ofour lady queen of peace the 7th century. It is also the memorial of Padre Pio or St Pio of Pietrelcina. On the night of his death, he was accompanied by a brother friar – it is a wonderful tradition to keep watch with our departing loved ones, even it is means losing a night’s sleep! Padre kept talking about his mother who was present in the room. The friar taught he was speaking about his natural mother, whose photo was on the wall. Padre said, no, not her, my other mother. He was of course speaking about Our Lady. For somebody who had said the HAIL MARY (and indeed the Rosary) so many times in his life, it is no surprise that she directly fulfilled the request: Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Below is the September Medjugorje Message.

medj

“Dear children, who could speak to you about the love and the pain of my Son better than I? I lived with Him; I suffered with Him. Living the earthly life I felt pain because I was a mother. My Son loved the thoughts and the works of the Heavenly Father, the true God. And, as He said to me, He came to redeem you. I hid my pain through love, but you, my children, you have numerous questions. You do not comprehend pain. You do not comprehend that through the love of God you need to accept pain and endure it. Every human being will experience it to a lesser or greater measure. But with peace in the soul and in a state of grace, hope exists; this is my Son, God, born of God. His words are the seed of eternal life. Sown in good souls they bring numerous fruits. My Son bore the pain because He took your sins upon Himself. Therefore, you, my children, apostles of my love, you who suffer, know that your pain will become light and glory. My children, while you are enduring pain, while you are suffering, Heaven enters in you and you give a piece of Heaven and much hope to all those around you. Thank you.”

22nd September.

Had routine clinic today. All GRAND!

Each Friday we do some act of penance to help us remember Jesus’ redeeming Passioncarry cross and Death for us. The Concluding Prayer for the Evening Office is worth a prayerful pondering:

God of power and mercy,
  who willed that Christ your Son should suffer for the salvation of all the world,
grant that your people may strive to offer themselves to you as a living sacrifice,
  and may be filled with the fullness of your love.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.

What is it to “offer ourselves to you [God] as a living sacrifice”? One description is to live for God in love as spouses would do for each other in an ideal marriage. This comes across in today’s Morning Office from Gal 2:19-20. It takes a little unpacking but it reveals that St Paul lives completely for God.

“I am dead to the Law [and relating to God in a merely legal way as we would to a policeman or boss], so that now I can live with God. I have been crucified with Christ [Paul is dead to worldly living], and I live now not with my own life but with the life of Christ who lives in me [life in the Spirit]. The life I now live in this body I live in faith: faith in the Son of God who loved me and who sacrificed himself for my sake.”

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal in a deep way what this is all about.

****************************************

If you have some extra time, this is about some pro-lifers who are doing a hunger strike protest outside the Dail (the Irish parliament). They are asking that all those who are likely to legalise abortion in Ireland will first see a video of what the abortion procedure does to the baby. Maybe you could try to promote the video in your own circle. It’s very good – click here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwKxDNfnQyA&sns=em

 

21st September – St Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist.

The Calling of St. Matthew
Hendrick Terbrugghen, c. 1621Today is the feast of the apostle St Matthew. The gospel passage detailing the Call and Matthew’s hospitality to Jesus is included at the bottom of this page.

The Concluding Prayer for today’s Divine Office highlights two points: namely our responding to divine calls that come through the Holy Spirit’s prompting; secondly, extending a “hospitality of the heart” (a kindly welcome) to Jesus.

Supported by his prayer and example,

  may we always answer your call

  and live in close union with you.

The Office of Readings from St Bede treats this “hospitality of the heart” that we ought to extend to Our Lord.

To see a deeper understanding of the great celebration Matthew held at his house, we must realise that he not only gave a banquet for the Lord at his earthly residence, but far more pleasing was the banquet set in his own heart which he provided through faith and love. Our Saviour attests to this: Behold I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

On hearing Christ’s voice, we open the door to receive him, as it were, when we freely assent to his promptings and when we give ourselves over to doing what must be done. Christ, since he dwells in the hearts of his chosen ones through the grace of his love, enters so that he might eat with us and we with him. He ever refreshes us by the light of his presence insofar as we progress in our devotion to and longing for the things of heaven. He himself is delighted by such a pleasing banquet.

******************** TODAY’S GOSPEL **************************

As Jesus was walking on from there he saw a man named Matthew sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, ‘Follow me’. And he got up and followed him.

While he was at dinner in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When he heard this he replied, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice. And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’

 

 

 

 

20th September – Ss Andrew Kim & Companions, Korean Martyrs.

For a committed Christian, two highest priorities should be the glory of God and the welcomesalvation of souls. A recent article – below – in the Irish Catholic addresses the latter issue and what we can do to make our local parish a greater sign of being God’s family on earth. Thus those of weak faith will be encouraged to remain a part of the community and over time grow in commitment to the Lord and his Kingdom.

It is good to attend our parish to receive the sacraments & worship God, to give money for its material upkeep, etc. But we should do more if possible: namely, to contribute to its charitable outreach and making it a place where people feel welcome. Examples that come to mind are being members of the Legion of Mary, Society of St Vincent DePaul, prayer group, helping with coffee/tea after Mass, etc. Our contribution may even begin by starting one of these initiatives! The Concluding Prayer for today’s Korean martyrs says: “clinging faithfully to Christ, [may we] labour in the Church for the salvation of all.”

If we contribute in this way to our local parish, we will have to sacrifice time that could be spent in other activities – like watching TV! St Francis reminds us however that “it is in giving that we receive.”

Here is the Irish Catholic article by Michael Kelly.

ic 1ic 2ic 3ic 4

 

 

19th January – St Januarius, Martyr.

We often hear today about a person’s ‘quality of life’. Usually it refers to a low quality of life experienced by somebody who is sick or infirmed with old age. This low ‘quality of life’ is to be avoided at all costs and is one of the main inspirations behind the advancing euthanasia movement.

Contrary to this view there is the core Christian belief about redemptive suffering. IF we unite our sufferings with those of Jesus in his Passion, then they are redemptive for ourselves and others – just like Jesus’ sufferings were redemptive for the whole world. We actually become co-redeemers with him. It is the fulfilment of what Jesus says in Luke 9:23 “If anyone wishes to come after me, then him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” It is also the fulfilment of the life and death of the martyrs such as today’s St Januarius (+305).

This is a teaching that gives immense value to our sufferings when we unite them to Jesus’ sufferings. St  John Paul wrote a letter on this which is as deep as it is profound. If you feel moved to read it at some stage in your life, just Google SALVIFICI DOLORIS. There is also an option to read a summary of it.

Last Supper Passion of ChristHere is an excerpt from Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen on WASTED PAIN. It is a bit deep and requires a slow read. It speaks about the Mass as being a privileged place where we offer our life’s trials to the Father – through, with and in Jesus’ Passion. This happens in a special way in the Offertory where we unite our crushed life with the crushed wheat of the bread and the crushed grapes of the wine. At the Consecration these are transformed into the Sacrifice of Calvary. All’s that required is that we try to live “Honours Course” Christianity!

There is nothing more tragic in all the world than wasted pain.  Think of how much suffering there is in hospitals, among the poor and the bereaved.  Think also of how much of that suffering goes to waste.

How many of those lonesome, suffering, abandoned, crucified souls are saying with Our Lord at the moment of Consecration: ‘This is my body, take it’?  And yet that is what we should be saying at that second.  “Here is my body, take it.  Here is my blood, take it.  Here is my soul, my will, my energy, my strength, my poverty, my wealth — ALL that I have.  It is Yours.  Take it!   Consecrate it!  Offer it!  Offer it to the Heavenly Father with Thyself, in order that He, looking down on this great Sacrifice, may see only Thee, His Beloved Son in whom He is well pleased.  Transmute  the poor bread of my life into Thy Life; thrill the wine of my wasted life into Thy Divine Spirit: unite my broken heart with Thy Heart, change my cross into a Crucifix. Let not my abandonment and my sorrow go to waste.  Gather up the fragments, and as the drop of water is absorbed by the wine at the Offertory of the Mass, let my life be absorbed in Thee.  Let my little cross be entwined with Thy great Cross that I may purchase the joys of everlasting happiness in union with Thee.

“Consecrate these trials of my life which would go unrewarded unless united with Thee; transubstantiate me so that, like bread which is now Thy Body, and wine which is now Thy Blood, I, too, may be wholly Thine.  I care not if the species remain, or that, like the bread and wine, I may seem to all earthly eyes the same as before.  My station in life, my routine duties, my work, my family — all these are but  the species of my life which may remain unchanged; but the substance of my life, my soul, my will, my heart, transubstantiate then, transform them wholly into Thy service so that through me all may know how sweet is the love of Christ!”