20th January.

medjThis is the Jan 2nd Medjugorje message.

our lady queen of peace“Dear children, when love is beginning to disappear on earth, when the way of salvation is not being found, I, the mother, am coming to help you to come to know true faith – living and profound – so as to help you to truly love. As a mother, I am longing for your mutual love, goodness, and purity. My desire is that you be just and that you love each other. My children, be joyful in your soul, be pure, be children. My Son used to say that he loves to be among pure hearts, because pure hearts are always young and joyful. My Son said to you to forgive and to love each other. I know that this is not always easy. Suffering makes you grow in spirit. For you to spiritually grow all the more, you must sincerely and truly forgive and love. Many of my children on earth do not know my Son, they do not love Him; but you who do love my Son, you who carry Him in your heart, pray, pray and in praying feel my Son beside you. May your soul breathe in His spirit. I am among you and am speaking about little and great things. I will not grow tired speaking to you about my Son – the true love. Therefore, my children, open your hearts to me. Permit me to lead you as a mother. Be apostles of the love of my Son and of me. As a mother I implore you not to forget those whom my Son has called to lead you. Carry them in your heart and pray for them. Thank you.”

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19th January.

Sr. Maria of Merciful Love, SOLT shares a reflection for last Sunday’s readings. She reminds us that we are a temple of the Holy Spirit and points us toward prayer when discerning the will of God in our lives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWmzDG-BHAw

Sr Maria Merciful Love

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If you have the time, today’s Office of Readings has a commendable reflection by Diadochus of Photiké on Spiritual Perfection. It is rather deep (about ‘honours course’ Christianity) and needs to be read slowly to absorb its message.

Whoever is in love with himself is unable to love God. The man who loves God is the one who abandons his self-love for the sake of the immeasurable blessings of divine love. Such a man never seeks his own glory but only the glory of God. If a person loves himself he seeks his own glory, but the man who loves God loves the glory of his Creator.

Anyone alive to the love of God can be recognised from the way he constantly strives to glorify him by fulfilling all his commandments and by delighting in his own submission. It is fitting that God should receive glory, because of his great majesty; but it is fitting for us as human beings to submit ourselves to God and thereby become his friends. Then we too will rejoice in his glory as Saint John the Baptist did, and we shall never stop repeating: His fame must increase, but mine must diminish.

I knew someone who was sad that he could not love God as he would have wanted, but who nevertheless loved God so much that his soul was always in the grip of desire for God, for God’s glory to manifest itself in him, for himself to be as nothing in comparison. Such a person cannot be touched by verbal praise or convinced of his being, since his overwhelming humility means that he simply does not think about his own dignity or status. He celebrates the liturgy as, according to the law, priests should; but his love of God blinds him to all awareness of his own dignity. He buries any glory that might come his way in the depth of his love of God, so that he never sees himself as anything more than a useless servant: he is estranged, as it were, from a sense of his own dignity by his desire for lowliness. This is the sort of thing we ought to do, to flee from any honour or glory that is offered us, for the sake of the immense riches of our love of God who has so loved us.

Anyone who loves God in the depths of his heart has already been loved by God. In fact, the measure of a man’s love for God depends upon how deeply aware he is of God’s love for him. When this awareness is keen it makes whoever possesses it long to be enlightened by the divine light, and this longing is so intense that it seems to penetrate his very bones. He loses all consciousness of himself and is entirely transformed by the love of God.

Such a man lives in this life and at the same time does not live in it, for although he still inhabits his body, he is constantly leaving it in spirit because of the love that draws him toward God. Once the love of God has released him from self-love, the flame of divine love never ceases to burn in his heart and he remains united to God by an irresistible longing. As St Paul says: If we are taken out of ourselves it is for the love of God; if we are brought back to our senses it is for your sake.

Responsory

. God loved the world so much that he gave us his only Son,* so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.

. This is what love is: not our love for God, but God’s love for us, shown when he sent his Son,* so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.

 

 

18th January.

Hands ForgivenessYesterday in the Dail (Irish Parliament) the Minister for Heath(!) made a very polished argument in favour of legalising abortion. He appealed to serving the needs of women as if helping them to ‘terminate’ their children would ever be for their ultimate good! Independent Michael Healy-Rae who wouldn’t be considered as sophisticated as the Minister expressed the voice of Christian common sense. He said that we should be as concerned for the unborn baby in the womb as we would be for a born baby in a pram who was in danger from something or another.

This is a related quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church that I read in my breakfast reading:

“Authority does not derive its moral legitimacy from itself. It must not behave in a despotic manner, but must act for the common good as a moral force based on freedom and a sense of responsibility. Authority is exercised legitimately only when it seeks the common good of the group concerned and if it employs morally licit means to attain it. If rulers were to enact unjust laws or take measures contrary to the moral order, such arrangements would not be binding in conscience. In such a case, authority breaks down completely and results in shameful abuse.”

17th January – St Anthony of the Desert.

This is today’s gospel followed by commentary from the Bishops’ website.

GOSPEL   

Jesus-heals-a-handA reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark          3:1-6
Is it against the law on the Sabbath day to save life?

 Jesus went again into a synagogue, and there was a man there who had a withered hand.  And they were watching him to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath day, hoping for something to use against him. He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Stand up out in the middle!’  Then he said to them, ‘Is it against the law on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do evil; to save life, or to kill?’ But they said nothing.  Then, grieved to find them so obstinate, he looked angrily round at them, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand’. He stretched it out and his hand was better.  The Pharisees went out and at once began to plot with the Herodians against him, discussing how to destroy him.

The Gospel of the Lord.
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Gospel Reflection   
     Wednesday        Second Week in Ordinary Time      Mark 3:1-6

The clash between David and Goliath in the first reading is the quintessential conflict between weakness and power, with the weaker one triumphing over the more powerful one. We see a similar clash in today’s gospel reading. The Pharisees and the Herodians, who had great political power in that culture, begin to discuss how to destroy Jesus, who had no such power. Even though they went on to put Jesus to death, it was Jesus, the powerless one, who triumphed over his powerful opponents, because God raised him from the dead and sent his Spirit upon his followers. David said before his conflict with Goliath, ‘the Lord will rescue me’, and it was the Lord who rescued Jesus from his enemies. Both readings remind us that when we find ourselves up against impossible odds, the Lord is our greatest resource. Writing from prison with the possibility of execution facing him, Paul could say, nevertheless, ‘I can do all things through him who strengthens me’. In our own lives, when our resources seem no match for the challenge, we too can experience the Lord as ‘my stronghold, my saviour’, in the words of today’s responsorial psalm. A little later in Mark’s gospel, Jesus will say to his disciples, ‘for God, all things are possible’.

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The Gospel reflection comes from: Weekday Reflections for the Liturgical Year 2017/2018; ‘LET THE WORD OF GOD DWELL IN YOU’ by Martin Hogan, published by The Messenger c/f   www.messenger.ie/bookshop/
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16th January.

This is the commentary on today’s gospel by Bishop Robert Barron of Word on Fire Ministries.

jesus-and-the-rich-young-manFriends, in today’s Gospel Jesus calls us to recognize him as Lord. Acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus means that your life has to change. For many this is liberating good news. But for others, it is a tremendous threat. If Jesus is Lord, my ego can’t be Lord. My religion can’t be Lord. My country, my convictions, and my culture cannot be Lord.

The Resurrection is the clearest indication of the Lordship of Jesus. This is why the message of the Resurrection is attacked, belittled, or explained away. The author of Acts speaks of “violent abuse” hurled at Paul. (I have a small taste of this on my YouTube forums.) We all should expect it, especially when our proclamation is bold.

This reveals a great mystery: we are called to announce the Good News to everyone, but not everyone will listen. Once we’ve done our work, we should move on and not obsess about those who won’t listen. Why do some respond and some don’t? We don’t know, but that’s ultimately up to God.

Gospel MK 2:23-28

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath,
his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain.
At this the Pharisees said to him,
“Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?”
He said to them,
“Have you never read what David did
when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry?
How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest
and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat,
and shared it with his companions?”
Then he said to them,
“The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath.
That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”

 

15th January.

praise fathergodPope Benedict said that humanity developed music to give expression to our soul’s encounter with God. This is a rich and beautiful idea. Some things are too difficult to communicate with words alone. Another power of music is its capacity to praise God. I believe that this is a much neglected aspect of our prayer because it is the only true training for what heaven will be like.

When I go to bed I usually listen to music to finish off the day. This was the final hymn from last night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1W9fajV4Sw

 

14th January – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (B) (Refugee Sunday)

In yesterday’s blog I made an international appeal for pro-life canvassing here in Ireland. If you are interested, please look it up.

This is today’s homily followed by the gospel of the day.

It is very important to appreciate what has brought us together here in this church today. We are not here as members of a political party or because we want to promote Gaelic games or Irish traditional music. We are here because we are Catholic Christians who gather on the Lord’s Day to repeat the Last Supper in memory of Jesus. This is the interest that we all share in common.

Jesus Lost-and-foundAnother way of expressing that we are Christians is to say that we are followers or disciples of Jesus. In today’s gospel we heard about the call of Jesus’ first disciples. This invitation first offered by Jesus is the same invitation that we have all accepted: COME AND SEE. Come to me, get to know me and thus grow in friendship. If you like this experience, then remain with me and become one of my flock, the community of believers. It would be hard to imagine a more beautiful, disarming invitation from God.

So what should be our response if we want to come to Jesus and remain as his follower and disciple? The answer is provided in today’s first reading and Gospel Acclamation: SPEAK LORD YOUR SERVANT IS LISTENING. The word ‘disciple’ comes from the word ‘discipline’. To be a follower of Jesus is to live our lives according to the truth that he reveals. We follow Jesus’ instructions for right living like we might follow the instructions of a doctor helping with our diabetes: lose weight, cut out junk food and drinking, get more exercise, take these pills, etc. The benefit of right living as presented by Jesus is far more that our physical well-being. As the Gospel Acclamation said: YOU HAVE THE MESSAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE(!)

One way that Jesus’ word comes to us is through our pastors, and particularly the pope. Pope Francis  has designated today as ‘Refugee Sunday.’ We instinctively recall the heart-rendering images of refugees sailing across the Mediterranean Sea in flimsy boats and all the drowning that happen as a result. You may like to read his five page letter on the notice board. However his essential message is summed up in this one sentence: “Every stranger that knocks on our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ who identifies with the welcomed and rejected strangers of every age.’

How would we all feel and react if 50 Syrian refugees were to be located here to Ardaghey?

A very direct way that God speaks his word to us is through the Bible. In today’s second reading St Paul says: ‘The body is not meant for fornication… Your body as you know is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.’ Fornication is the wrong use of our sexuality. This is a reminder of the Sixth Commandment that limits – strictly limits – the use of our sexuality to a valid marriage between husband and wife and that is open to new life.

This is an enormous challenge for many in today’s permissive and secular culture. It requires much self-discipline and the capacity to say no to our desires. This is not enough however. We need the grace that comes through reception of the sacraments, personal prayer and the support of other committed Christians who journey in faith with us.

In summary: Jesus invites all prospective followers to COME AND SEE. Our response to this invitation is SPEAK LORD, YOUR SERVANT IS LISTENING.

Gospel  Acclamation           1 Sam 3:9
Alleluia, alleluia!
Speak, Lord, your servant is listening:
you have the message of eternal life.
Alleluia!

GOSPEL 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John      1:35-42
They saw where he lived, and stayed with him.

As John stood with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God.’ Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi,’ – which means Teacher – ‘where do you live?’ ‘Come and see’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.

One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Early next morning, Andrew met his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ – which means the Christ – and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ – meaning Rock.

The Gospel of the Lord.