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.

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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

 

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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.

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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!”

18th September

What is the fundamental mark of a Christian? It is somebody who BELIEVES in Jesus. It is a pastoral concern that in the Catholic Church we have a sacramental system – baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, etc – that for many is detached from believing in Jesus. Receiving sacraments with integrity and sincerity always require belief in Jesus. Otherwise they don’t really make sense and are not truthful and don’t lead to salvation.

Today’s gospel and reflection from the Bishops’ website is about believing in Jesus.

Jn 3:16
Alleluia, alleluia!
God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son;
everyone who believes in him has eternal life.
Alleluia!

The Gospel                                Luke 7:1-10
Not even in Israel have I found such faith

CENTURIONWhen Jesus had come to the end of all he wanted the people to hear, he went into Capernaum. A centurion there had a servant, a favourite of his, who was sick and near death. Having heard about Jesus he sent some Jewish elders to him to ask him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus they pleaded earnestly with him. ‘He deserves this of you’ they said ‘because he is friendly towards our people; in fact, he is the one who built the synagogue.’ So Jesus went with them, and was not very far from the house when the centurion sent word to him by some friends:

‘Sir,’ he said ‘do not put yourself to trouble; because I am not worthy to have you under my roof; and for this same reason I did not presume to come to you myself; but give the word and let my servant be cured. For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man: Go, and he goes; to another: Come here, and he comes; to my servant: Do this, and he does it.’

When Jesus heard these words he was astonished at him and, turning round, said to the crowd following him, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found faith like this’. And when the messengers got back to the house they found the servant in perfect health.

The Gospel of the Lord.

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Gospel Reflection     Monday,     Twenty Fourth Week in Ordinary Time      Luke 7:1-10

In the time of Jesus, Roman soldiers would have been considered the enemy by most Jews, and Roman soldiers would have considered Jews their enemy. In this morning’s gospel reading we have a Roman centurion, who breaks that mould. He built the local Jewish synagogue, according to the Jewish leaders who approach Jesus on his behalf. What really strikes Jesus about this centurion is his remarkable faith, ‘Not even in Israel have I found faith like this’. The Roman centurion sensed that Jesus, a Jew, might not want to enter the house of a pagan, and so he sent a second delegation to Jesus asking him to heal his servant at a distance, by means of his word, ‘I am not worthy to have you under my roof… but give the word and let my servant be cured’. These words have made their way into our Eucharist. We recite a version of them before we receive Holy Communion. Isn’t it strange that the words of a pagan, of a Roman centurion, should find such a prominent place in our celebration of the Eucharist? Jesus found faith in all kinds of unexpected places. It is the same today. Faith finds expression in all sorts of ways among all sorts of people. Jesus was astonished at the faith of this pagan. The gospel invites us to allow ourselves to be astonished at the depth of faith to be found in unexpected people. The Roman centurion was a religious outsider from the Jewish perspective. Sometimes great faith can be found among those who may not be seen as members of the faith community. The Lord works in mysterious ways in the lives of others. We need to be as open as Jesus was to seeing faith in unexpected people.

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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
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17th September – 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A).

This week I had a break from preparing a homily. My friend Fr Stephen Boyle was fr-stephen boylevisiting from London and I asked him to say a “few words” after the gospel. A new face will always generate more interest that the usual. He spoke well about God’s forgiveness and the privilege of receiving it – hopefully on a regular basis(!) – in the Sacrament of Confession.

At Sunday Masses I generally pick a line from one of the readings and use it as an examination of conscience before the Penitential Rite: I confess to almighty God… This Sunday I said: “Today’s readings remind us of the necessity of forgiveness in our Christian lives and not nursing anger and resentments. At the start of Mass we examine our lives to see if this is in fact the case…”

Sr Caritas SOLT

Sr. Caritas of the Cross, SOLT shares her reflection for this Sunday’s readings. She reminds us that we need God’s help to forgive those who have hurt us, and that when we forgive, we are then free to love. Click here.

16th September – Ss Cornelius & Cyprian

Today – on the commemoration of the martyrs Ss Cornelius and Cyprian – I found myself reading an article on Christian martyrdom. It finished with this sentence: Faith, ultimately, means nothing unless it means everything. And life is not worth living unless we’re prepared to die for it.

Moneñor-Romero-fallecido-IEarlier on it spoke about surrendering our lives to God’s providence, whatever the consequences may be. It had a quote of the martyr Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador who was gunned down by right-wing death squads because of his advocacy of the poor. He said: Beautiful is the moment in which we understand that we are no more than an instrument of God; we live only as long as God wants us to live; we can only do as much as God makes us do; we are only as intelligent as God would have us be.