19th June.

This week the gospel passages come from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the core values of his teaching and the Kingdom of God. Because of this we will follow the commentaries from the Irish Bishops’ Website.

GOSPELJesus love enemies

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew         5: 43-48
Love your enemies.

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must love your neighbour and hate your enemy. But I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you; in this way you will be sons of your Father in heaven, for he causes his sun to rise on bad men as well as good, and his rain to fall on honest and dishonest men alike. For if you love those who love you, what right have you to claim any credit? Even the tax collectors do as much, do they not? And if you save your greetings for your brothers, are you doing anything exceptional? Even the pagans do as much, do they not? You must therefore be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’

The Gospel of the Lord.

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Gospel Reflection              Tuesday     Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time       Matthew 5:43-48

It is clear from the gospels that nature spoke powerfully to Jesus about God and God’s way of relating to us and our way of relating to him. When Jesus noticed that the sun was shining and the rain was falling on all people equally, regardless of their moral standing, it spoke to him of God’s love which was given equally to all. Just as the sun and the rain do not discriminate between the good and the sinner, so God’s love does not discriminate between the morally good and immoral. God loves all equally; what differs is people’s willingness to open themselves to this love and allow it to transform their way of being and living. In the gospel reading Jesus calls on his disciples to be God-like in the way they relate to others. We are to love indiscriminately. How we relate to others is to be shaped by how God relates to us rather than by how others relate to us. This is how Jesus understands perfection. He himself embodied fully this way of relating that he calls for in the gospel reading. He loved others as God loved him, regardless of how others related to him. He prayed for his friends and his enemies alike. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul prays that Christ would live in our hearts through faith. This is the essence of our baptismal calling, to allow the Lord to live in us and to love through us. When that happens we become perfect as God is perfect.
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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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18th June.

This week the gospel passages come from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the core values of his teaching and the Kingdom of God. Because of this we will follow the commentaries from the Irish Bishops’ Website.

GOSPEL The Sermon on the MountCarl Bloch, 1890  

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew          5: 38-42
I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance.

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You have learnt how it was said: Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. But I say this to you: offer the wicked man no resistance. On the contrary, if anyone hits you on the right cheek, offer him the other as well; if a man takes you to law and would have your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone orders you to go one mile, go two miles with him. Give to anyone who asks, and if anyone wants to borrow, do not turn away.

The Gospel of the Lord.

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Gospel Reflection         Monday, Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time         Matthew 5:38-42

We are all aware that there is great evil in the world. We only have to listen to or look at the news in the evening to be reminded of the terrible evil that can be inflicted on people. A person goes into a peaceful setting where people are engaged in ordinary social activities and shoots at random and takes a human life. Someone’s life is changed forever by the evil and irresponsible actions of others. Jesus was very aware of this darker side of human nature; he came to see that he would suffer the ultimate loss of his own life because of it. In today’s gospel he makes reference to the wicked person who seeks to do people harm; he mentions the greedy person who would take someone to court to get their tunic. His real concern is how his followers would react to such experiences when it affects them. Jesus’ call to his disciples in today’s gospel reading is summed up in the call that Paul makes in his letter to the church in Rome, ‘Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’. Jesus declares that we are not to meet wickedness with wickedness, evil with evil, but rather with generosity of heart and spirit. So, if a Roman soldier unfairly orders a disciple to carry his rucksack for one mile, the disciple is to carry it for two miles. This attitude that Jesus is promoting goes against all human reasoning; it is not the way the world operates. Yet, it is the way of Jesus and he calls on us to make it our way too. We cannot possibly live this way in our own strength alone. We need the Lord’s strength, the strength of the Holy Spirit, which the Lord gives to those who ask for it.
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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/

 

17th June – 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Today at Mass I got a rather unusual complement. A little boy who came up with his mother for Holy Communion and said “You are a magic priest!” I had been in the school recently and asked the children if they’d heard about the magic tractor? “It turned into a field!” True, as a priest I do have supernatural powers like those to absolve sins and change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. “Magic” is probably not the best way of describing it though!

Here is my homily for today followed by the gospel itself.

Matt_Talbot_Pray_4ea962f64f642A week ago last Friday I attended a 50th anniversary Mass for Fr Seamus Murphy in Creeslough. At the end Bishop Alan said a few words and quoted Venerable Matt Talbot (+1925). Matt had a rough childhood and ended up a hopeless alcoholic. By the sheer force of will and the grace he got from prayer, penance and the Eucharist he was able to transform his life. In his time there were no Alcoholics Anonymous or detox programs to help such individuals.

Venerable Matt said: “With regard to the things of God, constancy matters the most.” Let me repeat that: With regard to the things of God, constancy matters the most.

Who came to mind at mention of this was a former parish priest from my home parish. He had a rather severe speech impediment and homilies & public speaking in general must have been a torture to him. Yet, he made the best of his gifts and stuck at it. He was renown for visiting the elderly and those in hospital and was much loved for this. He stayed on in the parish to his late 70s – well past normal retirement age. Afterwards he was glad to fill-in for priests on holidays. As far as I can remember, he “died with his boots on”, so to speak.

mustard-seed-96x145I tell you this because it links in directly with today’s gospel. Both parables tell us about seeds that are planted. Once they remain in the ground and continue growing, God’s power and presence brings them to a successful conclusion and harvest. In a world of broken promises and quitting, it is so important to realise that constancy and faithfulness will always win the day.

In my 21 years of being a priest and having the privilege of knowing people’s inner lives and trials, the individuals who impress me the most are the women who have persevered in difficult marriages – be it due to a lack of respect, alcohol abuse problems, etc. In today’s “walk away” culture, it would have been easy to quit but they didn’t. In many cases their dedication was able to bring about positive change in their husbands.

Other heroes include parents with special needs children. I know one woman with a severely autistic child who is lucky to get 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Yet she is always cheerful and grateful to God that she can manage. There are those single mothers who accepted their unplanned  child and didn’t take the easy way out. Children who care for their parents in old age – especially in the cases of dementia – deserve much credit.

I also marvel at the constancy of past generations in the practice of their faith. Older men and women here present may remember the time when people would walk miles to Mass every Sunday morning – hail, rain or sunshine. They may be fasting from midnight before if they wanted to receive Holy Communion.  In my home parish in Kenmare there is a Mass Rock where a Fr John O’Neill was beheaded whilst saying Mass in the Penal Times.

In this era there was dedication to personal and family prayer. When I was young it was a fixed part of the daily routine that after the cows were milked, we would all gather in the kitchen and pray the Rosary. Before the 10am tea, my father and grandfather would kneel on the back of a chair, rest their elbows on the top of the chair and with their heads buried in their hands, say their morning prayers. Sometimes the sunlight would flood through the kitchen window and illuminate dust particles in the air. It was a holy sight that no doubt inspired me to remain faithful to daily prayer later on in life.

When life is a struggle, there is a temptation to think that it is all in vain, nobody sees or cares about all the hidden sacrifices. Today’s second reading from St Paul about the Final Judgement shows that God remembers and cares about all the hidden details of our life:  “For all the truth about us will be brought out in the law court of Christ, and each of us will get what he deserves for the things he did in the body, good or bad.”

So in summary: With regard to the things of God, what matters most is not – good looks, charm, great success and popularity, intelligence, learning, etc. Rather, what matters most is CONSTANCY, sticking at it.

GOSPEL 

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark            4:26-34
It is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all.

Jesus said to the crowds: ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing; how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come.’

He also said, ‘What can we say the kingdom of God is like? What parable can we find for it? It is like a mustard seed which at the time of its sowing in the soil is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet once it is sown it grows into the biggest shrub of them all and puts out big branches so that the birds of the air can shelter in its shade.’

Using many parables like these, he spoke the word to them, so far as they were capable of understanding it. He would not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything to his disciples when they were alone.

The Gospel of the Lord.

 

16th June.

Here is today’s gospel and a reflection from the Bishops’ website. It deals with a fundamental aspect of the Christian life – our relationship with TRUTH in everyday life.

Gospel Reflection      Saturday   Tenth Week in Ordinary Time   Jesus I-am-the-bread-truthMatthew 5:33-37

At the root of the prohibition of oaths in today’s gospel reading is Jesus’ desire that among his followers unqualified truthfulness is required. This is one further dimension of life within God’s kingdom. The teaching of Jesus here is reflected in the letter of James, ‘do not swear either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath but let your “Yes” be yes and your “No” be no’ (James 5:12). Most of us would acknowledge that we do not always follow the injunction of Jesus in today’s gospel reading, ‘All you need say is “Yes” is you mean yes and “No” if you mean no’. We don’t always find it easy to be truthful, to be true to what is in our heart. Our lips do not always express what is in our heart. Throughout this section of the Sermon on the Mount there is a focus on getting what is in our heart right and allow what is in our heart to shape all we say and do. The first and most demanding task is the former, getting what is in our heart right. We need to allow the values and attitudes of the gospel to take root in our hearts. We then need the courage to be true to those values in our daily lives. This will require ‘Yes’ and meaning it to certain calls and choices and saying ‘No’ and meaning it to other calls and choices.

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GOSPEL

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew     5:27-32
I say to you: do not swear at all.

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfil you oaths to the Lord. But I say this to you: do not swear at all, either by heaven, since that is God’s throne; or by the earth, since that is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, since that is the city of the great king.
Do not swear by your own head either, since you cannot turn a single hair white or black.
All you need say is “Yes” if you mean yes, “No” if you mean no; anything more than this come from the evil one.

The Gospel of the Lord.

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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/

 

15th June.

This is Bishop Robert Barron’s commentary (from Word on Fire) on today’s gospel followed by the gospel itself.

familyFriends, in today’s Gospel Jesus exposes the root problems behind sexual sin. Jesus says, “You have heard it said, You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” The act of adultery is certainly bad, of course. It’s grounded in a dysfunctional attitude to true love and a compromise of the soul. In order to be aligned to the God who is nothing but pure, selfless love, these underlying problems need to be addressed.

Time and again, we hear that the Church’s moral demands—especially in the sexual arena—are too stringent, that the Church ought to conform itself with society’s expectations, or that huge groups of Catholics themselves want to reduce the load. What does this prove? Well, nothing really, except that Catholic moral teaching is difficult. But so what? To dumb down our moral ideals is to compromise the Church’s whole purpose. Jesus didn’t dumb down the demands of love, and neither does his Church.

Gospel MT 5:27-32

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.
But I say to you,
everyone who looks at a woman with lust
has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
If your right eye causes you to sin,
tear it out and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away.
It is better for you to lose one of your members
than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.
“It was also said,
Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.
But I say to you,
whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful)
causes her to commit adultery,
and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

 

14th June.

Greg Buergler, a SOLT lay member, shares a reflection for the 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time (last Sunday). He reminds us that God is continually calling us back to Him, into a deeper familial relationship. God wants us to share His life. There is nowhere else we can find fulness of our being other than in God. But this can be a challenge because we are called to do the will of God. And rightly so because it is in doing God’s will that we achieve the fullness of our being, for when we do God’s will we partake more of His divine life. Sin is result of not doing His will, that’s what happened with Adam and Eve. Let us strive to be doers of God’s will, so that we thrive and enjoy life with and in God.

13th June – St Anthony of Padua.

Today we celebrate the feast of a well-know and well-loved saint, Anthony of Padua. People seek his intercession especially when they are looking for lost articles. But what are saints about in general and are we not all called to be saints? This two page article from a recent AID TO THE CHURCH magazine gives us the thoughts of Pope Benedict XVI.

saint holiness b16 a


saint holiness b16 b