Author Archives: frmorty

23rd June – Solemnity of THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS.

Today is the great solemnity of THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS. Below is the gospel and commentary. As an exercise in prayer, consider saying 10 times slowly and prayerfully my granny’s favourite prayer: SACRED HEART OF JESUS, I PLACE ALL MY TRUST IN THEE.

Gospel                            Matthew 11:25-30
I am gentle and humble in heart.

Jesus9 ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children. Yes, Father, for that is what it pleased you to do. Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and 1 will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light.’

The Word of the Lord


Gospel Reflection    Friday,       Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus         Matthew 11:25-30

My parents’ and grandparents’ generation and the generations before them often had an image of the Sacred Heart in their homes, very often with a little red light burning in front of it. Here was an image that spoke powerfully to people. It was an image that somehow brought Jesus close to people. This image with its little red light before it was a powerful reminder to people that the Lord was present to them in a very personal and loving way at the heart of their lives, with its trials and tribulations. The image of Jesus with his pierced heart prominently displayed speaks to us of a divine love, of God’s love revealed in Jesus, especially in his death. The second reading this morning makes the very simple but profound statement, ‘God is Love’ and then declares that God’s love was revealed for us when God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life. That is what we are celebrating today, God’s life-giving love for us revealed in his Son. It was this love that people somehow felt touched by in and through the image of the Sacred Heart. Having been touched by God’s love through this image, people felt a desire to respond to that love in some way. That is what Jesus calls for in the gospel reading today when he turns towards the crowd and says to them ‘come to me’. It is the invitation of a love that is greater than any human love, and that promises a gift that is greater than any human gift, the gift of ‘rest for your souls’. Our souls are restless, Saint Augustine said, until they rest in God. Because Jesus is God’s love in human form, he can give rest to our restless souls if we come to him.

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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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22nd June – Ss Thomas More & John Fisher

jesusThe following is an article I wrote for last Sunday’s newsletter. Even if you are not from Ireland, it gives a sense of the general difficulties involved in maintaining our Christian culture in secular age.

Public Fairness: David Quinn of the Iona Institute is a columnist with the Irish Independent and Irish Catholic. This is a recent article of his: Church bashing is the new Brit bashing. The hard left never stop. I am not sure I can think of a single time during his six years as Taoiseach (Prime Minister) when Enda Kenny had a good word to say about the Catholic Church or Ireland’s Christian heritage. So why the continuous negativity about the Church? Why are we presented only with the misdeeds while the good it has done over the centuries is kept hidden from view? (Emphasis added.) Because that makes it all the easier to whip up public support for removing all significant public traces of it from national law and life. This is being done in the small things (Good Friday drinking laws) and the much bigger things (our pro-life law). If the public can be made to think that Catholic Ireland was a terrible place, and nothing else, then we will be all the more determined to replace Catholicism and Christianity with ‘secular modernity’. This government is certainly determined to do this.

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If you have some time on your hand and would like to read a rather lengthy article from HOMELITIC AND PASTORAL REVIEW about the power and meaning of the sacraments, visit http://www.hprweb.com/2017/06/sacraments-in-brideshead-revisited/. The background story has an engaging human-interest element.

21st July – St Aloysius Gonzaga

st aloysius gonzagaOne of the titles given by Vatican II to the Church is ‘Pilgrim People’ – a people who are passing through this world and on the way to the Father’s House as our final destination. Today’s saint Aloysius Gonzaga (+1591) who died at the age of 23 having contracted the plague whilst helping in a hospice, had no such problems with this reality. He died with name of Jesus on his lips. The following is from his farewell letter to his mother. (It is certainly honours-course Christianity!)

May the comfort and grace of the Holy Spirit be yours for ever, most honoured lady. Your letter found me lingering still in this region of the dead, but now I must rouse myself to make my way on to heaven at last and to praise God for ever in the land of the living; indeed I had hoped that before this time my journey there would have been over. If charity, as Saint Paul says, means to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who are glad, then, dearest mother, you shall rejoice exceedingly that God in his grace and his love for you is showing me the path to true happiness, and assuring me that I shall never lose him…

Take care above all things, most honoured lady, not to insult God’s boundless loving kindness; you would certainly do this if you mourned as dead one living face to face with God, one whose prayers can bring you in your troubles more powerful aid than they ever could on earth. And our parting will not be for long; we shall see each other again in heaven; we shall be united with our Saviour; there we shall praise him with heart and soul, sing of his mercies for ever, and enjoy eternal happiness. When he takes away what he once lent us [our earthly life], his purpose is to store our treasure elsewhere more safely and bestow on us those very blessings that we ourselves would most choose to have.

I write all this with the one desire that you and all my family may consider my departure a joy and favour and that you especially may speed with a mother’s blessing my passage across the waters till I reach the shore to which all hopes belong. I write the more willingly because I have no clearer way of expressing the love and respect I owe you as your son.

 

20th June

Today’s gospel brings us to the heart of the Sermon on the Mount. Bishops’ website commentary follows.

Gospel  Acclamation  Jn 13:34love enemies
Alleluia, alleluia!
I give a new commandment: love one another just as I have loved you, says the Lord.
Alleluia!

Gospel                             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.    

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

Unconditional love does not come naturally to us. We tend to love people when certain conditions are fulfilled. This even applies to the most intimate of human loves. In particular, we expect those we love to love us in return. If they do not, our love for them can easily wane. In the gospel reading, Jesus speaks of God’s love as a love without conditions attached. God does not only love those who love him. Rather God loves ‘bad as well as good’, those who return God’s love and those who do not. In this consists God’s perfection, according to Jesus. God is perfect in that his love is unconditional and, therefore, embraces all. What makes distinctions between people is how they respond to God’s love, the extent to which they allow God’s love to transform them. In the gospel reading, Jesus calls on us all to be perfect as God is perfect, to love unconditionally in the way God does, and that will mean loving even our enemies, those who would wish us harm. There are outstanding examples among Jesus’ followers of this kind of indiscriminate love. Such people are often to be found in the setting of war, [conscientious objectors, affected civilians] precisely in the context of being badly treated by their enemies. They are an inspiration to us. They show us what perfection, what holiness, looks like. They remind us of the good we are all capable of, with the Lord’s help, even in the face of evil.

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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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19th June

This was an article I wrote for this week’s newsletter.

real presenceREAL PRESENCE: The feast of Corpus Christi is an opportune time to reflect on the great gift of Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist – his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. As Catholics we have a number of practices that help us to remember  this great gift. When we pass a church, we make the sign of the Cross to ask Jesus’ blessing; when we come into church, we genuflect to Jesus in the tabernacle before we move into our seat and do the same as we leave. (If we can’t genuflect then we can bow – it’s the attitude of the heart that really matters.) When we do these actions we should make a conscious effort to acknowledge and speak to Jesus in our hearts. We keep a reverential silence at all times in the church and if it is necessary to say something, we keep it as short as possible and in the lowest possible voice. Jesus who is truly present should be our main focus while in church. We can help each other by waiting until we are outside to start a conversation.  We point out to our children the significance of the red light on the sanctuary that indicates that Jesus is present in the tabernacle. With regard to our reception of Jesus in Holy Communion, we give him a big welcome – a Cead Mile Failte (a hundred thousand welcomes) – after we return to our seats. It goes without saying that if we are aware of a serious sin, we make a good confession before receiving. If we are passing a church with some time on our hands, it is a holy thing to drop in and visit Jesus. To talk to the HIDDEN JESUS (St Francesco of Fatima) and make our petitions directly to him is far more important than just lighting a candle and then leaving. Last but not least, we have the wonderful privilege of worshipping Jesus in a very direct way when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, like during our weekly holy hours. During such times we genuflect on both knees if we pass before the monstrance or leave our seats. If we can’t genuflect, then we bow.

EUCHARISTIC MIRACLES have happened down through the ages to affirm our belief in the Real Presence. Perhaps the most impressive of these was at Lanciano, Italy in the 8th century where the sacred host and contents of the chalice changed into flesh and blood after the Consecration. Modern forensic testing showed that it was living human flesh and blood that has remained intact without any sign of preservatives. To read about it in detail GOOGLE miracle of the eucharist lanciano.

 

18th June – Solemnity of CORPUS CHRISTI (A)

Last Supper Passion of ChristToday is the great solemnity of Corpus Christi, the Body and Blood of Christ. At the close of Mass this weekend I said that much of our faith in this sacrament of Sacraments is summed up in: O SACRAMENT MOST HOLY, O SACRAMENT DIVINE, ALL PRAISE AND ALL THANKSGIVING BE EVERY MOMENT THINE.

Here is my homily followed by the gospel.

Last year I said that according to St Augustine, only 3 things were needed for holiness. I’m sure you all remember them but it doesn’t hurt to recap. The first thing is humility, the second thing is humility and the third thing is humility! Humility is much about knowing our need for God and to be taken out of the illusion of our self-sufficiency. The word HUMILITY comes from HUMUS which means EARTH. We are reminded of our earthiness each Ash Wednesday when we receive the ashes with the words: “Remember man thou are dust and unto dust you shall return.”

In the first reading we heard how God led the Israelites from the slavery of Egypt to the Promised Land thru a 40 year desert journey. This was to teach them their true dependence on God. During this time God fed them with Manna, bread that literally fell out of the heavens, which they collected up and ate. Without this they would have starved. The big lesson of this desert journey is summed up in the reading by: “Man does not live on bread alone (material things) but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

All of us committed Christians are on a similar spiritual journey to the new Promised Land. We too need spiritual food to complete this trip. In the Gospel Jesus tells us about a new manna from heaven that he calls LIVING BREAD. This will give us the spiritual strength to reach the Promised Land and gain eternal life.

What is this new manna, this living bread? Jesus goes on to say that he himself will be this spiritual food. To quote him: “As I myself draw life from the Father, so he who eats me will draw life from me.”

So how are we to eat Jesus as spiritual food? This is indeed a big question that would only be answered a few years later when we come to the end of Jesus’ life and the Last Supper, the first Mass. Here Jesus by his divine power changed bread and wine into his Body and Blood. He then gave his Body and Blood under the appearance of bread and wine to the Apostles as this promised spiritual food. This same feeding has been going on at all Masses ever since in obedience to the mandate: “Do this in memory of me.”

In this way what Jesus said in today’s gospel was accomplished: “For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” This spiritual food makes us strong and fills us with divine life and love. Thus in our Christian lives we can count on loving with Jesus’ love rather than just our own human love.

My final point is about this verse of today’s gospel: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I in him.” This is what we mean by Holy Communion, holy common-union between Jesus and us. Jesus loves us so much that he is not merely happy with living close to us. He wants to live inside of us, in our heart and for us to live inside him. Such great love!

Ultimately, the Eucharist is a great mystery that we must approach with wonder and awe and accept that we will never fully understand it because it is a divine mystery. We must accept it not so much on common sense but in faith in Jesus, his Word and promise.

In summary: To be holy, to be spiritually healthy, to get to the Promised Land we need spiritual food. In Holy Communion Jesus gives himself to us under the appearance of bread so we can draw spiritual life from him.

Gospel                               John 6:51-58
My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
Jesus said to the Jews:

I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;
and the bread that I shall give
is my flesh, for the life of the world.’

Then the Jews started arguing with one another:
‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said.
Jesus replied:

I tell you most solemnly,
if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man
and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.
Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood
has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day.
For my flesh is real food
and my blood is real drink.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me
and I live in him.
As I, who am sent by the living Father,
myself draw life from the Father,
so whoever eats me will draw life from me.
This is the bread come down from heaven;
not like the bread our ancestors ate:
they are dead,
but anyone who eats this bread
will live for ever.’

The Gospel of the Lord.

 

17th June – Memorial of Our Lady

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

Gospel                               Matthew 5:33-37
I say this to you: do not swear at all
cross surrenderJesus said to his disciples: you have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not break your oath, but must fulfil your 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 comes from the evil one.

The Gospel of the Lord.

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Gospel Reflection      Saturday,        Tenth Week in Ordinary Time     Matthew 5:33-37

In today’s gospel reading Jesus opposes the kind of oath taking that seeks to control God for one’s own purposes, swearing by heaven, God’s throne, or by earth, God’s footstool, or by Jerusalem, the city of God. The temptation to control God for one’s own purpose has been deeply rooted in the human spirit. Ancient magic was an attempt to control the spirit world for one’s own purpose, and, indeed, the same could be said of certain forms of contemporary magic. However, in the Lord’s Prayer, the only prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray, Jesus calls on us to begin by surrendering ourselves to God’s purpose, ‘your name be held holy, your kingdom come, your will be done’. Jesus whole life teaches us that God’s purpose for our lives is ultimately life-giving. In trust we can invite God to have God’s way in our lives because that way is one that will lead to authentic life. It is not a case of manipulating God to serve our purposes but of giving ourselves over to serve God’s purpose for our lives and for his creation, after the example of Jesus, who in the Garden of Gethsemane prayed, ‘Father… not my will but yours be done’, and after the example of Mary whose response to God’s messenger was, ‘Let it be to me according to your word’.

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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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