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22nd August – Queenship of Mary

Today we celebrate the Queenship of Mary. Here is an inspiring homily of Pope Benedict XVI on the subject:

queenship maryWhat does it mean that Mary is Queen? Is it merely a title along with others, the crown, an ornament like others? What does it mean? What is this queenship? As already noted, it is a consequence of her being united with her Son, of her being in heaven, i.e. in communion with God. She participates in God’s responsibilities over the world and in God’s love for the world. There is the commonly held idea that a king or queen should be person with power and riches. But this is not the kind of royalty proper to Jesus and Mary. Let us think of the Lord: The Lordship and Kingship of Christ is interwoven with humility, service and love: it is, above all else, to serve, to assist, to love. Let us recall that Jesus was proclaimed king on the Cross, with this inscription written by Pilate: “King of the Jews” (cf. Mark 15:26). In that moment on the Cross it is revealed that He is king. And how is he king? By suffering with us, for us, by loving us to the end; it is in this way that he governs and creates truth, love and justice. Or let us also think of another moment: at the Last Supper, he bends down to wash the feet of his disciples. Therefore, the kingship of Jesus has nothing to do with that which belongs to the powerful of the earth. He is a king who serves his servants; he showed this throughout his life.

And the same is true for Mary. She is queen in God’s service to humanity. She is the queen of love, who lives out her gift of self to God in order to enter into His plan of salvation for man. To the angel she responds: Behold the handmaid of the Lord (cf. Luke 1:38), and in the Magnificat she sings: God has looked upon the lowliness of His handmaid (cf. Luke 1:48). She helps us. She is queen precisely by loving us, by helping us in every one of our needs; she is our sister, a humble handmaid.

Thus we have arrived at the point: How does Mary exercise this queenship of service and love? By watching over us, her children: the children who turn to her in prayer, to thank her and to ask her maternal protection and her heavenly help, perhaps after having lost their way, or weighed down by suffering and anguish on account of the sad and troubled events of life. In times of serenity or in the darkness of life we turn to Mary, entrusting ourselves to her continual intercession, so that from her Son we may obtain every grace and mercy necessary for our pilgrimage along the paths of the world. To Him who rules the world and holds the destinies of the universe in His hands we turn with confidence, through the Virgin Mary. The title of Queen is therefore a title of trust, of joy and of love. And we know that what she holds in her hands for the fate of the world is good; she loves us, and she helps us in our difficulties.

Dear friends, devotion to Our Lady is an important element in our spiritual lives. In our prayer, let us not neglect to turn trustfully to her. Mary will not neglect to intercede for us next to her Son. In looking to her, let us imitate her faith, her complete availability to God’s plan of love, her generous welcoming of Jesus.

21st August – Pope St Pius X

The radio this morning featured the trip of Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar to see the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. They concurred that abortion rights were a “human right”. How conveniently they ignored Canada’s particularly grotesque abortion laws which in effect provides no legal protection for unborn babies throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy. A press release from the Pro Life Campaign says: “Official Canadian figures show that over a ten year period starting in 2000, 491 babies who survived botched abortions were abandoned by medical staff and left to die alone in the corners of hospitals. These figures reveal the chilling and truly barbaric reality of legalised abortion.” To see the full press release click here

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

Gospel Reflection     Monday,               Twentiethth Week in Ordinary Time    Matthew 19:16-22

jesus-and-the-rich-young-man

The young man in this morning’s gospel reading is clearly a very well intentioned person and also a very good living person. He has been faithful to the commandments that Jesus cites. Yet, he senses that is being called to something more, and, so he probes Jesus with his question, ‘What more do I need to do?’ For all that, when it comes to the personal call that Jesus addressed to him, he could not answer it. For this particular young man, the call to follow Jesus required him to let go of his great wealth. Jesus was asking him to put his trust in God rather than in his great wealth. He could not bring himself to do this, and, so, he went away sad. He could not live with the answer to his own question and, as a result, he remained deeply dissatisfied. Jesus addresses a personal call to each one of us; it will take a different form for each of us and will have different implications for each of us. However, whatever form Jesus’ call takes for us, it will always involve the call to find our security in God as Jesus reveals him to us, rather than in anything we possess or achieve. Our ultimate treasure is to be found in heaven, not on earth. As Jesus says elsewhere, it is God we are to love with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. Only then will we have the freedom to hold everything else lightly.

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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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Gospel                               Matthew 19:16-22
If you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you own and you will have treasure in heaven.

There was a man who came to him and asked, ‘Master, what good deed must I do to possess eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? There is one alone who is good. But if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said, ‘Which?’ ‘These:’ Jesus replied ‘You must not kill. You must not commit adultery. You must not bring false witness. Honour your father and mother, and: you must love your neighbour as yourself’ The young man said to him, ‘I have kept all these. What more do I need to do?’ Jesus said, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ But when the young man heard these words he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.

The Gospel of the Lord

 

 

20th August – 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Today I based my homily on the first reading which is given below.

Denis OsheaLast week I was down in Kerry for dad’s  month’s mind Mass. As I walked around the fields where we farmed in bygone years, I reflected on my relationship with dad among other things. In my mid to late teen years, I went through an argumentative and even rebellious phase. If on a given day dad wanted to mend the fences in the Big Field, I would want to fix the drains in the Small Field. If it had been dad’s idea to fix the drains in the Small Field, my choice would perhaps be to go to the bog or cut timber!

One day after yet another argument, I had a breakthrough. I was the one with the problem; I was always the one to argue the toss; I needed to grow up and have more respect for my dad for who he was; he was the boss, probably knew what was best and I should be humble enough to accept his view of things. After that our relationship improved DRAMATICALLY!

I begin with this today because in the First Reading from Isaiah, our heavenly Father is asking us to do something – namely to keep holy the Sabbath Day which is the Third Commandment. Isaiah says that the Lord’s servants – and this is who we are as Christians – love his name and “observe the Sabbath, not profaning it.”

So what is it to observe the Sabbath? Firstly we are to worship God by attending Holy Mass on Sundays. This also extends to Holy Days of Obligation like the solemnity of the Assumption that we celebrated last Tuesday.

Secondly we are to refrain from servile work so that we can rest our bodies and minds as well as have time for family and friends, works of charity – like visiting somebody who lives alone – and perhaps give time to extra prayer and spiritual reading.

What work might be an exception to this general rule? Well doctors, nurses and those involved in caring for the sick and infirmed need to work on Sundays. Emergency services involving police/guards, firemen need to work as do those in public transport. Farmers need to feed livestock and milk the cows. Sports and light gardening might well be considered as recreational activities.

In my years as a second level, third level and seminary student, I never studied on Sundays believing that if I was faithful to the ways of God, I would not be any the worse off. Thankfully I never failed an exam in this period. I don’t shop on Sundays. It should be possible to do all our shopping in 6 days out of 7. I do all I can to avoid eating out on Sundays in restaurants, etc. Again we have 6 days out of 7 for that too.

Our consumer habits and lifestyle should not be the cause of others having to ‘profane’ the Sabbath, using the language of today’s first reading. I regularly come across people who say they can’t come to Mass because they have to work on Sunday. If such an ‘excuse’ is genuine, then it is not right that people are pulled out to work 7 days a week. I don’t believe that observing the Sabbath leaves anybody worse off. All the shopping and eating-out that is to be done is simply done in 6 days rather than 7 days out of 7.

Looking back to the first reading, we heard about God’s House being a sacred place that is reserved for prayer and the worship of God. Likewise the Sabbath is a sacred time that is reserved for the things of God. Keeping the Sabbath was a primary divine witness of the Israelites of the Old Covenant; it should also be a primary witness of the Christians of the New Testament.

In summary I want to make two points: Today’s first reading reminds us of the Third Commandment that says we should keep holy the Sabbath Day by attending Mass and refraining from servile work. The second point is that when Our Father tells us to do something we can either do it or start an argument about it.

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First Reading                 Isaiah 56:1. 6-7 
I will bring foreigners to my holy mountain
Thus says the Lord: Have a care for justice, act with integrity, for soon my salvation will come and my integrity be manifest.

Foreigners who have attached themselves to Yahweh to serve him and to love his name and be his servants – all who observe the sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant – these I will bring to my holy mountain. I will make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their holocausts and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

The Word of the Lord.

 

19th August

I returned yesterday from Kerry where I celebrated Dad’s month’s mind Mass last Monday and had a family reunion.

peter_walking_on_water

“Courage, it is I, do not be afraid.”

Before we end the 19th Week of Ordinary Time, this is a reflection on the Sunday readings from SOLT member Sr Maria of Merciful Love. The link  is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xom1ATbcpQQ.

She tells us to “get out of the boat.” As she reflects on the readings for this coming Sunday, she focuses our attention on Peter walking on the water. Peter does something extraordinary when he steps out of the boat, amidst the waves, to walk to Jesus. Sister encourages us, this week, to pray that the Lord will increase our own faith, that we might have the courage to follow Him.