16th June

Last Tuesday I travelled to Limerick for a reunion (delayed a week because of Dad’s funeral) of my seminary ordination class of June 7, 1997 and to mark our 20th anniversary. This picture was taken after supper at the Kilmurray Lodge hotel. From left to right: myself, Frs John Molloy, Jim Lenihan and Tom Whelan.

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Over breakfast this morning I was reading an article about how Our Lady of Fatima warned that Russia would spread her errors over the world. The article is taken from the recent edition of the ALIVE newspaper. It can be said additionally that the ideology underpinning radical feminism is none other than Marxism.

russia errors

 

 

15th June

Today’s gospel continues through the Sermon on the Mount. It is followed by the commentary from the Bishops’ website.

Gospel                            Matthew 5:20-26
Anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court

nonviolenceJesus said to his disciples: if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven.

‘You have learnt how it was said to our ancestors: You must not kill; and if anyone does kill he must answer for it before the court. But I say this to you: anyone who is angry with his brother will answer for it before the court; if a man calls his brother “Fool” he will answer for it before the Sanhedrin; and if a man calls him “Renegade” he will answer for it in hell fire. So then, if you are bringing your offering to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come back and present your offering. Come to terms with your opponent in good time while you are still on the way to the court with him, or he may hand you over to the judge and the judge to the officer, and you will be thrown into prison. I tell you solemnly, you will not get out till you have paid the last penny.’

The Gospel of the Lord

Gospel Reflection     Thursday,     Tenth Week in Ordinary Time    Matthew 5:20-26

In this morning’s gospel reading, Jesus calls for a virtue that goes deeper than the virtue of the scribes and the Pharisees. He is looking for a virtue that is at the level of the heart or inner core of the person and not simply at the level of action. The Ten Commandments relate to actions which are to be done or, for the most part, not to be done. Jesus quotes one of the commandments at the beginning of our gospel reading, ‘You shall not kill’. What Jesus goes on to prohibit is not just the action of killing but the kinds of attitudes and emotions that can led people to kill one another. He warns against anger towards others and the perception of others that leads us to refer to them as fools. We might be tempted to think of the commandment, ‘Do not kill’, as not really relevant to us because the likelihood of any of us killing somebody is very remote. However, when Jesus speaks about the deeper level of emotion, attitude and perception, we cannot distance ourselves so easily. We have all experienced anger and can recognize its destructive power in ourselves. We have all perceived some people in ways that lead us to speak of them or to them in a manner that is disrespectful. Even though we may differ from others at the level of action, when it comes to this deeper level we all have much more in common. That virtue at the deeper level that drives our actions is one we are all constantly striving to attain. It can only be attained with the help of the Holy Spirit, whose power at work within us can begin to shape all we do and how and why we do it.

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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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13th June

Performing abortions is indeed a sordid business. The following conversion story of Dr Anthony Levatino illustrates this abundantly. Dr Levatino gave testimony recently to the Irish Citizens’ Assembly who went ahead anyway and recommended that abortion be legalised in this country. (Article from the Catholic Voice).

dal1dal2

12th June

Today’s gospel is arguably the most important passage in the whole of the Bible – the Beatitudes. It is followed by commentary from the Bishops’ website.

Gospel Matthew 5:1-12 Beatitudes

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
‘How happy are the poor in spirit;
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle:
they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn:
they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful:
they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart:
they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers:
they shall be called sons of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.’
The Gospel of the Lord.
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Gospel Reflection Monday, Tenth Week in Ordinary Time Matthew 5:1-12
This morning’s gospel reading is the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s gospel. It is a very striking beginning. The Beatitudes express in a very succinct form the vision of Jesus for human living, and, in particular, for living as his followers, as his disciples. The qualities Jesus refers to in those nine beatitudes find fullest expression in Jesus’ own life. He was ‘poor in spirit’ in that he recognized his dependence on God his Father for the work he was sent to do. He was ‘pure in heart’ in that his heart, his desire, was focused on doing God’s will and on the coming of God’s kingdom. He was ‘merciful’ in that he brought God’s merciful love to those who were broken in body, mind, heart or spirit. He ‘hungered and thirsted for what is right’, for what God wanted, and was prepared to be persecuted for being true to that deep hunger and thirst. When we look at the beatitudes, we are looking at Jesus, but we are also looking at the person that Jesus is calling us to become. To live the beatitudes is to become, in the words of Saint Paul, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself. When we live the beatitudes, as Jesus did, we will be truly blessed, because we will receive in abundance from God, ‘we will be comforted, we will be satisfied, we will have mercy shown us…’ This is indeed a gospel passage that is worth pondering, allowing it to seep into us so that it really shapes us.

11th June – HOLY TRINITY SUNDAY (A)

This is Holy Trinity Sunday. Here is my homily for the day.

Wang_Radiant_Light_T-00535-OL-V1Last Tuesday night my brother Jack and I lingered on at the end of the wake so that we were alone with dad. Jack leaned over and kissed dad in the coffin and said “Dad knows the great secret by now!” What he was referring to was the great mystery of what happens after we die. Jack is a very practically minded business man and we rarely have philosophical or spiritual discussions. His statement however reveals that  this all-important question is especially relevant  at the death of loved one.

So what do we as Christians believe about this great secret? Well, we big to differ with atheists who say that the Universe is some sort of accident, that we are meaningless biological tissue that fizzles out of existence after a relatively short life span. Rather our belief is expressed by the first two questions of the Old Catechism: Who made me? God made me. Why did God make me? To know him, love him and serve him in this life and be happy with him forever in the next.

Today we celebrate God revealing himself as a family of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Just as we are the fruit of our parents’ love and called to share their lives, so in the bigger picture, God created us in love to be sons and daughters in his family. We join this family of the Church with baptism and after living a holy life, we graduate to the Communion of Saints in heaven. It should come as no surprise that our family lives are so important given that God is himself a family of persons. Earthly life is ultimately patterned on spiritual / heavenly realities.

In the second reading today we were given counsel about how to live charitably within the larger Christian family: “Brothers, we wish you happiness; try to grow perfect; help one another. Be united; live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with the holy kiss.” We can take this as homework for the coming week!

A big question presents itself: How do we enter into this great secret/mystery at the heart of human existence – to know, love and serve God in this life and be happy with him forever in the next?

The gospel tells us the one thing that is more important than anything else. We must BELIEVE IN JESUS, have a trusting confidence in him as our loving Saviour and Good Shepherd. This can be compared to the childhood trust I had in dad to take care of all my material needs. To quote John 3:16, the most quoted verse of the New Testament: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that whoever BELIEVES in him may not perish but have eternal life.”

Believing in Jesus is so important because it brings to us the infinite merits of the sacrifice of Calvary. When St John says that God GAVE his only Son, it suggests strongly that God gave his Son as a sacrifice for sin. In the Mass we speak about Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. When our sins are atoned for, then we can be reconciled and united with God.

In summary: The great secret of human existence is that God make us to be his sons and daughters, both in time and in eternity. The most important way to fulfil this wonderful destiny is to believe in Jesus.

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This is some extra information on the Holy Trinity that I put into the newsletter.

The Holy Trinity (from YouCat):

Is Jesus God? Does he belong to the Trinity? Jesus of Nazareth is the Son, the second divine person mentioned when we pray, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). Jesus was either an imposter who made himself Lord of the Sabbath and allowed himself to be addressed with the divine title “Lord” or else he was really God. The scandal came when he forgave sins. In the eyes of his contemporaries, that was a crime deserving death. Through signs and miracles, but especially through the Resurrection, his disciples recognized who Jesus is and worshipped him as Lord. That is the faith of the Church (#39)

Do we believe in one God or in three Gods? We believe in one God in three persons (Trinity). “God is not solitude but perfect communion.” (Pope Benedict XVI, May 22, 2005). Christians do not worship three different Gods, but one single Being that is threefold and yet remains one. We know that God is triune from Jesus Christ: He, the Son, speaks about his Father in heaven (“I and the Father are one”, Jn 10:30). He prays to him and sends us the Holy Spirit, who is the love of the Father and the Son. That is why we are baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19). (#35)

Can we deduce logically that God is triune? No. The fact that there are three persons (Trinity) in one God is a mystery. We know only through Jesus Christ that God is Trinitarian.

Men cannot deduce the fact that God is a Trinity by means of their own reason. They acknowledge, however, that this mystery is reasonable when they accept God’s revelation in Jesus Christ. If God were alone and solitary, he could not love from all eternity. In the light of Jesus we find already in the Old Testament (for example, Gen 1:2; 18:2; 2 Sam 23:2), indeed, even in all of creation, traces of God’s Trinitarian Being. (#36)

What is grace? By grace we mean God’s free, loving gift to us, his helping goodness, the vitality that comes from him. Through the Cross and Resurrection, God devotes himself entirely to us and communicates himself to us in grace. Grace is everything God grants us, without our deserving it in the least. “Grace”, says Pope Benedict XVI, “is being looked upon by God, our being touched by his love.” Grace is not a thing, but rather God’s communication of himself to men. God never gives less than himself. In grace we are in God. (#338)

What does God’s grace do to us? God’s grace brings us into the inner life of the Holy Trinity, into the exchange of love between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It makes us capable of living in God’s love and of acting on the basis of this love. Grace is infused in us from above and cannot be explained in terms of natural causes (supernatural grace). It makes us—especially through Baptism—children of God and heirs of heaven (sanctifying or deifying grace). It bestows on us a permanent disposition to do good (habitual grace). Grace helps us to know, to will, and to do everything that leads us to what is good, to God, and to heaven (actual grace). Grace comes about in a special way in the sacraments, which according to the will of our Saviour are the pre-eminent places for our encounter with God (sacramental grace). Grace is manifested also in special gifts of grace that are granted to individual Christians (charisms) or in special powers that are promised to those in the state of marriage, the ordained state, or the religious state (graces of state). (#339)

 

10th June

Today’s gospel passage is the parable of the widow’s mite. Afterwards is the commentary of the Bishops’ website.

jesus-and-poor-widowGospel                             Mark 12:38-44
This poor widow has put more in than all of them.

In his teaching Jesus said, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’

He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them,

‘I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.’

The Gospel of the Lord

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Gospel Reflection     Saturday,    Ninth Week in Ordinary Time,    Mark 12:38-44

In the gospel reading, Jesus observes two kinds of gifts being given to the temple treasury. Some rich people put a great deal of money into the treasury. Yet, it was the widow’s gift of two small pennies that caught Jesus’ eye. Even thought her small gift was worth little, it was the most valuable gift of all, because in giving that small sum, she gave her livelihood. She literally gave her life. She may have been understood by the evangelist as an image of Jesus who would soon give his life to God on the cross as a ransom for many. Jesus very deliberately points this widow out to his disciples. It is very likely that if Jesus had not pointed he out, his disciples would not have paid any attention to her. This window was one of the invisible people of the time. The passage reminds us that it is often the people who are least noticed who have the most to teach us. The quality of their goodness and generosity is never on public display; it is hidden and more often than not it goes unrecognized. We live among such people without always knowing it. We may hear things about them after they have died that we never suspected while they lived. The gospel reading suggests that the quality of goodness and generosity that may be invisible to us is always visible to the Lord. He notices even if we do not.
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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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