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.

********************

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.

________________________________

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/

 

Advertisements

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

12th June.

Today’s gospel is an invitation for us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (below). Both of these roles will involve sacrifice and are not easy options. Here is a related article from the June ALIVE newspaper.

jesus-calls-sacrificeProfessor Janet Smith, a leading authority on Pope Paul VI’s encyclical, Humanae Vitae, has pointed out that priests often won’t ask people “to do big sacrificial things.” This, for her, is a huge mistake. The English Communist Douglas Hyde made the same point many years ago. In March 1948 Hyde resigned as editor of the UK Communist Party’s Daily Worker, quit the Party and entered the Catholic Church. He wrote a book, Dedication and Leadership, offering insights into the spread of Communism during the first half of the 20th century. He believed the Church had a lot to learn from the Party. “Communists,” he wrote, “show a faith in their people which Christians, supposed to be the great defenders of the human person, are too often not prepared to show. They ask for a lot and get the big response they expect.” He explained: “They say that if you make little demands on people, you will get a mean little response which is all you deserve. But, if you make big demands on them, you will get an heroic response. “If you call for big sacrifices people will respond, and moreover, the relatively smaller sacrifices will come quite naturally.” Timidity and political correctness, however, often make priests today afraid of proclaiming the full, sometimes hard, truths of the Gospel, of calling for transformed lives. Nothing new This is nothing new. 70 years ago Hyde pointed out that “Communists make far bigger demands upon their people than the average Christian organisation would ever dare to make. “They have discovered that it is good psychology to ask for a lot. It is bad psychology and politics to ask for too little.” He explained: “You must believe in the human material you have at your disposal. You must not be afraid to make big demands upon it and you must skillfully and intelligently call for sacrifices, following up each such call with another.” Convincing people that change is necessary and possible and that they are the ones who can achieve it, who can transform the world in their lifetime, was the secret of success for the Communists. “You have to put into people’s lives a dynamic force so powerful that you can bring them to do what would otherwise be impossible. The humdrum becomes meaningful. Life becomes purposeful and immensely more worth living.” Hyde noted that Communists had a sense that a great battle was going on all over the world, a struggle for men’s hearts and souls, that they were at a turning point in human history. The Church, on the other hand, was an organisation where the majority of members were half-hearted and largely inactive. He observed: “The Christian may say that the Communists have the worst creed on earth. “But what they have to appreciate is that Communists shout it from the housetops; while too often those who believe they have the best speak with a muted voice when they speak at all.” Moreover, the gospel of “affirmation” is not the Gospel. Only what points to the Cross of Christ is real and powerful, and truly Good News.

  • Based on an article by Doug Mainwaring for LifeSiteNews

GOSPEL   

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew        5:13-16
You are the light of the world.

Jesus said to his disciples ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.

‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.

The Gospel of the Lord.

 

11th June – St Barnabas, Apostle.

I shared these few words after today’s gospel.

Jesus lifeYesterday a line from one of the Breviary’s psalms jumped out at me: I FIND MY JOY IN THE LORD. How fundamental this is to the Christian life. Many people try to find life’s joy in going to the pub, watching TV, building an empire, having the latest consumer goods, financial security, looking beautiful, etc. But all these things are passing. Only that which is founded on the Lord lasts forever. Elsewhere in the psalms we heard God being called my ROCK, my REFUGE, my STRONGHOLD, my MIGHTY HELP IN WHOM I PLACE MY TRUST.

When our joy is based on the Lord, we can be detached from worldly living and give generously to others. As Jesus says in today’s gospel: “You received without charge, give without charge.”

 

10th June – 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

This is my homily for today followed by the gospel.

Since I was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer over 5 years ago, I’ve learned to really believe and trust in the doctors who care for me. The proof of this is that in spite of my cancer being incurable, they have kept me largely in remission, able to live a normal life and serve you here in Ardaghey.

bone marrow harvest

Bone Marrow Harvest 2013

I go for maintenance chemotherapy every two weeks. Whenever I get instructions from my doctors I follow it a 110%, knowing that it is for my own good and indeed necessary for staying alive.

For example, earlier this year my superior asked if I could make it over to Texas for a chapter meeting in July. I said I would get back to him after talking to my doctors. The consultant looked at my recent blood tests and said that while everything looked good, there was a clot risk attached to one of my drugs that might be increased by air travel. She prescribed an injection before boarding the flights going and coming back. Then and only then did I tell me superior that I was coming and booked my flights.

Where am I going with all this? Well it’s great that we have skilled and dedicated doctors that care for us and give us the best possible life-expectancy. But regardless of our doctors, none of us here today will be alive in 100 years time – and for most of us, in a lot less than 100 years time.

Resurrection st john believesIt is truly wonderful news that there is a doctor and saviour out there that can protect us from the effects of death for ever. His name is of course the Lord Jesus! This was the subject of today’s Second Reading:  “For we know that when the tent that we live in on earth is folded up – OUR MORTAL BODY WHICH WILL DIE ONE DAY –  there is a house built by God for us, an everlasting home not made by human hands, in the heavens.”

What do we have to do to avail of this salvation? We have to believe and trust in our heavenly physician just like we believe and trust in our medical doctors.

Why should be believe and trust in Jesus? Last Friday we celebrated the feast of the Sacred Heart. If we look at this statue of the Sacred Heart over here to my left, everything about it speaks about Jesus’ great love for us. At the very centre of this expression of love is the wound in his heart, reminding us of the spear that pierced his side on Good Friday. From this flowed out his life blood in a total self-giving for the remission of our sins – the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. What other physician ever died for his patient? Most doctors earn six figure salaries and probably deserve it. Only Jesus however gave us his life completely out of selfless love.

How do we show our belief and trust in Jesus? We do this in one way by coming to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days, saying our daily prayers, and maybe we have a picture of the Sacred Heart in our homes to remind us of Jesus’ great love for us.

The primary way however we show our belief and trust in Jesus is to live by his Word, his Truth – by being faithful to God’s Holy Will. Today’s gospel finishes with this: ‘Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother’. This is the requirement of being in God’s Kingdom, his family and being a brother/sister of Jesus. It is by this association that we find salvation.

How can we be faithful to God’s Will? This comes to us in different ways and levels but the fundamental way it comes to us is through the Ten Commandments. This is God’s definitive truth for right living, doing good and avoiding evil, loving God and neighbour. When God first gave them to Moses they were written in tablets of stone, fixed for all time. After each one was a FULL STOP so that no ifs, ands, or buts could be added afterwards. All of what I’m saying you know already but I want to reaffirm it for my next point.

In the recent Referendum which legalised the mass killing of unborn babies, some 70% of people who voted YES said they were Catholics. I’m sorry – but this makes absolutely no sense! If they were pagans, atheists or some other religion, well then ok. But it is truly nonsense to claim that one believes in Jesus and then do the exact opposite of what he commands – that is, approve of the killing of unwanted babies. It is like saying that 2+2=5 or that we believe in round squares.

I realise that there is little I can do about this national 70% but maybe there is something I can do about those who live here in Ardaghey. I would like to invite anybody who voted YES to get in touch and pop over to the parochial house for tea and cup cakes. I’d like the opportunity to talk through the issues involved. A part of me can half-understand the YES voters. If one wasn’t strong in one’s Christian beliefs, one could be swayed by the relentless media bias and secular propaganda.

But at the end of it all, approving the deaths of millions of innocent babies is a very serious matter and could affect one’s eternal salvation.

To sum up: The only physician or saviour who can protect us from the effects of death is Our Lord Jesus. To be saved by him we must strive to follow God’s Will, especially as it comes to us through the Ten Commandments and ‘Thou shalt not kill.’

GOSPEL              

A reading from the holy Gospel according to  Mark        3:20-35
It is the end of Satan

Jesus went home with his disciples, and such a crowd collected that they could not even have a meal. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.

The scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘Beelzebul is in him,’ and, ‘It is through the prince of devils that he casts devils out.’ So he called them to him and spoke to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot last. And if a household is divided against itself, that household can never stand. Now if Satan has rebelled against himself and is divided, he cannot stand either – it is the end of him. But no one can make his way into a strong man’s house and burgle his property unless he has tied up the strong man first. Only then can he burgle his house.

‘I tell you solemnly, all men’s sins will be forgiven, and all their blasphemies; but let anyone blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and he will never have forgiveness: he is guilty of an eternal sin.’ This was because they were saying, ‘An unclean spirit is in him.’

His mother and brothers now arrived and, standing outside, sent in a message asking for him. A crowd was sitting round him at the time the message was passed to him, ‘Your mother and brothers and sisters are outside asking for you.’ He replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking round at those sitting in a circle about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers. Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’

The Gospel of the Lord.