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Well we are now at the fifth Sunday of Lent, it is hard to think that we are going through lent at such a fast pace and soon  we will be celebrating Palm Sunday and Holy Week. At the beginning of Lent I said that Lent was a time for giving things up as well as taking things up I hope that all of us were able to give something up as well as taking something up such daily Mass or that extra spiritual task and I hope that all of this hasn’t been too hard. There are so many worthwhile things that we can do during Lent in order to make our celebration of Holy week so much better.

In the Gospel for this weekend some Greeks ask to see Jesus. Jesus responds by saying that anyone who loves his life will lose it; to gain your life, you have to be like a grain of wheat which brings forth much fruit only by falling into the earth and dying. The seed which must die to produce a harvest is a powerful image of Jesus death. The Greeks must have been baffled. They were baffled in much the same way that we are when we listen to the stories from scripture about Jesus and all the things that he had done.

The gospel goes on to tell us that a voice is heard from the cloud, as at the Transfiguration in the other gospels, but here it speaks of the ‘glory’ that will come to Jesus for giving up his life. It is in his death and resurrection that he draws all people to himself, both Jew and Greek. Many Learned men and women have tried to put their interpretation on the Scriptures but if we listen with open hearts and minds what the word of God means in our lives and the way we live them will become apparent. For many people including me God’s presence is not often thought of  at the time his spirit is with us but afterwards, when you look back at what has happened or what you have said you often see that the hand of God was with you at that point. I have often said things to people about situations that they are in and thought to myself where did I get that from? Then on reflection I know that what I said was inspired by the Holy Spirit and was the right thing to do or say in the right place.  As we come to the last few days of Lent let us prepare with great intensity for Palm Sunday and the Easter Triduum and then we will really be able to enjoy the Easter feast on Easter Sunday which we have been preparing for since Ash Wednesday and don’t forget the Easter celebration lasts until Pentecost Sunday !!!





This weekend we celebrate the fourth Sunday of Lent and this is also known as Laetare Sunday and this mirrors Gaudete Sunday in Advent because their mood and theme is one of hope and rejoicing. So what is the cause for rejoicing this Sunday? The cause for our rejoicing is that we are getting close to the great events of Holy Week and Easter that have brought us salvation.

The Gospel reading from John tells us that a person is condemned because that  person did not  has not believe in the Son of God. God the Father has no desire to condemn, but people condemn themselves by putting God and the ideals of faith out of their lives. Over many centuries so many people have said there is no  god or in situations that seemed hopeless where is your God. There are so many people out there in our so called modern world  who have turned out the light of faith in their lives permanently for many reasons.  I know people of all ages who have been brought up in the Christian Faith and then have left it all behind and yet we as people of faith know that there is a  god and he is there among us in the people who are in our daily lives . He is also there in the good and bad times that we have in our lives and helps us to get through whatever happens.

At the Easter Vigil we proclaim the risen Lord as Christ our Light and we celebrate with joy. We are invited to celebrate this Sunday with joy, because through baptism and confirmation we have been invited to live in the light of Christ and to act accordingly. This Sunday we also pray for all those who are undertaking the RCIA process who will take up the light of Christ for the first time when they are baptized at the Easter Vigil.  We also remember and pray for all those who have left the faith and extinguished the light of faith in their lives and we pray that they may reignite the faith in their lives by seeing the good example of those around them.



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Well here we are at the third Sunday of Lent as I am writing these words it’s snowing and blowing a gale outside with the storm called the beast from the east attacking Ireland with full force. We think of all those who are in any need this weekend especially the homeless, the old perhaps there are people in our localities who might appreciate a friendly knock on the door to see how they are and if they need any help. This is what we are called to do all the time not just during times of crisis. We are called to be a friend to those around us who might be in any difficulty especially when life is not so good.

This Sunday’s gospel puts Jesus’ knowledge of our human nature so clearly: He really knew what was going on in the hearts of those around him. He knew what they thought. He saw what they did to the Temple. The Temple was supposed to be a place of celebrating the spiritual presence of God in the world. As we hear in the reading  the people changed the Temple into a marketplace when it should have been a place of spiritual encounter.

For many in our modern world the day of the Lord Sunday has been replaced with so many secular things taking the place of God religion and faith.  Jesus knew that people would see the signs that he worked, the miracles he performed, but would refuse to see the messages behind the signs and the miracles that were there if front of them. Instead they would see him as a wonder worker, a superman, a good show and Jesus wasn’t about any of that. Many people have left the faith behind but in similar fashion many are returning again. It is often said that in order to really appreciate something we have to leave it behind and then go back to it again later on when we understand the thing we have left behind better.

The portrait of Jesus in today’s Gospel is a world away from the storybook caricature of Jesus, the meek and mild figure. An equal caricature is to use this passage to make Jesus into a godfather of violence, a revolutionary willing to support annihilation for the sake of the cause and that was not the case. Jesus did use force in the Temple; he was certainly aggressive. But he did not use force he was not a political leader. Nor did he use aggression to gain power for himself because his kingdom could not be established by violence.

Our faith is not about a good show instead it is about our relationship with God and with one another. Jesus shows us  what real love is as he went on to die on the cross for us on Good Friday.  Our dying to ourselves during Lent is an identification with the power of Christ crucified. Our calling, then, is to be strong in faith, not weak. God gives us signs both people and places as anchors of faith. But, at some point, we must trust the Lord enough to cut ourselves free from our anchors and allow him to guide us through the rough currents of life.

Second Sunday of Lent 2018

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Well here we are at the second Sunday of Lent. It is hard to believe but time is marching on. In the Gospel reading for this weekend we hear about Jesus going up the mountain taking Peter and James and John, with him and we hear the voice of the father identifying  Jesus as “my beloved Son.”  the God who speaks to the disciples on the mountain directs them to Jesus and tells  all of us, “Listen to him” and our journey during lent is a journey of listening to scripture and listening to one another as we tell our own stories of faith. Jesus invites us to an exciting journey as a matter of fact our lives if lived in faith should be an exciting journey from birth right until we get to the pearly gates when we die. “The kingdom of God is at hand, Repent, and believe the Good News is all about Lent and in a particular way it is our call to take up the spiritual journey.  We’re not invited to a trip to Disneyland or any other holiday place we might want to go to. Instead we are called to explore the great depths of God’s love for us as we try to move and live in God’s Spirit as we climb the mountain of the Lord which is represented by our faith led observance of Lent.

Lent provides inspiration for all Christians  to remember and celebrate the days of their Baptism and Confirmation. Every year we hope to rise again from the ashes of our sins and failures “to recreate ourselves anew.” Every year we take a six week journey, a pilgrimage through the penance, self-discipline, prayer, and  good works in Lent leading  to the refreshing Easter waters of renewal. For many their journey began last Sunday in the cathedral churches as they began the journey to their Baptism at Easter as Catechumens. The  Catechumens are led to the sacraments of initiation by means of the rite of election, the scrutinies and catechesis. The faithful, listening more intently to the word of God and devoting themselves to prayer accompany them on their journey and  through a spirit of repentance all of us are able to renew our baptismal promises at the Easter Masses.  We remember once again the voice of god from the cloud, our heavenly father identifying  Jesus as “his beloved son.”  The god who speaks to the disciples  who also speaks to us and directs all of us to Jesus That same voice of God also  instructs us  to “listen to him” may we sit up and take note of what he is saying and not be afraid to do what he asks of us.



On Ash Wednesday we begin our journey of penitence as we place the ashes on our heads and listen to the call to be faithful to the Gospel. In a packed program over the next six weeks we will give up things and we will take up other more lasting things. Lent is the time when we take the road of faith in a special way as we go to daily Mass or perhaps we might travel the Way of the Cross but there are so many other opportunities for us to observe a holy Lent.. It is also a time when we give up things in order to renew our spiritual selves. There are so many opportunities to give up and take up things to renew our lives there are also chances to give alms to other people through Trocaire and other Church agencies.  Lent is a time to change that spiritual staleness that we sometimes find within ourselves! Though we live in the world and are of the world we need to remember that all of us Christians who have to deal with and live in the world should not become engrossed in it as the world and its inhabitants have taken many good people  down the wrong road.

The 40 days of Lent are a good time to start a renewal within ourselves it is the  time to banish the tedium that is within our lives of faith and try and do that wee bit more.  When we come to Palm Sunday we will be able to sing Hosanna with renewed heart and mind  and then during Holy Week and Easter we will truly be able to celebrate the great things that God has done for us and is doing in our lives.

6th Sunday of ordinary time


This Sunday we celebrate the 6th Sunday of ordinary time which is also the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes and world day of prayer for the sick. In our parish we will be celebrating the anointing of the sick in the afternoon as we remember all those our families and friends who are sick as well as all who care for them. Then next Wednesday we begin the Holy Season of Lent with the Ashes of ash Wednesday.

Our Gospel story tells us  about the Leper going to Jesus who healed him but it is about much more than just the healing, it is about the faith that the leper had in Jesus. It is also about the faith we have in Jesus.  After he heals him Jesus tells the man to be silent. He wants the miracle to be personal and quiet for a purpose. The man is to go first to the priests and go through the ritual cleansing prescribed in Leviticus (14:1ff.) Maybe the priests would ask the man how he was cured and then they would hear about Jesus. Who better to give witness to Jesus than someone whose life has been changed by him? Who better to witness to the strength, joy, encouragement, hope and direction that Jesus gives us than one who has been transformed by him? 

The lepers life was changed but by Jesus’ compassion, touch and words but Jesus told him not to tell anyone. We have to ask ourselves are our own lives changed by the words and compassion of Jesus?  Do we allow ourselves to be transformed by the compassion and words of Jesus in order to show his compassion to others? The man who Jesus cured became an evangelist. He “proclaimed and spread the word.” In the context of Mark, the cured man brought others to faith even though he was told not to tell anyone. So many, in fact, Jesus could not travel in the open for fear of a mob. Yet, they came to him from every point in Galilee. Jesus continued his ministry despite restrictions placed on him. But he could not visit new territories and preach. Word of his power preceded Jesus and brought the needy to him. May we share the healed man’s enthusiasm to make known the goodness of God. As we begin the season of Lent  with the Ashes next Wednesday with all the opportunities it provides for renewal of our spiritual lives Let us pray for a spirit of compassion and understanding as we journey through Lent to the great celebration of Holy Week and Easter.


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Over the past few days we have been celebrating Catholic Schools week. We  have taken the time to think about the good that has come from our schools. We have also taken time to thank god for our school teachers and our parents who in our homes are our first teachers. But as we thank God for our schools and our teachers we remember that  learning is a lifelong experience of so many things.

In the Gospel Reading for this Sunday, Jesus comes to Peter’s house, he finds that Peter’s mother-in-law is sick, and he heals her. The whole town hears of her healing and rushes all their sick to Peter’s house. The house is surrounded, and so is Jesus. Now, all of a sudden, Jesus seems to have become a one-man hospital the man who heals all their ills. He is so besieged that he can’t even pray in the house. He has to head out into the countryside secretly in the dark of morning. When his absence is detected, his disciples go looking for him. when they find him, they tell him “Everybody is looking for you!”  We Christians of today have many advantages over the people of Capernaum of that day. They saw Christ with their eyes as a man of power amongst them; we see him with the eyes of faith as he really was and is the Son of God who came on earth as man in order to make us the family of God. We know who he really was and we know the full meaning of his mission. We have seen that mission completed amongst us by his death on the cross and his resurrection. By his death he conquered death by his resurrection he opened the gates of heaven for us and shows all his followers the road we must take to get there. The road we have to take is not easy and many people have chosen other roads. But I believe that people of all ages are out there looking for Jesus seeking the things of lasting value they are out there looking for Jesus and they are finding and following him. Jesus is alive in our midst through the lives of faith we have together. He is our way, Leave him and we may well get lost. He is our truth. Ignore him and his teachings and we may  well mess up our lives. He is our life. Turn our backs on him, and our spirits, minds and hearts, might just shrivel up and die for lack of nourishment. Many have come to know that the things of God are built on solid foundations of the rock of faith instead of the things and values of the world that are built on sand and have no lasting value.

Last Friday we celebrated the feast of the presentation of Jesus in the temple and we blessed the candles for use in the Church. The candles represent the light of Christ will we be the light of Christ in all the places and situations we will find ourselves in  as we head towards the season of Lent? Will we be the people who point others along the right roads that lead to Jesus  by our words and actions during the season of Lent and beyond?


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Who do we trust and follow? Whose words and examples direct our minds to Jesus the word of God the authority of the Father? Moses was the prophet for his time and for the needs of his people. Who are the Moses-like prophets for this time for us and our needs?

In this Sundays  Gospel we hear about the authority of the Lord to cast out demons and devils. The reading is taken from the Gospel of Mark. As Jesus begins to teach in Capernaum. The people are spellbound because he spoke with authority, not like the scribes. A man comes to Jesus who is in the hand of an evil power and Jesus makes the devil come out of the man. The bystanders are amazed because Jesus has such authority.  What do we mean when we speak about the authority of the Lord? What do we mean when we talk about authority in general? What ways do we exercise authority in relation to those around us? What ways do we exercise the authority of the Lord as Christians? 

The word authority comes from the Latin word auctoritas. The basic meaning of this Latin word is creator, the word author also comes from this word. In general, authority is intimately connected with its source that source is the person who gives another the authority to do something so the authority that Jesus has comes from his Father.  The prophets of today include the bishop of Rome who wrote of the pain in the world and what we should do about it. He insists his fellow bishops and priests and religious are to have the “smell of the sheep on them.” In his encyclical, Laudatio Si, he speaks of the poor and the marginalized. He insists God, the creator of everything, weeps over the devastation of the earth by the self-interest of the powerful and the wealthy.  Every good farmer understands the soil must be cared for. But more to the point; God’s love for everyone is declared to us in the scriptures. God speaks with us there. The message is clear: If we are God’s we are to care about and for each other and that includes the refugees, the abused, the poor, the ill, and the mentally challenged. It means Everyone everywhere !

Jesus, speaks for God through his divine nature. His entire public life was about compassion and mercy. He despised arrogance, fought hypocrisy, and he believed the heart was stronger than the law. He brought God’s mercy and compassion to the earth and in the process brought us forgiveness from our self-interest, our scapegoating, our manipulation of frayed emotions, and our insecurity in the face of diversity of language, race, nationality origin, or whatever . May we all be the prophets that we are called to be in our time ! We are truly prophets when we stand for the truth, for the marginalized, for the alien, for the victim of war, for the victims of capitalism that serves only the capitalist. Are we going to ignore the calling of Jesus to be prophets in our own place or will we step up and be the prophets of god for our own time here and now.


3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time




This Sunday is the 3rd Sunday of ordinary time and in the Gospel we hear the call to get up and get going. That is to get up and leave family friends and go out to the world to proclaim the good news of Jesus. Of course in today’s world the church and faith in general mean a lot less in people’s eyes and many tell you that the faith they had in God has got up and gone and for a great number that was a long time ago!! So many have placed their trust in the worldly things whilst leaving the lasting things that is things of god behind.  The  second reading for this Sunday tells us that though we live in the world and are of the world we need to remember that all of us  who have to deal with and live in the world should not become engrossed in it as the worldly life has often taken  people down the wrong road and that road  leads one  away from a god and his ways. 

In our Gospel for this Sunday we learn the names of the first four disciples, the brothers Simon and Andrew, and the brothers James and John. Christ saw something in Simon James Andrew and John that led Him to entrust them with carrying out His mission at the beginning building His Church when he called them to be fishers of Men.

Each person had their unique role to play in that process at the beginning, just as each of us have a unique role to do now.   The fishermen abandon both their work, and their family ties. Something momentous is happening in their lives and they see the Call of Jesus as just that, a momentous event that they cannot ignore. It was amid the preoccupations of each day that the Lord called his disciples, and he calls them by name. It is also true for each of us that amid the preoccupations of our time and place within the world that many people are called by the Lord to be fishers of men. So are we prepared to take up the call of Jesus to be fishers of men where we are? Being fishers of men does not necessarily mean that we leave our families and our lives behind though many take up this part of the challenge as priests or religious serving gods people in that particular way.  the challenge for us As followers of Jesus is to be an example of faith in all we do and say and as a result of this we will be fishers of men because people out there will see how we live our lives and will want to follow us to see where we have come from and where we are going and when we get there all of us will find the lasting things of great value that are the things of faith in God and his Church.




Well after the anticipation of Advent and all the fuss of Christmas and the the new year here we are back at ordinary time. As we look forward to the year ahead it will be no time until the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday which is on 14th February and believe it or not April the 1st is Easter Sunday. Here we are thinking about Lent and Easter just after we have finished Advent and Christmas such is the pace of life as we go forward. Here in Ireland we have a particular reason to look forward as we will be hosting the 2018 World Meeting of Families in Dublin in August hopefully with the participation of Pope Francis.

In this Sunday’s Gospel the apostles asked Jesus “Where do you live”? his reply was “Come and see”.  Invitations as we know come in all shapes and sizes. Some come in the mail or in e-mail. Others come on the street corner. Others come in unexpected ways. Some are personal, almost intimate. Others are general and impersonal. No matter what the invitation means, an invitation tells us that you are invited please come. We see Jesus inviting the apostles to come and see and by association through faith  all of us  are invited and welcome to  come and see what’s going on in our Faith Communities. When we accept the invitation of Jesus we have to ask ourselves why do we come and what do we seek? The early disciples of Jesus must have asked themselves those same questions. Living in a culture that distrusted novelty, they would go and see something new and that was the public appearance of the Messiah. We in our turn live in a culture that distrusts faith and people of faith and I often wonder what Jesus would think if he was here today in our often times faithless world. The people in this gospel story like you and me are people looking and searching for God. Like the disciples we are seekers who want to stay or at least try and stay with Jesus. John’s disciples were seekers and it is late in the day for them as the gospel tells us. All of us remember special moments by recalling the date and the time they happen. John tells us, “It was about four in the afternoon,” when the disciples received their invitation from Jesus. They need rest from their search and Jesus is offering it to them. The “four in the afternoon” possibly refers to the beginning of the Sabbath the next day.

The invitation to come and see is an invitation to deepen our friendship with God and find rest in his presence. It is an invitation to enrich our belief in the faith that we profess each time we celebrate the sacraments of the Church wherever we are in the world.  We, are being invited to follow Jesus at this time in our lives, to spend time with him and to discover who he is for us here and now, not dwelling on the  past or looking to the future the past is gone and the future may never be ours. The big question for us is will we accept the invitation that Jesus gives us in our time to come and see the one who has the message of eternal life?

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