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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

Archive for the month “October, 2014”

30th SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

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Well here we are at the 30th Sunday of ordinary time as we are fast approaching the feast of Christ the King (34th Sunday) and then we begin all over again with the Advent Season.

The Pharisees in the Gospel Reading for this Sunday are all out to get Jesus because he had silenced the saducees. In an attempt to do this they asked him this question Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?’ Jesus said, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. Many people say that as they grow older their relationship with God becomes much more central in their life. There is a sense in which we could say that it takes a lifetime of practice to love God with all our heart, soul and mind, to live the first commandment, putting God before all else. To direct us all our lives to love God with our heart soul and mind, God has given us guidelines, the Ten Commandments.

So many people in the modern world have decided to turn away from God and from spiritual things. The Church has to face up to this fact it also has to face up to the fact that the Church of yesterday is now seen for what a bit of it was and that was a sham! Having said that tribute has to be paid to all those who remain despite the horrible things that were done in the  Church of the past those who stand by and are with the Church and that is the vast majority they are the Church of the future.

How do we love God with all our heart, soul and mind is the question for today as is was in the past and I think will be the question for the future. Is it possible to love God above all else? Well this question isn’t so easy to answer. Instead like so many other Faith based  questions we are simply asked to try to love God and he will do the rest.

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Mission Sunday 19th October 2014

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This Sunday we celebrate the international day that remembers the missionary effort of the Church throughout the world. Today we celebrate Mission Sunday. Here in Ireland for many centuries there have been many great Irishmen and women  who have gone to foreign lands to bring the faith of our fathers to those who might not have got the faith otherwise. This Sunday celebrates the great missionary spirit that has brought the faith to all corners of the world over so many years.

The Pontifical Mission Societies (The Society for the Propagation of the Faith) have chosen this year to focus on the words from St. Matthew’s Gospel, “I Will Build My Church” (Matthew 16:18) by highlighting the outreach of local churches through priests, religious, and laity among the poor and marginalized.

Today we remember all those who have gone into the mission fields members of the religious orders such as the Columbans, Mill Hill Fathers, St. Patricks  Fathers the Medical Missionaries of Mary and all the other religious orders with the Lay Missionary movements who have brought Christ and his message to the far flung corners of the world.

We too are called to be missionary people bringing the Joy of the Gospel to those around us and this is not always easy. We have in our parish a welcome group which lets mew people coming into the parish who we are and where we are and this is a particular and much needed missionary activity in our modern church on 2014. We see missionary action taking place in  the world through  lay led organizations such as the Apostolic Work and the Viatores Christi movements these are just 2 of the many lay missionary movements that I can think of.

We must pray to the Lord of the harvest for the strength to persevere in our missionary activities whether they are led by Lay people or Religious here  at home or abroad. In a special and particular way, we commend the priests, brothers and sisters who are often engaged in extremely difficult missions all over the world to the prayers of everyone. May they find the strength to carry on in spite of the odds being stacked against them in so many places. Mission Sunday gives all of us a chance to reflect on the Mission of the Church locally and throughout the world and it is my hope that as missionaries  lay and religious we will be able to bring the Joy of the Gospel into the hearts and minds of the people who live in the places where we live.

 

A REFLECTION ON FAMILY ON THE FAMILY

THE HOLY FAMILY

THE HOLY FAMILY

Over the last few days in Rome there has been a meeting of the synod of Bishops of the Catholic Church. This meeting has been called by Pope Francis to look at the all  aspects of Catholic Family Life.  All of us belong to a Family be it the family that we were born into, the family of Faith or the family which is the community where we live. All of us have ties to a family  of brothers and sisters with mum and dad at the head or at least that was the way it was when I was growing up. These days the idea of the family as a specific unit has changed beyond all recognition. In many cases the idea of having a Mother and a Father that is a  husband and wife committed to one another in the sacramental bond of marriage has given way to people living together and in recent times we have seen the whole idea of Civil partnerships taking root. But if we look to the Holy Family for our inspiration as Catholic people we won’t go far wrong. The Holy Family was a family with special grace but yet a family with trials. Every family has particular graces and blessings and every family also has  many difficulties and crosses. As a matter of fact many families have more than their fair share of crosses to bear and it is as a result of the family members supporting each other the crosses are much easier to bear.

On the day he left Ireland on October 1st 1979 Pope John Paul II much of his homily in Limerick was giving encouragement to families and in particular to parents and at this point in time with the Family unit being under continuing attack it is worth reminding ourselves about what he said  in October 1979.The Pope reminded us that the family is primary and has been our greatest resource and due to the particular  challenges of today the family unit is more important than ever  before.

The Holy Father said the following among many other things:

“To all I say, revere and protect your family and your family life, for the family is the primary field of Christian action for the Irish laity, the place where your ‘royal priesthood’ is chiefly exercised. The Christian family has been in the past Ireland’s greatest spiritual resource. Modern conditions and social changes have created new patterns and new difficulties for family life and for Christian marriage. I want to say to you: do not be discouraged, do not follow the trends where a close-knit family is seen as outdated; the Christian family is more important for the Church and for society today than ever before.”

 Ireland must choose. You the present generation of Irish people must decide; your choice must be clear and your decision firm. Let the voice of your forefathers, who suffered so much to maintain their faith in Christ and thus to preserve Ireland’s soul, resound today in your ears through the voice of the Pope when he repeats the words of Christ:

 “What will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life?” (Mt 16 :26). What would it profit Ireland to go the easy way of the world and suffer the loss of her own soul?

Your country seems in a sense to be living again the temptations of Christ: Ireland is being asked to prefer the “kingdoms of the world and their splendour” to the Kingdom of God (cf. Mt4 :8). Satan, the Tempter, the Adversary of Christ, will use all his might and all his deceptions to win Ireland for the way of the world. Above all, hold high the esteem for the wonderful dignity and grace of the Sacrament of marriage. Prepare earnestly for it. Believe in the spiritual power which this Sacrament of Jesus Christ gives to strengthen the marriage union, and to overcome all the crises and problems of life together. Married people must believe in the power of the Sacrament to make them holy ; they must believe in their vocation to witness through their marriage to the power of Christ’s love. True love and the grace of God can never let marriage become a self-centred relationship of two individuals, living side by side for their own interests.

(Homily of Pope John Paul II in Limerick, Monday October 1st, 1979)

Today the choice is so very clear for us as Catholics we need to re-establish Family life in its most honest and true  form with a father and mother at its head. The Christian family is the world’s greatest spiritual resource. Modern conditions and social changes have created new patterns of life and living  and as a result of this new difficulties for family life and for Christian marriage have arisen. All of these problems  have to be dealt with head on; the Christian family is more important for the Church and for society today than ever before.” The idea of a family without a mother and a father runs as opposite to what I and so many others believe in. But to believe in something means that you have to stand up and be counted and above all else we need to pray that Family life will be restored.

27 TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

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This week saw the beginning of the month of October and there are two aspects to this month. It is the month of the rosary and the feast of the Holy Rosary is celebrated on Tuesday 7th  and it is also the month when we celebrate the missionary effort of the Church throughout the world with World Mission Sunday on the 19th .

Well here we are again this weekend back in the vineyard and our first reading and the Gospel are all about the grapes and of course the wine that comes as we all know from the grapes. But of course it isn’t really about the grapes or the wine. The parable is also the story of the “tenants” and here again we are invited to feel with them. We must however understand their frame of mind correctly. In many cultures today “tenants” are poor people who are harshly treated by their landowners – the historical Jesus would have been on their side. The tenants in the parable are quite different. In the original context the tenants represent “the chief priests and elders of the people”.

In the parable the “tenants” become angry when they are reminded that the vineyard has been leased to them and they must be accountable for what they have done or not done with it. Their anger grows ever more violent as the story develops, the root of their anger is revealed – they want to own the vineyard rather than to work there and help the vines grow and produce grapes that aren’t sour but sweet.

Through the parable of the vineyard Jesus reprimands the “chief priests and elders of the people” gathered around him.  He focused on the unfaithful people who, by their sin and failure to listen to the prophets, had brought God’s anger down on them. Jesus’ reference to the killing of the King’s only Son was not lost on the Pharisees. They had already decided to kill this Jesus who claimed to be the Son of God. Jesus’ words enraged them, and their hearts were further hardened against Him and it all ended up at the Cross of Calvary on Good Friday. So today we too are called to go out into the vineyard to be the workers rather than the owners to nourish the vines of other people’s faith by our words and deeds so that as a result of our efforts they may produce much good sweet wine.

 

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