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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

Archive for the month “May, 2015”

TRINITY SUNDAY 2015

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This weekend we celebrate Trinity Sunday which is all about the triune god Father, son and Holy Spirit. When my Father was alive he  often had a small tin of oil in the tool  box he used which was called three in one oil  when I was thinking about a definition of the Holy Trinity  it  came to mind however the trinity is  about  three divine persons in one not a tin of oil !!!  In the Holy Trinity the Father is equal to the Son and the Son is equal to the Spirit three in one and one in three we hear this in the breastplate of St. Patrick. St Patrick, with a brilliance that we Irish are justly celebrate found in the three leaf shamrock rising from the one stem an image of the Trinity which is still used today. The feast of the Trinity goes back to 12th century England and St Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. Historians say the great Thomas celebrated a Liturgy in honor of the Trinity in his cathedral. So was born the observance. In the 14th century, the feast came to be observed by the universal Church.

 One week after the end of the Easter season, in which we gave thanks for the saving death and resurrection of Jesus, and the celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, this feast of the Holy Trinity invites us to contemplate the mystery of God to the extent that our minds are able. Paul in the Letter to the Romans reminds us that the Spirit of God makes us God’s children, destined to share in the life of God, as Christ does.

Through the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts we become aware of the love and strength of the living God available to us both now and in the life to come. The gospel reading for this Sunday speaks of power: the power of presence and the power of the name. Ancient people placed great weight in presence; the way someone dressed and acted spoke of social power. Ancient people also chose names carefully; they believed a person’s name defined their strength of character. Both outward presence and inward character are part of the disciples’ experience.When the followers saw the resurrected Lord and heard his command to evangelize the entire world, they saw for themselves the Trinity in action. When we live as followers of Christ, we invite others to join us not because they see nice people living good lives. No, they, too, see the Trinity in action as God works through us.

Each Trinity Sunday, we only scratch the surface of this great mystery of our faith. In gratitude and faith, let us begin and end every prayer with greater faith and reverence “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

 

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PRAYER FOR IRELAND

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I think that we should pause for a moment and reflect on the result of the referendum that took place last Friday in the Irish Republic. As we reflect on the result let us remember that 40% voted no whilst the majority 60% voted yes whether you agree or disagree let us turn to God as we pray for Ireland and its people.

Glory to you, O Lord our God.Your love calls us to be your people.

By sharing our many and diverse gifts we share in your mission. We ask you, Lord, to shape us into a community of faith. Nourish us by your word and sacraments that we may grow into the image of Jesus.

Through the power of your Holy Spirit, heal us that we,in turn, may heal the wounded. Form us to be instruments of love, justice, and peace in our land , and send us to proclaim your saving work. renew us, Lord, that we may renew the face of the earth.

Amen

PENTECOST SUNDAY

HOLY SPIRIT

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, the day when we celebrate the decent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and the beginning of the apostolic mission to bring the Church to the world. It is the birthday of the church so maybe we should sing happy birthday instead of Veni Creator Spiritus and blow out the candles on the birthday cake instead of blowing out the paschal candle because it’s the end of Easter!! With the feast of Pentecost the seven weeks of Easter have come to an end, Christ’s Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours out the Spirit in abundance. (Cf. Acts 2:33-36) (CCC 731)

In the Gospel reading, Jesus, knowing that human nature is still weak, gives the apostles the power to forgive and reconcile those who sin. It is God’s mercy working through His bishops and priests down through the ages to ourselves in our own time and place! The scene in the gospel opened with fear and apprehension on the part of Jesus’ followers.  By the time John wrote his gospel, Jewish Christians had been excommunicated for their belief in the Messiah. Ostracized and socially persecuted, some Christians reacted in fear, while others boldly proclaimed the gospel Early Christians needed a sense of stability, a sense of divine peace. Through the words of Jesus, “Peace” was John’s prayer for his readers as it is for us as we listen to this gospel reading.

With the sight of Jesus, fear turned into great joy. Anxiety turned into relief. Desperation turned into vindication. Most important, a lack of spiritual direction turned into a sense of deep spiritual grounding. The divine presence stood close to them and with the divine presence came divine peace. We too have the divine presence in the Blessed Sacrament and it brings Joy and spiritual grounding to all those who come and Jesus says to each and everyone you are welcome.

 We can’t ignore the problems that are there both our own and other peoples. Most of the time, the problems in our lives and the lives of other people just don’t go away by themselves very often we need to stop and think things through.  If we pray through the problems as well as thinking them through and this seems to be the most reasonable solution for us as Christians, we will find that they are much easier to get through.  Simply put Prayer Moves Mountains.

 Gathered at the Eucharist week in week out we bring our prayers to God. We each have our own needs. Family and friends may be sick.  Kids need work. The person who has been in our lives for so long has died. We bring these and all our concerns in prayer to church because they remind us of our need and they raise our hopes in the power of God made real to every generation through the Holy Spirit.

Through the Holy Spirit our relationship with God has produced fruitfulness, satisfied our longings, and brings us peace. Because of God’s faithfulness, we give thanks, offer sacrifice, and once again present our needs this Pentecost Sunday as we remember the presence of God with us in all our lives.

FEAST OF THE ASCENSION

ASCENSION OF THE LORD

This Sunday in Ireland we celebrate the feast of the Ascension. In those places where the ascension was celebrated last Thursday the 7th Sunday of Easter is being celebrated instead.

The words of the Gospel for this Ascension day strike me in a particular way as we have our parish mission going on at the moment. Jesus tells us ‘go therefore make disciples of all the nations and know that I am with you yes to the end of time. This Gospel reading is all about the past and the future but it is also about ourselves in the here and now of today, and what are we doing to make disciples of all the nations in 2015 or at the least make disciples of those around us perhaps our families and friends. In today’s gospel, Jesus has little to say, but he is definite about what he has to say when he speaks.

This is in sharp contrast to the fact that, even at this last minute, some of his disciples still doubted. The disciples did what he told them to do. He asked them to meet him on the mountain, and they did that. Like any gathering of people, their feelings were varied. Some of them worshipped him, while some of them still doubted. Jesus didn’t seem to have any great problem with that, because he knew that, when the Spirit came, all of those doubts would be ended. It would seem, indeed, that he was in a hurry to take his leave of them, so that the second part of his plan of salvation could get underway. The mission of the apostles was simple to understand; difficult to carry out. It was to teach others all that Jesus had taught them. Just as he asked his disciples to follow him, they were to ask that others should obey his directions and instructions which was so hard then and especially hard in the world of today.

The programme of redemption and salvation was to begin at Pentecost and continue from generation to generation, until the end of time.

So many things have changed in the Church and society. However the two things that have not changed are Jesus himself and every word of his message as they are ever old and always new for each generation. The message of Jesus is ignored by many people inside and outside the Church for their own reasons. The essential message of God and his messenger Jesus his Son have never changed up to now and I don’t think that they will ever change. Again and again we need to ask ourselves what we are doing to make disciples of all the nations realizing that Jesus and his message are always new for each generation. May we be heralds of the Ascension as we place the message of Jesus before others by the way we live our lives in the Joy of the Gospel.

While Christ now reigns with his Father, he still dwells in his Body, the Church. Through the Church, Christ acts in the world. Through the Church he announces the Kingdom of God. Let us remember that you and I each and every one of us are members of the Body of Christ the Church and as such are called to be heralds of Gospel Joy. The Church, imperfect as it is as the assembly of sinners, still dares to declare the Kingdom to the world at large. For the Church is made whole through the work of Christ’s Spirit as the Body of Christ  which enables us  to Go out to the whole world to proclaim the Good News.

6th SUNDAY OF EASTER

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Next week in our Parish we begin the Parish Mission which is being led by the Ceili Community the mission has as its theme the beatitudes. During the first week the members of the mission team will be knocking on peoples doors inviting them to come to the events in Church during the second week. I think the mission will be about reconnecting the people with the Church in this part of the world. So many have left the Church for so many reasons and many others have left and have begun to find the way back to the Faith. I always have held the great belief that Faith, Religion and the Church are really about real people and their everyday situations and I am constantly reaffirmed in this conviction. So many people have left the Church and are now starting to return again. Last Sunday the deacon who had served in our parish Andrew Black was ordained to the Priesthood for service in the diocese of Down and Connor. We had our Parish celebration on Tuesday night with Fr. Andrew and number priests from the locality it was a joy filled celebration.

Our Gospel for this Sunday is  a reading from the gospel of John in which Jesus tells us ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love. This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you. The love of God is easy for those who see God as a loving and faithful Father. St. Therese of Lisieux,  was a master of the spiritual life tells us about the love which is its essence. She taught the “little way” of childlike simplicity and obedience to God as the way to grow in love.

 “It seems to me St. Therese said that there will be no judgment for victims of love, or rather, the good God will hasten to reward, with eternal delights, His own love which He will see burning in their hearts.” Love of God is tied to the commandments, because the commandments are the love of God in action. Those who love God long to be holy as he is holy and so live by the commandments. But they do it out of love not because they have to. “In the heart of the Church I will be love,” St. Therese exclaimed upon discovering her true vocation. Though bound by the walls of her cloister, she knew unlimited freedom to reach the heights of holiness through courageous devotion to charity. We too are students of the love of God. The commandments are the lessons by which we will master the love of God our Father in thought, word and action.

Jesus chose his followers to carry out God’s plan of salvation. He chooses us today to do the same. By allowing us to participate in his work of redemption, he gives us a personal stake in the Kingdom of God. “God …enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbors…they then fully become “God’s fellow workers” and co-workers for his kingdom.” (CCC 307)

Love is the best way to become his “co-worker,” since it reveals the reason he made the world to others and affirms our friendship with the creator. Love changes everything it touches. It tells us to stop bragging about this or that. It enhances our reputation. It denies the power of position and wealth which we sometimes feel is ours by right, it raises us up as true leaders. It might take away the advantage of our personal ideas on any topic. However, It connects us in unimaginable ways to God and to one another.

 Divine love transcends mere emotion. It becomes the lifeline to God. And it forms the basis of real community where everyone is valued and none are left out. It is inexplicable in theory, yet easily seen in action. Wherever God loves, he acts. Wherever he acts, he is there with us. HE IS WITH US simply because he loves us and the love of God knows no bounds; we remember the love that God has for each and every one of us each time we look at the Cross. We also remember that Jesus the son of God who gave up his life on the Cross out of love for us is our saviour.

5TH SUNDAY OF EASTER

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As I am sitting here writing these few words I’m finding it hard to believe that we are at the feast of St. Joseph the Worker at the beginning of May. It seems that little or no time has passed since May 2014 and yet so much has happened and so much time and people have passed by. A great deal will be happening in the next few weeks but it all begins on Sunday 3rd May with the Ordination of Deacon Andrew Black who worked here in our parish (Holy Family) for over a year ending at Christmas 2014, he will be saying Mass on Tuesday Night in the Parish and its all go getting the various things in place for this Mass. Later on in June another deacon, Connor McCarthy will be ordained to the priesthood for our diocese and I ask your prayers  wherever you are reading this for them both as they start out on the road of priestly life. Later on in the month we have the parish mission which will be good so at the moment it’s all go!!

This Sunday we hear the gospel story of the vine and the vinedresser of course Jesus is the vine and the Father is the vine dresser and we are the branches of the vine. If we remain in him we will produce much fruit.”The fruit referred to in this saying is the holiness of a life made fruitful by our union with Christ.

When we believe in Jesus Christ, and partake of his mysteries, and keep his commandments, the Savior himself comes to live in us, his Father and his brethren, become our Father and our brethren. His person through the Spirit, becomes, the living and interior rule of our activity. ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.’ (Jn 15:12)” (CCC 2074) The branches exist to draw life from the vine so as to bear fruit. Failing to do so they are useless: cut down, thrown out, good only for fueling the flames of a fire. “If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned.” (Jn 15: 6) So that we may live as fruitful branches in intimate union with Christ, the true vine, he has given us the Church, his true body in the world.

Our Lord warns us today, as he warned his first followers, to abide in him, to remain closely united with him, as is the branch to the vine. He promises us that if we remain closely united to him, that is, if we strive daily to keep his commandments, he will be ever ready to answer our requests, and to heed all our prayers. The sincere prayer of everyone who is trying to lead a Christian life is for the grace to overcome the allurements of the world. Let us take courage, then.Christ has promised to remain beside us during life if only we stay close to him. While we remain healthy branches of the vine, we will be on the road to heaven. Our daily tasks, our work as well as our prayer, our recreation as well as our rest, our joys as well as our sorrows, will give glory to God and prove that we are worthy to be called disciples of Christ.

VINE

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