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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

Archive for the month “May, 2016”

Corpus Christi

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In our Gospel story this weekend we hear the story of the feeding of the five thousand. The readings and the feast itself are full of richness. Jesus fills us with nourishing food, We are sent out to proclaim the good news of God’s kingdom to all around us, in doing this we provide food for others. Like the circulation system of a body, the Word and the Eucharist continue to live in our communities and in the world. The Eucharist  or the Bread of life is the sacrament of thanksgiving and spiritual journeying. When we see the Eucharistic Bread, we believe that it is Jesus who is there before us such is our faith in the Blessed Sacrament.  

The Church tells us that the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” (CCC 1324)  At the Eucharist God sees our hunger and feeds us through Word and Sacrament. We offer our prayer of thanksgiving. Remember, the crowd was first taught, healed and then fed. Their hungers were both spiritual and physical. Now it is our turn, well-nourished disciples, to find ways to address the physical and spiritual needs of the hungry we have noticed along the way. These needs can seem overwhelming. But, as with the bread and fish in the gospel story we take what the Lord has given us and give it freely to others. He will do the rest and all will be satisfied. The meal is also a promise: one day we will sit at the banquet feast where there will be no more hunger, no more illness and our satisfaction in God will be complete. Corpus Christi is the solemn commemoration of the institution of the Eucharist on the first Holy Thursday in the upper room. It is the Church’s act of homage and thanksgiving to Christ, who by instituting the Holy Eucharist gave us the members of the Church our greatest treasure.

 

TRINITY SUNDAY

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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 which was called three in one oil and it reminds me what the trinity was about  that is three divine persons in one. 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. Saint 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, father, son and Spirit one 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 the observance was born. In the 14th century, the feast came to be observed by the universal Church.  We open each Liturgy especially the Mass invoking the Trinity . We close Mass and so many other liturgies by calling upon the Father Son and Spirit in blessing us as we go out into the world.

Throughout the Christian world infants will be received into our faith communities  through Baptism in the name of the Trinity. The Christian belief that God is a trinity helps underscore how rich the mystery of God is and how our experience of God is always richer than our concepts and language about God.  The doctrine of the Trinity affirms God as loving and knowing, giving and receiving.  When the Church celebrates the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, it is an attempt to summarize the whole mystery of our God into one day.  This is not just a “theological feast” ` but a feast which should speak to us of this simple fact of faith: the Father loves us, has revealed that love in his Son, and has called into a relationship sustained by the Spirit. 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.”

 

 

PENTECOST SUNDAY

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This Sunday we celebrate the decent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles which heralded the beginning of the apostolic mission to bring the Church to the world at Pentecost. 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 a birthday cake instead of blowing out the paschal candle because it’s the end of the Easter season!! With the feast of Pentecost the seven weeks that is the 50 days of the Easter season have come to an end with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given, and communicated as a divine person. “Peace” was John’s prayer for his readers as it is for us as we listen to this gospel reading on Sunday. With the sight of Jesus their fear turned into great joy, and their Anxiety turned into relief.

The 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 a great sense of peace of spirit mind and soul. We too have the divine presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and it brings Joy and spiritual grounding to all those who come to meet him in the Eucharist. We can’t ignore our own or the problems  other people have.Most of the time the problems in our lives just don’t go away by themselves very often we need to stop and think and pray things through.  If we pray through the problems as well as thinking them through we will find that they are much easier to get through.  Simply put Prayer Moves Mountains but we must keep on climbing. Gathered at Mass week in week out we bring our prayers of intercession to God all of us have our own needs, Family and friends, someone we know may be sick, people need work.

Perhaps 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 hope in the power of God made real to every generation through the Holy Spirit.  Through the Holy Spirit our relationship with God has satisfied our longings, and brings us the peace of God which is beyond all understanding. 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 through the good bad happy and sad times and we thank God for his enduring presence among us.

 

ASCENSION

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This Sunday we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension. The Ascension marks the final part of Jesus ministry here on earth. During our lives whether we are young or old we will see the departure of many people. Perhaps it is a son or daughter leaving for university or maybe it was someone leaving to go to another country or the hardest departure of all someone close to us such as a family member father mother or whoever passing on to eternal life. Our lives are made up of so many different times and places of departure or leave-taking and this really is what Ascension is about the departure of Jesus to return to the Father.  The Apostles must have felt awful they knew that the time was fast approaching when they would have to say their final goodbyes as Jesus returned to the Father.

It marked the beginning of a new time when the apostles have to live in the absence of the Jesus they knew. They had to come to terms with the fact that Jesus will never again walk with them healing the sick and the wounded, preaching about the kingdom of God. He would soon be gone. But Jesus promised to be with them and by association with us through the working of the Holy Spirit the Advocate. Remember when Jesus began his public ministry he was first invested with the power of the Holy Spirit. In his baptism Jesus received power and authority from the Father through the experience of the Spirit. It was in that power, “Filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 4:1), that he began his public ministry. The Spirit marked the time of Jesus’ new beginning, his time of ministry, his time for reaching out to others and ministering to them. Luke closes his Gospel with the instruction of Jesus to his disciples that they are to wait in Jerusalem for the Spirit.

After this last instruction he blesses them and is carried up to heaven. The Spirit makes a new beginning for us as it made a new beginning for the Apostles at the very start of the church. The approaching feast of Pentecost is important because it is a memory of the beginning of the Church as well as a celebration of the Church of today.

 

 

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