Archive for the month “August, 2017”



Last Monday marked the beginning of the year of preparation for the World Meeting of Families to be held in August 2018. The Icon of the Holy Family was anointed and blessed during the Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady in Knock with all the dioceses of Ireland represented. Over the next few months the icon will tour the dioceses of Ireland as a focus for our prayerful preparation for the meeting in Dublin.

This weekend in our gospel reading Jesus asks the apostles “who do you say the Son of Man is?” Jesus was in Caesarea Philippi in the north eastern corner of Palestine. There no one would not look for Him. He had much to teach the twelve before He could leave them this was quality teaching time. So, He put the question to them that went to the heart of the matter, “Who do you say I am?” Peter acting as spokesman for the others told Him He was “the Son of the living God” Peter confesses the deep mystery of Jesus, who is the Christ and the Son of God. In the light of this inspired confession, Peter is chosen to be the rock on which the Church is built.When Jesus told him “ you are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church” Peter received the gift of being the leader of the Church.

Peter was first among the apostles, first among those who were called to proclaim the Kingdom of God on earth. Peter took leadership in the Church at Pentecost. After he, the apostles and Mary, received the Holy Spirit, Peter led everyone out to the Temple and began preaching the good news to the people. After Saul became Paul, after the persecutor of the primitive Church accepted Jesus Christ, Paul spent three years in the desert reflecting on his experience of the Lord on the Road to Damascus. He then went to Jerusalem to receive Peter’s blessing and commission to bring the Good News of the Gospel to the world.  We do not know how Peter got to Rome. We know that he was there, though. We know that Peter died in Rome, crucified head down. The excavations under the Basilica of St. Peter revealed a tomb with the words, Here Lies Peter. We also know that when Peter died, the charism he was given to lead the Church remained active in Rome. The ones who took his place, St. Linus, and those who followed him, St. Cletus, St. Clement in the Apostolic succession right through the centuries up until Pope Francis in our present time .All of them are all recognized as having received the  same charism that the Lord gave to Peter to lead the Church and this has passed down through the centuries. As time went on, these bishops of Rome would be given the title, Pope, Papa, Father of the Family, leader of the Church. Through our baptism, all Christians have received a share in the power of the keys to heaven. With that power goes responsibility to witness to the Gospel. So who do you and I say Jesus is in light of this Sundays Gospel reading.





Well after all the threatening words coming from the US and North Korea last week we haven’t seen anyone annihilating anyone else as a result of a nuclear strike and we thank God for that but we must continue to pray for peace in the world.  As I am writing these words the news is coming in about the loss of 14 lives in Barcelona may all of those who have been touched by this awful event know that our prayers are with them. Closer to home we remember all those who have got or  will be getting their public exam results during these days exams are not everything it is the people involved who are important.

Our Gospel reading for this Sunday is all about the faith of the Canaanite woman whose daughter was being tormented by a devil, but when you read the story we realize it is really about  the great faith that she has and it was that faith in Jesus that cured her daughter even though she had to be persistent in dealing with the Lord.

The woman in today’s Gospel story is not satisfied with just tears as  her daughter “is tormented by a demon.”  Any mother or father out there knows how fiercely they  would spring into action if a “cure” was before them for their own sick child.  The Canaanite woman is an example for us of that deep-seated faith and trust in Christ’s power and Christ’s goodness. Even though He ignored her she continued to beseech Him, and when He answered with what seemed a direct refusal, her faith and trust did not waver. She answered His reason for refusal with another statement which showed that the granting of her petition would not in any way interfere with or impede His primary task, His mission to His father’s chosen people. This was the proof of great faith which He required. He granted her request. There is a great deal about ourselves and our own faith in this gospel passage.  Over a number of years I have been involved with many people who have been praying for this or that or for or a member of their families and they have said to me that the prayers have not been heard let alone answered.

I have always told them to persist and not give up with the prayers because they are always heard and this has been the case with so many people throughout history. In the same way as the Canaanite woman  pestered Jesus  we should never give up though we mightn’t have our requests granted when WE want them they will be granted when we really need the things that we are praying for. The message of this Sundays readings is about FAITH life can be a bit of a pickle with good and bad things within it, but a life lived with faith in God and the people around us will see all the various obstacles being removed.  Would our faith be as persistent as the faith of the woman in this Sundays Gospel only you can answer that one. A friend of mine is constantly praying for her son and thankfully her prayers are being answered but sometimes the road can be a bit rocky along the way but we have to keep on going because faith moves mountains but we need to keep on climbing and we will find that god is there among the pickle of our lives!!




This weekend as we look at the things going on around the world we see the brinkmanship between the president of the USA Donald Trump and the president of North Korea Kim Jong-un. As we look on the 2 sides are giving the rhetoric the full blast as each side tells the other we will do this or that as one side is threatening  to bomb the other but talk is cheap and the outcome of misguided words and deeds can have terrible consequences for all those involved. We can only wonder what will happen next as we continue to pray for the ongoing peace of the world especially in Korea and all the countries around the region as well as the USA and the world at large.

The gospel reading this weekend is all about  Jesus  walking on water but if you look beyond the walking on water this story is really about trust and faith in God and this is a good thing to talk about in the present climate in the world. We have no problem identifying with Peter he is so like ourselves .One moment He is confident and then, later when things get difficult he realizes that he has bitten off more than he can chew and falls apart.

By then it is too late and he needs help. Life is like that, we start at something like a new job, college, marriage, or a project to help others, but then it goes beyond what we are capable of. We didn’t realize it was going to require so much time and effort! We seem to be  sinking or drowning. This is a  common experience in so many situations of life and in the way we deal with them. God doesn’t always give us an immediate cure or a fast answer  when we bring ourselves in prayer for others as well as  the problems of the day to God. God is not a distant God aloof from our problems. Jesus shows us that when he reaches out a hand to Peter and he is with us as our companion through the storms of life. At times we may well be floundering, like Peter, but Jesus reaches out to help and rescue us. What better image of salvation could there be than Jesus reaching out to Peter to save him from drowning. What better analogy could there be of our own lives and relationship with Jesus.

Our lives  are messy with all kinds of ups and downs we often have doubts and lack faith but we are moving onwards towards the Lord.  Christ knew the storm was coming and the grave risk the Apostles would run when he sent them off across the lake. But that trial and the danger they went through  was for their own good, because they learned that Jesus came from God and they could always trust Him. Our trials and our earthly ailments are also foreseen by God and permitted by him so that they will draw us closer to Him and help us on the road to heaven. In the days ahead when we flounder and start to sink Jesus will be  there for us, reaching out with his saving hand ready to raise us up telling us that he is with us in all our ups and downs.

The feast of the transfiguration


We are now into the month of August  and for many of us  the summer holidays are over and it is back to work. For others who have school going children the run up to school starting in September will shortly begin for this year we are on a never ending circle of everything being the same in so many ways but different as time never stays still.

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the transfiguration. In the Gospel story the disciples went to an out-of-the-way place, a mountaintop. The  Apostles are responding to the invitation of Jesus to come apart for a while and mountains were the best place to get away from it all. On that mountain the disciples heard A  loud voice from the heavens that told them, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

The Transfiguration was a grace-filled moment of clarity for the disciples. But it was only a moment along the journey of their lives as today the transfiguration is just a moment in the journey of our lives. We don’t have such a spectacular revelation as the disciples had on the mountain side but like them we come apart each Sunday to our place of worship there we hear the voice of God the Father that asks  to   “Listen to him.”  We listen to Jesus In the scriptures proclaimed for us and they tell the story of  God’s forgiveness, compassion and unfaltering love for us.  The voice we hear on this mountain directs us to listen to Jesus, because in our world  there are many competing voices that might lure us to ways of living other than the one Jesus calls us to follow. Worshiping together gives us an opportunity to  listen again to the Word of God and what it is saying to us.  And the word of God  calls us to point out a number of things

The scriptures tell us that we need to point to the presence of God in our lives and recognize how good He has been to each of us. We need to let people know that just as His Love for us has no end   it will be the same for  them. We do not walk alone. He is with us always, until the end of time.  No one wants to join the First Church of the Perpetual Grouch. But people do want to be with people who are happy, We are Happy because we know that God is with us. So let us rejoice in the Lord as we hear the story of the transfiguration and remember that  Jesus the Son of God is with us  in our lives with all their ups and downs and we should listen to him as he guides us along the right paths.

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