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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

Archive for the month “February, 2018”

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.

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ASH WEDNESDAY 2018

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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

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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.

5TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

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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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