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RELIGION LITURGY AND LIFE

Archive for the category “LITURGY”

14TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME

 

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Well here we are getting into the holiday mood with all the opportunities that this time of year provide. While many people will be taking the time to get away we spare a thought for all those who may not get away for a break this year. This weekend in our Parish community we thank God for the life of a pivotal member of our music ministry Mark Mooney who died suddenly last weekend we pray that god will give him eternal peace in heaven and give consolation to his relatives and friends who are left wondering why.

One of the most wonderful things about the person of Jesus has been and continues to be, his special love for ordinary people ­ for people like us with all our faults and failings. It comes out in a particular way within the two statements that he makes in this Sundays Gospel reading. The first is in his prayer to God: ‘I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children.’ The second is in his Invitation to all of us: ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest.’  Why did he say this? The answer comes across very clearly so many times in the gospels, and may be summed up in just one word – COMPASSION. For example: – The plight and tears of the widow of Nain touches his heart to the core: ‘Don’t cry,’ he says to her, before bringing her son back to life.  He is moved with compassion at the plight of a leper begging for help (Mk 4:41), for two blind men sitting at the side of a road and pleading for mercy (Mt 20:29-34), and for a crowd of people with nothing to eat (Mk 8:2). In each case he responds to their sufferings with the power, love, compassion and care of God. To be a Christian and to have the light of faith to guide our steps in the neo-pagan darkness of today’s world, is a gift, and a blessing from God, for which we can never thank Him enough.  So, in the here And now of our daily lives  the big question for each of us has to be whose side are we on? Are we  on the side of Jesus, that is the side of compassion, kindness, help, healing, and mercy? Or on the side of the scribes and Pharisees who are  amongst us even today  and they are – fierce, fault-finding, heartless, critical, and merciless people without much compassion. Will we take our cue from their cruel, harsh, and insensitive judgements and actions? Or will we take our inspiration from what we see in Jesus, and from his touching  compassionate outreach to the poor and the broken:  ‘Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest’?

CORPUS CHRISTI

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This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ also known as Corpus Christi. As we celebrate this great feast we pray in a particular way for all those effected by the fire in Grenfell tower in London that god may console them.

When we gather at the Eucharist we bring ourselves and our needs in prayer to God. We bring our prayers to God because God is with us and continues to be with us in good and bad times through the sacramental life of the Church and through the Eucharist in particular. When we see the Eucharistic Bread, we believe that it is Jesus who is there before us:  such is the faith we have in the Eucharist the bread of life.  this means that, because Christ is really, truly and substantially present in the Eucharist, we recognize that all the graces we enjoy as Catholic Christians come from this great Sacrament, and all we aspire to, the fullness of the life of God, is contained in this Sacrament.

In the Gospel for this feast John picks up the theme of the manna from heaven and contrasts the bread the Jews ate in the desert with the new bread of life given by Jesus. Now the Word of God has become flesh, and the bread of heaven is Jesus himself. To eat this bread is to have a share in the life of God himself. In celebrating the Eucharist we celebrate the memory of Jesus passion, death and resurrection. We recall the radical values that put Jesus’ in opposition to so many of his own people: his talk about God and the kingdom; his insistence on forgiveness; his opposition to religious sham; his commitment to peace; his willingness to die in order to overcome sin these values should be our own values as well. In receiving the body and blood of Christ we become his body living in the world. Called to bring the values of Jesus into the world where we are.

The celebration of Corpus Christi is there to remind us that the great gift of the Eucharist is a both a gift and a mystery. Jesus is present with us in a way that is really beyond our understanding. We take Him into ourselves when we receive communion. We are united to his sacrifice on the Cross for all of us when we pray the Mass in its fullness and eat the Sacred Meal. We come before His Presence whenever we are in Church where the Eucharist is reposed in a tabernacle or exposed on the Altar. Jesus was present with the Father and the Spirit at the creation of the universe. He is present with the angels and saints in heaven now. He is present in the Blessed Sacrament and he is with us in all of the ups and downs that are part of our daily lives. So in the words of  a great eucharistic hymn “Come let us adore this wondrous presence”.

Trinity Sunday

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This Sunday we celebrate Trinity Sunday which is a celebration in honour of  the Father Son and Holy Spirit.  The three persons in the trinity reveal the fullness of the unity of God’s love. How do we understand the Trinity? We don’t! God, by definition, is beyond imagination, beyond language. 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 thoughts  and language about God. 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.   

The belief in the Trinity goes back to the New Testament. There it is mentioned about forty times. We open each Liturgy especially the Mass invoking the Trinity . We also close Mass and so many other liturgies by calling upon those same 3 Persons (Father Son and Spirit)  in blessing us as we go out into the world. Trinity Sunday is the day when we stand back from the extraordinary sequence of events that we’ve been celebrating for the previous five months—Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Ascension and  Pentecost  it is the day when we  are asked to rub the sleep from our eyes and discover what the word ‘god’ that is Father Son and Spirit might actually mean for us. This is 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. It is our joy that, as baptized members of the Church, we can somehow share in that divine life and love which is the Trinity becoming children of God.

God has chosen us, and we are his own people, just as he chose the people of Israel long ago. Each Trinity Sunday, we only scratch the surface of this great mystery of our faith. In gratitude let us begin and end every prayer with greater reverence when we say “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Pentecost Sunday

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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 as well as 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 with 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, gives the apostles the power to forgive and reconcile those who sin. This is God’s mercy in action working through the Apostles and the priests down through the ages to ourselves in our time and place!

By the time John wrote his gospel, Jewish Christians had been excommunicated for their belief in Jesus. Ostracized and socially persecuted, some Christians reacted in fear, while others boldly proclaimed the gospel. The First Christians needed a sense of stability, a sense of serenity and 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 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 every one you are welcome. We can’t ignore the problems that are there for ourselves and those around us.

Most of the time, the problems just don’t go away by themselves very often we need to stop and pray through the problems as well as thinking them through.  Simply put Prayer Moves Mountains but we shouldn’t stop climbing. 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 produces fruitfulness, satisfies our longings, and brings us serenity and 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.

6th Sunday of Easter

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This Sunday is the 6th Sunday of Easter it doesn’t seem that  long since Easter Sunday but it is 6 weeks as we  head towards Ascension and Pentecost. Please stop and say a prayer for all the young people who are doing exams during these days. Life for our youngsters is not easy in so many ways and we pray for them that they will get the courage and the strength to go forward.

In the Gospel for this Sunday Jesus promises us the “Paraclete,” or “Advocate.” The word “Paraclete” literally means “one called alongside” indicating one who accompanies another. This can refer to a Lawyer who intercedes for another in a lawsuit, a helper who encourages, or a companion who gives comfort. The Paraclete, or advocate, is the Spirit of Truth, the Holy Spirit. Jesus is preparing his disciples for his ascension, his going to the Father. When he finally leaves He doesn’t leave his followers a detailed plan. Instead, he promised them and us a person, the Holy Spirit, who will never leave our side. This is why he says “I will not leave you orphans.” The Spirit is with us to open our hearts and minds to the fullness of the truth of Jesus’ words, and the commandment he gives to “love one another as I have loved you.”Jesus prepares his disciples for his departure as well as the coming of the one who will replace him on earth, the Holy Spirit.

The second reading is one that I always love to hear as It speaks of us having reverence for God and that we should always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks about the reason for our hope, the reading goes on to tell us to give our answers with gentleness and reverence” What is the answer for our hope simply put the reason for our hope is Jesus Christ the Son of God the Father. If we live for Christ, we will be criticized and many people over the centuries lost their lives for their defence of the faith. Would we be able to stand up and tell those around us the reason that we have for the hope that is within us today? Would we be prepared to stand up for the faith that so many have turned their backs on and point towards Jesus Christ the reason for the hope that we have both these questions are hard  to answer for people of faith in the world we find ourselves these days. If we share our faith with courtesy and respect for others who might not hold our belief then we will find that they will show respect for the things we hold dear as we stand up for the faith we profess wherever we are.  

3RD SUNDAY OF EASTER

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This weekend we celebrate the third Sunday of Easter. Our gospel reading for this Sunday recounts the apparition of Jesus on the evening of Easter to two disciples who were going from Jerusalem to Emmaus.  Their life with Jesus had come to an abrupt end. They were So disappointed and so disillusioned about Jesus and the way he died that they decided to leave the community of his followers.  Slowly but surely they are walking away from it all and then Jesus comes to them and walks with them along the road asking them about what had gone on in Jerusalem. Why did the Lord not tell the disciples straight away who He was? Indeed, in the dialogue that the Gospel Story presents to us today, it almost seems that Jesus did all He could to avoid revealing His true identity.  He pretended not to know what Cleopas and his companion were discussing and then He went on to ‘explain to them the passages throughout scriptures that were about Himself’ (Lk 24:27) but without making direct reference to who he was.

 Then at the end of the reading they recognised him in the breaking of the bread and went back to Jerusalem to tell the others that they had seen the Lord and Jesus had risen as he said he would. This passage has a different purpose from the other gospel accounts whose intent is to demonstrate that the Lord is truly real in a new spiritual way. This gospel of the encounter of the two disciples with Jesus on the road to Emmaus and in the breaking of the bread is a story of friendship. The Risen Lord is a friend who talks with them as they walk, a friend who shares a meal with them. Luke describes an intimate, personal encounter marked by tenderness and hospitality. He was walking with the disciples in their time of wondering what will happen next. He walks with us during times of great joy, as well as in our darkest moments. At times we become so caught up and distracted with what’s happening in our lives that we fail to recognize his presence with us remember that line from Christmas that Jesus the Son of God is Emmanuel that means God with us. Jesus doesn’t give up and leave us, he continues to walk with us if we  look around we see his presence in those around us. Sometimes we don’t realize his presence and how it is strengthening us, but it is certainly there.

Many people have left the Church, only to return again and find their spiritual home. Many feel distant from God, discouraged over an unresolved faith issue, or snubbed by someone in the Church or whatever. Then, something happened to turn them back. If we look closer, we will find it was not a personal crisis or children or maturity that made them return. It was God who travels the roads of life with us as Jesus travelled the road to Emmaus  with the apostles who were running away in the Gospel story for this Sunday.

 

EASTER 2017

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The Forty Days of Lent are over. The Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lamb of God have  been celebrated during Holy Week. The tomb is  now empty. The flowers symbolize the New Life that has come to the world. Jesus Christ lives! He has Risen as he said he would and his light lights up our world.  The Easter celebration is an invitation to come out out of darkness into the light of the risen Christ. In that light we see him and recognise each other as brothers and sisters in the Lord. It is that light which summons us to leave the darkness of our lives behind and all of us have some of those. As a  result of Jesus conquering death on the cross nobody and nothing can be written off as a lost cause ever again. Year after year when we celebrate Easter we hold as holy the memory of God’s great act in raising Jesus from the dead. We believe that God’s graciousness will be extended to ourselves and that our own death will not be the final word.

Our faith educates our hope that we will participate in Jesus resurrection on the last day. But a question raises itself: is our faith in the resurrection limited to remembering Jesus’ resurrection and hoping for our own on the last day? What happens between times? What about today? The resurrection of Jesus is a proclamation that this outcast from Galilee is the beloved Son of God who cannot be held in the darkness of death because someone else takes action. Jesus did not raise himself; he was raised by God his father. The truth that God raised Jesus from the dead gives hope and help to all those who want that miracle repeated in the midst of life. All of us believe that God’s work continues not least because we believe Jesus’ words: “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Our celebration of the Easter Season begins with our celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday  and continues for 50 days until Pentecost  and then it resonates throughout the rest of the year: full of gratitude for Christ’s passion, with joy in his resurrection and, strengthened by the Spirit, we continue our Christian journey this Easter time.

 

Holy Saturday

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Today is Holy Saturday a day to pause and take stock , all is quiet as we wait watching by the tomb, after the great liturgies of the last few days and the fasting of the forty days of Lent we are Quiet in a reflective mood that is part of Holy Saturday. Today gives us  a chance to think about all that we are and what we should be as Christians while we wait and watch for the resurrection. While  we  wait we think about the  betrayal, suffering and death of Jesus as we look forward to the Easter Vigil and his resurrection. The Easter Vigil is the most distinctive liturgy of the Christian year, In several very special ways we celebrate our life in the risen Christ during the Vigil. In the expanded readings we recount the history of God’s saving actions in the lives of his people. We add new members to the Body of Christ in the sacrament of Baptism and we renew our own baptismal vows. Then in the Eucharist, we celebrate our membership of the Church, the Body of the Risen Christ. On Good Friday we celebrated Jesus life giving death on the Cross but today we stop and reflect on our own personal faith journeys in the light of the Cross of Christ as we await the great call that Christ the light in our darkness has Risen.

GOOD FRIDAY

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I never could understand why this day was called Good Friday because at first glance it seems that there was nothing good about it but here we are over two thousand years after the event talking about and celebrating the Passion and death of Jesus. The events of Good Friday celebrate the life giving death of Jesus who died upon the cross giving his life as a ransom for many. The main liturgy of this day is extremely simple. The focus is on the Cross. All other decorations have been removed from the church. The liturgy consists of readings, including the Passion from John’s Gospel, and solemn prayers of intercession for the church and the world. The central liturgical action is the veneration of the cross by all present. We venerate the one Cross in a variety of ways: by a genuflection or bow, by kissing or touching the cross, by a simple pause. The Eucharist is not celebrated on this day, but Communion is made through the Eucharist reserved from the Holy Thursday liturgy.

Spy Wednesday

Spy Wednesday

The Wednesday of Holy Week is often called Spy Wednesday because it was the day when Judas went to the authorities to betray Jesus. He told them that the one that I kiss he is the man  and they paid him 30 pieces of Silver . Tomorrow, Holy Thursday we begin the annual triduum or three days of prayer which conclude with the Easter Vigil on Saturday evening. May we follow Jesus journey over the next few days a journey of Betrayal, death and resurrection with renewed hearts and minds

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