This weekend we remember in a special way all those who are affected by Harvey and Irma the Hurricanes in the Caribbean. I have a nephew who is presently in Cuba wondering what he is going to do and he tells me though they are well prepared they are still expecting the worst!

In our Gospel passage for this Sunday St Matthew recounts Jesus’ instructions to the disciples about how they should deal with a brother who does something wrong. This same instruction applies to us and our dealings with other people in the here and now of today. This passage is very different from those of the two previous Sundays. They were dramatic stories, marked by deep emotions and with deep implications for the characters involved. This is a little gem of a passage but with little drama, a very practical, common-sense teaching on that most common and most prosaic of community problems conflict. It is a great wisdom teaching which continues to be valid for us in our own time.

Today management of time and people  has become a science, and Jesus’ teaching stands up well as a model of how to “manage” conflict in any situation.  It is the duty of the disciple we are told  to point out the error and even if our correction might not be well received. St Matthew wants to let the Christians in his community know how to deal with those who drift away from the teaching of Christ or blatantly contravene the commandments. Matthew chooses those words of Jesus which most stress the authority and the competence of the Christian community, the Church, to deal with these cases: Whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.  However, there are some safeguards built into this teaching on reproving those who go astray. Jesus says that first of all you must have it out with him alone. This might lead to a speedy solution and the person’s good name is preserved. Yet it seems  from the gospel reading that the only sanction is that the person be excluded from the community of the Church.

All the practical advice in the Gospel centers on Christians taking responsibility for each other and even now that is what we are asked to do take responsibility for each other. Belonging to a community implies that we are involved in the life of its members. This is not a charter for the legion of the curious, but a procedure for a caring community to follow. It is a way of handling wrongdoing and hurt. For many people have done wrong and many are hurting for so many reasons and this Gospel reading calls us to be there for all those who have done wrong and for all those who are hurting. It is a call for us to show the people who are around us that the way of Jesus is the right road to follow.




Last Thursday and Friday the local kids went back to school at the end of the summer holidays, I’m sure that the mums and dads out there were pleased about that. As we also know the hurricane in the USA as well as the North Korean missile test have been in the news there is much to think about and much to pray for this week especially the peace of the world.

In our Gospel Reading this weekend we see Jesus starting to prepare his Apostles for the journey he must make to Jerusalem which ends up with Jesus crucified on the Cross. In foretelling his sufferings and death, which took place some months later, Christ intended to prepare his disciples and other followers for  the severe crisis of faith that would hit them after the crucifixion. He also took the occasion to remind his disciples, and all the others of what their attitude to suffering and death should be. He told them, and us too, that we must be ever ready to accept sufferings in this life, and even an untimely death if that should be demanded of us, rather than deny our Christian faith.

Peter is appalled at this prospect and tries to deflect Jesus from the path that lies ahead and yet it was peter who was crucified as well. After having declared Jesus to be the Christ, a title associated with victory and glory, Peter now denies that Jesus must suffer. Peter wants to banish suffering from the agenda; Jesus brings the subject to the forefront of the conversation. Jesus faced suffering which could only be conquered if it was accepted If the suffering was to pass, it had to be endured. He faced rejection which could be transformed only if he assented to it. He told them “For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it”. The way of the cross which Jesus followed in Jerusalem was one which passed through streets and markets, by houses and palaces, by windows and doors. While it happened people went about their business not giving the procession to Calvary a second thought. Suffering must run the course of the familiar as it does for us. As Christians we live in the assurance that our way of the cross does not go unnoticed.

We are asked like Jesus to carry our crosses through streets and markets, by houses and palaces, by windows and open doors. Jesus notices what we are going through and he is our companion along the way he is our strength and our shield; his power is mighty in our weakness. If the cross we carry is the price to be paid for love, then carrying it is love in action. For Jesus, that was enough it is also enough for us to know that our sufferings large or small were nailed to the Cross on that first Good Friday through the love that God the Father had to send us his Son to be with us for all time.




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.



Well here we are at the last weekend of July and the summer holidays are now at the half way stage. I’m sure there are many parents out there wondering when will the long holidays end it will be no time until the beginning of the new school year in September. Last weekend in the parishes in all the dioceses throughout Ireland a special collection was taken up for Trocaire the Irish Catholic Churches international aid organization to help with their  work in East Africa. In my home parish over £15,000 was raised once again it seems to me that when people are given a chance to help others they take it and give much of the treasure they have.

In this Sundays Gospel we hear the story of the treasure hidden in the field . The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field or a pearl of great price. When its great value is recognized, one gladly does all that is necessary to obtain it. The kingdom of heaven is also like a net that collects all sorts of fish. Just as the useless fish are thrown away, at the end of the age the wicked will be rejected. To members of the Kingdom means to share our knowledge of it with others.

 To truly believe in Christ means leading other people to the same knowledge by what we say and do; for secret faith is no faith at all. We should be happy to bring out of the house that is our life all kinds of treasures to share with our neighbours. But these treasures are not physical things but attitudes spiritual and otherwise that are virtues like love and justice and truth and hope and so on. What we bring out from our treasure store are the values of the Kingdom, the attitudes of Jesus and the knowledge of the one true God. God loves us just the way we are, but He refuses to leave us that way. He wants us to become treasure for other people so that they can discover the faith which is the pearl of great price the treasure hidden in the fields of our hearts.


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This weekend the holiday season is in full swing and we are almost at the end of July!! Time is certainly passing by leaving all of us wondering where exactly it has gone.

This Sunday we hear the reading from Chapter 23 of St. Matthews gospel, the story is the parable of the darnel in the field the seed and the weeds. In the parable of the wheat and weeds, Jesus recognized good’s co-existence with evil. He also held out the hope that the Kingdom would right all wrongs. I think that there is the potential in each of us to be either wheat or darnel that is good and bad. We often say ‘wouldn’t life be easier if everything were black and white’ as if there are ‘totally good people’ and ‘totally evil people’. Of course life is never that simple. If we are really honest nothing is ever that straightforward to be black and white. We need to ask ourselves Who are we called to be in a world where weeds and seeds grow side by side and we often find it hard to distinguish the difference between them. As people of faith we have to constantly ask ourselves : Should we hide from the messiness and make religion a privatized personal relationship with God? Should we insulate ourselves – sharing with those we think are worthy of our love, deciding who is worthy? Where is God in all this concern, worry and judgment? If we pray about these three questions and our problems and those of others we will see god is there in the middle of everything and his hand will guide us and as a result we will be the seeds that flourish and not the weeds that die.

Jesus used parables to challenge his audience to think and he uses the parables in our world of today to challenge all of us to make us think as well. In truth and charity we must speak to others and teach them about the great responsibility they have to choose either Life or Death to be weeds or seeds .All of us have the power to freely choose Him or to reject Him. May we see the seeds of the Kingdom of Heaven grow and flourish in our midst .Our calling then is to participate as best we can in building up a world where God is King! God will decide on its membership, not us and he will guide us along the roads that lead to Salvation and he will help us to be the seeds that flourish


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The parable of the sower and the seed that we hear this weekend shocked Jesus’ audience as it seemed to be wasteful planting. Ancient people saw waste as an abuse of the rich. When they discussed economics, most ancient people agreed on two points. First, there was only a limited amount of wealth in the world. Second, God willed the distribution of that wealth within a rigid social class system. The rich five percent of the population held ninety percent of the wealth and the poor battled for survival. The bulk of the details in this gospel reading are about wasted effort and lost seed at least wasted effort and lost seed is what seemed to be at first glance. Why wasn’t the sower more careful, after all farmers were poor and the seed was precious? Sometimes, we wonder if all our efforts and words are worth it when things are falling down around us with so many people going their own way and doing their own thing with little regard to things of god.

But if we stop for a moment and think about it anything done for God in faith is never lost. Very often the things that happen  in our lives don’t seem to make sense but when we look at the problems that arise with eyes of faith we see that things around us are the way they are meant to be for the good of everybody. Do good and poor soil both exist in the same person I think that it most probably does much in the same way that a person can be good or bad. Is there something we might say that will land on the interior good soil in a person and bear the “hundredfold, or sixty or thirtyfold” as Jesus promises only God knows but we have to try to be the sower on Gods behalf and he will do the rest. The message of Jesus may not always be welcome especially in our modern world were faith and religion are constantly under assault by those who oppose anyone with a faith based outlook on life. That said we still have to sow the seed of faith by what we do and say and then we leave the rest up to God our efforts are never wasted and we don’t always see the fruit of the seed that is sown.

There are seeds of faith which we have planted in the past  that have yielded abundant harvest and there are also seeds that we have planted that produced little or no harvest. In some cases, life affords us the opportunity to replant and at other times, the opportunity to plant only comes once. In my lifetime I have been surprised by so many people and their stories of faith. How they have come to God by the planting of that small seed and how they have stayed there when they found him. Our God is a God of surprises and our faith has many surprises as well. So let us look and see and let us listen as we hear the story of the sower and the abundant harvest that came from the seeds that he had sown and not be afraid to live our lives by faith and share the harvest of gods love with other people.




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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’?

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