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21st Sunday – Cycle A

In today鈥檚 Gospel Mt 16:13 鈥 20, we hear one of the most important questions asked by Jesus: 鈥淲ho do people say the Son of Man is? And we know the answer: 鈥淪ome say John the Baptist, some say Elijah and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets鈥 but Jesus turns to Peter and asks him 鈥淏ut you, who do you say I am? We see the same direct, personal questions asked by Jesus on other occasions: 鈥淒o you also want to go away? Do you love Me more than these other do? You follow Me鈥. Peter鈥檚 response to Jesus is brief 鈥 only 10 words 鈥 鈥淵ou are the Christ the Son of the Living God鈥. Peter acknowledges Jesus both as Christ / Messiah and Son of the living God 鈥 i.e. the God who is life, give and sustains life here and promises eternal life hereafter.
Then Jesus makes a triple response to Simon Peter – each response being itself a triple statement. The responses are respectively a beatitude, a conferring of a title and a granting of authority.
a) Blessed are you Simon, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but my Father in heaven.
b) Then the title 鈥淵ou are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.鈥
c) The authority 鈥 鈥淚 will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven 鈥 whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.鈥

Peter鈥檚 response comprised only 10 words and words are very easy to say but Peter had to […]

St Mary Magdalene – 22nd July

Today is the feast-day of St Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles, and Patroness of the Order of Preachers. We’re lucky to have her! As I think about her now, you know, she’s quite an inspiration, a good teacher.In the Gospel according to John, we read:”Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb, …”(John 20:8-11)Just these few verses got me thinking – about how the disciples left and she stayed. They went home, but she had no home to go to. JESUS was her home – that’s why.The disciples had left everything to follow JESUS, but I suppose here you could say that as yet JESUS didn’t wholly possess them – they had left everything, but as yet they hadn’t given Him their very selves, they didn’t realise that they couldn’t do without Him. So they went home … sad? yes; …lost? yes, probably; …confused? surely; …disappointed? I think definitely so. They didn’t have JESUS any longer, He was gone. Where were they to go? What to do now? They had homes, they could pick up their lives again, the lives – the everything – they had left and try to keep going … that would fill the void that JESUS had left in them.But when JESUS reached out to Mary that first time, and saved her – she had been about […]

Feast of Corpus Christi

Reflecting on the Gospel of John (6:51-58) for this Corpus Christi Sunday, what struck me forcibly was the word 鈥榣ife鈥 and 鈥榣iving鈥. In the Gospel this word appears 11 times. The opening line contains it:I am the living bread which has come down from Heaven. And the last line contains it:anyone who eats this bread will live foreverIn his encyclical letter Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Bl Pope John Paul II takes up this theme of life:The Church draws her life from the Eucharistand again:Proclaiming the death of the Lord 鈥榰ntil he comes鈥 entails that all who take part in the Eucharist be committed to changing their lives and making them in a certain way completely 鈥 Eucharistic鈥. Each day and every day we are privileged to receive this 鈥榣iving bread鈥. I ask myself am I truly and consciously aware of the 鈥榣ife鈥 that should be growing in me, that should be changing me? If I am receiving this 鈥榣ife鈥 what growth is taking place in me? These questions have challenged me over the last couple weeks. Jesus himself encourages us to draw life from Him in this Gospel:As I, who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father,so whoever eats me will draw life from me And to quote Bl Pope John Paul II again:From this living bread the Church draws her nourishment (7) When referring to 鈥榣ife鈥 I have to keep reminding myself that it is supernatural life we are speaking of – the life of grace and not natural physical life.St. Thomas distinguishes and compares these two types of 鈥榣ife鈥 鈥 the life of the body and the life of the spirit in his […]

Fourth Sunday of Lent

The Spirit if the Lord seized on David, and stayed with him. (first reading at Mass) 鈥淭he Spirit of the Lord seized on David.鈥 This is the strength that is given to great hearts, this is the light of brave and faithful souls, that unhesitatingly can believe what they cannot see with the eyes of the body and direct their longings beyond the range of human sight.In 1 John 4.16 we read: “We have known and believed the love that God has for us.鈥滻f we believe and know that the Spirit is love, then we have a means to return love with love.If we know and believe in our heart that we too have been seized by this same Spirit at Baptism and Confirmation then we will know that this great love is above us, and around us and in us. It will make no difference whether we sense God鈥檚 Presence or not, it should make no difference whether He sends us joy or pain, because we believe in His personal love for each one. Indeed the more we are tested the more our faith grows, because faith in this Spirit Who has seized us pushes through all obstacles, until we are completely captivated by Him and unable to break out of the circle of His radiance. It is true that David broke away from the Spirit’s grasp from time to time, but in experiencing his own weakness he gave us, who are weak and sinful, that deeply repentant Psalm 50:Have mercy on me God in your kindnessin your compassion blot out my offence,O wash me more and more from my guiltand cleanse me from my sin. It is so true, the […]

Third Sunday of Lent 鈥 Year A

All three readings today have rich baptismal overtones. From earliest times they have been used, especially the Gospel of the Samaritan woman, in the catechesis during Lent of adult candidates for Baptism, which took place during the Easter Vigil. So now the Church prays and exhorts us through the Word of God to be renewed in spirit so that we can renew our Baptismal promises with renewed dedication during the Easter Vigil.In today鈥檚 first reading, the Israelites 鈥榯ormented by thirst鈥 in the wilderness were crying out for water. God told Moses to strike the rock at Horeb and water gushed forth. In the second reading St Paul reminds us that 鈥榠t is by faith and through Jesus that we have entered this state of grace in which we can boast about looking forward to God鈥檚 glory. This hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.鈥 We receive this surpassing grace at our Baptism.In the Gospel we have the marvellous account of Jesus, the Word made flesh, with the Samaritan woman at Jacob鈥檚 well. Jesus was tired and thirsty from His journey and asked her for a drink. But as St Augustine says His real thirst was for this woman鈥檚 faith and salvation. We are all present in this woman – enslaved by her natural desires or perhaps somebody else鈥檚; estranged from God, ourselves and others because of the sin of our first parents. To quote St Paul again 鈥榳e were still helpless when at the appointed moment Christ died for sinful humankind’. (cf Rom 5:6). […]

Second Sunday of Lent 鈥 Year A

Today鈥檚 Gospel reading at Mass gave us a lovely account of the transfiguration of the Lord according to Matthew – an event in the Lord鈥檚 life of light, life, radiance, beauty, majesty, silence and awe as the writer Michael Hewlett put it:鈥淥nce on a mountain top there stood three startled men and watched the wheels of nature stop and heaven break in.鈥滼ust before the account of the Transfiguration which we read to-day from chapter 17 we find the first prophecy of the Passion at the end of chapter 16:鈥淔rom that time on Jesus began to make it clear to the disciples that he was destined to go to Jerusalem and suffer grievously at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes and be put to death and to be raised up on the third day.鈥滻mmediately after that 鈥 the condition of our following Christ is given: 鈥淚f anyone wants to be a follower of mine鈥, Jesus says 鈥渉e must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.鈥滻t seems quite obvious why Jesus leads Peter, James and John 鈥 the three chosen witnesses who accompanied Him to Gethsemanie and on other special occasions, up the mountain to experience this extraordinary event in His life, was to help them accept the revelation He had just made regarding His forthcoming Passion and death or to avoid them being scandalised in their hearts by the Cross. We know that Peter in no uncertain terms, up to now refused to accept that fact 鈥淗eaven preserve you Lord, this must not happen to you.鈥 But Jesus replies: 鈥済et behind me Satan鈥.Here on the mountain we are very familiar with the account of the Transfiguration […]

First Sunday of Lent – Year A

鈥淛esus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil鈥漈he Church in her liturgy presents Lent as a time of 鈥榞race鈥; a 鈥榮pringtime鈥 鈥 a time of conversion when we open our eyes or rather let our eyes be opened to all the Lord wants to give us instead of being content to live an impoverished life with eyes half closed.At every stage of our lives we are always in need of radical conversion, of a change of heart, whereby we turn away from all that alienates us from God – from all that blinds us to His Presence 鈥 and open ourselves to receive the Holy Spirit and all His gifts of love, peace and joy so that we become more truly the people He created us to be, always doing the will of our Father. This 鈥榙oing鈥 of the Father鈥檚 will is not so much about our great effort at our doing and achieving 鈥 it is rather a 鈥榣et it be done unto me鈥. When we look at the example of Jesus and Mary in the Gospel their doing of the Father鈥檚 will was more a surrender than the taking of any initiative on their part. Mary鈥檚 response to the Angel was 鈥榖e it done unto me according to thy word鈥. Jesus鈥 prayer in the garden was 鈥楩ather not my will but Thine be done鈥. They simply surrendered to what the present moment presented, believing that they were in Someone鈥檚 grip. This Someone had a plan which would be revealed moment by moment and they were being invited to surrender, to let go of their own cherished plans. In today鈥檚 […]

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

The following is a homily which fr Terence Crotty OP preached during the celebration of our Sunday Eucharist in our monastery chapel – 9th January, 2011.We hear a lot about power in the Church nowadays. Laypeople say that priests have all the power in the Church while priests say the bishops have all the power and so some priests recently formed an association, the 鈥淎ssociation of Catholic Priest,鈥 so as to get their hands on a bit of it. So the bishops seem to have all the power but, you know, when you look at them they seem completely powerless. The long and the short of it is that we鈥檇 better warn the ESB to start rationing the national grid before it collapses under the strain of so many people looking for power. The Bible too speaks of power: when Jesus is about to ascend into heaven he tells the disciples to remain in Jerusalem until they are 鈥渃lothed with power from on high鈥 (Lk 24:49). What is the content of this power? Well, St. John tells us that 鈥渢o all who did accept , he gave power to become children of God鈥 (Jn 1:12). This is the power a Christian looks for: not the power to dominate and rule, but the power to become children of God. For St. Luke, that promise of Jesus to clothe his disciples with power from on high is fulfilled in the gift of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. For St. Paul, the primary effect of receiving the Holy Spirit is that we can call God Father (Rom 8:15, Gal 4:6), so that St. John, St. Luke and St. Paul are all in agreement that the Holy Spirit […]

By |January 10th, 2011|Liturgy|0 Comments

Feast of the Holy Family

Sunday within Octave of Christmas Mass Readings – Cycle A1st Reading – Eccles 3:2-6;12-142nd Reading – Col 3:12-21Gospel Mt 2:13-15;19-23 “Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you”.Who better than Mary and Joseph, who made a home for the Incarnate Word, can teach us to welcome Jesus into our hearts and homes?Mary and Joseph belonged heart and mind to those who waited expectantly to welcome the Messiah, belonged to the holy remnant foretold by the prophets.”I will leave as a remnant in your midst a people humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord: the remnant of Israel.They shall do no wrong, and speak no lies, nor shall there be found in their mouths a deceitful tongue.On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem : Fear not, O Sion, be not discouraged! The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty Saviour; He will rejoice over you with gladness and renew you in his love. He will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals. Mary and Joseph were imbued with this generous spirit, totally open to the work of God on the nothingness of their being totally trusting and surrendered to God’s plan.’Get up and take the Child and his Mother… So Joseph got up’. Twice, we are given these words in the short passage from the Gospel. Who can doubt that Jesus mirrored the virtues taught at home – He went down to Nazareth and lived under their authority. Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature and in favour with God and men. The reading from Ecclesiaticus also describes the obedient […]

By |December 29th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

2nd Sunday Cycle C

THEYHAVE NO WINE1st Reading: Is 62:1-52nd Reading: 1Cor 12:4-11Gospel: Jn 2:1-12Reflection 1A homely scene some 2000 years agoA wedding feast at Cana.Jesus, God and man invited,His disciples too.The wine runs shortMary, God鈥檚 own Mother takes note,Her appeal to her Son bears fruit.Water is turned into wine and in abundance! And today? Jesus loves the Church, you and me, as a Bride. He conquered our sin and death by His appalling Death And glorious Resurrection.Brought us redemption; blessed us with his Spirit.Shamefully we, members of the Church, have been unfaithful.The God of love does not forsake us:鈥淣o longer are you to be named 鈥榝orsaken鈥檔or your land 鈥榓bandoned鈥檅ut you shall be called 鈥榤y delight鈥檃nd your land 鈥榯he wedded鈥橠are we once again heed God鈥檚 Mother And do what he tells us?鈥楻epent and believe the Gospel.鈥欌楲ove one another as I have loved you鈥.鈥楩orgive and you shall be forgiven鈥欌楢s the Father has loved me so I have loved you remain in my love’He let his glory be seen (through us) and his disciplesBelieved in him.As the bridegroom rejoices in his bride,So will your God rejoice in you.Thank you, Merciful Jesus, friend of sinners.Reflection 2About Zion I will not be silentAbout Jerusalem I will not grow wearyuntil her integrity shines out like the dawn,and her salvation flames like a torchIn this 1st.reading of to-days liturgy we hear an echo of Jesus’ great cry on the Cross—- I THIRST.Thirsting-yes but for what?—–Water to be sure, to quench […]

By |January 16th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments