Reflection on the Readings for Palm Sunday

The First Reading for Palm Sunday is taken from Isaiah (50:4-9) – which seems a very good start to the week ahead. Worth thinking about and contemplating … ‘Each morning he wakes me to hear: to listen, like a disciple …’ St Dominic is said to have carried with him wherever he walked (and he certainly walked, … and walked … and walked ….) the Gospel according to St Matthew. He is a good model for us who profess to be Dominicans, and Isaiah too has very appropriate advice for us, I think. We cannot begin to understand what the Lord has done for us, unless we listen to what is happening and said in all the events of Holy Week; we need to be people whose ears are attuned to God, so that we may the more sincerely open ourselves to receive all He wants to give us … and to remember that He has died for this very reason. May the Blessed Mother of God and our St Dominic be with us to accompany us in our journey through the week; and intercede for us and for all those around the world who will not have the joy or the freedom to share in the Liturgy; for those who have not the faith to know how they are loved; for those who do not know the wonder of the gift of life.

The Baptism of the LORD

This is better late than never – a reflection on last Sunday’s Gospel, on the feast of the Baptism of the LORD.“And yet you come to me.” The wonder of God.  When JESUS came to John the Baptist at the Jordan, John said to Him, “I need to be baptised by you, and yet you come to me!”  And yet you come to me! At the end of the season of Christmas, what after all could be a more perfect transition to the Ordinary Time of the Church’s year, than to wonder at the feast of the Baptism of the LORD?  It seems to sum up all that we had been longing for throughout all of Advent, and in each encounter with the LORD in the feast days of Christmas; and this day seems also to equip us for the journey ahead – how we must live and how we are to imitate Christ. And yet you come to me! Even the greatest man to have been born of a woman, did not understand the God whose coming he had to proclaim.  It is encouraging, in a way, to realise that God confused and perplexed even the greatest saints.  And yet you come to me! Still, these words of St John encapsulate the whole mission of Christ: even before His birth, while still in the womb of His mother, He would come to Elizabeth and her unborn baby; He would come to be born and laid in a manger far from the busy-ness and distractions of a restless town, so that at His coming He might be found – and in being recognised – He might be wondered at.  He chose obscurity and littleness, not by accident but by […]

By |January 19th, 2014|Liturgy|0 Comments

21st Sunday of Year C 2013

 “They will proclaim my glory to the nations” (Isaiah 66:20)There are several themes running through this Sunday’s liturgy and the one that spoke most to me was the call to “proclaim my glory to the nations” and the invitation to be a witness “to my glory”v.19.I found these words of life extraordinary – really like a rallying call to us, coming almost immediately after our Cardinal consecrated Irelandto the Immaculate Heart of Mary.Is the Lord calling us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus as the Gospel today tells us – “Through towns and villages Jesus went preaching…” Lk.13.22  proclaiming the glory of his Father to both Jews and Gentiles alike.Remember how after the miracle at the Wedding of Cana ‘He let his glory be seen and his disciples believed in him’ Jn.2.12  and later he prays ‘Father, I have given them the glory you gave to me that they may be one as we are one’ – thus he prepared and strengthened them for their future work of Evangelisation.How are we to be witnesses of this glory of Jesus today?  For some it will mean going ‘through our towns and villages, teaching and sharing the good news that we have a Father who loves us, who in fact is madly in love with us.  Just take the time to look into the face of a little flower – it ‘has neither spun or woven its own beauty, yet not even Solomon in all his glory is arrayed like it.’  Jesus himself tells us ‘there is no need to be afraid Lk.12.2  little flock, for it has pleased your father to give you the kingdom.’ The prophet Isaiah also tells us about this good […]

1st Sunday of Lent – Another Reflection

Having set for myself a headline for Lent “It is your face, O Lord, that I seek, hide not your face” – it is encouraging to find that Jesus in today’s gospel gives me inspiring texts to guide me on my way. His responses to the devil can become ours. Indeed each of these quotes are taken from the book of Deuteronomy, that story of the people of Israel’s forty years wanderings through the desert to the promised land – a blue print of our struggles too on our journey home to our Father’s house. ‘Man does not live on bread alone’ – Though immersed in, and in need of many material and tangible things to sustain us in life, yet our faith tells us that this is not our real life, no, our real life is the faith we have in the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us. …’but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ First and foremost, the Word, with a capital ‘W’’, Jesus Christ, was breathed forth by the Father, to become man eventually, to suffer and die and be our Saviour. It is only through, with and in Him that we can return to the Father. Because of our love and faith in Jesus, the words of Scripture, ‘the revealed love letter’, as it has been described, came to enlighten and lead us home. ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve Him alone.’ “Exalt the Lord in your praises as high as you may – still he surpasses you. Exert all your strength when you exalt Him, do not grow tired, you will never come to an end. We […]

By |February 19th, 2013|Liturgy|0 Comments

First Sunday of Lent – Reflection on Deuteronomy

In today’s First reading at Mass, taken from the Book of Deuteronomy, we are presented with the prayer of the Jewish man to God on presenting to Him the first-fruits of all the Lord had given to him. In a few short – actually long! – sentences, he summarises all the Lord has done for him since the call of Abraham, through the formation and election of Israel; her persecution at the hands of the Egyptians; to her deliverance and after wandering in the desert, at last, entering into and taking possession of the land given to her by God. (That was a fairly good imitation of the long sentences!!)And this is the First Sunday of Lent; that time of year again – already – when we know we would like to make a concerted effort to be cleansed of everything that separates us from God; prevents us from living as He invites us to, in Jesus. And with all our good intentions, for most of us, we’ll have fallen by the end of the first week, if we haven’t fallen already.What can we do that would seem worthwhile and a real expression to God of our love for Him and our gratitude for His mercy and unfailing nearness: for the wonder of His love?In this prayer, I would dare to suggest, is a very profitable and healthy undertaking; one that may not seem to be much – but in this age of dismissal of God as a necessary ‘element’ of our lives – maybe after all, it would be well worth considering. An act of faith in this Year of Faith.Two Big Words!Acknowledgement and Thanksgiving‘He brought us here and gave us this land, […]

By |February 17th, 2013|Liturgy|0 Comments

Reflection on the Gospel – 31st Sunday of Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel, we see an anxious Scribe asking Jesus, ‘which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied. ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord, and you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength’ – heart –soul – mind, strength, these are extremely strong words; if we stop to ponder them deeply, each contains a great depth of meaning, a call to give our love totally to God with every fibre of our being. Most of us are familiar with these words of Jesus. For myself, it is loving God with all my heart and soul and strength, that has always struck me forcibly, but reflecting anew on this Gospel text, it was the word ‘mind’ which drew my attention today.What does it mean to love God with all my mind? At first sight it sounds very intellectual and even calculating, though we do speak of a person having a beautiful mind, or of someone asking us to be mindful of them in our prayer or in some other way. Our minds are indeed a very precious gift from God.But it is the heart which is known world-wide as a symbol of love – we hear people say ‘I love this or that person with all my heart, but I have never yet heard anyone say, I love you with all my mind, there would surely be a few raised eyebrows, to say the least! It is interesting to note that the Scribe who asked Jesus this question responded by saying: ‘Well spoken, Master; ……to love him with all your […]

By |November 4th, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

Novena to St Dominic – Day 9

At the beginning of the Libellus – Blessed Jordan’s account of the beginnings of the Order, we read: “God’s Providence raised up the Order of Preachers as a remedy for the perils of these latter days.”   Other early biographical documents describe the world into which Dominic was born as a “world wrapped in darkness where the light was sinking” – where Dominic “shone like a new star” and as a “light that would illuminate with its beams the whole world”  – a light not just for his own time but has continued to shine, through the members of his Order, down to our own day when the darkness and confusion seem to grow even more intense and widespread. We are all part of that darkness through our own sinfulness, blindness and stubbornness.  Yet as Christians and followers of Dominic we are also called to be light in the midst of the darkness of our time.We notice that the darkness grows more intense as God seems to be increasingly forgotten and excluded from our society.  The remedy then is for us to become more aware of the all-encompassing Presence of God and to live our lives bathed in the light of that Presence – to radiate that presence to those around us as Dominic did.  Dominic we are told spoke only to God or about God – yet he was a wonderful companion to his brothers and sisters – always radiating compassion, gentleness and kindness.  In his recent letter to the Order fr Bruno reminded us that “the Divine Office, the sanctification of the hours, is an act of faith for us that, despite our failings, brings us always into the Presence of God.”  And he […]

Feast of the Holy Trinity

The antiphons in the Divine Office today give expression to our wonder and awe before the mystery Blessed Trinity, Three persons in one God. They keep circling round this mystery so incomprehensible to us. The plain chant melodies especially make our hearts swell with something beyond our capacity to put into words, giving voice to an awareness of the majesty and utter transcendence of God, the beauty of which almost hurts. The mystery of the Godhead, of God as he is in Himself Father, Son and Holy Spirit the most ineffable of all mysteries draws us, creates yearnings in us, leaves us restless even frustrated in our inability to worship God as He deserves. I am captivated by the ‘Otherness’ of God. On this Feast I long for Heaven where this ache to worship will be satisfied and I will know even as I am Known.And yet when we come to the Mass readings for today’s Liturgy- God’s own Word about Himself given to us today to celebrate the mystery of the Trinity we are invited to reflect not on His Transcendence but on His immanence. In fact the focus seems to be more on us than on God. It seems that what God wants is for us to see Him as Love, love that has no other desire than to share Himself, pour Himself out, draw us in to Himself. The inner mystery of the God head is the mystery of love poured out. This mystery is made manifest to us in Jesus in whom we see our God made visible and who by His life death and Resurrection makes it possible for us through baptism in to Him to become heirs with […]

Launch of Prayer intitiative for Vocations

Fr Gerard Dunne OP (vocations promoter for the Irish Dominican Province) celebrated our Sunday Eucharist this morning and launched the prayer initiative for vocations to all branches of the Order i.e. friars, sisters, contemplative nuns and Lay Dominicans. Recently he had an icon of St Dominic commissioned which he will now bring to all the Dominican priories and houses throughout Ireland to encourage the people who attend our churches to join us in praying for vocations. We felt privileged that this initiative was launched here and the icon will remain in our chapel during the coming two weeeks.Second Sunday of the Year – Year B Mass Readings1Samuel 3:3-10, 19Psalm 39: 2-4, 7-10,1Cor 6:13-15;17-20Gospel John 1:35-42“I waited, I waited for the LordAnd he stooped down to me;He heard my cryHe put a new song into my mouthPraise of our God”When I read these words of today’s responsorial psalm as I sat beside Sr Mary Paul’s death bed earlier this week I could not help but relate them to her life and death. Yes she had waited these 91 years and now the Lord was about to “put a new song in her mouth – praise of our God”The palm continues:“You do not ask for sacrifice and offeringsbut an open ear.You do not ask for holocaust and victim.Instead here am I”How true this was now as Sr Mary Paul lay there helpless – all she had to offer was herself and no doubt she had generously offered herself to the Lord throughout her life – her one focus was to delight in His law in the depth of her heart.” Often we forget that what the Lord is seeking is our […]

Christmas Reflection

Below is the text of a Christmas reflection given by one of our sisters.(If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below). “With the Lord there is unfailing love; great is His power to set us free” – Vespers II of Christmas. The human heart longs for freedom – it is boundless in its aspirations for we were made in the image and likeness of God and are destined to live eternally with Him in love. He has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Him. (cf Confessions of St Augustine). A glance at our newspapers or TV news demonstrates this restlessness – this past year has witnessed the eruption of violence in many parts of our world – all seeking freedom of one sort or another. Left to ourselves, we humans, seek freedom apart from God and in the wrong places. Adam and Eve wanted to be like God – yet through fear, they hid from God. I have been very struck by the frequency of this theme of ‘freedom’ in our Advent liturgy – where we cry out to the Lord in such phrases as: “come and set us free”; Lord may your Son bring us freedom”; Come Lord, make no delay! Release your people from their bonds”. This theme of freedom resonates with the vision of monastic life as being “free for God alone”. Freedom always implies a ‘freedom from something’ and a ‘freedom for something’. We have a good example in the Book of Exodus: Moses asked Pharaoh to set the people free so that they could go to the desert to […]

By |December 25th, 2011|Liturgy|1 Comment