“‘the word of God came to John
son of Zechariah,”
In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of the lands of Ituraea and Trachonitis, Lysanias tetrach of Abilene, during the pontificate of Annas and Caiaphas the word of God came to John son of Zechariah, in the wilderness. He went through the whole Jordan district proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of the prophet Isaiah: A voice cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley will be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, winding ways will be straightened and rough roads made smooth. And all mankind shall see the salvation of God. Luke 3:1-6
John the Baptist
In today’s Gospel John the Baptist is mobilized to get the word out that the Lord is coming to lead anyone to salvation who wants it.
Today’s Gospel said the “word of God” came to him, something prophetic. God addresses his word to his prophet to set something good into motion.
At that moment, just as in Advent, the good work was simply an announcement: the Lord is coming, get ready. The way to get ready was to receive John’s baptism (a gesture of repentance, not the Baptism we’ve received that was instituted by Christ) and seek forgiveness for our sins. We could never extricate ourselves from the consequences of our sins alone: John is announcing that the Lord will pave the way for our forgiveness and our conversion. The Lord is coming within reach. We need to start reaching out to him during Advent.”
John the Baptist is Christ’s precursor, the one sent to announce his coming and get people ready to welcome him.
“‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away”
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘In those days, after the time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory; then too he will send the angels to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven. ‘Take the fig tree as a parable: as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. So with you, when you see these things happening: know that he is near, at the very gates. I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all these things will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. ‘But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.’ Mark 13:24-32
Pope Francis – Angelus Address on 18th November 2018
Human history, like the personal history of each of us, cannot be understood as a simple succession of meaningless words and facts. Nor can it be interpreted in the light of a fatalistic vision, as if all were already preordained according to a fate that removes any space for freedom, preventing us from making choices as the fruit of true decision. In today’s Gospel passage, however, Jesus says that the history of peoples and that of individuals have a purpose and an aim to fulfil: the definitive encounter with the Lord. We know neither the time nor the way in which it will come about: the Lord emphasized that “no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son” (v. 32); all is safeguarded in the secret of the mystery of the Father. We know, however, a basic principle with which we must confront ourselves: “Heaven and earth will pass away”, Jesus says, “but my words will not pass away” (v. 31). This is the true crux. On that day, each of us will have to understand whether the Word of the Son of God has illuminated our personal existence, or whether we turned our back to it, preferring to trust in our own words. More than ever, it will be the moment in which to abandon ourselves definitively to the Father’s love and to entrust ourselves to his mercy. No one can escape this moment, none of us!
Tuesday 16th November – Presentation on Grief and Bereavement at 7.30pm in the Church. This Presentation is given by Sr. Una Boland LCM.
“‘Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people”
In his teaching Jesus said, ‘Beware of the scribes who like to walk about in long robes, to be greeted obsequiously in the market squares, to take the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honour at banquets; these are the men who swallow the property of widows, while making a show of lengthy prayers. The more severe will be the sentence they receive.’ “Jesus sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the treasury, and many of the rich put in a great deal. A poor widow came and put in two small coins, the equivalent of a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.’..” Mark 12:28-34
God sees everything
A small picture hung close to the main door in a certain art gallery. Most visitors passed with scarcely a glance in its direction as they hurried on to the paintings which made the museum a Mecca for art lovers. The curator of the museum was disappointed. He thought very highly of the little painting. So he decided to carry out a little experiment. One night he took the picture and hung it in a crooked manner. And what happened? Next day one out of two visitors stopped to look at it. The following night the curator removed the painting altogether, leaving only the empty frame hanging there. And what happened? Everybody, without exception, stopped before the empty frame. Several went to the curator and asked “What happened to the lovely painting that used to hang there?” Some people may have to do something desperate to get attention. Others may have to die before they are missed and their contribution recognized. We never appreciate the value of another person’s service until we need it ourselves. Even though no one noticed what the widow in today’s Gospel had done, Jesus noticed and praised her. It’s good to know that even such a small deed of love does not escape His attention. How good are we at recognizing what others do and affirming them? Sadly, the truth may be that we are so self-absorbed that we don’t notice and, worse,don’t care!
You are not far from the kingdom of God”
“One of the scribes came up to Jesus and put a question to him, ‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’ Jesus replied, ‘This is the first: Listen, Israel, the Lord our God is the 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. The second is this: You must love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.‘ The scribe said to him, ‘Well spoken, Master; what you have said is true: that he is one and there is no other. To love with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength and to love your neighbour as yourself, this is far more important than any holocaust or sacrifice.’ Jesus, seeing how wisely he had spoken said, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’ And after that no one dared to question him any more..” Mark 12:28-34
ENCYCLICAL LETTER DEUS CARITAS EST – GOD IS LOVE
“can we love God without seeing him? And can love be commanded? Against the double commandment of love these questions raise a double objection. No one has ever seen God, so how could we love him? Moreover, love cannot be commanded; it is ultimately a feeling that is either there or not, nor can it be produced by the will. Scripture seems to reinforce the first objection when it states: “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 Jn 4:20). But this text hardly excludes the love of God as something impossible. On the contrary, the whole context of the passage quoted from the First Letter of John shows that such love is explicitly demanded. The unbreakable bond between love of God and love of neighbour is emphasized. One is so closely connected to the other that to say that we love God becomes a lie if we are closed to our neighbour or hate him altogether. Saint John’s words should rather be interpreted to mean that love of neighbour is a path that leads to the encounter with God, and that closing our eyes to our neighbour also blinds us to God.”.. (extract from www.vatican.va)
Celebrating Safely in Covid -19 Times
The most recent government regulation on Places of Worship is the following:
“religious services and weddings can proceed without capacity limits but with all other protective measures remaining in place”. www.gov.ie The protective measures that are required are;
- Masks / face coverings must be worn
- Ventilation must be provided
- Hand Sanitising must be adhered to
- Social Distancing must take place between different household units.
Due to these protective measures the Church cannot reach full capacity. Further guidance from the HSE is awaited, as stated on the website it is “under review”: https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/placesofworshipguidance/
While some other parts of social life have reached full capacity, they are required to have Covid Certs and Contract Tracing. The Parish is not in a position to put this protective measure in place, if it were in place it would allow an ease of social distancing. At any Liturgy there can be unvaccinated people with vaccinated thus the need to have protective measures. The measures help in creating a safe environment. As numbers increase in returning to Church, a review will take place to ascertain how to open more seats to people.
As the numbers of Covid infections are rising and the number of those needing hospitalisation and ICU care, it is in the best interests of all to do what we can to help slow down the spread of the virus and to assist the health care system and workers at this time.
Every session of the Second Vatican Council began with the prayer Adsumus Sancte Spiritus, the first word of the original Latin, meaning, “We stand before You, Holy Spirit,” which has been historically used at Councils, Synods and other Church gatherings for hundreds of years, and is attributed to Saint Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – 4 April 636). As we embrace this Synodal Process, this prayer invites the Holy Spirit to be at work in us so that we may be a community and a people of grace. For the Synodal journey from 2021 to 2023, we propose to the following simplified version, so that any group or liturgical assembly can pray it more easily.
We stand before You, Holy Spirit, as we gather together in Your name. With You alone to guide us, make Yourself at home in our hearts; Teach us the way we must go and how we are to pursue it. We are weak and sinful; do not let us promote disorder. Do not let ignorance lead us down the wrong path nor partiality influence our actions. Let us find in You our unity so that we may journey together to eternal life and not stray from the way of truth and what is right. All this we ask of You, who are at work in every place and time, in the communion of the Father and the Son, forever and ever. Amen.
“Anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all?”
“James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus. ‘Master,’ they said to him ‘we want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him,
‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ You do not know what you are asking”. Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted. When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10: 35-45
OPENING OF THE SYNODAL PATH – HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS (Extract)
St Peter’s Basilica – Sunday, 10 October 2021
“As we begin this synodal process, let us begin by asking ourselves – all of us, Pope, bishops, priests, religious and laity – whether we, the Christian community, embody this “style” of God, who travels the paths of history and shares in the life of humanity. Are we prepared for the adventure of this journey? Or are we fearful of the unknown, preferring to take refuge in the usual excuses: “It’s useless” or “We’ve always done it this way”? Celebrating a Synod means walking on the same road, walking together. Let us look at Jesus. First, he encounters the rich man on the road; he then listens to his questions, and finally he helps him discern what he must do to inherit eternal life. Encounter, listen and discern. I would like to reflect on these three verbs that characterize the Synod. The first is encounter. The second verb is listen. Finally, discern. The Synod is a process of spiritual discernment, of ecclesial discernment, that unfolds in adoration, in prayer and in dialogue with the word of God.”
If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward.
John said to Jesus, ‘Master, we saw a man who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.’ But Jesus said, ‘You must not stop him: no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us. ‘If anyone gives you a cup of water to drink just because you belong to Christ, then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward. ‘But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck. And if your hand should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled, than to have two hands and go to hell, into the fire that cannot be put out. And if your foot should cause you to sin, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life lame, than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye should cause you to sin, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell where their worm does not die nor their fire go out.’...” Mark 9:38-43.45.47-48
“he was not one of us”.
Doing good is a work of God. The disciples are upset that someone is healing in Jesus name who is not one of them. They are the close disciples of Jesus and feel indignant that someone is doing what they ought to be doing. “The disciples were exemplifying the unhealthy thirst for power and control that would stifle and thwart the good works of others if those works challenged their authority or encroached on their mission.” (Daniel Mueggenborg) They see a problem in someone else healing in Jesus name, whereas Jesus himself sees it as a blessing.
Too often in the world there are examples of people who cannot let go of power, or who take upon themselves authority that they are not given or elected to. There are those who seek to change constitutions to cling to power. There are those who use force and military might to stay in power. There are those in ministry too who seek to serve their own ego rather than Christ. Let us see the blessing of today rather than the problem. Let each one of us be a blessing.
Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.
After leaving the mountain Jesus and his disciples made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, ‘The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.’ But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him. They came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, What were you arguing about on the road?’ They said nothing because they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.‘ He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me...” Mark 9:30-37
Which of them was the greatest.
Christian Disciples are those who constantly seek to understand their lives through the mystery of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. They seek to understand life events through the eyes of the Lord. The disciples have spent time with Jesus, heard him speak of his suffering and death to come, yet they fail to comprehend what this is, and how it is to be part of their lives too. Instead they compete with one another for places of honour.
Envy draws us away from Christ and leads us to comparing ourselves to others. This can lead to be concerned about other people’s accomplishments and status. From this, an attitude of looking down on others or to put others down arises. The attitude of envy is destructive to the Christian and the Christian Community. Jesus treats everyone equally and as Christians, we are called from our dignity in Christ to treat one another as an equal
The Son of man was destined to suffer grievously
Jesus and his disciples left for the villages round Caesarea Philippi. On the way he put this question to his disciples, ‘Who do people say I am?’ And they told him. ‘John the Baptist,’ they said ‘others Elijah; others again, one of the prophets.’ ‘But you,’ he asked ‘who do you say I am?‘ Peter spoke up and said to him, ‘You are the Christ.‘ And he gave them strict orders not to tell anyone about him. And he began to teach them that the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again; and he said all this quite openly. Then, taking him aside, Peter started to remonstrate with him. But, turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said to him, ‘Get behind me, Satan! Because the way you think is not God’s way but man’s.’ He called the people and his disciples to him and said, ‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it;
but anyone who loses his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it..” Mark 8:27-35
Peter started to remonstrate with him.
Peter seems to instruct Jesus on what to do, in this moment he forgets that it is he Peter, who is the disciple. Perhaps Peter could not comprehend the thought of Jesus suffering that lead him to this remark. Jesus reply to Peter, get behind me, is a reminder to Peter, that he is called to follow Jesus, not instruct him. As Christians, we too can at times forget that to lead we must first be followers of Jesus, seeking his will in all things. The challenge of the Gospel is a challenge to all of us to seek God’s will before our own.
Following Jesus means that we are willing to do and go wherever he leads. The cross that Jesus speaks of is the way of every Christian. When a person is baptised the first action is the sign of the cross, an immediate reminder that Baptism pledges us to the Cross of Christ and that our response is to walk in the way of the Cross.
He has done all things well
“Returning from the district of Tyre, Jesus went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, right through the Decapolis region. And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they asked him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, put his fingers into the man’s ears and touched his tongue with spittle. Then looking up to heaven he sighed; and he said to him, ‘Ephphatha,‘ that is, ‘Be opened.‘ And his ears were opened, and the ligament of his tongue was loosened and he spoke clearly. And Jesus ordered them to tell no one about it, but the more he insisted, the more widely they published it. Their admiration was unbounded. ‘He has done all things well,’ they said, ‘he makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.” Mark 7:31-37
“And they brought him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech;
and they asked him to lay his hand on him.”
What a community! This community bring a man in need of healing to Jesus, they care for him. They ask Jesus to lay his hand on him. True disciples of Jesus are those who always wish to bring others to Jesus, to help others know him and encounter him. True disciples of Jesus bring the needs of others to Jesus. A Christian Community is one that is not so caught up in themselves that they hold on to the message of faith but it is one that wishes to share the faith with others and to be generous in sharing the faith. The joy of encountering Jesus cannot be kept to oneself.
This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me
The Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered round Jesus, and they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with unclean hands, that is, without washing them. For the Pharisees, and the Jews in general, follow the tradition of the elders and never eat without washing their arms as far as the elbow; and on returning from the market place they never eat without first sprinkling themselves. There are also many other observances which have been handed down to them concerning the washing of cups and pots and bronze dishes. So these Pharisees and scribes asked him, ‘Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?’ He answered, ‘It was of you hypocrites that Isaiah so rightly prophesied in this passage of scripture:. This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me. The worship they offer me is worthless, the doctrines they teach are only human regulations. You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions. He called the people to him again and said, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean.” Mark 7:1-8. 14-15.21-23
How is my heart? What are my motives?
Jesus sees in the Pharisee and scribes people who promote the commandments but do not live by them or help others to live by them. In the criticism they give about the disciples, they show up their own lack of understanding. Jesus does not cast aside the traditions but seeks the heart behind them, what is the motive of the person who keeps the traditions and of the ones who fail to do so.
Jesus takes a different line from the Pharisees and scribes and it is not going down well. He is the one to interpret all ‘Traditions’ as all scripture is directed to him. A Christian constantly needs to discern from God’s Word, what is important, what is essential and how can I proclaim the message of Jesus today, what traditions are manmade and what Tradition comes from God.
The Assumption of Mary
“Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’ And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my saviour; because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid. Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name, and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him. He has shown the power of his arm, he has routed the proud of heart. He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away. He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy according to the promise he made to our ancestors- of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’ Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home” Luke 1:39-56
“let us ask ourselves: how does the Assumption of Mary help our journey? The first answer is: in the Assumption we see that in God there is room for us, God himself is the house with many rooms of which Jesus speaks (cf. Jn 14:2); God is man’s home, in God there is God’s space. And Mary, by uniting herself, united to God, does not distance herself from us. She does not go to an unknown galaxy, but whoever approaches God comes closer, for God is close to us all; and Mary, united to God, shares in the presence of God, is so close to us, to each one of us But there is also another aspect: in God not only is there room for us; in us there is room for God. This too we see in Mary, the Holy Ark who bears the presence of God.
One thing, one hope is certain: God expects us, waits for us, we do not go out into a void, we are expected. God is expecting us and on going to that other world we find the goodness of the Mother, we find our loved ones, we find eternal Love. God is waiting for us: this is our great joy and the great hope that is born from this Feast. Mary visits us, and she is the joy of our life and joy is hope God.” Pope Benedict XVI 15/8/12
“The Jews were complaining to each other about Jesus, because he had said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.‘ ‘Surely this is Jesus son of Joseph’ they said. ‘We know his father and mother. How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven”?’ Jesus said in reply, Stop complaining to each other. ‘No one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets: They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father, and learn from it, is to come to me. Not that anybody has seen the Father, except the one who comes from God: he has seen the Father. I tell you most solemnly, everybody who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and they are dead; . but this is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a man may eat it and not die. I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.’ ” John 6: 41-51
Jesus said in reply, “Stop complaining to each other”.
There is a moment of crisis for those who follow Jesus. Will they accept what he says and who he is or will they turn away from him. True discipleship is tested in how we accept the word of God, Jesus, and live by it. Some of the crowd choose only to accept parts of Jesus, the part that satisfy them but not the part that challenges them or the cross that proves true discipleship.
The test for Christians today is to abide by Jesus word even when it challenges the world around us, when it seeks God way and not the way of the crowd. How do I pay heed to the Word of Jesus as revealed in the Gospel and explained in the teaching of the Church? Do I choose what part of Jesus and the Church’s teaching I will adhere to? Do I disregard parts of Christ’s teaching that I do not like? Jesus challenges the crowd to become true disciples or to walk away. He offers life, will I accept him or reject him?
Jesus invites the crowd to look beyond the ordinary (his family background) and to see the opportunity before them. That God has led them to him who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. In this moment, God is present and offers them life now and forever.
“No one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
I am the Bread of Life
“When the people saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into boats and crossed to Capernaum to look for Jesus. When they found him on the other side, they said to him, ‘Rabbi, when did you come here?’ Jesus answered: ‘I tell you most solemnly, you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat. Do not work for food that cannot last, but work for food that endures to eternal life, the kind of food the Son of Man is offering you, for on him the Father, God himself, has set his seal’
Then they said to him, ‘What must we do if we are to do the works that God wants?’
Jesus gave them this answer, ‘This is working for God: you must believe in the one he has sent.‘ So they said, ‘What sign will you give to show us that we should believe in you? What work will you do? Our fathers had manna to eat in the desert; as scripture says: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ Jesus answered: ‘I tell you most solemnly it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven, it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread; for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’~ ‘Sir,’ they said ‘give us that bread always.’ Jesus answered: ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry; he who believes in me will never thirst.’” John 6: 24-35
Jesus answered: ‘I tell you most solemnly, you are not looking for me because you have seen the signs but because you had all the bread you wanted to eat.
Why do you seek Jesus? What does he offer you? What do you expect from him? Jesus understands that the people seek him out because they have been fed and witnessed the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Now that they are fed, he seeks to draw them closer to himself, to reveal to them who he is. He seeks their faith. Discipleship grows from faith and inspires faith in others; it seeks to do the Lord’s will and not one’s own.
“The crowds were seeking Jesus out so that they could have the next piece of bread and not because they wanted to commit their lives to him. The same thing can happen to us when we come to church because we want to feel better about the way we are rather than to become the persons God wants us to be. The food that Jesus gives in the Eucharist and in our relationship with him is meant to transform us and motivate us to move forward in our discipleship until we reach the promised land of heaven.” Daniel H. Mueggenborg
The Feeding of the Multitude
“Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee or of Tiberias and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover. Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.‘ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.” John 6: 1-5
Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples
For the next six weeks, we will read from the Gospel of John chapter 6. It begins with the feeding of the multitude. All four Gospels record this event. St. John goes deeper into a reflection of what this event meant and continues to mean for us.
Jesus sitting down is taking the position of a teacher in ancient time. He wishes to instruct his disciples about what it means to be a follower of him. Discipleship is not about being spectators but about committed people who seek to understand Jesus’s message and life.
The crowds seek out Jesus because of what they have seen and heard he can do. In feeding them, he continues to show his compassion and love but also gives them the gift of himself. He continues to give the gift of himself to us in the Eucharist. He draws them and us into a deeper reflection and understanding on who he is and what it means to follow him.
The Disciples Return
“The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.” Mark 6:30-34
You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while
Being a Disciple is not all about action; it is also about reflection, contemplation and spiritual conversation. Jesus sees how the disciples have been working, how they responded to his command of going out to towns and villages in his name. He now leads them into a time of reflection and contemplate on what they have done and what they have been involved in. Though the time he had planned with them is thwarted because of the crowd who went before him, he teaches the Disciples as he teaches the crowd about what it is to be a Disciple. Jesus in caring for the crowd is teaching by his action. He is the Good Shepherd, the true leader.
All of us can be quick to act or react to something without a period of reflection. We can be quick to criticize and thwart new ideas simply because we have not had time to reflect on them or indeed do not wish to. All too often, we hear in media circles, comments and opinions quickly given without reflection. So too in our faith life, we can be quick to react and slow to reflect on what is said, what is going on, what is the message.
In the process of Synodality that Pope Francis has set before the Church at this time, we are invited to spiritual reflection on the Church today in our own parish, family, Diocese and Nation.
Jesus changed his plan in the Gospel of having an intimate time with the Disciples to caring for the crowd who went before him. He saw the greater need of the time and acted in love. May each person see what God is asking of them and doing in their lives, today.
Jesus sends out the Disciples
“Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs giving them authority over the unclean spirits. And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff – no bread, no haversack, no coppers for their purses. They were to wear sandals but, he added, ‘Do not take a spare tunic.‘ And he said to them, ‘If you enter a house anywhere, stay there until you leave the district. And if any place does not welcome you and people refuse to listen to you, as you walk away shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them.’ So they set off to preach repentance; and they cast out many devils, and anointed many sick people with oil and cured them”. Mark 6:7-13
Do not take a spare tunic.
Who am I? In life we can have various roles, sibling, parent, volunteer, worker and carer, jobs too can define a person. There can be multiple aspects to our identity such as nationality or race. The Twelve come from various backgrounds and have various aspects to who they are. Jesus in sending them out with one tunic is setting before them that their primary role is discipleship. They are to bring one message, the message of Jesus to others. The primary identity is ‘disciple’.
Clothes can be symbols of identity, of status and race. They can be a statement of who I am. Jesus in sending out the disciples is sending them out as his disciples; the clothing they wear is not to get in the way of his mission, they are not to present two aspects of their life but one.
Baptised people are clothed in the Garment of Christ. A white garment (tunic) is placed over a person immediately after Baptism to signify that they are clothed in Christ. The primary identity from that moment is ‘Christian’. First and foremost I am a Christian.
In all aspects of life the Baptised are to show Christ to others. The primary role of Christians is discipleship.
Do I first and foremost reflect Jesus in my life, work, family, career, political and cultural life?
What other identity in my life competes for the priority of ‘Who I am?’
Who do you say I am?
This question Jesus directed to Peter and the Apostles on one occasion is a question that Jesus by his very presence asks of his family and neighbours of his hometown. While he is recognised as a carpenter, son an a brother, he is not recognised as the Messiah. Their were blind to who he was and is. Their own perception of him prevented them from ‘seeing’, and thus no miracles were seen there. His family were no exception to the question just because they were related to him. This question ‘Who do you say I am?’ is a question that calls for an answer from each person who wishes to follow Jesus. Discipleship is to follow Jesus because one is convinced he is the Lord, the Messiah, the Son of God. To become a Disciple is to leave behind old way and seek to walk with Jesus on his way in accordance with his teaching.
Lord Jesus, you are the Son of God. Give me courage to follow you and to live by your teaching. Amen
Celebration of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Reception of Holy Communion for the first time
Bishop Crean has informed all parishes in the Diocese of Cloyne that the celebrations of Baptism, Reception of Holy Communion for the first time and Confirmation cannot be celebrated at this time due to advice from the Government in relation to the spread of the Delta variant of Covid -19. We appreciate that this is disappointing news, unfortunately no new dates can be given until after the 19th of July, depending on the Governments advice
When Jesus had crossed in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered around him; and he was by the sea. Then one of the leaders of the synagogue named Jairus came and, when he saw him, fell at his feet and begged him repeatedly, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well, and live.” So Jesus went with him; and a large crowd followed him and pressed in on him.
Now there was a woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years. She had endured much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had; and she was no better, but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus, and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, “If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.” Immediately her haemorrhage stopped; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. Immediately aware that power had gone forth from him, Jesus turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?” And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing in on you; how can you say, ‘Who touched me?’” He looked all around to see who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling, fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
While he was still speaking, some people came from the leader’s house to say, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the teacher any further?” But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the leader of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” He allowed no one to follow him except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James. When they came to the house of the leader of the synagogue, he saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. When he had entered, he said to them, “Why do you make a commotion and weep? The child is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. Then he put them all outside, and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him, and went in where the child was. He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha kum,” which means, “Little girl, get up!” And immediately the girl got up and began to walk about (she was twelve years of age). At this they were overcome with amazement. He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Word from Pope Benedict XVI 2009
“where the Spirit of God enters, he chases out fear; he makes us know and feel that we are in the hands of an Omnipotence of love: whatever happens, his infinite love will not abandon us.”
Icon of Jesus Calming the Storm
With the coming of evening, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind they took him, just as he was, in the boat; and there were other boats with him. Then it began to blow a gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But he was in the stern, his head on the cushion, asleep. They woke him and said to him, ‘Master, do you not care? We are going down!’ And he woke up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Quiet now! Be calm!’ And the wind dropped, and all was calm again. Then he said to them, ‘Why are you so frightened? How is it that you have no faith?’ They were filled with awe and said to one another, ‘Who can this be? Even the wind and the sea obey him.’.’ Mark 4: 35-41
Prayer of Faith
O God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I believe in you, I hope in you and I love you. I thank you Most Holy Trinity, for the gift of faith, which I have received from you though the Church in the Sacrament of Baptism.
I stand before you O God, in the long line of men and women who have ‘professed, prayed, lived and celebrated’ this faith handed on from the Apostles and Our Lady. Enkindle fire in my heart, that I may be ever more a credible witness to your redeeming love. May my thoughts, words and actions reflect the beauty of faith.
I pray that, in imitation of Mary, model of believers, I share this life of faith with others. This I ask in the name of Jesus who has sown the faith in our hearts through his word, as he lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever
Pope Francis 13th June 2021
Today Jesus compares the Kingdom of God, that is, his presence that dwells in the heart of things and of the world, to the mustard seed, that is, to the smallest seed there is: it is really tiny. Yet, cast upon the ground, it grows until becoming the tallest tree (cf. Mk 4:31-32). This is what God does. At times, the din of the world, along with the many activities that fill our days, prevent us from stopping and seeing how the Lord is conducting history. Yet – the Gospel assures us – God is at work, like a good little seed that silently and slowly germinates. And, little by little, it becomes a lush tree, which gives life and rest to everyone. The seed of our good works too can seem like a small thing, yet all that is good pertains to God, and thus it humbly, slowly bears fruit. Good, let us remember, always grows in a humble way, in a hidden, often invisible way.
Dear brothers and sisters, with this parable Jesus wants to instill us with confidence. In so many of life’s situations, indeed, it may happen that we get discouraged, because we see the weakness of good as compared to the apparent power of evil. And we may allow ourselves to be paralyzed by doubt when we find we are working hard but the results are not achieved, and things seem never to change. The Gospel asks us to take a fresh look at ourselves and at reality; it asks us to have bigger eyes, that are able to see further, especially beyond appearances, in order to discover the presence of God who as humble love is always at work in the soil of our life and that of history. This is our confidence, this is what gives us the strength to go forward every day, patiently, sowing the good that will bear fruit.
How important this attitude also is for coming out of the pandemic well! To cultivate the confidence of being in God’s hands and at the same time for all of us to commit ourselves to rebuilding and starting up again, with patience and perseverance.
In the Church too, weeds of doubt can take root, especially when we witness the crisis of faith and the failure of different projects and initiatives. But let us never forget that the results of sowing do not depend our abilities: they depend on the action of God. It is up to us to sow, and sow with love, with dedication and with patience. But the force of the seed is divine. Jesus explains it in today’s other parable: the farmer sows the seed and then does not realize how it bears fruit, because it is the seed itself that grows spontaneously, day and night, when he least expects it (cf. vv. 26-29). With God in the most infertile soil there is always the hope of new sprouts.