Pastors Desk: 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time/B

Posted 13th October 2018 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 14th October 2018 - Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time/B

harvest-the-richness1You only have to check the glossy magazines in the Dentist or Doctor’s waiting room to see how preoccupied many of us are with the lives of the rich and famous. Many stars receive enormous sums of money by allowing these publications exclusive access to their weddings or their homes etc. Magazines like this are big business and make handsome profits from sales to anyone who likes to keep up to date with these so called ‘stars’. From time to time newspapers print lists of the Wealthiest people in the world whose collective fortunes run into Billions. For some it’s a huge status symbol to be included on the list. A person’s success or status is often judged by the amount of money they have made over time.

In today’s gospel the young man who was essentially a good living and kind person asks Jesus what he has to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus knows he is a good individual but challenges him even further by telling him that he needs to give up everything he has in order to achieve his goal. Sadly, the man is unable to give up his great wealth and he leaves feeling disheartened and empty handed. It’s worth noting here that two other well-known rich men, St. Francis and St. Ignatius of Loyola, were prompted by the Lord to abandon their wealth in order to answer God’s call.

None of us are wealthy like this man was or the rich and famous are today. We may be struggling to keep on top of bills and other day-to-day living expenses. But we are wealthy in the knowledge that God is with us throughout our lives. In good times and in bad. So we are on a different type of ‘Rich List’. To share in that richness we need to recognise that all the other material wealth is transitory and of no use to us in the next world.

Fr. Gerry

Pastors Desk: Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time/B

Posted 6th October 2018 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 7th October 2018 - Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time/B

wedding-ringsThrough my work with ACCORD I get to meet many couples at pre-marriage courses. Many have been living together for some time but have now decided to enter into the Sacrament of Marriage. As part of my presentation I ask the couples to focus a little on why they have chosen a Sacramental marriage over a simple civil ceremony. Do they really recognise the part that God have played in bringing them together and now want to enter into a Sacramental celebration or is it simply down to pressure from parents or some other reason?

I then ask them to focus on the marriage vows that they will exchange during the ceremony and try to illustrate how intrinsic they are to the celebration of the Sacrament. What exactly does it mean to say ‘for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, all the days of our lives’. For most of them it’s the first time they have ever thought or spoken to each other about the true meaning of the vows they will make on their wedding day.

In today’s Gospel the Pharisees try to catch Jesus out by a question on the lawfulness of divorce. It’s clear that the Law of Moses allowed some form of divorce. It’s also worth noting that the Pharisees said the law gave the man the right to drop his wife whenever he wished but that his wife had no corresponding right. Jesus is quick to point out that the man had no more right to divorce and marry another than had his wife.

Living out the Sacrament of Marriage is not always easy or plain sailing. God’s ideal is not always achieved. It’s only God’s love that can embrace the failure as tenderly as the success.

Fr. Gerry

Pastors Desk: Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time/B

Posted 29th September 2018 in Pastor's Desk

cross1Pastor’s Desk 30th September 2018 - Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time/B

Today’s readings give us a stern warning against jealousy, intolerance and scandal.

In today’s Gospel John is eager to tell Jesus that they have seen a stranger who was not one of the disciples casting out devils in his name. They tried to stop his efforts. They expected Jesus to condemn the man but instead Jesus quickly tells them that they had no right to stop him because he was doing something that was essentially good and life giving.

But why would the disciples want to condemn a man who was essentially doing something that was good and that brought healing to others? Well perhaps they may have been jealous of this stranger. Maybe their own efforts to bring about healing in others had not been as successful? Jesus is quick to reprimand the disciples for their jealousy and suspicion and tells them that they should not be so narrow minded and to recognise God’s power wherever it was found.

He wanted the disciples to rejoice in the good that all others did for their fellow women and men with the words “Anyone who is not against us is for us”. In other words why condemn the man when he was doing something good.

None of us has the monopoly on God’s work, love or the power to heal. Intolerance from fear of other faiths or envy can prevent us from responding to Jesus’ primary command to love of our neighbour irrespective of their beliefs or position in life. It is through mutual respect that we find common ground with others and discover strengths in the different beliefs. Whenever or wherever we see God’s work being done we should give it our support and be ready to work together with those doing the work irrespective of their faith or not.

Fr. Gerry

Pastors Desk: Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time/B

Posted 22nd September 2018 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 23rd September 2018 - Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time/B

great-is-the-lordToday, Jesus is using the opportunity to have some time alone with the disciples so that he could instruct them in private. He told them how the Son of Man would be betrayed and be put to death; and then rise again after three days. Of course, they didn’t understand what he was trying to tell them and were too afraid to ask him in case they looked foolish.

Then, as they continued their journey and reached Capernaum Jesus asks them what they had been arguing about while they were walking the road. It’s obvious he knew what the conversation was about but wanted them to share their deliberations. They had been quarrelling and squabbling over who was the greatest among them. Of course, they were embarrassed and said nothing to Jesus.

Now, Jesus asks them to sit down and he uses the occasion to instruct and to point out to them what constitutes true greatness in God’s eyes. True greatness, he says, does not come from having power and influence over people but consists in humble service. If they are to be his friends service is more important than any power-filled prestige.

Using a little child as an example of complete trust and innocence he declares ‘anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me’. He turns our worldly value system upside down.
For Jesus, everyone is important. There are no exceptions. We owe all we have to God our Father.

Fr. Gerry

Pastors Desk: Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time/B

Posted 15th September 2018 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 16th September 2018 - Twenty Forth Sunday in Ordinary Time/B

24th-sundayUntil now the disciples had been amazed by the miracles Jesus had performed. In the gospel today, they finally come to recognise who Jesus really is.

After they leave the villages around Caesarea Philippi he eventually puts the question to the disciples ‘who do people say that in am’ - put even more simply ‘what is the public opinion about me’. They give the many different interpretations of what people are saying and then Jesus finally asks, but what about you all. What do you think? What’s your opinion?

It is Peter who speaks up on their behalf. He gives a definitive answer ‘You are the Christ’. It’s worth noting that Jesus ordered them not to tell anyone what they had ultimately determined about him.

Then Jesus begins to tell the disciples what was going to happen to him. He predicts the suffering of the cross. Peter is uncomfortable with the prospect of suffering in his own life and challenges Jesus. Jesus’ immediate reaction is to refer to Peter as Satan, telling him that his thinking or understanding of things are ‘not God’s way but man’s.’

Throughout history suffering has been part of life. The age-old problem of why people suffer has challenged many minds down the centuries but has never been satisfactorily resolved for most. Even though many books have been written on the subject, each one offering different perspectives, none have been able to offer an overall understanding on why suffering exists in the first place.

What Jesus did was to give suffering meaning and value by filling it with his presence. He showed us how to put the crosses that come our way to good use.

Fr. Gerry