Pastor's Desk: 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 29th August 2015 in Pastor's Desk

In place of the Pastor’s Desk this week, we include the following extract from Intercom Magazine:

The Deep End - Dirty Hands

In Denys Arcand’s film Jesus of Montreal (1988), a group of actors stage a passion play, garnering praise in the process for their gritty, stripped down re-telling of the Jesus story. While their play casts doubt on the divinity of Jesus, their lives outside the drama begin to imitate his story. The lead actor, Daniel, is heralded by one of his fellow actors and gathers a group of actors/disciples. A cynical lawyer even tempts him with fame and fortune in a skyscraper ‘wilderness.’ Like Jesus, Daniel eats with those who have dirty hands. One actor dubs pornographic movies while another is having an affair with the local priest who, coincidentally, has hired the group to perform the passion.

Mark’s authorities miss the point of their ‘human’ traditions. Jesus offers a more radical way of thinking, which ultimately leads to his trial, death and glorification. For the Pharisees, Jesus is an impious lawbreaker. But Mark reminds his readers that the authorities have mistaken their own customs for God’s law. Arcand’s movie finds an apt allegory for this in Daniel’s motley crew of actors. While some might find Arcand’s replacing of Christianity with theatre disturbing, the parable, like all parables, reveals a truth. The Gospel plays with our boundaries. Those with dirty hands seem outside but it is the expected insiders who are ultimately rejected. Both Mark’s and Arcand’s stories end unresolved, to be continued in the lives of those who eat without washing.

Paul Clogher

Pastor's Desk: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 22nd August 2015 in Pastor's Desk

In place of the Pastor’s Desk this week, we include the following extract from Intercom Magazine:

The Deep End - Bodies

John’s lengthy episode in the synagogue at Capernaum operates like a press conference that does not end well. Many of Jesus’ followers abandon him, scandalised at his Eucharistic tones. ‘This is intolerable language,’ they muse. Alone with his disciples, Jesus asks them if they wish to leave too. Like the synoptic accounts, Peter takes the opportunity to profess his faith. Here, however, he does not get rewarded with the keys to the kingdom. There are a few twists and turns to go in his story.

The remnant of Jesus’ followers have serious questions: what could the miracle of loaves mean? And how could one possibly eat this man’s flesh? Perhaps it is only in the Eucharistic body of the community that these scenes make sense.

Theologian Graham Ward calls this expansion the ‘displaced body of Jesus Christ’ and Gerard Loughlin explains it in this way: ‘Jesus’ body is gradually lost to sight with its crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. But leaves only in order to return, infinitely transposed in the Eucharistic body that feeds the body of the Church, which becomes Christ’s body, not metaphorically, but actually, as its non-identical, analogical repetition.’ In the body of believers, this ‘intolerable’ body of Christ expands and lives most fully in the bodies of others as they share his table.

Paul Clogher

Pastor's Desk: 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 15th August 2015 in Pastor's Desk

In place of the Pastor’s Desk this week, we include the following extract from Intercom Magazine:

The Deep End - Images of the Word

John’s extended discourse on the bread of life is by now taking on the characteristics of a press conference. Jesus puts his point across and then faces intense questioning. Part of the scandal caused by his words might be explained, at least historically, by the Jewish prohibition against the consumption of blood for, as Deuteronomy puts it, ‘the blood is the life.’ It is no surprise, then, that the first hearers of this teaching may have recoiled in horror, disgust and confusion.

Jesus’ invitation to share in his body and blood has captivated the Christian imagination for millennia. Giovanni Bellini’s The Blood of the Redeemer (1460-65) depicts a timeless Jesus, perhaps between life and death, who offers his blood continuously in a gaping wound next to his heart while his body bears itself to the gaze of the viewer. Bellini combines the pathos of Christ’s injuries with the elegance of his classically constructed body to stir our compassion and evoke meditation.

Bellini’s imagery would have scandalised first century Jewish audiences for many reasons, too many to name here. This suggests that our understanding of Jesus’ body and blood, his saving body, has evolved over time. But in Bellini’s art, John’s poetry, and the life of the Christian community, words and images collide to bear witness to the Word made flesh in the boundless space of the Christian imagination.

Paul Clogher

Feast of the Assumption

Posted 9th August 2015 in Ceremonies

Next Saturday, 15th August, is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and is a holy day of obligation. Masses in Holy Trinity Parish will be as follows:

  • Friday 14th August at 6.30pm (Vigil Mass)
  • Saturday 15th August at 10.00am

The Saturday evening Mass will be the Vigil Mass for Sunday, as usual.

Pastor's Desk: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 8th August 2015 in Pastor's Desk

In place of the Pastor’s Desk this week, we include the following extract from Intercom Magazine:

The Deep End - Murmurings

Both Elijah and the crowd at Capernaum murmur in their respective wildernesses. The prophet even craves death. His journey has made him disillusioned and he begs for release. The stories of Elijah’s journey to Horeb and Jesus’ extended discourse allude to the older tale of the Israelites in the desert complaining about God – or more accurately God’s perceived absence. At the same time, they need to get over their own notions, or misplaced desires, and stop making God in their own image.

An angel arrives to save Elijah and help him on his journey. Jesus, contrastingly, offers himself as the journey’s end. But his audience react with incredulity. They know his family. He is a local. How could this rural ‘wannabe’ tell them something they do not already know?

The Christian community is the body of Christ. Perhaps it is for this reason that Paul asks his readers to stop moaning and ‘be friends.’ In the body of Christ gathered around his table we become friends with God as well as one another. Atonement becomes ‘at-one-ment’ and murmuring gives way to friendship. Leaving behind the wilderness, we might find our way back to the garden, where in that most ancient of stories God walks and talks with us, as friends.

Paul Clogher