Pastors Desk: Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time/A

Posted 15th February 2020 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 16th February 2020 - Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time/A

6th-sunday-in-ordinary-timeOur readings today challenge us to make wise choices and observe the laws given by a loving and caring God.

In our first reading from Ecclesiasticus we are told that we can keep God’s commandments and that to behave faithfully towards him in all matters is within our power. God never forces us to do good or evil. We are told we can choose freely to put our hand into fire or water.

Saint Paul challenges the people of Corinth that they should appreciate the wisdom of God’s saving plan for his people, revealed to us through the Spirit.

Jesus tells his disciples that he has not come to abolish the Law or the prophets but to complete them. The Scribes and the Pharisees regarded themselves as the greatest upholders of the Law. By keeping all the outward observances, they believed that they were at one with God. Jesus was aware of that so tells those listening today that if their virtue goes no deeper than that of the Pharisees they will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.

There is a message here for each of us. We may feel that coming to Mass each week is all that’s required of us. We can be like the Pharisees believing that if we pray daily and give to charity we are righteous. But righteousness is not something we earn - it is something we receive through God’s grace which allows us to say ‘Yes’ to him when we are tested in all matters of faith.

Fr. Gerry C.

Pastors Desk: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time/A

Posted 8th February 2020 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 9th February 2020 - Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time/A

5th-sunday-in-ordinary-timeLight and salt are two simple metaphors that Jesus uses in today’s readings. The prophet Isaiah tells those listening that they should let their light shine like the dawn and dispel the darkness of those who are less fortunate. The world will see that they are men and women of integrity who are acting for the good of their fellow humanity.

In the absence of modern refrigeration methods in years past salt was the commonest of all the preservatives used to pickle meat and fish or things in jars so that they could be enjoyed in the future. Today we mainly use it to season our food during or after cooking. Now we take light for granted at the flick of a switch but back then the absence of light meant danger to people. We need a lamp to guide the way forward to avoid that danger. Jesus Christ is that beacon for us all.

Jesus would have known the importance of these two commodities to the people of his time, so he uses them as an example to help to get his message across. He tells his listeners in today’s Gospel that they are the salt of the earth but warns them that when salt becomes tasteless it is useless and good for nothing. By being the salt of the earth, we can help to preserve the faith we have. We are also to be a light to the world and should let it radiate so that other people are drawn to him by the love, kindness, forgiveness and mercy we show to others.

Fr. Gerry C.

Pastors Desk: The Presentation of the Lord/A

Posted 1st February 2020 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 2nd February 2020 - The Presentation of the Lord/A

presentation-of-the-lordToday we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord which is also known as Candlemas. If we count the number of days from Christmas day until the 2nd of February, today is the 40th day. In the Book of Leviticus, a Jewish woman was required to live in isolation or seclusion for forty days after giving birth to a son. In the past, a similar tradition was observed in the Catholic Church, which required women to be ‘churched’ within a specified period after giving birth - a practice that was often misunderstood.

As devout Jews, Mary and Joseph knew this tradition and so they brought the infant Jesus, their first-born male son, to the temple on this day to be consecrated to the Lord and to offer a sacrifice as the ancient Law of Moses had requested.

Simeon was a noble and devout figure in the community. He spent much of his time in prayer in the temple waiting for the One to come who would establish Israel’s comforting as the prophet Isaiah had predicted. Furthermore, Simeon believed that he would not die until he had set his eyes on the ‘Christ of the Lord’. The Holy Spirit prompted him to come to the temple and as soon as Mary and Joseph enter with Jesus, Simeon takes him into his arms and thanks God that the light of the world that had been foretold had now been revealed to all humanity.

As we leave Mass on Candlemas, we are asked to carry his light into our homes, our community, our world and help to enlighten the lives of those we love and meet.

Fr. Gerry C.

Pastors Desk: Third Sunday in Ordinary Time/A

Posted 25th January 2020 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 26th January 2020 - Third Sunday in Ordinary Time/A

catholic-schoolThis is Catholic Schools Week. Throughout the week, pupils in all our parish schools will celebrate their faith and focus a little on what it means to be a Christian and how they can put that into practice in school each day.

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus’ clear call to ‘Repent, because the kingdom of God is close at hand’. He then invites Peter and Andrew, then James and John, to ‘follow me’. We are told that they left what they were doing immediately to follow him. They must have been wondering what Jesus meant when he told them he would make them into ‘fishers of Men’. Can you imagine if someone was to come along to any of us today and invite us to leave all we had to do the same? Would we respond freely to their request?

In a world where contracts and conditions of employment are very important today, it is amazing is that the disciples responded without questioning. They followed Jesus in the knowledge and trust that he would not abandon them. These ordinary men with no special training were given the job of bringing the knowledge and love of God to the whole world.

That responsibility to share the message of the Gospel with others is now in all our hands as the modern disciples. We are challenged to bring God’s love and compassion to all we meet in our daily lives.

Fr. Gerry C.

Pastors Desk: Second Sunday in Ordinary Time/A

Posted 18th January 2020 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 19th January 2020 - Second Sunday in Ordinary Time/A

christian-unityToday we begin our Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Too often in the past, the Christian Churches have been divided on different issues instead of focusing on what unites us all as followers of Jesus Christ.

When John sees Jesus coming towards him, he is quick to proclaim, ‘Look there is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world’. He tells them that Jesus was the one he spoke of when he said that someone was coming after him who was far greater than he was. It’s almost as if John the Baptist is saying that his task is now complete and that it’s up to those listening to decide for themselves if they want to become followers of ‘the Chosen One of God’.

Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we are all called to be Jesus’ modern day disciples and his witnesses by the way we live our lives. That seed or gift of faith which was planted back then requires a loving personal response from us. Our faith is not something that we live out in isolation from the wider world. We are called to be ministers of his love and show compassion to those we meet daily. Bearing witness to Christ is an active, not passive, lifelong task. By doing so we can also draw or invite others to ‘come and see’ and hopefully respond to his lifelong invitation.

May always that flame of faith we all received at baptism burn brightly in our hearts.

Fr. Gerry C.