Pastors Desk: Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time / C

Posted 14th September 2019 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 15th September 2019 - Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time/C

forgivenessWhen a family member or friend hurts us by something they may say or do we can find it difficult to forgive them. When someone hurts us constantly we can eventually give up and reject any further requests for forgiveness. Thankfully that is not how God works in our lives. His mercy and compassion are unending. No matter how often we seek his forgiveness he is ready to forgive and welcomes us with open arms. However, we should never take it for granted. If we have experienced God’s mercy and forgiveness in our lives, then we are duty bound to pass on or share that mercy and compassion with those who have hurt us. Each time we pray the Our Father we ask the Lord to ‘forgive us our trespasses’, our wrongs, and we promise to also forgive those who have ‘trespassed’ or done wrong against us. So we publicly declare our need to be forgiven and to forgive.

In today’s gospel Jesus gives three examples of things that are lost - the sheep, the coin, the son - and he tells of the joy of all those who find what they are looking for. Their joy, he tells those listening, is tiny by comparison to the joy that God has when we repent and turn back towards him.

We pray that we may never be afraid to turn to the Lord and seek his forgiveness at all times.

Fr. Gerry

Pastors Desk: Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time/C

Posted 7th September 2019 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 8th September 2019 - Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time/C

23rd-sundayWe can all be attracted by the idea of a bargain or something that on face value may seem to be a good offer. Our television screens are filled with advertisements trying to lure us to buy a product or sign up to a contract with some service provider. A particular supermarket may be offering extra points on their loyalty cards if we purchase a particular item this week. The mobile phone companies may appear to be offering free upgrades and good deals with extra minutes and data. Then there are the gambling sites trying to get people to sign up with the promise of €10 credit with your first play or bet. On face value all these offers may seem good and irresistible but in reality when we look at the small print they all come with terms and conditions attached.

In today’s Gospel Jesus is quick to point out that there are no hidden terms and conditions in being a disciple or follower. He is upfront in setting out the challenge and the cost to us. He lays down the four conditions for true Christian discipleship. Renouncing any attachment to family by putting God first before any other relationships and self-interest. By cutting off any attachment we may have to personal possessions and always share our blessings with others. Accepting the hard consequences of discipleship daily. And finally, we should always calculate the cost involved in all our actions. Jesus says: we need to think long and hard about Christian discipleship before we make any decision.

In a nutshell if we are to follow Christ through time into eternity, it costs nothing less than everything. The challenge for all of us is to answer that call daily through prayer and positive action in our lives.

Fr. Gerry

Pastors Desk: Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time/C

Posted 31st August 2019 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 1st September 2019 - Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time/C

feastIn Today’s gospel we hear how Jesus has gone to the house of one of the leading Pharisees in the community. They eagerly watch him and listen to what he has to say.

At the banquet, Jesus is not impressed by some guests who were pushing themselves forward and manoeuvring their way to get a place of honour at the table. He immediately comments about how important good manners are when we are invited as a guest to someone’s home. Here he is alluding to the eternal banquet in the kingdom of heaven.

The Pharisees were supposed to be simple pastors, but they always sought the places of honour and enjoyed the attention of others. When they held a banquet themselves, they only invited the rich and the powerful to join them. Put quite bluntly, they were big hypocrites.

We live in a world of power and privilege that often sees an expression humility as a sign of weakness or poor self-image. Only those who push themselves forward will survive according to that notion. But humility is an attempt to try and see ourselves as God sees us. It’s about taking stock of ourselves not in a boastful or proud way, but in the light of God’s grace.

Our lives only have true meaning when we are sincere in relation to God. It is the key that opens the gate of heaven for us.

God rejects the proud and raises up the humble. We should always pay heed to the words of Jesus today: ”For anyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Fr. Gerry

Pastor's Desk: Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 24th August 2019 in Pastor's Desk

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

The Deep End • Curiouser and curiouser

‘Alice opened the door and found that it led into a small passage, not much larger than a rat-hole: she knelt down and looked along the passage into the loveliest garden you ever saw. How she longed to get out of that dark hall, and wander about among those beds of bright flowers and those cool fountains, but she could not even get her head though the doorway.’ (Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

In the opening chapter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice is having a bit of bother with doors. She finds herself in a hall in which the doors are all locked. When she finds a key, it doesn’t fit the locks. When she manages to find a door to match the key, she herself won’t fit through; the doorway is too narrow. How frustrating!

The parable in today’s Gospel also features a narrow door and a locked door, as well as an unsympathetic doorkeeper – it’s almost as if the master wants to keep everyone out! People knock on the door and expect to be admitted, but it’s not that simple. The master turns them away, claiming not to know them, despite protestations that they are acquainted.

Jesus is trying to teach his followers about discipleship. What does he mean when he says we must ‘enter by the narrow door’? Is it almost impossible to enter the kingdom of God? One thing is sure: a passing acquaintance with Jesus will not be enough. The plea of ‘We once ate and drank in your company’ is feeble. It is not enough to know Jesus only on the surface – to attend Mass every Sunday or to turn to him only when we are in need. To really know Jesus, one must walk the narrow path of the Gospel.

Tríona Doherty

Pastor's Desk: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 17th August 2019 in Pastor's Desk

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

The Deep End • Three against two and two against three

Sadly, many people are no strangers to family feuds. In past generations, things like land and inheritance were major causes of family disagreements, causing parents to fall out with sons or daughters, or siblings to stop speaking for years. We may have heard other stories from our own families – secrets that were not talked about, relatives who were shunned for ‘shaming’ the family. These attitudes are dying away, and that is good. We are less concerned with keeping up appearances, and more focused on ensuring children feel loved and supported.

Yet, there will always be conflicts in family life. Differences of opinion can arise over beliefs or choices, sometimes causing immense hurt on both sides. Often these disagreements are between generations. Parents who have raised their children in the faith can feel hurt when a son or daughter drifts away, or decides not to pass on the faith to their own children. Grandparents often carry this burden too.

Some conflict is unavoidable as we navigate these situations, but we have a choice – do we allow anger and hurt to shape our interactions with loved ones, or do we listen with respect and try to understand and find common ground? Perhaps these inevitable conflicts are what Jesus refers to in today’s Gospel – father divided against son, mother against daughter. It’s a surprising statement given his usual focus on peace. But then, following Jesus is not a smooth path. Peace can be hard-won, particularly in families where there are so many different personalities and opinions. Let us pray for wisdom and patience to navigate the tougher times.

Tríona Doherty