Pastors Desk: Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time / A

Posted 30th September 2017 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 1st October 2017 - Twenty Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time / A

love-and-supportIn our Gospel reading today, we meet two sons with very different approaches to mission and ministry. One of them agrees, perhaps a bit hastily, to accept the request from his father. Maybe he wants to please him but he certainly does not give himself any time for reflection and later decides not to complete the task.

The other son is also a bit hasty with his decision making but, having thought about it for a while, decides to go and do what he was asked.

At this time of year we recommence various parish groups and activities after the summer break. Many of us will have enjoyed the opportunity over the summer to be out in the fresh air and to have pleasant walks on the longer evenings. As the days start to get a bit shorter, it’s a good time to think about how we can spend some time assisting in our parish community in various ways.

One way we can do this is to pray for the parish and in particular for parishioners who are sick, whether at home, in hospital or in nursing homes. We can ask God to accompany them at this challenging part of their journey of faith.

I think we often underestimate the difference that a smile or a kind word can make to a person. A priest once told me that, even if he was rushing somewhere, he would always try to take time to speak to any parishioners who wanted to have a word with him. And this ministry of listening is there for each and every one of us in the different circumstances of our lives.

Like the two sons in today’s gospel, we too have to weigh up carefully what time and commitment with can give to our parish and to reflect on how our talents and abilities can be of service to our community. And we should remember that even small gestures can be of real benefit to people.

Deacon Gerard Reilly

Pastors Desk: Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time / A

Posted 23rd September 2017 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 24th September 2017 - Twenty Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time / A

farmer1Our readings today are essentially about our human sense of justice. The group of farm workers judge the generosity of the land-owner as unjust and unfair.

We can all remember those times from childhood when we argued with our parents about something not being fair. A sibling who got a bigger dessert than us or was allowed to stay up late while we were sent to bed. Maybe it was in school when we thought that the teacher was showing favouritism or during a football match we disagreed with the referee awarding a penalty or sending a player off the pitch.

In work, maybe we feel that we work harder than anyone else and should be rewarded more than all of our colleagues. But envy should have no place in our hearts because we can’t control the way God blesses others. We should just be grateful that he does, just as he blesses us too.

Essentially what Jesus is telling us today, is that as his followers a full wage is given to each of us regardless of whether we have worked all our lives or just turned to him later in life. His mercy is far greater than our human minds can comprehend and he is always ready to pardon us. The story of the landlord’s love and generosity represents God’s love and generosity towards us.

Jesus also wanted to teach the disciples that they didn’t have any special place of honour because of their close association with him. All individuals, no matter when they come to him, are equally precious to God.

Fr Gerry

Pastors Desk: Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time / A

Posted 16th September 2017 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 17th September 2017 - Twenty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time / A

as-we-forgiveForgiveness and mercy are the main themes of our readings today. We can all find it difficult to forgive those who have hurt us, with things they have done or said about us, but it forms a central theme of the gospels.

Today’s first reading from the Book of Ecclesiasticus urges us to forgive our neighbour for any hurt they have caused us. Because, if we hold or ‘nurse’ any anger towards them, how can we expect mercy and forgiveness from God for the hurts we have caused others. We are encouraged to live by the commandments and overlook the offence.

In today’s gospel Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother when he wrongs him. Jesus tells him ‘Seventy times seven’ to illustrate or indicate that there is no limit on the times we must extend that forgiveness to others. It’s a daily and lifelong challenge because the memory of wrongs and hurts can deeply affect our ability to forgive situations. It does not come easy or sometimes without cost.

The story of the wicked servant today is a reminder to us that we are duty bound to extend the hand of forgiveness to those who have hurt us when we have already received the forgiveness and compassion of a loving God throughout our lives. For example, each time we pray the Our Father we ask God to ‘forgive us our Trespasses’, ‘as we forgive those who have trespassed against us’, how can we say that if we have not put it into practice daily.

Fr Gerry

Pastors Desk: Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time / A

Posted 9th September 2017 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 10th September 2017 - Twenty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time / A

hands1The term ‘duty of care’ is a recent addition to our vocabulary. In the past, we may have used the word ‘responsibility’ instead. Today we can say that parents have a duty of care to their children. Similarly, teachers have a responsibility for the children in their class. Anyone in a caring profession has a ‘duty of care’ to anyone whose health or wellbeing has been entrusted to them.

On a personal level for example, if we are in company with someone who wants to drive home after consuming alcohol we will try to stop them as they could cause serious injury or even death to themselves, other road users and pedestrians. We do this out of a common notion of a duty of care we should have for each other.

In today’s Gospel Jesus reminds those listening that the welfare of all members of the community, the strong and the weak, is paramount. He tells them that it’s important that they support each other and even be prepared to speak out if any of them is going down the wrong path in life. These words or actions should not be motivated by any sense of malice or some previously held grudge, but simply out of love.

Of course, the chances are that we will be accused of interfering in the lives of our family and friends and we risk losing a long-established friendship, but it’s a risk we must take when it’s needed. And we do this out of genuine love and concern. That must be our guiding principle in all we say and do, always.

Lord, keep us sensitive to one another’s needs as we live our lives together.

Fr Gerry

Pastors Desk: Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time/A

Posted 2nd September 2017 in Pastor's Desk

Pastor’s Desk 3rd September 2017 - Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time / A

take-up-your-crossIn today’s Gospel Jesus surprises the disciples when he tells them that he will go to Jerusalem and is destined to suffer greatly there at the hands of the Elders, the chief priests and the scribes, die and be raised up on the third day.

Peter is reluctant to accept pain or hardship as part of discipleship and so he is quick to challenge Jesus and tells him that this must not happen to him. It seems that maybe Peter sees discipleship as a life of privilege and the very thought that it might end that way for Jesus or any of them was difficult to accept or comprehend.

In reply, Jesus tells Peter to step out of his way, that he must not be an obstacle to God’s plan for humanity. He tells him that the ways of this world are not God’s ways and He outlines the three conditions of discipleship: ‘Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me’. Followers must be prepared to renounce any sense of privilege or status and simply follow him.

That challenge to place all our trust in God and follow him with hearts and minds focussed on the reward we will receive in the next life is often difficult. Especially when we are told the journey may involve an element of suffering for us all. But the reward for us in this life is the knowledge that we don’t travel alone. That, during times of difficulty, pain and sadness, God is present, guiding us and sending others to us who help to carry our cross and ease the burden.

Fr Gerry