Sunday, January 31, 2010

4th Sunday Cycle C

Mass Readings:
1st Reading: Jer 1:4-5, 17-19
2nd Reading: 1Cor 12:31-13:13
Gospel: Luke 4:21-30

The Gospel reading to-day is a continuation of last week's Gospel Luke 4:14-21. Last week Luke told us that Jesus "with the power of the Spirit in Him returned to Galilee; and His reputation spread throughout the countryside - He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised Him."

While today we hear again that Jesus "won the approval of all and the people were astonished by the gracious words that came from His lips" this admiration soon turned sour! Today's Gospel ends with the stunning words: "they took Him (Jesus) up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw Him down the cliff, but He slipped through the crowd and walked away".

How mysterious to relflect on the fact that the preaching of Jesus, the Son of God, who was filled with "the power of the Spirit", was rejected by some. Must we, His disciples, be surprised if our preaching is not accepted by our contemporaries. But Jesus continued to proclaim the truth no matter what the cost and we know that this ultimately led to the Cross. His love for His Father and for us His brothers and sisters was so great that it was unthinkable for Him to give up. St Paul's hymn on 'love' in the second reading could be paraphrased as follows:

Jesus was always patient and kind; He was never jealous; He was never boastful or conceited; never rude or selfish; did not take offence, and was not resentful. Jesus took no pleasure in other people's sins but delighted in the truth; He was always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever came.

Ultimately it was His love which triumphed over death and in Him we too triumph over sin and evil. And so we pray in the opening prayer of today's Mass:
Lord our God, help us to love you with all our hearts and to love all men and women as you love them. Amen.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2nd Sunday Cycle C


1st Reading: Is 62:1-5
2nd Reading: 1Cor 12:4-11
Gospel: Jn 2:1-12

Reflection 1

A homely scene some 2000 years ago
A wedding feast at Cana.
Jesus, God and man invited,
His disciples too.
The wine runs short
Mary, God’s own Mother takes note,
Her appeal to her Son bears fruit.
Water is turned into wine and in abundance!
And today?
Jesus loves the Church, you and me, as a Bride.
He conquered our sin and death by His appalling Death
And glorious Resurrection.
Brought us redemption; blessed us with his Spirit.
Shamefully we, members of the Church, have been unfaithful.
The God of love does not forsake us:
“No longer are you to be named ‘forsaken’
nor your land ‘abandoned’
but you shall be called ‘my delight’
and your land ‘the wedded’
Dare we once again heed God’s Mother
And do what he tells us?
‘Repent and believe the Gospel.’
‘Love one another as I have loved you’.
‘Forgive and you shall be forgiven’
‘As the Father has loved me so I have loved you
remain in my love'
He let his glory be seen (through us) and his disciples
Believed in him.
As the bridegroom rejoices in his bride,
So will your God rejoice in you.

Thank you, Merciful Jesus, friend of sinners.

Reflection 2

About Zion I will not be silent
About Jerusalem I will not grow weary
until her integrity shines out like the dawn,
and her salvation flames like a torch

In this 1st.reading of to-days liturgy we hear an echo of Jesus' great cry on the Cross---- I THIRST.

Thirsting-yes but for what?-----Water to be sure, to quench the terrible physical thirst he was enduring ---- but far, far more He thirsted for our love---yours and mine ------everyone’s-----He says 'I will not grow weary'

Julian of Norwich tells us that He still has that same thirst and longing which He had on the Cross. This desire and longing and thirst were in Him from the beginning and they will persist until He has won the last soul for his Father.

Listen again----About Zion I will not be silent-----About Jerusalem I will not grow weary. Hear the yearning and pleading in these words. This is Jesus' spiritual thirst - His longing in love to gather us all into the safe place of His Heart, to our endless joy. As truly as there is in Him a quality of compassion so there is in Him a quality of thirst and longing, and the power of this longing in Christ enables us to respond to His longing.

His is a longing to possess us - "As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride - so will your God rejoice over you". In nearly every page of the Prophets and the Gospels we can sense this thirsting love of our God.

The Saints heard it - Dominic heard it - Mother Teresa in our own day felt in her inmost being this thirsting love of Jesus on the cross, and it became a living flame within her. He asked her to bring this love into the dark corners of every heart.

He even turns to us, pleads with us to sow the seed of His Word in every heart.
Maybe the ground of my heart is parched, but if I plead with Him He will surely send His Spirit to irrigate it, and transform me into a missionary of His love.

Most Holy Spirit let your power overshadow me, and come into my heart with fire and love, and make it one with Mary's love and Mary's will to save the world.

We have only to say to Mary------'I have no wine'----and she will ask Her Son to transform our lukewarmness into her own thirst for souls.

My Jesus do not grow weary,

With Mary I will satiate your Thirst for souls

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

For over two weeks now we have been reflecting on, and celebrating God’s great gift of Himself to us when He took on our human nature and became one of us – our brother in the flesh. We marvel at this self-emptying love which we see before our eyes in the baby – as St John describes it:

Something which has existed since the beginning
Which we have seen with our own eyes
Which we have watched and touched with our hands
The Word who is Life (1Jn 1:1)

In today’s feast we see Jesus as a grown man taking a further step in his solidarity with humankind. St Luke, whose Gospel we read on Sundays this year, tells us that John the Baptist was proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Lk 3:4).

Then Jesus – the sinless One – comes and is baptised by John. Will we ever grasp the depth of this mystery? The all holy One, the innocent One stoops down to our level – identifies himself with us sinners. He does not condemn, does not stand aloof from our plight, but rather stands right in our midst, and in so doing he reveals His true identity - and our identity in Him.

Luke tells us that “while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you’”

We are here gazing on the whole mystery of the Incarnation at its deepest level. God, in Christ Jesus, takes on Himself our alienation from God – an alienation which will reach its depths in the apparent abandonment of the Cross. And it is in this act, where He stands in the place of sin, being sin for us, this is the revelation of the Trinity! – the love of the Triune God, in Christ, standing with us in our sin! Heaven opens and that same love lets us know, as we stand with Him, “You are the Beloved”.

When praying with this scripture during the week I was led to reflect on the Church today and in particular the Church in Ireland. All of us are shocked - and rightly so – at the terrible sin and crime and betrayal of trust which have come to light in recent years. Many have disassociated themselves from a Church which could be so sinful and as a result walk no longer with us. In today’s Gospel is Jesus inviting us to follow his example? to stand naked in his presence in our own need and sinfulness – remembering that He conquered sin by becoming sin for us.

It is when we have the courage to stand in the nakedness of our own sinfulness and weakness that we most truly experience God’s love and mercy – it is also the place where we are most profoundly united with our brothers and sisters, wherever they may be, no matter what their situation may be. Jesus lived the reality of the other to the point where he carries the whole ‘baggage’ of the other. He reaches out to embrace sinful humanity, taking every individual within Himself, not leaving anything outside and speaks out both His and our ‘yes’ to the Father and the Father responds: “You are my Son”.

Through our celebration of this feast in solidarity with the whole Church may we come to know both individually and as a Church that we are the Father’s beloved sons in the Son and may the Holy Spirit come and transform us ever more fully to the likeness of Christ Jesus – and enable the Church of our day to bear witness to the reality which it is in truth.

(the icon was written by one of our sisters)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dominican Novices visit us

On Saturday last we had the great pleasure of a surprise visit from 12 of the 13 Dominican novices from Pope's Quay Priory, Cork, with their novice master Fr Philip McShane OP. Unfortunately Br Conor had another engagement and was unable to come. Over the past year or two we had met most of these young men when Fr Gerard Dunne, vocations director, brought them to visit us during their vocation discernment weekends. Indeed we have been remembering them all in prayer - so it was wonderful to meet them all again, clothed the the Dominican habit - now we are able to put names on faces and no doubt will double our prayer for them!
At the end of the afternoon they joined us in praying Vespers.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Visits

On Wednesday last our young sisters enjoyed an afternoon of fun and sharing with the young Redemptoristine sisters who visited us. Over the past twenty years or so a good relationship has grown between our two communities - but this was the first time that some of the younger sisters in formation have met. Our community too were happy that our visitors joined us for lunch in refectory and for liturgy in choir. Later we all shared a festive supper with recreation in the community room before praying Vespers. Then it was time to say good-bye and wish the sisters a safe journey back to Dublin but we hope that this will be the first of other such experiences. Here we share with you some photos although the camera was not working too well- or maybe it was the amateur photographer!!.

More information on the Redemptoristine community can be found on their website