Sunday, January 26, 2014

3rd Sunday –Cycle A – 26th January 2014

   We read about darkness, deep shadow and oppression in Isaiah; factions, jealousies and rivalries tearing the Corinthian Christians apart; and in the Gospel her hear about the arrest of John the Baptist, Jesus’ need to withdraw from danger and people suffering from all kinds of disease and sickness.
Reflecting on this morning’s Mass Readings one can surmise that the world of Isaiah, Paul and Matthew was not too different from the world in which we live.

Yet in the midst of all this darkness, oppression, uncertainty and sin Jesus proclaims the Good News to us as much as to the people of Galilee – inviting us to repent, to have a change of heart!

Peter, Andrew, James and John must have experienced the transforming power of Jesus’ love and responded to his invitation to repent and have a change of heart in order to be ready to respond so spontaneously and radically to His invitation to follow him and participate in His mission to be fishers of people.

Jesus calls us to repentance because the kingdom is close.  The essence of the kingdom is that a new relationship with God is on offer.  Repentance is the human disposition through which God freely draws us into this relationship with Himself.  Transformation of life follows from repentance – which is our new relationship with our God.

Our faith assures us that the darkness will never entirely overpower the light of the Gospel – the light which has shone in our world of darkness when the Son of God, the true Light, pitched his tent among us.  However we may rightly ask the question why has not this Light conquered the darkness? Why are so many people continuing to be blind to this Light?  Maybe Paul provides us with an answer when he tells the Corinthians that the Good News cannot be preached in terms of human philosophy in which the Crucifixion of Christ cannot be expressed.  We may ask: ‘Has our world lost sight of the Cross?  Have we, have I, lost sight of the Cross?  It was through the Cross that Jesus conquered sin and spread light and joy through His Resurrection.  Through His self offering on the Cross He breaks down the barriers dividing peoples and nations; and frees us from the yoke of slavery to our own passions; He heals our diseases and sicknesses and stands in our midst calling each of us by name as he called the first disciples – “Come follow me.” 

Will we follow,  no matter what the cost? 

With the Palmist we pray:

One thing I ask of the Lord
for this I long,
to live in the house of the Lord
all the day of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Second Sunday of Year - Cycle A


As we read in this morning’s Gospel, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming towards him and said – ‘Look, there is the Lamb of God’.  Indeed it is good that John invites us to look at Jesus.  But what is Jesus’ immediate re-action when he perceives our gaze?  Is our ability to look at Jesus, an answering gaze because He has first looked deeply into our hearts?

What do we see in this look of Jesus?  Perhaps it is Julian of Norwich who gives us the most beautiful answer to these questions cf. Revelations of Julian of Norwich Chapter 71.

‘Glad and merry and sweet is the wistful and lovely looking of our Lord into our souls.  For  he is ever turned towards us in longing love and it is his will that our souls look gladly to him which is no less than he deserves.’

‘And his dream is that he will lift us up by his grace and draw our outward regard into the inward, and make us all at one with him and with one another’

Julian then goes on to  remind us that there are three ‘lookings’ of our Lord.

The first is the look on his face at his Passion, which was seen while he was still alive, though dying.  His looks then were mournful and sorrowful, yet at the same time they were glad and cheerful for he is God.

The second look is one of tender pity and compassion which he shows to all who love him and who hold on to his mercy.  Here he ceaselessly regards us especially when we fall – a look that would melt our hearts with love and break them with sorrow for having hurt him.

The third is on his Blessed Face as it shall be in eternity – the Look we all long to see.

But for me this wistful looking of Jesus finds expression in that heartbreaking cry of his as he hung dying on the cross. -  I thirst’.

Jesus, may we know deep inside ourselves, something of your thirst for us, then we can begin to understand who you want to be for us and who you want us to be for you. cf. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Mary, may we too join with you while you look up at your Son as he is dying on the cross and hear his word  -  ‘I thirst’  - may we see his wistful look and learn from you to return him love for love  -  to look closely and behold the Lamb of God.




Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Baptism of the LORD

This is better late than never - a reflection on last Sunday's Gospel, on the feast of the Baptism of the LORD.

“And yet you come to me.”


The wonder of God.  When JESUS came to John the Baptist at the Jordan, John said to Him, “I need to be baptised by you, and yet you come to me!”


And yet you come to me!


At the end of the season of Christmas, what after all could be a more perfect transition to the Ordinary Time of the Church’s year, than to wonder at the feast of the Baptism of the LORD?  It seems to sum up all that we had been longing for throughout all of Advent, and in each encounter with the LORD in the feast days of Christmas; and this day seems also to equip us for the journey ahead – how we must live and how we are to imitate Christ.


And yet you come to me!


Even the greatest man to have been born of a woman, did not understand the God whose coming he had to proclaim.  It is encouraging, in a way, to realise that God confused and perplexed even the greatest saints.

And yet you come to me!


Still, these words of St John encapsulate the whole mission of Christ: even before His birth, while still in the womb of His mother, He would come to Elizabeth and her unborn baby; He would come to be born and laid in a manger far from the busy-ness and distractions of a restless town, so that at His coming He might be found – and in being recognised – He might be wondered at.  He chose obscurity and littleness, not by accident but by design, so that I and you; that we might be amazes, and brought to say with St John:


“And yet you come to me!”


The shepherds heard the wondrous song of angels;

The Magi followed a wondrous star

...         all were attracted by something heavenly and miraculous – and were presented with a Saviour and Redeemer of the whole world who was utterly helpless and dependent; and St John paved the way for the Lamb of God, who turned all his expectations upside-down and inside-out.


And yet you come to me!


Our God is very confusing:  He doesn’t fit any of the categories or patterns we imagine He should.  Yet, He fills us – if we will only let Him – with wonder.   And if we let Him, He shows us that His perplexing way, must be ours, if we would be His.


May the LORD put those words on our lips and in our souls  -  ‘And yet you come to me!’  -  that in His coming to us, He may dwell in us:  and in His dwelling – through us, He may come to all; that the world may be filled with the wonder of God.  That we may look at Him and be amazed.

A Retreat Day for Young Women (18+)

Witnesses from the Sisters
Talks on Religious Life
Eucharistic Adoration
Prayer Time
Question & Answer
Food & Fellowship
9:30 am - 7:00 pm
Saturday 1st March 2014
The Twenties, Drogheda
Led by Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal
Dominican Nuns of Siena Monastery
To book a place on the Retreat, please e-mail Sr Niamh 
phone Franciscan Sisters on 041- 98 30 441
Limited overnight accommodation available at Siena Monastery, for Friday and Saturday nights.  To enquire about availability, please e-mail Sr Niamh