Fr Peter’s Message

Sunday 24th October 2021 – World Mission Sunday

What is World Mission Sunday?

World Mission Sunday is the Holy Father’s annual appeal for spiritual and financial support so that the life-giving work of overseas mission and missionaries can continue. It always falls on the second last Sunday in October, and like the Good Friday collection for the Holy Land and Peter’s Pence, it is one of three yearly universal Church collections.

 

World Mission Sunday collections take place in every single parish where the Church is present. This includes not only Ireland and Europe, but also in poorer parishes in developing countries. It is a moment of universal solidarity when each member of the Church family, regardless of location or background, play their part in supporting each other. This is what makes it such a special celebration.

All offerings and donations made for World Mission Sunday become part of the Holy Father’s Universal Solidarity Fund. This fund is a lifeline for struggling missionaries and the communities they serve across Africa, Asia and Latin America, where over 1,100 mission dioceses are found. As these dioceses form and grow, so do their needs. On top of this, mission dioceses are often in remote areas devastated by war and natural disasters, or where suppressed communities are just opening up to the life-saving message of Jesus Christ.

This is why World Mission Sunday is so important. It offers young dioceses the financial and spiritual assistance they need to help their men, women, and children to survive and thrive.

 

Sunday 17th October 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 10th October 2021

Sunday 3rd October 2021: Day for Life

A Prayer for those who are ill

God our Father, we bring before you today those who suffer from illness or disability—those whose lives are profoundly affected by their illness.

When they feel fragile and broken,
remind them that you call them by name
and hold them in the palm of your hand.

When they feel devalued, remind them
that they are made in the image Jesus.

When they are reminded of different times in the past,
lead them to grow in the faith that you love them today, as they are,
in the reality of their lives this day.

When they feel uncertain and fearful about the future,
lead them to that perfect love which casts out all fear.

When situations remind them not of what they can do,
but of what they cannot do, remind them that love never fails.

May all of us, whatever our circumstances, never be so taken up with our own concerns that we do not see or respond to the needs of others, especially those who suffer in our midst. May we live with courage to respond to the challenges that each of us faces. Amen.

(Catholic Health Association of the United States)

Sunday 19th September 2021

In today’s gospel Jesus is instructing those who will follow on from him and carry on his work for future generations.

He took a little child and said to the disciples,

‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me,

and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’

As we continue our journey through the Season of Creation, we are reminded of Pope Francis’ words in Laudato Si – On Care for Our Common Home, where he challenges us to reflect:

‘What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?’ (Laudato Si, 160).

In the context of the environmental crises our world is facing, how are we welcoming the generations to come?

Pope Francis does not hold back when referring to the challenges: ‘We may well be leaving to coming generations debris, desolation and filth’ (LS, 161).

We know that climate change and the biodiversity crisis are driving so many problems in our world at present.

‘Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods.

It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.’ (LS, 25).

Yet our pace of consumption does not ease.

Young people are standing up and calling governments and world leaders to account, rightly concerned about their future.

During this Season of Creation, we must pray for our world, and act.

How can we restore our common home and ensure that our world is liveable for the generations who are coming after us?

Can your parish explore becoming an Eco-Parish, setting up a care for creation team, turning church grounds in areas which promote biodiversity?

There is so much we can do, and no action is too small.

We must listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of our young people.

‘The one thing we need more than hope is action. Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.

So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.’ – Greta Thunberg.

                                                                                                           (Jane Mellett)

 

Sunday 12th September 2021

‘By my words, I will show you my faith’

In the second reading today from St James we read, ‘What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works?’

And in our Gospel reading we hear: ‘The way you think is not God’s way but man’s…’.

These are challenging texts which remind us to reflect on what path we are walking as followers of Jesus. Jesus’ path was radically different to what people of his time expected of a Messiah. It was a path that would lead to much sacrifice.

Being a Christian today means following Jesus’ example, being counter-cultural and making sacrifices for a greater good.

Today is also the second Sunday in the Season of Creation, a time we are called to explore our relationship with nature, God’s creation. Pope Francis reminds us in Laudato Si’ – On Care for Our Common Home that ‘We are not God’ (LS, 67).

He challenges us to re-examine our vocation to care for creation.

In the past we misinterpreted God’s words in Genesis to mean that we could have dominion over all of creation, own it and plunder it for our own use. Pope Francis invites us instead to explore our role as carers of creation and reminds us that the very first commandment we were ever given was to be protectors of this beautiful world.

Yet, we know the earth cries out to us and that we are living through the sixth mass extinction of life on this earth due to human activity. Ecosystems are collapsing; biodiversity is in crisis.

Laudato Si’ is a hope-filled document, reminding us that we can set out on a new path, that we are capable of turning things around.

 One key action each of us can take this Season of Creation is to plant a native Irish tree. Each parish, diocese, family, school, university can engage in this symbolic action to help Restore Our Common Home.

This week, gather two or three people and explore what can be done, mindful that our Gospel today urges us to walk God’s ways not man’s.

                                                                                                                    Jane Mellett  mellettj@gmail.com

Sunday 5th September 2021

This Sunday is the First Sunday of the Season of Creation, a global ecumenical season which runs from 1 September until the Feast of St Francis of Assisi, 4 October.

All Christians are invited to embrace this season in prayer, especially in our liturgies, in deep reflection, in living more sustainably and in raising our voices in the public sphere.

We are invited to think more deeply about what is happening at present to the earth, the environmental destruction which now threatens our world

….. and the call to ‘eco-conversion’.

The theme for this year’s Season is ‘Restoring Our Common Home’.

It offers all of us a unique opportunity to renew our vocation to care more deeply for God’s creation.

In today’s Gospel Jesus heals a man who was deaf and who had a speech impediment. Jesus says to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ which means “Be Opened.”

Immediately this man was healed.

….. sometimes because they overwhelm us.

The environmental crises are an example.

Pope Francis invites us in Laudato Si’, his letter on the environment, to really hear and really listen to the earth, which is crying out to us, to the scientific community who are sounding the alarm bells, to young people who are deeply concerned.

Ephphatha!

Ephphatha!

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Sunday 29th August 2021

What’s on the inside?

‘It’s what’s on the inside that counts.’

How often do we hear this?

Yet we get contradictory messages.

We are continually bombarded with messages about how we should dress or act, or what is appropriate behaviour.

Rules about outward behaviour govern many aspects of life, from our school and work-place environment……. our churches.

Today, Jesus has something to say about the tension between outward appearances and what’s on the inside.

To the religious authorities who challenge Jesus, outer appearances and traditions are important, and they complain to Jesus for allowing his disciples to eat with ‘unclean hands’.

But Jesus explains that it is not external actions that make a person unclean.

It is what’s on the inside that indicates the true nature of our hearts.

‘Lip-service’ is not worth very much if our hearts are not in tune with God.

As Jesus puts it, ‘You put aside the commandment of God to cling to human traditions.’

Today’s gospel, I think, is an invitation to examine how we put our faith into practice, as individuals and as a church community.

Which human traditions do we ‘cling’ to?

Do we become so focused on outward rituals that we risk losing sight of the teaching of Jesus and its radical implications?

Do we treat our religious life as checklist of observances, or ……. is it a real encounter with Jesus?

Are we really meeting our friend, Jesus?

‘The words of the Sacred Scripture were not written to remain imprisoned on papyrus, or parchment or paper, but to be received by a person who prays, making them blossom in his or her heart.’ (Pope Francis)

Sunday 22nd August: Leap of faith – seeing beyond the obvious!

Children are often adept at looking beyond the practicalities and seeing the possibilities. Where a parent or guardian might only see a messy room in need of tidying, a child sees an obstacle course, a castle, a jungle, a magical fairy forest.

It always good to take a breath and remember that there is more to life than our physical, tangible world with its routines and to-do lists.

Sometimes things can leave us blinded to life’s beauty.

In today’s Gospel, some of Jesus’ followers are finding it difficult to see beyond the physical.

He has been teaching them that he is the living bread, but it is hard for them to accept.

They dismiss it as ‘intolerable language’ and they wonder ‘How could anyone accept it?’

His teachings are too difficult to understand, and they get annoyed. Some of them even walk away.

But Jesus is offering something more than the practicalities, more than physical food or drink: he offers the bread of life, living bread, his very self.

Yes! It is a difficult message, but Simon Peter goes to the heart of it: ‘You have the message of eternal life, and we believe.’

He can see beyond the obvious, to hear the truth at the heart of Jesus’ words.

Jesus demands a lot of his followers, who must each decide whether they want to follow, or not!

Are we ready to make that leap of faith?

Will you see beyond the obvious today?

Sunday 8th August 2021 – An Uphill struggle

Have you ever felt like giving up?

Elijah certainly did.

In today’s first reading we meet a prophet who has had enough.

He is fleeing from trouble and things seem so hopeless after a day’s journey that he sits under a bush and begs God to take his life.

Life has a way of getting on top of us, such as when we are grieving a loss, when we are hurt by a friend, when illness strikes, or when we are simply exhausted.

We experience the feelings described in the famous poem –

Don’t Quit:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to 
smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

At these times of struggle, it is helpful to pause and to refuel for the journey.

Elijah was visited by an angel who offered him comfort and respite, giving him the strength he needed to carry on.

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus again say he is the living bread.

Some people have been complaining about his teaching.

Surely this is the son of Joseph, they say, demonstrating their lack of understanding of who Jesus really is.

Again, he explains that he is the bread of life – more than physical food…… more than an ordinary man, he is the living bread, and he is God.

 

Sunday 1st August 2021 – Food for Life!

Growing up, did you hear any ‘old wives’ tales’ about food

– eating carrots helps you see in the dark

– an apple a day keeps the doctor away

– bread crusts will make your hair curly

 

There was one in our house….and I don’t remember what food stuff it referred to…but…..it made your teeth curly and your toes open and close with a bang!!

Or…one of your granny’s sayings

          – you’ll eat it before it eats you!

 

These wise old sayings, passed down the generations, were employed to encourage us to eat certain foods, mainly healthy fruit and veg. Many even had an element of truth.

These days we can easily establish the accuracy of such claims, but many parents still find themselves falling back on these nuggets of wisdom.

Behind it all is a desire to see children grow up strong and healthy.

Recent years have seen an increased focus on health, both physical and mental.

 The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to look after our mental health in particular!

 

Nourishing one’s body and mind and keeping them healthy are essential long-term projects, the work of a lifetime.

 In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about a different type of nourishment – bread that gives life, food that satisfies, food that endures.

 ‘I am the bread of life,’ says Jesus.

It is Jesus who nourishes us at the very core of our being,

He tells us today:

‘Do not work for food that cannot last, but work for food that endures to eternal life.’

As we continue on our journey today and this week…….. learning how best to nourish our body and mind……..

……. let us not forget to nourish our spirit with Jesus, the bread of life.

 

Sunday 25th July 2021 – A Gift of love

We meet Jesus today in a situation of need.

The crowds have followed him and they are hungry.

Jesus challenges his disciples to provide a meal for them.

When they object that they don’t have enough money, and only a tiny amount of food, Jesus uses what they have to pull off a remarkable feat (and feast).

“Five barley loaves and two fish”          “But what is that between so many?”

For us, this Gospel might bring to mind the situation of migrants and asylum-seekers who experience hunger and hardship today.

We heard about the great numbers who have taken the risk of crossing the English Channel in the last few days….

As a people of the Gospel…..

We are left in no doubt about our obligation to protect and care for those in need, just as Jesus provided for the hungry crowds.

This feeding account also has the elements of a Eucharistic meal, with Jesus taking the food, giving thanks, and distributing it to everyone.

Jesus doesn’t produce this meal from nothing but transforms what the disciples provide into a blessing for many.

Sharing in Eucharist means sharing our resources.

It means ensuring people are not left to fend for themselves in crisis situations.

When we receive the body of Jesus, it is a gift of love.

But if we do not give and love in return, we are wasting the gift.

 Where people are in need, it is our responsibility, as followers of Jesus, to share and to provide.

God will provide beyond our imagining, no matter how little we think we have to give, but we are invited to take the first step.

 

‘If there is hunger anywhere in the world, then our celebration of the Eucharist is somehow incomplete everywhere in the world… We cannot properly receive the Bread of Life unless at the same time we give the bread of life to those in need wherever and whoever they may be.’

(Pedro Arrupe SJ)

Sunday 18th July 2021: Take a break!

We all need a break sometimes.

In today’s Gospel, the disciples need a break.

They have returned from their mission, eager to catch up with Jesus, but there is so much happening that they barely have time to eat.

Jesus sees their need and invites them to take a boat with him to a quiet place and rest for a while.

But there is no time for rest……… as the crowds have followed them on foot.

Jesus is moved by them because they are ‘like sheep without a shepherd’.

He is the Good Shepherd who always cares for his flock, and he responds with compassion and love.

No doubt the disciples are drafted in to help: it turns out it is not break time!

We can imagine their exhaustion.

 

We all feel tired or overwhelmed from time to time, from work or family pressures, from the Covid restrictions…. or simply trying to balance everything.

Postponing our own needs to care for others is familiar to every parent or caregiver.

We don’t know if the disciples got a rest at that point, but we know that Jesus valued time apart as he later sends the disciples off in the boat again while he goes away by himself to pray.

In the chaos of life, even when there are demands on our time and energy, it is important to take some time to reflect and to pray. We all need to take a break!

 

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Our Live Streaming Service!

We have recently (January 2021) installed a number of cameras and some new sound equipment in our church, so that our live streaming of all our services can be of the best quality for our parishioners and the many others beyond, who join us in worship online. This has been a huge investment for the future of our parish and it will allow us, in these very uncertain times of Covid-19, to continue to provide strong and good quality communication. This future-proofing has cost over £15,000 and already we have had generous donations towards the cost of the project. If you are in a position to do so, may I ask you to please consider making a donation to cover the costs incurred? Your continued generosity to the upkeep of our parish in these difficult days is very much appreciated, and please continue to help us provide you with the best pastoral care and service.

We continue to hold each other in prayer during these pandemic days.

 

 

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