Care and consistency needed around the retirement of priests

“Each bishop can act as he sees fit, with the result that priests have no certainty about their retirement. Priests have no rights in this matter and depend on the goodwill of individual bishops.”

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Children invited to pray the Rosary this Thursday

‘If a million children pray the Rosary together, then the world will change.’ - St Padre Pio.

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Irish aid agency welcomes Oscar Romero's canonisation

“Archbishop Romero’s values, conviction and compassion still influence Trócaire today and help guide us in our work.”

Seven to be canonised in Rome today

Blessed Nunzio Sulprizio will be made a saint today, in line with Pope Francis's desire to canonise a teenage saint during the month-long meeting of the world Synod of Bishops on Young People.

Hunger a serious problem in more than 50 countries, says Concern Worldwide

Globally, 124 million people are suffering from acute hunger and, in some cases, starvation – an increase from 80 million two years ago.

Irish schools take part in Children’s Day of Mission Prayer

Encouraging children to pray for other children is a key part of the work of the Society of Missionary Children.

Thought for today Saint of the day Today's Readings Sunday's Readings
Thought for today

Real Strength.


In the prime of life, we rely on the strength that we have to either live with the obstacles that come our way or to overcome them. However, there comes a time when the strength that was once natural to us yields to the weakening effects of age. As we grow older, we miss the strength of our younger years. Although we can be helped through our days by the kind strength offered by others, the weakening of our bodies can awaken in us a need for the strength that is the presence of God in our lives. One often sees the elderly embrace the strength that comes from prayer, from being still and from having the need to hold fast to God.

Our physical strength will never be what it used to be in our younger years, but in our weakened state, we will find our real and lasting strength in God more easily.

Compiled by Deirdre Powell

Source: Living Faith, Daily Catholic Devotions (adapted).
Saint of the day

Oct 16 - St Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-90) visionary

mma1In many Irish churches you will see a stained glass window depicting Our Lord Jesus revealing his Sacred Heart to St Margaret Mary Alacoque. These windows bear witness to the enormous popularity of devotion to the Sacred Heart and the influence of St Margaret Mary Alacoque in spreading it. She is one of the Church's most famous visionaries. Patrick Duffy tells us about the saint and her role in spreading the devotion.

Early life
Born at L'Hautcourt in Burgundy, her father, Claude Alacoque, was a prosperous notary who died when she was eight. Margaret Mary was sent to school at a convent in Charolles. She liked the peace of the convent, and received he first communion at the age of nine. But the following year she developed rheumatic fever and was confined to bed for the next six years. When she returned home, she found her father's relatives had moved in to the family home and treated her and her mother rather harshly. When her brother came of age, he took undisputed possession of the home and things improved.

Mary joins Visitation Sisters
After some consideration of marriage, at the age of twenty-four, she joined the Visitation Sisters (founded at Annecy by St Jane de Chantal) at their convent at Paray-le-Monial in 1671.

Personal revelations
From 1673 to 1675 she is said to have experienced a series of visions of Jesus. On 27 December 1673 - the feast of St John - Jesus appeared to her telling her his divine heart longed that the flame of the fire of its love should spread  through her to all men and to enrich them with its precious treasures.

SHSpecial feast
The vision urged her to persuade church authorities to have a special feast of the Sacred Heart celebrated on the Friday after the Octave of Corpus Christi and to develop what eventually became the devotion of the Nine First Fridays and asked that the feast of the Sacred Heart be established.

At first her superior treated the vision and the young nun with suspicion. She brought in a commission of enquiry that included a Jesuit and a Benedictine priest to investigate. They judged her to be a victim of delusions. This enquiry and its negative outcome caused Margaret Mary considerable anxiety and self doubt. But she bore this with patience and trust.

Judged genuine
However, in 1675 another Jesuit, Father Claude de la Colombière, became the community's confessor, and after speaking to Sister Margaret Mary, he said he thought the visions were genuine. This encouraged Margaret Mary and the spread of the devotion, although Fr Claude was soon to go as chaplain to Queen Mary of Modena in London.

Approval in the community
In 1683 a new superior was elected who named Margaret Mary as her assistant and novice mistress. And from 1686 the convent observed the feast of the Sacred Heart privately, and two years later, after a chapel was built at the Paray-le-Monial to honour the Sacred Heart, observation of the feast of the Sacred Heart spread to other Visitation convents.

mma dead

Death and influence
Margaret Mary died at the Paray-le-Monial on 17 October 1690 and, although there was considerable opposition to the public and liturgical devotion of the Sacred Heart especially in Jansenist milieus, it was officially recognized and approved by Pope Clement XIII in 1765, seventy-five years after her death. and in 1856 the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was extended to the universal Church. Her spiritual director, Father Claude de la Colombière, was beatified by Pope Pius XI on June 16, 1929, and canonized by Pope John Paul II on May 31, 1992.

Oct 16 - St Gall (550-630) hermit and missionary

St GallGall set out as one of the companions of St Columbanus from Bangor to be missionaries for Christ in Gaul and Switzerland. A town in east Switzerland and a huge cathedral there bear his name, but St. Gall was not its founder. He remained a hermit. The monastery was founded later to house his relics. Patrick Duffy tells his story.

Monk of Bangor
St Gall came from Leinster and was brought by his parents to Bangor in County Down to be trained in the monastery of St Comgall.

Peregrinnatio pro Christo
He set off for Europe as a missionary with St Columbanus and others in 573. They spent some time in the Vosges mountains area east of a line from Dijon to Lyons. They had monasteries at Annegray, Luxeuil and gallSwitzFontaines. A quarrel with Theoderic of Burgundy led to them moving on to what is now Switzerland and they had monasteries by Lake Zurich and at Bregenz on Lake Constance. Here when he saw people worshipping bronze images, Gall broke them in pieces and threw them into the lake.

A rift grew between Columbanus and Gall - whether about fishing skills (Gall caught more fish) or about future plans. Columbanus decided in 612 to move on to Lombardy, Gall and a few monks stayed.  Gall pleaded a fever, but Columbanus felt he was malingering and lacked obedience, so he forbade him to say Mass again while he Columbanus lived. But before Columbanus died at Bobbio in 615, he asked that his pastoral staff be sent to Gall as a sign of forgiveness.

Gall+bearGall the hermit
Although the monks of Luxeuil elected Gall as their abbot and a local king, Sigebert, offered him a bishopric, he declined both and chose to remain a hermit.

Gall did not found the monastery which carries his name and is now a cathedral town, St Gallen - it was a later Benedictine foundation built to guard his relics. He died inaround 630. His name is listed in early ninth century martyrologies.

The bear
One story about him is that at his command a bear brought wood to feed the fire which Gall and his companions had kindled in the forest. In Alsace his feast 16 October was a marker for harvesting apples and bringing cows down from pasture to stable for the winter.

Oct 16 - St. Gerard Majella: A life rooted in God

gerard Robert McNamara CSsR tells the story of St Gerard Majella, a young 18th century Italian who 'eloped', so to speak, in order to join the Redemptorists.

Fintan O'Toole's After the Ball makes for compelling reading if you're an economist. In fact, it makes for compelling reading even if you aren't. O'Toole offers a complex and yet accessible account of the rise, stabilisation, and decline of the Celtic Tiger, citing Ireland as an extreme case of that most talked about phenomenon: globalisation. In a definition memorable for its tidiness and accuracy, O'Toole defines globalisation as "a complex process, in which economic liberalisation, speed of communication and cultural homogenisation are intertwined." (1)  This process, he adds, affects everyone on earth, creates winners and losers, and turns citizens into consumers.

To O'Toole's excellent analysis of why the economic boom began to decline – he lays the blame particularly on the shoulders of the government's privatisation programme – we could add that there was a spiritual dimension as well. In the midst of unprecedented wealth, people began to notice a spiritual hunger previously hidden from them. As Fr Harry Bohan prophetically wrote at the height of the boom: "In our headlong rush to economic nirvana, we are in danger of losing touch with people, place, roots, and soul."

And indeed, as the boom receded on the economic horizon, we began to cast around for heroes, inspirational figures at a time when meaning was lost, when the scales had fallen from our eyes, and we had begun to see that the Celtic Tiger had inveigled us into settling for the imitation brand of everything from toothpaste to friendship. Despite her survival skills, Kerry McFadden just didn't do it for us, because while she had the luxury of surviving the jungle, many of us were just trying to survive.

Into all this comes the life and witness of a man the Redemptorists are celebrating in a special way this year: St Gerard Majella, one of Ireland's best-loved saints, known here particularly as the mothers' saint. He was canonized over 100 years ago .

Obvious frailty
Gerard was born on Saturday, April 6, 1726, in the picturesque southern Italian town of Muro. His parents Domenico and Benedetta had him christened on the day of his birth, because of his obvious frailty. They had already lost a baby boy, also called Gerard, who only lived a week. Twelve years later, Benedetta would be left a widow, with four young children to support. Gerard's education was cut short; he was apprenticed to a local tailor, and later became valet to the temperamental bishop of Lacedonia.

gm2Gerard's piety was evident from early on. He seems to have been blessed with a real hunger to know the Lord better, and spent many hours in prayer. At the same time, as recent research shows, he was anything but the tortured aesthetic portrayed by pictures circulated after his death. We have it on good authority that he was immensely charming, had a great sense of fun, and loved to play practical jokes.

Stuff of romance
The circumstances of Gerard's entry into religious life are legendary in Redemptorist circles, and are the stuff of romance. In 1749, the Redemptorists came to Muro to give a mission. Gerard was then 23 years old. He met with the superior of the mission, Fr Cafaro, and begged to be admitted to the Redemptorist Congregation. Though impressed by Gerard's obvious sincerity and holiness, Gerard's bad health – he looked "more a ghost than a man," said a witness – and lack of formal education put Fr Cafaro off. He refused to accept Gerard, and told him to forget about the idea.

Meanwhile, Benedetta had found out about the plan. On the day the missioners were leaving town, she locked Gerard in his bedroom so he could not follow them. But Gerard made a rope from the sheets, lowered himself down, and pursued the missioners out of town. A note left behind declared that he had gone off to become a saint.

Twelve miles later he caught up with the mission team. On a country road that May afternoon, Gerard knelt before Fr Cafaro and again begged to be allowed to join the Redemptorists. Eventually, Fr Cafaro gave in, sending Gerard to the Iliceto community with some of the most famous words in the Redemptorist annals: "I am sending you a useless brother."

gm3Love of God and neighbour
Gerard's witness as a Redemptorist could be summed up in his living out what Jesus termed the two hinges of good religion: love of God and love of neighbour. For Gerard, these were simply two sides of the same coin.

He had an amazing capacity for pure, simple, agenda-free friendship. If there was any agenda, it was simply to share the liberating message of Jesus Christ, who can make all things new. Gerard had an almost psychic ability to sense the suffering of another and try to alleviate it, to let passion become compassion.

Fr John Carr recalls an incident when Gerard, on the way to the city of Sant' Agata di Puglia, found himself at a crossroads. There he met a man who looked deeply troubled, with "a face with the melancholy and despair of sin." (2)

Just to make conversation, Gerard asked him where he was headed, and was abruptly told to mind his own business. Gerard kept chatting, the man continued to ignore him, and tried to pass him out. Gerard reached out, gently held the man by the shoulders, looked him in the eye, and said: "I know what you're going through. God has sent me here for you. Don't doubt it." This hit home, and the man broke down. They sat there by the road, and years of pain came pouring out in the presence of Gerard's healing heart. Surely, we cannot miss the overtones here of the Jesus of the Emmaus road who meets each of us at our particular crossroads, asking us, "What things are going on in your life?"

Even considering the exuberance of the southern Italian temperament, Gerard's literal invasion of the man's space would be most politically incorrect for us today. We value privacy at all costs. However, in the wake of the Celtic Tiger, this privacy has come at a high price. It is often a privacy without compassion, the privacy, to recall O'Toole, not of the citizen but of the consumer. I walk on by because the other is of no value to me personally. It's what he can do for me that matters.

Bedrock of Christianity
Gerard's witness calls us back to that bedrock of Christianity and, indeed, humanity: community. He challenges us to join him in stumbling on to that mysterious paradox at the heart of Christianity: that it is in losing myself that I will find all, that I should care, that it is through showing compassion for others that I will live an even more rich and varied life. That said, Gerard asks us, how will people know we care if we don't risk reaching out to them? There are worse fates then being told to mind your own business. Christians are their brothers' and sisters' keepers.

Gerard's devotion to the passion of Christ enabled him to see the suffering Christ reflected in broken humanity. His love of neighbour was thus the flip side of his love of God. He was obviously a person of prayer from early on. This means that he was someone blessed with the courage to take time to tap into the centre, to listen to deeper rhythms and truer motivations. As he himself often said, "We cannot talk about God unless we first talk to God."

[caption id="attachment_51406" align="alignright" width="240"]Christ can house Himself in our heart and we can become one as he did with St Gerard. Christ can house Himself in our heart and we can become one as he did with St Gerard.[/caption]

Deep longing
If, as Richard Rohr says, spirituality is what you do with your  "deep longing", Gerard's witness speaks to a world which seems increasingly resistant to depth. This is a resistance which takes many forms. In an increasingly technocratic society, for example, the skill of reflective thinking is not encouraged, because it is not "practical". What you see is what you deal with. The tawdry, the vulgar, and the shallow rule the day. Idealism is equated with foolishness. Even our conversation is affected, with a great paucity of vocabulary becoming more evident.

We are afflicted with a surfeit of shallowness, and are often running on empty from surface-level living. We're tempted to get tired of life early, for "what more is there?" we ask. We have it all, know it all, have done it all. In Patrick Kavanagh's apt phrase: "through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder."

Gerard's warm relationship with the Lord dares us to wonder again, speaks volumes to contemporary people simultaneously longing to be centred and yet fleeing from such an encounter. While we know that living on the surface will not sustain us, we can be afraid of what we'll find when we go deeper.

Homing device for God
Gerard's experience reassures us of the truth of something Karl Rahner would say centuries later, that every human being comes complete with a sort of inbuilt homing device for God, and that we need not be afraid to respond, because in the silence we will receive not condemnation, but hospitality, a welcome home to the heart of the Father. As Pope John Paul II put it so beautifully in Tertio Millennia Adveniente: "The whole of the Christian life is like a great pilgrimage to the house of the Father, whose unconditional love we discover anew each day." Gerard was not afraid to visit and revisit the place of the centre, and, in the best Christian tradition, those visits spilled over into social responsibility, the flip of the coin again.

Invited to the splendid feast
On Sunday, August 31, 1755, Gerard returned to the Caposele monastery so exhausted, according to Fr Tannoia, that he looked more like a dead than a living man. Never healthy at the best of times, his final journey had begun. He took to his bed, suffering from sustained bouts of haemorrhaging and dysentery. The pain was terrible. A letter he dictated at the time contains the following lines: "I am writing this from my cross ... the pain is so very, very severe ... I was to die by the lance, but the lance seems to have been mislaid, so I must go on suffering..." Despite such sentiments, there were times, witnesses recall, that Gerard looked like one invited to some splendid feast. This generous sharer of Christ's redeeming love passed to eternal life on the night of October 16, 1755, aged 29.

In a letter to a nun, Gerard once wrote the following wise lines: "There is no need to dwell on the surface of daily events, but rather, to scrutinise them with the eyes of faith. The project and the loving presence of God are real, even beneath the crust of events that at first glance seem to be harsh.” When we can see that, "it is possible to live always in serenity, knowing well that in God's plan lies our happiness and fulfilment.” (3)

The beat of 'the living goodness
In the last few months, we lost one of the great prophets of the church, Columban Fr Niall O' Brien. Fr Niall and the 'Negros Nine' gained international headlines in the mid-80s when they were falsely imprisoned on a trumped-up murder charge in the Philippines. It was a covert way of silencing Fr Niall's voice, a voice constantly raised on behalf of the oppressed sugar workers.

Fr Niall's books, Revolution from the Heart, and Seeds of Injustice make for fascinating reading. They tell the story of a young, raw Irish missionary who left these shores in the 1960's to go and "convert" the Filipinos. After awhile, Fr Niall stumbled on the joyful and liberating discovery that the Holy Spirit was there already, and all he had to do as a priest was to "discover, share, and affirm" the Spirit's gifts.

While he had always tried to live in a way that shared the experience of the Filipino people, imprisonment opened up a whole new dimension to that. Fr Niall recalled the kindness and sympathy of many prison guards, who were as much victims of the system as their Charges. In one memorable passage, he recounts how he and his colleagues were advised to install chicken wire to prevent grenades from being lobbed in. And yet, in the midst of all this uncertainty, Fr Niall was still able to declare that “deep in the heart of the universe there beats a living goodness.”

What defines a saint
It is precisely this double-edged ability to engage with the messiness of human existence and to see deeper dimensions to it – in religious terms, God shining through it – that defines any saint or inspirational figure. This is because the lessons gleaned from such engagement are timeless, and speak to us as much today as when they happened.

Two such experiences from St Gerard's life are cases in point: Gerard as victim of false accusation, and Gerard as peacemaker.

In Gerard's day, if a young woman wished to enter the convent, she needed a substantial dowry. This presented a problem in the cases of young women from poorer families. In such cases, Gerard would often discreetly raise the money from wealthy contacts.

Such was the case in the spring of 1754, with a young woman called Neria Caggiano. It was a name Gerard would never forget. Gerard raised the money for her, Neria entered the convent, got homesick, and left three weeks later. She was embarrassed and angry at having to leave, and, unfortunately, this was taken out on Gerard.

She began to gossip about him in a way which implied that he was not the saint people thought he was, particularly with regard to his relationship with a certain Nicoletta. Neria fabricated a story about Gerard and Nicoletta, told it to a priest, who promptly reported it to Alphonsus de Liguori, the Rector Major of the Redemptorists.

Alphonsus summoned Gerard, read him the accusation, and asked him if he had anything to say. Like the Lord before Pilate, Gerard remained silent. Alphonsus ordered him to stay in the monastery, with no contact with the outside world, and, worst of all, Gerard was forbidden to receive the Lord in Holy Communion. However, as he said at the time, "it is enough to have Jesus in my heart." They could not take that away from him.

gm and alThree months later, Neria was seriously ill. She wrote a letter retracting everything, and Gerard's name was cleared. A distraught Alphonsus summoned Gerard again, and asked him why he had not spoken in his own defence. Gerard simply replied that to do so was forbidden by the Rule of Redemptorist religious life, and that he knew that the Lord would work things out.

In a world where the rights of the individual are primary, and where we loudly and vocally assert our autonomy at every turn, such blind trust seems laughable, until we remember that the constant, desperate assertion of our individuality masks the number one heresy around today: that I am in sole control of my own destiny. Gerard's blind trust calls us back to a radical dependence on God's providence, a massive act of faith of which most of us today would be incapable.

Also, Gerard's experience shows us that part of the pursuit of justice in Ireland today lies in not assuming that all priests and religious accused in abuse cases are guilty as charged. Some of them may be the casualties of the bush fires of gossip.

Gerard, the peacemaker
In 1753, the year before Gerard met Neria, the Carusi family was split down the middle by a blood feud which made The Godfather look like child's play. Twenty-year-old Francesco had had a row with his cousin Martino, challenged him to a duel, and been killed in the process. Francesco's parents had never forgiven or forgotten. In the words of an early Redemptorist commentator, they had "entrenched themselves within that most formidable of fortresses, a hating heart."

Gerard was called to the scene. Signore Carusi welcomed him politely, but made it clear that he was not interested in a reconciliation. Gerard tried again a few days later, and this time he seemed to be making progress until Teresa, Francesco's mother, burst into the room holding a bundle of cloth: the bloodstained clothes in which her son had been murdered. Flinging them down before her husband, she screamed: "Look at these clothes and then go and be reconciled! The blood of our Francesco cries out for vengeance!" Signore Carusi began to backtrack.

But if the Carusis had a blood stained relic, Gerard had one as well. Placing his Redemptorist mission cross on the floor, he asked them to walk on it. They refused to do so. Then he said to them: "Don't you see the inconsistency in your position? You refuse to tread on the crucifix, yet by your refusal to forgive, you are continuing the crucifixion of Christ and his people!" They got the message and were reconciled with Martino's family.

Gerard's witness here is a gospel one: that the way of peace and reconciliation is the way of Christ the Redeemer, that peace can break out in even the most unpromising situations, and that the cross shines through all human suffering, giving it meaning, and linking us all. Christ's passion is compassion.

A lesson we may be learning
In the midst of the U.S. war on Iraq, in the wake of those shocking photographs of torture perpetrated by both Americans and Iraqis, we could be tempted to despair, and ask ourselves, do we ever learn? I dare to believe that we are learning.

I spent most of the past year and a half studying in the United States, and was there when the war against Iraq broke out. What was most striking to me, and what seems not to have been well reported here, was the sheer volume of American resistance to that war. On February 14 last year, for example, three million people descended on Washington to protest against the war. Considering that this began as a regional conflict and not as a global war, such a level of resistance was remarkable.

When I look at it through Christian eyes, I can only put it down to the hope that the awareness of the common destiny of humanity is finally dawning upon us, that truth that organisations like Greenpeace and Ploughshares have been telling us all along: that we're all in this together, that along with the animals and plants we share this sacred earth, that what divides us is far outweighed by what we have in common.

Scripture advises us to praise illustrious men, a sentiment from which Gerard would have instinctually shied away. Nevertheless, it is only right that we celebrate the centenary of the canonisation of this young man who was wise beyond his 29 years. His humble but courageous witness teaches us timeless lessons in the Christian life. By following his example, we can be guaranteed to see Jesus more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly, day by day.


1. O’Toole, Fintan. After the Ball. Dublin: New Island, 2003, p. 3.
2. Carr, John, C.Ss.R. St Gerard Majella. Dublin: Clonmore, 1959, 170.
3 From a letter to Sr Maria deJesus, April 25, 1752, quoted in: Londono, Noel (ed). Saint Gerard Majella- his Writings and Spirituality. Liguori: Missouri, 2002, p. 110.


This is a combination of two articles that appeared in Reality (June and July/August, 2004), a publication of the Irish Redemptorists.
Today's Readings

A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Galatians             5:1-6
Whether you are circumcised or not makes no difference - what matters is faith that makes its power felt through love.

When Christ freed us, he meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery. It is I, Paul, who tell you this: if you allow yourselves to be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all. With all solemnity I repeat my warning: Everyone who accepts circumcision is obliged to keep the whole Law. But if you do look to the Law to make you justified, then you have separated yourselves from Christ, and have fallen from grace. Christians are told by the Spirit to look to faith for those rewards that righteousness hopes for, since in Christ Jesus whether you are circumcised or not makes no difference - what matters is faith that makes its power felt through love.

The Word of the Lord

Responsorial Psalm          Ps 118
Response                               Lord, let your love come upon me.

1. Lord, let your love come upon me,
the saving help of your promise.
Do not take the word of truth from my mouth
for I trust in your decrees.                    Response

2. I shall always keep your law
for ever and ever.
I shall walk in the path of freedom
for I see your precepts.                         Response

3. Your commands have been my delight;
these I have loved.
I will worship your commands and love them
and ponder your statutes.                   Response

Gospel  Acclamation          Ps 118: 135
Alleluia, alleluia!
Let your face shine on your servant,
and teach me your decrees.
Alleluia !

or                                               Heb 4: 12
Alleluia, alleluia!
The word of God is something alive and active:
it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts.
Alleluia !


A reading from the holy Gospel according to  Luke     11:37-41
Give alms from what you have and then indeed everything will be clean for you.

Jesus had just finished speaking when a Pharisee invited him to dine at his house.
He went in and sat down at the table. The Pharisee saw this and was surprised that he had not first washed before the meal.alms

But the Lord said to him,
'Oh, you Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate,
while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness.
Fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too?
Instead, give alms from what you have and then indeed everything will be clean for you.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Gospel Reflection     
Tuesday,        Twenty Eighth Week in Ordinary Time Luke        11:37-41

The gospels, especially the gospel of Luke, suggest that Jesus was often invited to people’s table. He shared the table of his friends, like Mary and Martha. He shared the table of tax collectors, like Zacchaeus, much to the disgust of many. He also shared the table of those at the other end of the spectrum to tax collectors, the Pharisees who wanted to live their lives according to God’s Law. This is the scenario in today’s gospel reading. When Jesus was at the table of tax collectors and sinners, they found his presence a comfort. When Jesus was at the table of Pharisees, they often found his presence unsettling. In the gospel reading, Jesus does not follow the washing rituals that were so important to the Pharisees. Furthermore, he accuses his host and fellow guests of being more concerned with external cleanliness, the ritual cleansing of cups and plates, than with inner, moral cleanliness, which finds expression in almsgiving. Jesus suggests that his host and fellow guests had a somewhat skewed hierarchy of values. They gave too much attention to what was unimportant and too little attention to what was really important. This is a human failing and we are all prone to it in all sorts of ways. We all need to keep going back to the words and deeds of Jesus in order to keep rediscovering what is really important in God’s eyes and what is less so.


The scripture readings are taken from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, published by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and used with the permission of the publishers.

The Gospel reflection comes from: Weekday Reflections for the Liturgical Year 2017/2018; ‘LET THE WORD OF GOD DWELL IN YOU' by Martin Hogan, published by The Messenger c/f

Taken from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House Inc, and used by permission of the publishers.

Sliocht as an céad Litir Naomh Pól chuig na Galataigh       5:1-6
Is cuma an timpeall ghearradh ann nó as, ach an creideamh a oibríonn trí ghrá.

D’fhonn is go mbeimis saor is ea a d’fhuascail Críost sinn. Seasaigí go daingean dá bhrí sin agus ná cuirtear sibh faoi chuing na daoirse athuair. Seo mise Pól á rá libh nach ndéanfaidh Críost aon mhaitheas daoibh má dhéantar timpeallghearradh oraibh. Dearbhaím arís don uile dhuine a ndéantar timpeallghearradh air, go bhfuil sé de dhualgas air an dlí a choimeád ina iomláine.

Agus sibhse a bhíonn ag lorg na fíréantachta sa dlí tá sibh dealaithe ó Chríost agus tá gnaoi Dé caillte agaibh. Is ón gcreideamh, áfach, atáimidne ag súil leis an bhfíréantacht a fháil faoi luí an Spioraid. Mar in Íosa Críost is cuma an timpeall ghearradh ann nó as, ach an creideamh a oibríonn trí ghrá.

Briathar Dé

Salm le freagra           Sm 118
Freagra                        Go dtaga do bhuanghrá orm, a Thiarna
1. Go dtaga do bhuanghrá orm, a Thiarna,
agus do chabhair de réir do ghealltanais.
Tabharfaidh mé freagra ar lucht mo cháinte;
toisc gur muinín liom do bhriathar.                    Freagra

2. Coimeádfaidh mé do dhlí de shíor,
go brách na breithe.
Siúlfaidh mé i slí na saoirse,
mar táim ar lorg do theagaisc.                             Freagra

3. Is i d’aitheanta a bheidh mo thaitneamh
ós dóibh a thugaim grá.
Agus tógfaidh mé mo lámha chun d’aitheanta;
déanfaidh mé machnamh ar do reachtanna.   Freagra


Sliocht as an Soiscéal naofa de réir Naomh Lúcás         11:37-41
Ach tugaigí uaibh ina dhéirc an ní atá agaibh, agus tá gach aon ní glan daoibh feasta.

alms San am sin thug Fairisíneach cuireadh d’ Íosa chun a mheán lae ina theach. Chuaigh sé isteach agus lig faoi ag bord. Ar a fheiceáil sin don Fhairisíneach, b’ionadh leis nach ndearna sé an t-ionladh ar dtús roimh an bproinn. Ach dúirt an Tiarna leis: “Sea, is Fairisínigh sibh féin: glanann sibh an taobh amuigh den chupa agus den mhias, ach tá an taobh istigh díbh lán de shlad agus de mhallaitheacht. A dhaoine gan chiall, nach é an Té a rinne an taobh amuigh a rinne an taobh istigh freisin? Ach tugaigí uaibh ina dhéirc an ní atá agaibh, agus tá gach aon ní glan daoibh feasta.

Soiscéal Dé

© An Sagart
Sunday's Readings

A reading from the Book of the prophet Isaiah          53:10-11
If he offers his life in atonement, he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life.

The Lord has been pleased to crush his servant with suffering.
If he offers his life in atonement,carrying the cross
he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life
and through him what the Lord wishes will be done.

His soul's anguish over
he shall see the light and be content.
By his sufferings shall my servant justify many,
taking their faults on himself.

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm           Ps 32:4-5. 18-20.22.
Response                                 May your love be upon us, O Lord, as we place all our hope in you.

1. The word of the Lord is faithful
and all his works to be trusted.
The Lord loves justice and right
and fills the earth with his love.       Response

2 .The Lord looks on those who revere him,
on those who hope in his love,
to rescue their souls from death,
to keep them alive in famine.            Response

3 .Our soul is waiting for the Lord.
The Lord is our help and our shield.
May your love be upon us, O Lord,
as we place all our hope in you.        Response


A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Hebrews        4:14-16
Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace.Jesus deep in thought

Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith that we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and
find grace when we are in need of help.

The Word of the Lord.

Gospel  Acclamation      Jn 14:15
Alleluia, alleluia!
I am the way, the truth and the life, says the lord:
no one can come to the Father excpt through me.

or                                          Mk 10: 45
Alleluia, alleluia!
The Son of Man came to serve,
and to give his life as a ransom for many.


A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark 10: 35-45
The Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many.

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus. 'Master,' they said to him 'we want you to do us a favour.' He said to them, 'What is it you want me to do for you?' They said to him, 'Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ You do not know what you are asking" .Jesus said to them. 'Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised’ They replied, 'We can.' Jesus said to them, 'The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those to whom they have been allotted.'Jesus serves

When the other ten heard this they began to feel indignant with James and John, so Jesus called them to him and said to them, 'You know that among the pagans their so-called rulers lord it over them, and their great men make their authority felt. This is not to happen among you. No; anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave to all. For the Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Taken from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House Inc, and used by permission of the publishers.

Sliocht as Leabhar Íseáia, Fáidh Íseáia        53:10-11
Má thugann sé a anam in éiric an pheaca, feicfidh sé a shliocht, cuirfidh sé fad lena shaol.

Ba thoil leis an Tiarna é a bhascadh le breoiteacht.
Má thugann sé a anam in éiric an pheaca,carrying the cross
feicfidh sé a shliocht, cuirfidh sé fad lena shaol,
agus rachaidh toil an Tiarna chun cinn ina lámha.
“Tar éis saothar a anama,
feicfidh sé an solas agus beidh sásamh air.
Lena phianta déanfaidh mo ghiolla fíréin de na sluaite,
á luchtú féin le hualach a gcionta.

Briathar Dé.  

Salm le Freagra         Sm 32
Freagra                         Tabhair dúinn do bhuanghrá, a Thiarna, de réir an dóchais a chuirimid ionat.

1. Is dílis é briathar an Tiarna,
agus is iontaofa a obair uile.
Is ionúin leis an chóir is an ceart;
tá an talamh lán de bhuanghrá an Tiarna.   Freagra

2. Féach, tá súile an Tiarna ar lucht a eaglaithe,
orthu sin a chuireann a ndóchas ina bhuanghrá,
chun go bhfuadódh sé a n-anamacha ón mbas
is go gcothódh sé iad in am an ghorta.          Freagra

3. Bíonn ár n-anam ag feitheamh leis an Tiarna:
is é sin ár gcabhair is ár sciath.
Tabhair dúinn do bhuanghrá, a Thiarna,
de réir an dóchais a chuirimid ionat.            Freagra


Sliocht as an céad Litir Naomh Pól chuig na Eabhraig       4;14-16
Druidimis go muiníneach le ríchathaoir an ghrásta.

Jesus deep in thoughtA bhráithre, ós rud é, mar sin, go bhfuil ardsagart againn atá gafa tríd na flaithis, Íosa, Mac Dé, coinnímis greim docht ar ár gcreideamh. Ní amhlaidh atá ardsagart againn nach féidir dó tuiscint a bheith aige dár laigí ach ceann a triaileadh i ngach slí cosúil linn féin ach nach ndearna peaca riamh. Dá bhrí sin, druidimis go muiníneach le ríchathaoir an ghrásta le súil go ndéanfar trócaire orainn agus go bhfaighimis grásta a chabhróidh linn in am an ghátair.

Briathar Dé. 


Alleluia Véarsa          Marcas 10:45  
Alleluia, alleluia!
Tháinig Mac an Duine chun go ndéanfadh sé féin freastal,
agus a anam a thabhairt mar cheannach ar mhórán.


Sliocht as an Soiscéal naofa de réir Naomh Marcas        10: 42-45
Tháinig Mac an Duine chun a anam a thabhairt mar cheannach ar mhórán.

San am sin tháinig Séamas agus Eoin, clann Zeibidé; chuig Íosa á rá leis: “A Mhaistir, is mian linn go ndéanfá dúinn cibé ní a iarrfaimid ort.” Dúirt seisean leo: “Cad ab áil libh a dhéanfainn daoibh?” Agus dúirt siadsan leis: “Tabhair dúinn go suífimis, duine againn ar do dheis, agus duine againn ar do chlé, i do ghlóir.” Dúirt Íosa leo: “Níl a fhios agaibh cad atá sibh a iarraidh. An bhféadann sibh an cupa a ól atá á ól agamsa, agus sibh do bhur mbaisteadh leis an mbaisteadh lena bhfuilimse do mo bhaisteadh?”
Dúirt siad leis: “Féadaimid.” Dúirt Íosa leo: “An cupa atáim a ól, ólfaidh sibh, agus leis an mbaisteadh lena bhfuilim do mo bhaisteadh, baistfear sibh; ach maidir le suí ar mo dheis nó ar mo chlé, ní agamsa atá sin le tabhairt, ach is dóibh siúd é dá bhfuil sé i ndán.” Ar a chloisteáil sin don deichniúr thosaigh siad ar a bheith míchéadfach i dtaobh Shéamais agus Eoin.

Jesus servesAgus ghlaoigh Íosa chuige iad agus dúirt sé leo: “Tá fhios agaibh go mbíonn an mhuintir, a shamhlaíonn a bheith ag rialú na ngintlithe, ag tiarnú orthu, agus a gcuid uaisle ag smachtúchán orthu. Ach ní mar sin atá an scéal eadraibhse, ach an duine ar mian leis a bheith ina uasal eadraibh, beidh sé ina sheirbhíseach daoibh, agus an duine ar mian leis a bheith ina cheann oraibh, beidh sé ina sclábhaí ag cách. Óir níor tháinig Mac an Duine chun go mbeifí ag freastal air, ach chun go ndéanfadh sé féin freastal, agus a anam a thabhairt mar cheannach ar mhórán.”

Soiscéal Dé

Machtnamh ar Bhriathar Dé dia Domhnaigh

Ainseo le freastal ort

Nach minic a bhímid féinéiseach lenár gcuid ama agus fuinnimh. Tá an oiread sin leithscéal inmhuirearaithe chun dul siar ón a’r nduailgasaí agus obair a chaithfear a dhéanamh a chur ar leath-taobh. Cé chomh héasca ná maireachtáil díreach dúinn féin agus ligean don chómharsa cúnamh dó féin. Ach iarrann an Tiarna orainn sinn a cheistiú, "Cad is féidir liom a dhéanamh do mo phobal?" seachas "Cad is féidir le mo phobal a dhéanamh domsa?" Is ceacht bhunúsach í gur mór dúinn a bheith ag fhoghlaim ar fud ár saol. Léiríonn Séamus agus Eoin, sa Soiscéal inniu, sampla ar conas a bheith féinéiseach fiú amháin in ár bpaidreacha. íarann siad ó íosa na suíocháan is áirde ina ríocht. Bfhéidir nach ndéanaimíd urnaí i ndáiríre ach nuair is mian linn rud éigin a thaithneóch go mór linn féin. Ar iarratas an bheirt aspail, freagraíonn Íosa le ceist dá chuid féin, le tuiscint go gcaithfidh siad a gcuid tosaíochtaí a athrú. Is é seo an t-iarratas agus an urnaí is fearr is féidir linn a dhéanamh le Dia: "Déanfar do dhéantar ar an talamh mar atá sé ar neamh" (Mt 6:10). Agus is é toil Dhia ná go mairimid ár saol tar éis eiseamlár Chríost a Mhic, agus ár dtabhairt féin i seirbhís do dhaoine eile.

Pádraig Ó Rúairí, cp, Sliabh Argus, Átha Cliath.

© An Sagart