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

Presence on the journey.


A writer recalls a recent trip to Spain, where she remembers the wonderful scenery, good food and enjoyable people that she and her husband met. She was just about to label the experience as perfect when she remembered that her husband was sick for the first few days of the trip. In addition, she had sustained a bump on her head that was swollen and painful for a week. She now remembers these occurrences as minor nuisances, but they were not so insignificant at the time.

In the midst of a crisis, or when our plans are in disarray, we tend to forget that the experience will not last forever. A loss is transformed into an opportunity, and illnesses pass; grief can give birth to compassion. God is not a security blanket against hardship. Rather, God is a loving presence who leads us forward on our way to becoming a new creation.

Deirdre Powell
Saint of the day

Aug 18 - St Helen (c. 250–330) mother of Constantine

helen1Saint Helen, also known as Helena of Constantinople (c. 250–330) was the wife of the Roman Emperor Constantius (250-306), and the mother of Emperor Constantine I. She is traditionally associated with finding the relics of the true cross in Jerusalem. Patrick Duffy traces her story.

British princess or a tavern maid from Asia Minor?
An English legend would claim that Helen was a British princess, the daughter of Old King Cole, but this is untrue as Constantius her husband had divorced her long before he ever set foot in Britain.

Birth of Constantine
Flavia Iulia Helena was most probably born in the city of Drepanum - later renamed Helenopolis - in Bithynia (modern north-eastern Turkey) in 248/9 AD, the daughter of innkeepers. St Ambrose of Milan (De obitu Theodosii 42) says she was a stabularia, a maid in a tavern or inn. Around the year 270 she met Constantius Chlorus and a few years later gave birth to their son Constantine at Nish in Serbia.

Constantius divorces Helen
But when in 292 Constantius became Caesar to the Augustus Maximian in the West in the newly formed tetrarchy that ruled the Roman empire, he divorced Helena for political reasons and married Theodora, Maximian's daughter. From then until Constantine became emperor, Helena's life was spent in relative obscurity and was probably deprived of the company of her son. Perhaps because of this she is seen as a patron of those undergoing divorce proceedings.

At Constantine's court in Trier and Rome
Around 306, after the troops of Constantius proclaimed Constantine the successor of his father at York, Helena joined Constantine's court, probably first at Trier and later at Rome. There are frescoes in the imperial palace in Trier, on which Helena is possibly depicted. When in 312 Constantine had defeated his rival Maxentius in the famous battle at the Milvian Bridge near Rome, Helena probably came to live in Rome. Perhaps to console her for the years of neglect when she was repudiated by her husband Constantius, Constantine gave her as her residence the Sessorian Palace at the south-east corner of the city, part of which survives today as the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. From this time onwards she held a prominent position at the imperial court and in 324 Helena received the title of Augusta.

Helen's pilgrimage to Jerusalem
Constantine's popularity probably suffered severe damage from the murder in 326 of his son Crispus and his wife Fausta in a palace intrigue. So we find Helen now almost eighty years of age heading off to the East and to Jerusalem in the years 327-328, possibly on a goodwill political visit. Ecclesiastical historian Eusebius, however, describes Helen's journey as a pilgrimage (Vita Constantini 3.42-47), pointing out its religious aspects, showing Helen as full of religious enthusiasm, visiting the places where Christ's had walked, caring for the poor and needy and generous in endowing churches to be built on the holy places.

Icon of Ss Constantine and Helen provided by Athanasios Clark and used with permission.

The tradition is that while Helen was in Jerusalem in the years 327-8 she discovered the true cross. She ordered that the 200 year-old Temple of Venus built in the time of the emperor Hadrian be torn down and it was here that the tomb of Jesus and the relics of three crosses were found. Over this she built the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre.

Veneration of the Cross
The Sermons of Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, record that remains of the Cross were already venerated in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at the end of the 340s. Today within the Church of the Holy Sepulchre there are 29 steps leading down to the Armenian Chapel of St Helena, where the relics of cross were said to have been located. The remains of the cross were relocated to Rome, and are on display in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.

Bethlehem and the Eleona
Helen also went to Bethlehem where she built another church over the cave where Jesus was born. Also back in Jerusalem, she built a third basilica on the Mount of Olives where Jesus ascended into heaven. Constantine financed this building project and called the Ascension church "the Eleona" in honour of his mother.

[caption id="attachment_84559" align="alignleft" width="180"]Ss Marcelinus and Peter's Church, Via Labicana. Rome Ss Marcelinus and Peter's Church,
Via Labicana. Rome[/caption]


Helen's death
Shortly after her journey to the East, Helen died. She was buried in Rome in a mausoleum Constantine built for her near the Church of Saints Marcellinus and Peter on the Via Labicana.

The porphyry sarcophagus which contained her remains is now in the Vatican Museum.
Today's Readings

A reading from the book of the Prophet Ezekiel              18:1-10. 13. 30-32
I mean to judge each of you by what he does.

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows, 'Why do you keep repeating this proverb in the land of Israel:

The fathers have eaten unripe grapes;
and the children's teeth are set on edge?

'As I live - it is the Lord God who speaks - there will no longer be any reason to repeat this proverb in Israel. See now: all life belongs to me; the father's life and the son's life, both alike belong to me. The man who has sinned, he is the one who shall die.

'The upright man is law-abiding and honest; he does not eat on the mountains or raise his eyes to the idols of the House of Israel, does not seduce his neighbour's wife or sleep with a woman during her periods. He oppresses no one, returns pledges, never steals, gives his own bread to the hungry, his clothes to the naked. He never charges usury on loans, takes no interest, abstains from evil, gives honest judgement between man and man, keeps my laws and sincerely respects my observances - such a man is truly upright. It is the Lord who speaks.

 'But if anyone has a son prone to violence and bloodshed, who commits one of these misdeeds - charges usury on loans and takes interest, then this son shall certainly not live; having committed all these appalling crimes he will have to die, and his blood be on his own head.

 House of Israel, in future I mean to judge each of you by what he does - it is the Lord God who speaks. Repent, renounce all your sins, avoid all occasions of sin! Shake off all the sins you have committed against me, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why are you so anxious to die, House of Israel? I take no pleasure in the death of anyone - it is the Lord God who speaks. Repent and live!

The Word of the Lord

Responsorial Psalm         Ps 50
Response                             A pure heart create for me, O God.

1. A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
nor deprive me of your holy spirit.                       Response

2. Give me again the joy of your help;
with a spirit of fervour sustain me,
that I may teach transgressors your ways
and sinners may return to you.                             Response

3. For in sacrifice-you take no delight,
burnt offering from me you would refuse,
my sacrifice, a contrite spirit.
A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.  Response

Gospel  Acclamation           Col 3: 16
Alleluia, alleluia!
Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you;
through him give thanks to God the Father.
Alleluia !

or                                        Mt 11: 25
Alleluia, alleluia!
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children .
Alleluia !


A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew              19:13-15
Do not stop the little children coming to me; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs'.

People bJeus + kidsrought little children to him, for him to lay his hands on them  and say a prayer.
The disciples turned them away, but Jesus said,
'Let the little children alone, and do not stop them coming to me;
for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs'.
Then he laid his hands on them and went on his way.

 The Gospel of the Lord.

Gospel Reflection         
Saturday, Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time        Matthew 19:13-15

In today’s gospel reading parents bring children to Jesus for him to lay his hands on them and say a prayer of blessing. Parents instinctively want what is best for their children. They recognize Jesus as someone through whom God is working in a life-giving way, and so they bring their children, their loved ones, to him. In our own times, parents who have an appreciation of Jesus and his message and life will have the same desire to bring their children to him. They recognize Jesus as God’s unique gift to us and they want that gift for their children because they want what is best for them. When parents try to bring their children to Jesus they often meet with obstacles of various kinds. In today’s gospel reading those obstacles take the form of Jesus’ own disciples who tried to prevent parents from bringing their children to Jesus. The disciples are resisting the desire of the parents for their children. In the midst of this struggle, Jesus is not a passive spectator. He insists, against his disciples, that the children be allowed to come to him. The gospel reading assures us that in our own struggle to bring our loved ones to the Lord, and to bring ourselves to him, the Lord is always working with us. The strength of his desire for us to meet with him and, thereby, find life will overcome the various obstacles that are placed in our way. We need to trust that the Lord will find a way of bringing people to him, in spite of the resistances that may be there, of whatever kind.


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

Sliocht as Leabhar Ezícéal, Fáidh.            18:1-10. 13. 30-32
Tabharfaidh mé breithiúnas ar gach duine de réir a ghníomhartha.

háinig briathar an Tiarna chugam: “Cad chuige a n-aithriseann sibh an seanfhocal seo faoi thír Iosrael:
D’ith a n-aithreacha caora searbha;
agus tá déistin ar fhiacla na clainne?
“Dar mo bheo – an Tiarna Dia a labhraíonn – ní bheidh an seanfhocal seo sa chaint a thuilleadh eadraibh in Iosrael. Féach, is liomsa an uile bheo, is liom anam an athar agus anam an mhic. An duine a pheacaíonn, eisean a éagfaidh. “

Géilleann an fíréan don dlí agus don cheart, ní itheann sé ar na sléibhte, ní thógann sé a shúile chun íola mhuintir Iosrael, ní thruaillíonn sé bean a chomharsan, ní théann i ndáil mhná le linn a fola míosúla. Ní imríonn sé éagóir ar aon duine, ach tugann sé a gheall ar ais dá fhéichiúnaí; ní ghoideann sé, ach tugann arán don ocrach agus éadaí don nocht. Ní thugann sé uaidh ar úsaireacht, ní ghlacann sé brabús, staonann sé ón olc, tugann sé breithiúnas cóir idir duine agus duine; siúlann sé de réir mo reachtanna agus comhlíonann mo dheasghnátha go cúramach. Tá a leithéid fíréanta dáiríre agus mairfidh sé go deimhin. Is é an Tiarna Dia a labhraíonn.

“Ach má ghineann sé bithiúnach fuilteach de mhac a thugann uaidh ar úsaireacht agus a ghlacann brabús; an mairfidh seisean? Go deimhin, ní mhairfidh. Tar éis dó na coireanna gránna seo a dhéanamh éagfaidh sé cinnte agus beidh a chuid fola air féin.

Tabharfaidh mé breithiúnas ort, a mhuintir Iosrael; ar gach duine de réir a ghníomhartha – an Tiarna Dia a labhraíonn. Déanaigí aithrí agus tréigigí bhur bpeacaí go léir; seachnaígí gach ócáid scannail agaibh. Teilgigí uaibh na peacaí uile a rinne sibh orm; agus cothaígí ionaibh féin croí nua agus spiorad nua. Cad chuige gur toil libh bás a fháil, a mhuintir Iosrael? Ní bhainimse sult as bás aon duine – an Tiarna Dia a labhraíonn. Ar an ábhar sin guím aithrí daoibh agus beatha.”

Salm le freagra             Sm 50
Freagra                            Cruthaigh ionam croí glan, a Dhia.
1. Cruthaigh ionam croí glan, a Dhia,
agus cruthaigh spiorad daingean as an nua ionam.
Ná díbir amach as do radharc mé
agus ná beir do naomhspiorad uaim.                    Freagra

2. Tabhair ar ais dom áthas do shlánaithe
agus tabhair spiorad na díograise mar thaca dom.
Múinfidh mé do shlite do lucht na hurchóide
agus fillfidh na peacaigh ar ais chugat.                 Freagra

3. Óir ní bhfaigheann tú taitneamh in íobairt
agus an loiscíobairt a dhéanfainn ní ghlacfá.
M’íobairtse, a Dhia, an croí aithríoch;
ní eiteoidh tú, a Dhia, croí brúite uiríseal.           Freagra

Sliocht as an Soiscéal naofa de réir Naomh Matha          19:13-15
Ná coiscigí na leanaíar theacht chugam, óir is lena leithéidí seo ríocht na bhflaitheas.”

Jeus + kidsSan amsin thug siad leanaí chuige ansin chun go gcuirfeadh sé a lámha orthu ag déanamh guí, ach chuir na deisceabail ceartú orthu.

Dúirt Íosa: “Ligigí do na leanaí agus ná coiscigí iad ar theacht chugam, óir is lena leithéidí seo ríocht na bhflaitheas.”

Chuir sé a lámha orthu agus bhuail sé roimhe ón áit sin.

© An Sagart
Sunday's Readings
Scriptural theme
Wisdom invites us to eat her bread and drink her wine. Christ, the true Wisdom, invites us to eat his flesh and drink his blood. The life that the Father communicates to the Son comes to the faithful through the Eucharist.


A reading from the Book of  Proverbs                   9:1-6
Eat my bread, drink the wine I have prepared for you.

Wisdom has built herself a house,
she has erected her seven pillars,
she has slaughtered her beasts, prepared her wine,
she has laid her table.
She has despatched her maidservantscome and eat
and proclaimed from the city's heights:
'Who is ignorant? Let him step this way.'
To the fool she says,
'Come and eat my bread, .
drink the wine I have prepared!
Leave your folly and you will live,
walk in the ways of perception.'

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm              Ps 33:2-3. 10-15.
Response                                  Taste and see that the Lord is good.

1. I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.
The humble shall hear and be glad.                    Response

2. Revere the Lord, you his saints.
They lack nothing, those who revere him.
Strong lions suffer want and go hungry
but those who seek the Lord lack no blessing. Response

3. Come, children, and hear me
that I may teach you the fear ofthe Lord.
Who is he who longs for life
and many days, to enjoy his prosperity?           Response

4. Then keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn aside from evil and do good;
seek and strive after peace.                                 Response

SECOND READING Ephesians 5:15-2O
Recognise what is the will of the Lord.

fill up on godBe very careful about the sort of lives you lead, like intelligent and not like senseless people. This may be a wicked age, but your lives should redeem it. And do not be thoughtless but recognise what is the will of the Lord. Do not drug yourselves with wine, this is simply dissipation; be filled with the Spirit. Sing the words and tunes of the psalms and hymns when you are together, and go on singing and chanting to the Lord in your hearts, so that always and everywhere you are giving thanks to God who is our Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Word of the Lord.

Gospel  Acclamation          Jn 1: 12. 14
Alleluia, alleluia!
The Word was made flesh, and lived among us;
to all who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God.

or                                                Jn 6: 56
Alleluia, alleluia!
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me and I live in him.


A reading from the holy Gospel according to John         6:51-58
For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.

Jesus said to the crowd:

'I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;
and the bread that 1 shall give
is my flesh, for the life of the world.'

Then the Jews started arguing with one another: 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' they said. Jesus replied:

'I tell you most solemnly,
if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man
and drink his blood,
you will not have life in you.
Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my bloodJesus comes
has eternal life,
and 1 shall raise him up on the last day.
For my flesh is real food
and my blood is real drink.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me
and 1 live in him.
As I, who am sent by the living Father,
myself draw life from the Father,
so whoever eats me will draw life from me.
This is the bread come down from heaven;
not like the bread our ancestors ate:
they are dead,
but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.'

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 tSeanfhocail      9:1-6
Téanaigí, ithigí mo chuid aráin, agus ólaigí an fíon atá ullamh agam.

Tá a teach tógtha ag an Eagna,come and eat
agus a seacht gcolún curtha ina seasamh aici.
Tá sí tar éis a mairt a mharú
a cuid fíona a ullmhú,
agus a bord a chóiriú.
Tá a cuid banseirbhíseach curtha amach aici,
le glaoch amach ó arda na cathrach:
“Cibé ar bith duine atá saonta, casadh sé isteach anseo!”
agus le lucht na díchéille deir sí:
“Téanaigí, ithigí mo chuid aráin,
agus ólaigí an fíon atá ullamh agam.
Tréigigí bhur mbaois agus mairfidh sibh;
siúlaigí ar bhealach na tuisceana.”

Briathar Dé.

Salm le Freagra           Sm 33
Freagra                           Blaisigí agus féachaigí a fheabhas atá an Tiarna.

I. Beannóidh mé an Tiarna gach uile thráth,
beidh a mholadh ar mo bhéal de shíor.
Déanann m'anam mórtas as an Tiarna:
cluineadh lucht na huirísle is déanaidls lúcháir. Freagra

2. A mhuintir naofa an Tiarna, gabhadh a eagla sibh.
Bíonn easpa agus ocras ar leoin óga,
ach ní bhíonn easpa ar lucht iarrtha an Tiarna.  Freagra

3. Teanaigí, a chlann ó, éistigí liom,
go múinfidh mé daoibh eagla an Tiarna.
Cé hé an duine a shantaíonn an bheatha
agus fad saoil faoi shéan agus shonas?                  Freagra

4. Coinnigh do theanga ón olc,
agus do bhéal ó bhriathra bréagacha.
Seachain an t-ole agus déan an mhaith;
bí ar lorg na síochána agus lean di.                        Freagra

fill up on godDARA LÉACHT

Sliocht as Litir Naomh Pól chuig na hEifísigh           5:15-20
Tuigigí go cruinn cad is toil don Tiarna.

bhráithre, bígí cúramach faoi bhur gcuid iompair, dá bhrí sin, agus gan a bheith ar nós daoine gan chiall ach ar nós daoine ciallmhara ag cur na huaire chun sochair, mar is olc iad na saolta seo. Ná bíodh aon mhearbhall oraibh, dá bhrí sin, ach tuigigí go cruinn cad is toil don Tiarna. Agus ná bíodh meisce fíona oraibh mar níl ansin ach drabhlás, ach bígí lán den Spiorad, ag rá salm agus iomann agus laoithe spioradálta le chéile, ag cantain agus ag salmaireacht chun an Tiarna in bhur gcroí istigh, ag gabháil buíochais gan stad le Dia an tAthair ar son an uile ní in ainm ár dTiarna Íosa Críost.

Briathar Dé.  

Alleluia Véarsa                     Eo 6: 56 
Alleluia, alleluia!
An té a itheann m’fheoil agus a ólann m’fhuil, a deir an Tiarna
cónaíonn sé ionamsa agus cónaímse ann. 


Sliocht as an Soiscéal naofa de réir Naomh Eoin             6:51-58
Is bia go fíor mo chuid feola agus is deoch go fíor mo chuid fola.

an am sin dúirt Íosa leis na sluaite:

Is mise an t-arán beo
a tháinig anuas ó neamh.
Má itheann duine an t-arán seo
mairfidh sé go deo,
agus an t-arán a thabharfaidh mé uaim
is é m’fheoil é [a thabharfar] ar son bheatha an domhain.”
Bhí na Giúdaigh ansin ag aighneas le chéile á rá: “Conas is féidir don duine seo a fheoila thabhairt dúinn le hithe?”

Dúirt Íosa leo:

“Amen, Amen, a deirim libh
mura n-íosfaidh sibh feoil Mhac an Duine,
agus a chuid fola a ól,Jesus comes
ní bheidh beatha agaibh ionaibh.
An té a itheann m’fheoil
agus a olann m’fhuil,
tá an bheatha shíoraí aige,
agus tógfaidh mé suas é an lá deireanach.
Is bia go fíor mo chuid feola
agus is deoch go fíor mo chuid fola.
An té a itheann m’fheoil agus a ólann m’fhuil
cónaíonn sé ionamsa agus cónaímse ann.
Amhail mar a chuir an tAthair beo mise uaidh,
agus mar is beo mise tríd an Athair,
mar an gcéanna, an té a itheann mise,
mairfidh sé tríom.
Is é seo an t-arán a tháinig anuas ó neamh.
Ní ionann is an manna ar ith bhur n-aithreacha é
agus go bhfuil siad marbh;
an té a itheann an t-arán seo,
mairfidh sé go deo.”

Soiscéal Dé

Machtnamh ar Bhriathar Dé dia Domhnaigh
Tar éis béile a ithe le h’Íosa
Nuair a thugamar cuireadh do dhaoine cuairt a thabhairt orainn, cuirimid bia agus deoch ar fáil dóibh chun iad a chothú agus iad a mhúscailt. Tugann Íosa cuireadh dúinn chun a chuid tábla agus cuireann sé féin roimh ré mar bhia agus deoch chun ár spiorad a chothú. i dteanga daring, dearbhaíonn sé gurb é ár mbia agus an deoch é, an duine ar féidir leo ár n-ocras is an tart is mó a shásamh, ár n-ocras agus an tart ar feadh an tsaoil. Tugann Íosa geallúintí go bhfuil 'an té a itheann mo chuid feoil agus deochanna mo shaol fola.' Faigheann muid an Eocairist saol spioradálta agus spreagadh a tharraingt ón Tiarna ardú. Cuirfear amach as an Eocairist as bealaí den saol sin dá chéile. i ndáiríre, cuirfimid amach ón Eocairist mar thógálaithe beatha, mar ghníomhairí ar shaol Dé agus ar ghrá ár dtithe, inár sochaí, ar fud an domhain.

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

© An Sagart