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A sermon for Father's Day

Posted on June 17, 2018 at 5:30 AM

May my words be in the name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today, as I am sure you all know, is Father's Day. It is a kind of an 'invented celebration' … thought up to be a sort of male equivalent of Mother's Day … no doubt in the interest of some notion of equality … and, perhaps, more importantly very likely in the interest of selling more greeting cards and all kinds of consumer goods as presents for dads.

As a father myself I know that dads all over the country today are getting gifts of things that they don't really need … the real gift being the joy of seeing the excitement on a child's face as he or she waits for their dad to unwrap the present that they got for them … It wasn't really 'a thing' as I was growing up, so I don't really have any memories of it … but I do, of course, have memories of giving gifts to my father.

One particular present was a small wooden box I had made. To say 'I had made' is not perhaps particularly accurate. I received a great deal of assistance from my father in its construction. When I was around ten I had gotten a carpentry set for Christmas and in teaching me how to use it my dad had helped me mark out a series of small squares on a sheet of sheet of half-inch ply, using a the carpenters square to make sure the angles were right, then cut them out using the saw, and then nail them together with panel pins. The result was a small, open box without a lid … which I then proudly gave my father as a gift for him to put things in in the garage … and he accepted it with great solemnity, put it on a shelf, and used it to store old nails and screws.

Giving gifts to our fathers, whatever the day, is a great joy … but of course it should be noted that the creation of Father's Day as a counter-part to Mother's Day has a certain false equivalence to it. Because Mother's Day, or more properly mothering Sunday, as I am sure you are all aware had nothing to do with our natural mothers, but rather had to do with our Mother the Church … the idea of the Church as our mother is an ancient one … St Cyprian of Carthage said in the third century 'no one can have God has Father who does not have the Church as Mother' … and the origins of Mothering Sunday goes back to the idea of gathering in the local cathedral, the mother church of the diocese, on the fourth Sunday in Lent … or at the very least trying to get back to your home parish on that Sunday if you lived away.

So there is a religious dimension to Mother's Day, at least in how it came about, that does not exist for Father's Day. And that, I think, is a pity; for just as the idealisation of motherhood that occurs on Mother's Day can help us better understand the role of God's Church in his plan for us in Salvation; so too it would be helpful to us all indeed to have day set aside when we thought particularly about what it means for us to have God as our Father.

There are, of course, bad fathers; fathers who are not there, or who are but might as well not be for all the attention they pay to their children, or worse, those who are cruel and it would have been better if they were not there. But let us not think of such as them today – let us consider good fathers and what is so very special about the love of such a man for his children. He is, it should go without saying, both a provider and a protector, and also a teacher of his children both in his words and by the example of his life; but what is most important about the love of a good father is that he loves his children not for what they are, but who they are. The world may care about appearance and achievement, the world may care whether someone is clever, or witty, or rich. But your father loves you simply because you are his child. Whatever your faults – and a good father knows his child has many – still he loves you.

But for even the best father there is much he does not know about his child. God, on the other hand, knows us perfectly. As we hear in our Old Testament reading the Lord does not look upon someone's external appearance, but on the heart. He knows everything we do, even those things done in private when we think no one can see; he hears everything we say, even the cruel things we say in private to others with no one else to hear; and he knows our every thought, even those dark ones we have behind the mask we present to the world, our worst and secret thoughts that would shame us deeply if they somehow were to become known to others. He even knows those wrongs we have done to others, things that we and perhaps even they have long forgotten, things that may for some reason float to the top of our memory, things we may regard with some horror and cause to think to ourselves 'could I really have done such a thing?'

Our Father in heaven knows all these thoughts, words, and deeds – and he loves us anyway. And he will forgive us them all if only we will truly repent, with a firm commitment to amending our lives. There is no greater sorrow for a good father than for a child to turn his back on him; and no greater joy than when that child returns to his bosom. And for our Father in heaven the sorrow that comes from a child who rejects him can be infinitely greater; for some of those children will be lost to him not just for some years, or even a lifetime, but unto all eternity.

After my father died and we were clearing out his garage I found that box still there, sitting on a shelf, still with old nails and screws in it. He had kept it and used it for 40 years or more. And it would be nice to think that every time he took it down it brought a little smile to his face as he remembered it had been a gift from his small son. This Father's Day, it would be good to think of the joy we can bring God our Father through sincere repentance and conversion of heart. As his Son who came into the world to save us from our sins tells us in St Luke's Gospel, there is greater rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who have no need of repentance. I pray that we will all, this day, and every day, give our Father the gift of our repentance … not only because of the joy it brings him, but because it is a gift that gives the giver far more in return … the chance of being with our Father in heaven and sharing in his joy for all eternity. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 17 June 2018: 3rd after Trinity (liturgical colour ??? Green)

Posted on June 16, 2018 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

We are a Community of Prayer. Even if we do not meet, we can pray together each day through our Parish Prayer Diary

 

+Monday 18

'Foxes have holes, the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.' Matthew 8. 20

Reflection The material things of this world matter little. All that matters is following Christ.

 

+ Tuesday 19

And Jesus said to them 'why are you afraid, you of little faith?' Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm.' Matthew 8. 26

Reflection Death comes to us all. But for those who put their faith in Christ, there is nothing to fear in this world.

 

+Wednesday 20

Thomas answered him 'My Lord and my God.' John 20.28

Reflection: the phrase 'doubting Thomas' has entered indelibly into common parlance. Yet this is the same man who was the first to clearly and unambiguously recognise and declare the divinity of Christ. We who walk the path he first trod should daily give thanks for his inspired witness to the truth of whom Christ is.

 

+Thursday 21

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic 'take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.' Matthew 9. 2

Reflection: We all remember that Jesus told the man to take up his mat and walk; how many remember that he did so that he might display to the world he had the authority to forgive sins? For that was why he came, to save us from our sins. Do not deceive yourself, and thereby reject Christ, by believing you have no sins to be forgiven of.

 

+ Friday 22 (day of discipline & self-denial)

'For I have come to call not the righteous, but sinners.' Matthew 9. 13

Reflection: And we know, of course, that Christ came to call all people to himself; for all indeed are sinners. But woe onto those who think they are without sin; for in that way they reject Christ's mercy and his promise of eternal life.

 

Saturday 23 (Rector's Day Off')

The day will come when the bridegroom is taken from them, and then they will fast.' Matthew 9.15

Reflection: Fasting, along with many traditional penitential practices, have gone somewhat out of favour. Yet we know from Sacred Scripture that they were recommended by Christ himself. Should not then we, who call ourselves his followers, follow his teaching as much concerning this as we do with all other matters?

 

+Sun 24 June, 4th after Trinity, 4th Sunday of Month – Liturgical colour Green - services according to usual pattern – see below

 

Coming up this Week

+The parish fund-raising raffle takes place in Euro Spar in 'Comer Friday and Saturday. This raised over €1600 for the parish last year. Please drop donations for the hampers into the rectory. Also, volunteers needed to man the 'desk' and sell lines! Please give your name to the rector.

Notes & Advance notices

+GDPR – the new data protection regulations – are now in force. The advice from the diocese is that information held by the rector on parishioners – names, address, phone numbers – is covered on the 'legitimate interest' test – ie, it is legitimately held to fasciculate the ordinary day-to-day running of the parish. Nonetheless, the 'belt and braces' approach advises that it is no harm to get parishioners to also fill out consent forms regarding this data. These will be prepared shortly and available at the back of the churches and you are asked to fill one out and return to the rector (one per household).

+Through 2 Sep there is an exhibition of Katie Watchorn's artwork in the Visual in Carlow. She will be in conversation with Paddy McGovern at 3pm 24 June, talking about life on her family farm and the artistic processes this life inspires. Free admission.

+28 June (Thurs) Annual MU tour; Names & €50 to Iris, Jackie or Emelda ASAP

+Sep 15th: Bishop Burrows invites those confirmed by him to a Confirmation Celebration in Bishop’s House, Kilkenny. Please contact the rector for details for how to get an invitation for this RSVP event.

Summer Services Schedule for July

1 July 9.15 The Colliery; 10.30 St Mary's; noon Mothel

8 July 9.15. The Colliery; 10.30 St Mary's; noon Bilboa

15 July 10.30 St Mary's; Noon Mothel

22 July: 9.15 The Colliery; Noon Bilboa

29 July: 5th Sunday – United Service 11 am St Mary's

 

Rector: Rev Patrick Burke: 056 4441677

[email protected]

Sunday Services:

The Colliery 9.15am / St Mary's 10.30 am;

Mothel noon 1st and 3rd Sun; 2nd Sun Evening Prayer 7pm;

Bilboa noon 2nd & 4th Sunday, & 10.30am on 3rd Sundays.;

5th Sundays 11am, as announced

Please use recorded giving (envelope, etc)! The parish gets 45c extra for every euro you give, if you pay tax, from Revenue (if you give €250 pa or more) if it is recorded!

Please observe Holy Silence while waiting for Divine Worship to begin.

all the cool kids are doing it, why can't we?

Posted on June 10, 2018 at 5:30 AM

May my words be in the name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

As a child I often used to spend holidays and weekends with my grandparents or aunt and uncle on their farms in Newmarket in North Cork. One summer, when I was about eight or nine, I was staying with my aunt and uncle; it was glorious sunny weather, much like that we have had so much of recently. As I was walking past the door of the farmhouse I heard a fierce rattling coming from it. I knew at once what was happening; the door, an old plank one, covered with many layers of brown emulsion paint, had one of those old-fashioned drop latches … and all during the holiday I had noticed it was sticking … sometimes you could spend a minute or more struggling with it trying to get out of the house … but for some reason when it was sticking it was much easier to open it from outside.

I knew my aunt was alone in the house, so I guessed immediately that she was stuck inside trying to get out. I rushed over to help; and in a moment I had the door open. I stood there beaming as my aunt emerged red-faced from her exertions and blinking in the sudden glare of the sunlight. I waited expectantly for the big 'thank you' that I was sure I was about to receive for coming to her aid. It didn't come. Instead my aunt misread the situation completely. Seeing me standing there with a big smile on my face she jumped to the wrong conclusion:

'How dare you hold that door closed while I was trying to get out!' she shouted. And instead of a 'thank you' I got an almighty slap across the face. And off I went, roaring crying, not so much because of the slap, which children were well enough used to in those days, but because of the injustice of it all – I'd been punished for doing something nice.

It is one of the hard truths of the world that often those who are trying to do good are accused instead of doing wrong … and are sometimes even punished for it, their good deeds treated as crimes. We see this happening to our Lord today. He has been casting out unclean spirits – demons – and the scribes say that he is doing so not by the power of God but by the power of Beezebul – essentially Satan. He is doing not just good, but great good and he is accused of doing evil – that he wants to trick people into thinking he has been sent by God by pretending to cast out demons while being in league with the devil all along. And we know, of course, that his enemies will not limit themselves to accusations. In last week's Gospel we saw them being their conspiracy to bring about his destruction … and, as history records, when the chance presents itself to do so they do not hesitate and have him condemned to death and nailed to a cross to die.

The irony of accusing Christ of being a minion of Satan is, I hope, evident to all – for it was to save the world from the effects of the evil wrought by the devil when he tempted our first parents to sin and brought about the Fall that our Lord came into the world. But it is, of course, as a result of the Fall that mankind has its sad tendency to prefer its own sinful desires over the will of God. We have a good example of this in our Old Testament reading today. The people have decided that they want a king to rule over them like all the other nations. The prophet Samuel is appalled; there is only one true king who is lord over his chosen people – God himself. And he warns the people against their desires … and warns them, I hope you noted, with words sent to them by God himself. And yet they persist in asking for a king. They desire to be like all other nations – pagan nations who follow false gods, and sacrifice their children to Molech, a demon whose name in Hebrew has the same root as that for king – Melek – is too strong for them to resist.

The temptation to follow the example of other nations in their sinful ways is one that is not limited to ancient days. How often do we hear those arguing we should move away from our traditional values pointing to what goes on in other countries. It is the 'every one else is doing it, why can't we' argument … the type of logic we used as children when we wanted to do something and our mothers told us 'no' … and if your mothers were anything like mine you were probably told as well 'if everyone else jumped off a bridge would you want to do that too?'

The idea about mindlessly following the behaviour of others without considering rationally the merits of what they are doing as being like jumping off a bridge has always struck me as apt. Failing to logically think about any behaviour before engaging in it obviously can lead us into physical danger. And failing to consider the moral implications of any behaviour can lead us into spiritual danger. All the cool kids are smoking risks lung cancer and heart disease. All the cool kids are going to a house party where the parents are away and the drink will be flowing risks not only drunkenness but debauchery.

And, of course, just as the young people who not only refuse to bow to peer pressure but actually dare to name what the cool kids are doing for what it is – childish, stupid, and dangerous – are called names, excluded, and sometimes physically bullied, so too Christians face the wrath of the world when they stand up for what is right. We are called by God to name evil for what it is … and our thanks is often to be called evil ourselves. And that is painful … just as it was painful when my aunt slapped me when I was trying to help her.

My poor aunt, of course, almost at once realised her mistake and was very upset. And I got a very fulsome apology indeed … along with a large dish of ice-cream and a great many chocolate biscuits! We can not, of course, expect those who abuse and misuse for our faith to apologise – though, of course, we must pray always that they will repent and return to God – but Christians should know that the reward for their fidelity comes not in this life but the next. For we have only one king whose throne is in heaven … and those who remain faithful to him to the last will one day, with his grace, be filled with the joy of bowing before him and singing his praises into all eternity – a joy that I pray will be experienced by all here, in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit … Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 10 June 2018: 2nd after Trinity (liturgical colour ??? Green)

Posted on June 9, 2018 at 12:15 PM Comments comments (0)

We are a Community of Prayer. Even if we do not meet, we can pray together each day through our Parish Prayer Diary

 

+Monday 11 (St Barnabas)

'This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.' John 15. 12,13

Reflection

Christ died for our sins. We therefore, if we are to be like him, must be willing to lay down our own lives in order to lead others to him and away from their sins.

 

+ Tuesday 12

And Jesus said to them 'why are you afraid, you of little faith?' Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm.' Matthew 8. 26

Reflection Death comes to us all. But for those who put their faith in Christ, there is nothing to fear in this world.

 

+Wednesday 13

Thomas answered him 'My Lord and my God.' John 20.28

Reflection: the phrase 'doubting Thomas' has entered indelibly into common parlance. Yet this is the same man who was the first to clearly and unambiguously recognise and declare the divinity of Christ. We who walk the path he first trod should daily give thanks for his inspired witness to the truth of whom Christ is.

 

+Thursday 14

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic 'take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.' Matthew 9. 2

Reflection: We all remember that Jesus told the man to take up his mat and walk; how many remember that he did so that he might display to the world he had the authority to forgive sins? For that was why he came, to save us from our sins. Do not deceive yourself, and thereby reject Christ, by believing you have no sins to be forgiven of.

 

+ Friday 15 (day of discipline & self-denial)

'For I have come to call not the righteous, but sinners.' Matthew 9. 13

Reflection: And we know, of course, that Christ came to call all people to himself; for all indeed are sinners. But woe onto those who think they are without sin; for in that way they reject Christ's mercy and his promise of eternal life.

 

Saturday 26 (Rector's Day Off')

The day will come when the bridegroom is taken from them, and then they will fast.' Matthew 9.15

Reflection: Fasting, along with many traditional penitential practices, have gone somewhat out of favour. Yet we know from Sacred Scripture that they were recommended by Christ himself. Should not then we, who call ourselves his followers, follow his teaching as much concerning this as we do with all other matters?

 

+Sun 17 June, 3rd after Trinity, 3rd Sunday of Month – Liturgical colour Green - services according to usual pattern – see below

 

Coming up this Week

+Friday: Mayo Parish Dance, with 'The Checkers', the Dolman Hotel 9.30 pm. €15.

Notes & Advance notices

+The parish fund-raising raffle takes place in Euro Spar in 'Comer Fri/Sat 22/23 June. This raised over €1600 for the parish last year. Please drop donations for the hampers into the rectory. Also, volunteers needed to man the 'desk' and sell lines! Please give your name to the rector.

+GDPR – the new data protection regulations – are now in force. The advice from the diocese is that information held by the rector on parishioners – names, address, phone numbers – is covered on the 'legitimate interest' test – ie, it is legitimately held to fasciculate the ordinary day-to-day running of the parish. Nonetheless, the 'belt and braces' approach advises that it is no harm to get parishioners to also fill out consernt forms regarding this data. These will be prepared shortly and available at the back of the churches and you are asked to fill one out and return to the rector (one per household).

+Continuing through 2 September there is an exhibition of Katie Watchorn's artwork in the Visual in Carlow. As part of this, Katie will be in conversation with Paddy McGovern at 3pm 24 June, talking about life on her family farm and the artistic processes this life inspires. Free admission. All welcome.

+28 June (Thursday) Annual Mothers Union tour; leaving Castlecomer at 8.45am, to Waterford; visiting the Bishop's Palace, Medieval Museum, Japenese Gardens, Tramore. Cost €50 includes morning coffee & evening meal. Names & €50 to Iris, Jackie or Emelda no later than 15th June. An enjoyable day guaranteed, all welcome.

+Sep 15th: Bishop Burrows invites those confirmed by him to a Confirmation Celebration in Bishop’s House, Kilkenny. Please contact the rector for details for how to get an invitation for this RSVP event.

Rector: Rev Patrick Burke: 056 4441677

[email protected]

 

Sunday Services:

The Colliery 9.15am / St Mary's 10.30 am;

Mothel noon 1st and 3rd Sun; 2nd Sun Evening Prayer 7pm;

Bilboa noon 2nd & 4th Sunday, & 10.30am on 3rd Sundays.;

5th Sundays 11am, as announced

 

Please use recorded giving (envelope, etc)! The parish gets 45c extra for every euro you give, if you pay tax, from Revenue (if you give €250 pa or more) if it is recorded!

 

Please observe Holy Silence while waiting for Divine Worship to begin.

to save life or to kill?

Posted on June 3, 2018 at 5:30 AM

May my words be in the Name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

A few nights ago there was great excitement in the Rectory – a bat had made its way into one of the bedrooms and was circling the room endlessly trying to find a way out. We opened the windows as fully as possible, thinking that its echo location would then allow it to find the exit. But no, for some reason it still couldn’t get out. So my son Jeremiah went and got a shrimping net and managed to gently scoop it out of the air and then take it to the window where, to the delight of us all, it flew off into the night.

 

We spent around 10 or 15 minutes trying to get the little creature safely out of the house. Some might say – why bother? It’s only a bat. And true, it was only a small wild animal and it would have been easier and quicker to take a tennis racket, smash it out of the air, and throw its broken body out the window for the cats to feed upon. Some might regard that as the most sensible option. Others, I think, would be horrified at the idea. Some because bats are a protected species and it is illegal to kill them or do them harm. Others because even the smallest creatures are precious; their lives come from God and to take the life of one needlessly, for the sake of convenience, is wrong.

 

The latter, I would suggest, is the correct view. As our Lord told us, even a sparrow does not fall to the ground unheeded by God. And of course how much more sacred is the life of a human being. As we hear in our Psalm: ‘You yourself created my inmost parts; •  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ This is why we hear Jesus say in our Gospel: ‘Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to kill?’ His question is, of course, rhetorical. Human life is sacred; and when it comes to protecting it things like custom, or convenience, or even cost must be set aside. This is why he then stretches out his hand and heals the man. The Sabbath is important; indeed it is sacred for we are commanded from God that it be a day of rest and worship. But that sacredness can not be used as an excuse not to help others; and so when something touching on the sacredness of human life arises, such as helping the sick or saving a life, then even the Sabbath rest must set aside temporarily.

 

Yes, our lives are precious. Yet even that must be in seen in the proper context. For we have not been given our lives so that we spend our time upon the earth in ease and comfort. The wise fool thought that way – eat, drink, and be merry, he said. And how great was his downfall, for that very night his soul was required of him … and rich though he was upon this earth he had neglected to lay up any treasure in heaven. And our Lord, in the telling of that parable, leaves us in no doubt that the result was the loss of his eternal reward in heaven.

 

Yes, God gave us our lives and they are precious – but, as it says in the advertisements, terms and conditions apply. And we, if we are not to be like the rich fool, must always remember that we are to keep God’s commandments in this life if we are to be with him in the next. And how foolish we would be to think that God is not watching or God does not care. The story we have of the prophet Eli from the Old Testament today is a good illustration of this. Old Eli was a good man, indeed a holy man, for the most part. But his sons did great evil. They blasphemed God with their lives and with their lips. And Eli knew all that they did; and he did not act to stop them. I am sure all here can feel for his difficulty. It is hard to challenge those close to us in their in their sins. But Eli had a duty to so; as their father, as a prophet in the land, and simply as another human being. And God held him to account for his inaction.

 

The fate of Eli should serve to remind us of the dangers of a similar inaction on our own parts. Sometimes we see evil in the world; and we say and do nothing. We think that it is none of our business, it is their right to do as they please. And they do indeed have free will – they may choose to sin if they wish. But we have a duty to name what they do as sin and not make ourselves accomplices in their sins by letting them think we approve by our silence. Worse, sometimes we let our emotions take control of us and we fall prey to the sad stories people tell. They tearfully tell us how hard it would be for them to obey God’s law in this matter or the other … and tell us how they are sure that they can, in good conscience, act as they do for they know that God is forgiving … and so our hearts are moved and we say, in a parody of what our Lord said to the woman taken in adultery, go and sin some more.

Compassion is good; it is a noble virtue. But when in the name of compassion we put our arms around someone and say that God does not see, or if he does he does not care that his laws are broken, then it is a false compassion. Christ nowhere tells us in scripture that sin is not sin provided we are faced with a difficult situation and so neither must we. For God, we must remember, held both Eli and his sons to account. Both the sinners and the one who did nothing to stop them continuing in their sins were judged by God and found wanting.

 

It is good and pleasing to God to show kindness to the smallest and most vulnerable members of his creation. And given the sacredness of every human life, each one created by God, it is even more pleasing to him to help those in need, particularly when it comes to healing the sick and acting to protect all those whose lives may be in danger. But trying to do our very best to ensure that all we meet love God and show that love by obeying his commandments – that above all is what is pleasing to God. For it in that way that souls will be saved; something that we know is the dearest thing to the heart of God … for it is for that reason that he made us … and for that reason that he sent his Son into the world … so that all might be saved. And, of course, in helping others in this way we also help work out our own salvation in fear and trembling so that one day we may, with God’s grace, be welcomed into his eternal kingdom … something that I pray will be granted to all here: in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 3 June 2018: 1st after Trinity (liturgical colour ??? Green)

Posted on June 2, 2018 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

We are a Community of Prayer. Even if we do not meet, we can pray together each day through our Parish Prayer Diary

Condolences to Willie Wallace, and all in the family,on the passing of his sister Hilda in Canada. May she rest in peace to rise in glory.

 

Monday 4

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.' Matthew 5.10

Reflection

This verse from the Beatitudes may seem like a reminder from a by-gone age. Yet more Christians were martyred in the 20th century than in all those that went before; and today thousands more die for the faith each year. The faithful witness unto death is as real today as it ever was. Is it something that you would be willing to do?

+Tuesday 5

'Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.' John 12.25

Reflection

This life and the things of it will pass. Do not get so caught up in what is temporary that by doing so you miss out on what is eternal.

+Wednesday 6

‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil.' Matthew 5.17

Reflection

Part of Christ's fulfilment of the law was that things such as the ceremonial law, for example things relating to sacrifice in the temple, are now redundant. But as our Lord makes clear again and again in the Gospels the moral law, as is encapsulated in the Ten Commandments, remained in effect for all the ages.

+Thursday 7

'This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.' John 15. 12,13

Reflection

Christ died for our sins. We therefore, if we are to be like him, must be willing to lay down our own lives in order to lead others to him and away from their sins.

+Friday 8

‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.”But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.' Matthew 5. 27,28

Reflection

Our Lord makes it clear that we may sin in thought as well as in deed. Guard your thoughts therefore lest you become like the 'whited sepulchres ' Christ condemned – appearing pure on the outside, but inside are foul indeed.

 

+Saturday 9 (St Columba of Iona)

'Let your word be “Yes, Yes” or “No, No”; anything more than this comes from the evil one.' Matthew 5. 37

Reflection:

There are, of course, times when it is necessary to take an oath. But in general, an honourable man adds nothing by calling on God when he gives his word; and a dishonourable one mocks God by the dishonest invocation of his name.

+Sun 10 June, 2nd after Trinity, 2nd Sunday of Month – Liturgical colour Green - services according to usual pattern – see below

 

Coming up this Week

+Wed: Every blessing on those beginning state exams … and parents and young people alike, please keep in mind these exams are a milestone, not a destination!

+Saturday, 9 June: Wandesforde NS fund-raising cycle. if any parishioners are available to help out with stewarding on the roads (Crettyard, Mayo, Abbeyleix etc) they can contact the school or Stephen Kerr (087 279 4513)

Notes & Advance notices

+Beginning 6 June and continuing through 2 September there is an exhibition of Katie Watchorn's artwork in the Visual in Carlow. As part of this, Katie will be in conversation with Paddy McGovern at 3pm 24 June, talking about life on her family farm and the artistic processes this life inspires. Free admission. All welcome.

+There is a proposal before Kilkenny County Council, at the suggestion of Monsignor Ryan, that the Crosshill Cemetery in 'Comer be renamed Calvary Cemetery Crosshill. Both the rector and Errol Delaney (on behalf of his community) have been consulted and happy with the proposal. However, if anyone should have any thoughts on the matter please let the rector know as soon as possible.

+28 June (Thursday) Annual Mothers Union tour; leaving Castlecomer at 8.45am, to Waterford; visiting the Bishop's Palace, Medieval Museum, Japenese Gardens, Tramore. Cost €50 includes morning coffee & evening meal. Names & €50 to Iris, Jackie or Emelda no later than 15th June. An enjoyable day guaranteed, all welcome.

+Sep 15th: Bishop Burrows invites those confirmed by him to a Confirmation Celebration in Bishop’s House, Kilkenny. Please contact the rector for details for how to get an invitation for this RSVP event.

Rector: Rev Patrick Burke: 056 4441677

[email protected]

Sunday Services:

The Colliery 9.15am / St Mary's 10.30 am;

Mothel noon 1st and 3rd Sun; 2nd Sun Evening Prayer 7pm;

Bilboa noon 2nd & 4th Sunday, & 10.30am on 3rd Sundays.;

5th Sundays 11am, as announced

Please use recorded giving (envelope, etc)! The parish gets 45c extra for every euro you give, if you pay tax, from Revenue (if you give €250 pa or more) if it is recorded!

Please observe Holy Silence while waiting for Divine Worship to begin.

trusting what God tells us

Posted on May 27, 2018 at 5:35 AM

May my words be in the name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

How do we know whether to believe what others tell them about themselves is true or not? Well, generally, it depends on if we feel we can trust the source. For example, there were two men I knew while I was in the army who told me stories of their experiences in special forces operations. The first, lets call him Murphy, claimed to have been involved in covert anti-terrorist operations in Germany not long after the Berlin Wall had fallen. The second, who'll I'll refer to as Reilly, said he was a special forces sniper who was regularly sent on missions to South America to help deal with drug cartels during the time of America's so-called War on Drugs.

Now, being the sort of person who is involved in those sort of operations is quite a high status thing in the military. So there are plenty of people who will, quite frankly, lie about such things in order to 'big' themselves up a bit. So the question quite reasonably arises as to whether either of these men were to be trusted about the stories they were telling. Murphy's, as it happens, I found doubtful. He and I were both training at the same time in a place called Redstone Arsenal to be ammunition specialists. Soldiers, as you are probably aware, wear a kind of 'CV' on their chests when in dress uniform, made of different coloured ribbons marking medals won and various other achievements. Murphy wore only the most basic ribbons. His explanation was that he had been kicked out of his unit, his file sealed because his missions had been so secret, and he was denied being allowed to wear the military decorations he was entitled to. I am afraid I found it all a little implausible. The army was unlikely to take someone they had invested so much in training into highly specialised warrior and send him off to be a glorified box stacker; and a man with such skills not only was unlikely to be happy with such an extreme demotion, but was also well qualified to go elsewhere and be highly paid as a private contractor exercising his deadly skills.

Reilly, on the other hand, was my next door neighbour when I was stationed at Fort Bragg. I saw him often in uniform with his impressive display of decorations. As part of his uniform he wore a green beret, proof that he was a member of the army's elite special forces. I met other members of his unit, also green berets. And when he was going through sniper school, we sat together in his apartment, drinking a few beers while I watched him working on his 'gillie suit' – a special kind of camouflage outfit, worn by snipers to help them blend into the landscape around them and essentially be invisible as they stalked their prey. So I had no reason to doubt Reilly's story; and every reason to believe him.

I mention all this because today is Trinity Sunday. And the Trinity is a hard concept to understand – that there should be only one God but three persons in one God. I could probably spend the whole day here going through the many different ways to explain it from the Church Fathers and Great Scholars and Doctors of the Church and only scratch the surface of all that is written. But if I were to attempt to do so – and you were all kind enough to stay while I tried – the result would be a very sore throat for me, aching heads for you, and most likely no one much the wiser, myself included, on the topic. The truth is that we are finite human beings and very limited in our understanding despite the fact that often we fail to realise it. Some people, to paraphrase the apostle St Paul, become puffed up with the little knowledge they have; and, while they may know a great many facts, far more than the average person – or even more than most others – that does not make them wise. True wisdom lies in accepting how little we know and understand, and are capable of knowing and understanding. True wisdom teaches that we must be humble in the face of our overwhelming inability to penetrate the mysteries and that there is much that we must simply take on trust.

God's triune nature is one such thing. And we must take it on trust because of the source of our knowledge about his nature – which is God himself. God himself chose to reveal to us that he is both One and Three; one God, but three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And that, I think, is the most important thing we need to understand about the Trinity – we know it because God has told us this about himself, both in Scripture and directly, from his own lips, in the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. I could, of course, remind you that it is an integral elements of the Creeds to acknowledge God exists in Trinity – and not just one of the Creeds, but all three of them: the Apostles, the Nicene, and the Creed of St Athanasius which is commonly read on this day. And that the Creeds are a summary statement of the Christian Faith – which, to put it another way, means that what the Creeds tell us are to be accepted as all Christians as being true if they are indeed to be a Christian.

But better, I think, to remember, that this is information that we have from God himself; and God is to be trusted. He has no reason to lie to us; and we have no reason to believe that he is a liar … and, indeed, we should tremble at the thought of calling him a liar by doubting what it is that he has told us about himself.

As we go through life we will meet many people who will try to convince of things about themselves and the world that is clearly nonsense. And even those who appear very plausible indeed may prove themselves to be untrustworthy. But God is always to be trusted in what he tells us about himself – because he created us, he loves us, and he wants us to have a right understanding about him for the sake of our salvation. In the case of the Trinity, if we do not know that he exists in three persons, then how can we accept that he came into the world as the second person of that Trinity to die for our sins? And how can we believe that the Holy Spirit is with us unto the end of the ages, sanctifying us, and leading us into all truth? Upon such right belief, such right understanding rests our hope of salvation. And even if we indeed find much it to be a mystery, it is a mystery we must hold in our hearts in faith … trusting that it will one day help us to stand before God Father, Son, and Holy Spirit … and be with him for all eternity in heaven. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 27 May 2018: Trinity Sunday (liturgical colour ??? Green)

Posted on May 26, 2018 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

We are a Community of Prayer. Even if we do not meet, we can pray together each day through our Parish Prayer Diary

 

Condolences on the passing of Jimmy Griffith to all in his circle of friends and famly. May he rest in peace to rise in glory.

 

+ Monday 28 June

'The second is this, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 'Mark 12. 31

Reflection

Christ taught that it was those who heard and obeyed his word who loved him. Therefore if love our neighbours we must encourage them to love God in this way, the way he asks to be loved.

 

+ Tuesday 29

Jesus said to them, ‘Give to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’Mark 17.17

Reflection

The coin bore the image of Caeasar, therefore it was his. We are created in God's image, therefore the image we bear is his and we belong to him.

 

+Wednesday 30

'God said to Moses “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? He is God not of the dead, but of the living.’ Mark. 12. 26.27

Reflection

We were all created for eternal life. Therefore, do not neglect in this life to prepare for the next.

 

+Thursday 31 The Visitation of the BVM (transferred)

‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?' Luke 1. 42,43

Reflection

Within days of conceiving the Christ-child, our Lady is being hailed as the mother of our Lord by St Elizabeth. He was fully God and fully man from the moment of his incarnation.

 

+Friday 1 June

Jesus said, ‘David himself, by the Holy Spirit, declared, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand,  until I put your enemies under your feet.” ' Mark 12. 36

Reflection

Thus Christ himself attests that the Holy Scriptures are divinely inspired. And if our Lord and Saviour tells us that theyare the word of God, we must believe it to be so.

 

+Saturday 2

Then he called his disciples and said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.' Mark 12. 43

Reflection:

What seems little in the eyes of the world may be of great value in the eyes of the Lord. Small though it may be, if given with a good heart, it is pleasing to God.

 

+Sun 3 June, 1st after Trinity, 1st Sunday of Month – Liturgical colour Green - services according to usual pattern – see below

 

Coming up this Week

+The rector will be away Monday through Thursday. Canon Patrick Harvey (rector of Abbeyleix) is on call for pastoral emergencies. His number is: 057 873 1243

 

Notes & Advance notices

+There is a proposal before Kilkenny County Council that the Crosshill Cemetary in 'Comer be renamed Calvary Crosshill Cemetary. Both the rector and Earl Delaney (on behalf of his community) have been consulted and are in agreement with the suggestion. However, if anyone should have any thoughts on the matter please let the rector know as soon as possible.

+9 June: Wandesforde NS fund-raising cycle

+28 June (Thursday) Annual Mothers Union tour; leaving Castlecomer at 8.45am, to Waterford; visiting the Bishop's Palace, Medieval Museum, Japenese Gardens, Tramore. Cost €50 includes morning coffee & evening meal. Names & €50 to Iris, Jackie or Emelda no later than 15th June. An enjoyable day guaranteed, all welcome.

+Sep 15th: Bishop Burrows invites those confirmed by him to a Confirmation Celebration in Bishop’s House, Kilkenny. Please contact the rector for details for how to get an invitation for this RSVP event.

 

Rector: Rev Patrick Burke: 056 4441677

[email protected]

 

Sunday Services:

The Colliery 9.15am / St Mary's 10.30 am;

Mothel noon 1st and 3rd Sun; 2nd Sun Evening Prayer 7pm;

Bilboa noon 2nd & 4th Sunday, & 10.30am on 3rd Sundays.;

5th Sundays 11am, as announced

Please use recorded giving (envelope, etc)! The parish gets 45c extra for every euro you give, if you pay tax, from Revenue (if you give €250 pa or more) if it is recorded!

 

Please observe Holy Silence while waiting for Divine Worship to begin.

three ways to walk in the way of the Holy Spirit

Posted on May 20, 2018 at 5:30 AM

Sermon: 20 May 2018; Pentecost

May my words be in the name of the Holy and Undivided Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Those of a certain age will remember Green Shield Stamps. They were sheets of little green stamps given out with petrol, shopping, and various other purchases. The stamps were glued into the pages of little booklets. And the books could be used at special stores to redeem various things. Pots and pans and sets of cutlery and dining ware were very popular. One book would get you something small, perhaps a little toy or a spatula; and many, many books would get you something expensive, perhaps one of those Sunbeam electric multi-cookers that were all the rage in the early 70s.

My mother was mad into collecting these stamps; and for several years in a row it was in this manner that my Christmas presents were sourced. One that I remember in particular was a little carpenter's set I got when I was around nine. These were in the days when the idea of health and safety was pretty much unheard of, so the tools it contained were real: small, but very usable. There was no plastic in them; every thing was metal and wood. And so it had a real little hammer, that could bang real nails into wood; a real screwdriver; a real awl that could actually bore holes into timber; a real carpenter's square and pencil; and a real saw, with sharp metal teeth that made short work of half-inch ply and lengths of two-by-one.

I appreciate the safety concerns that no longer allow small children to be given such things … but I have to say I learned a lot from having that little set … sawing and hammering and using a screwdriver and making sure that your angles are right before you cut are real life skills and helped me learn the basics of woodworking before I was big enough to move onto the full-sized tools in my father's garage.

But, of course, I would have learned nothing from that gift if I had not taken the tools out of the box and used them. And the world is full of such things – wonderful gifts that have very practical purposes, but achieve nothing because the person who receives them never opens the box, or sticks them on shelf or in a drawer or cupboard and never does anything with them, or uses them a couple of times and then gives up because its a bit of work to learn how to use them correctly, or because some new distraction comes along and they are forgotten.

The Holy Spirit, the person of the Trinity who features so prominently in our readings on this Day of Pentecost, is a gift that can be treated that way by some. He is, of course, a gift we are all given – 'Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit' the bishop said to us all when he laid his hands upon us as we were confirmed. And having the Holy Spirit in our lives is important … if this were not the case, Christ would not have promised his disciples he would send him … and when that promise was fulfilled, we can see the dramatic difference his coming made to those early followers of our Lord … they went from being people hiding in an upper room, afraid of what would happen to them if they so much as showed their faces, much less preaching the Word of God boldly … and became fearless proclaimers of his Truth, not afraid to face any one or anything for the sake of preaching the Gospel, not even afraid of torture and death.

And so having been given this gift we must not let it sit idle; but we must work to develop it within us. This can be done in many ways; but today let me suggest just three to you. The first is by frequent reading of a particular book of the Bible, the Acts of the Apostle. This book, perhaps more than any other, details for us what happens when the Holy Spirit falls upon a Christian soul and is fully embraced. It is to be read carefully, as all of Sacred Scripture is, for encouragement and inspiration. See how the Holy Spirit transformed them; realise how it can transform you; and open your hearts to him so that he may.

The next is by listening to what St Paul tells us in his letter to the Galatians as to how to walk in the Spirit. First he warns us against the works of the flesh, which are contrary to the Spirit; these are 'fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these'. These are to be avoided for, as St Paul tells us, those who do such things will 'not inherit the kingdom of heaven'. Instead we must lead our lives according to the word of God and the guidance of his Spirit; we must, as St Paul teaches, do as those who truly belong to Christ do and crucify 'the flesh with its passions and desires'; then will our lives be filled with the fruits of his Spirit which are 'love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control'.

Lastly, we must make room in our lives for silence; for God is found in the silence as the prophet Elijah discovered and which we read about in First Kings. Therefore we must bring silence into our lives … both to let God and his Holy Spirit in … and to keep the world and its noise and all its temptations out … think of so much that is on the radio and television, what is broadcast over the internet, what comes out of Hollywood and the music industry … and then compare it to what St Paul called the works of the flesh … the things that will deny us the kingdom of heaven … there is much, much too much of the works of the flesh in the noise of the world … and very little that leads to the fruits of the Spirit … and so making time for prayerful silence in our lives is making time for God … and making time for the salvation of our souls …

I still have the little hammer from that carpenter's set … although nearly fifty years have passed since I was given it, it still remains as good as ever and it makes for a very useful tack hammer. As far as gifts go, one could say that it has withstood the test of time. But, however much I may treasure it, it remains just a hammer; but the gift of the Holy Spirit is a far greater gift … for it is a gift that, if properly received, and constantly fostered within in us, will last beyond time … it will last unto and lead us into eternal life … somewhere that I pray that all here will find themselves on that great and terrible day at the end of the ages in the name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 20 May 2018: Pentecost (liturgical colour ??? Red)

Posted on May 19, 2018 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Congratulations to Mervyn and Emma, the new Mrs & Mrs Parr; and to Lee and Shannon, the new Mr & Mrs Wilson. We wish both couples every happiness over the course of many years of wedded bliss.

 

+Monday 21

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.' Mark 10.21

Reflection

It was out of love, for the sake of his immortal soul, that Jesus told the rich young man to let go of the things of this world. How does this warning apply to your life? Do the treasures of this life – including the praise of others - mean more to you than those of heaven?

+ Tuesday 22

'There is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the gospel, who will not receive a 100-fold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. Mark 10.29, 30

Reflection

The sacrifices one makes in this life are abundantly made up for by one's joining into the fellowship of the family of Church. What is more, things that will soon fade away are given up for the sake of what is eternal.

+Wednesday 23

'Whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.' Mark. 10.43,44

Reflection

It is one of the seeming paradoxes of the Christian life that greatness is attained through humility, and lordship by humble service. But in truth, there is no paradox at all, for the things of the world are a passing splendour; and the things that bring greatness in this life matter not at all in the next.

+Thursday 24

'And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.' Luke 16. 9

Reflection

What is translated here as 'dishonest wealth' might be better put as 'worldly riches.' Christ is telling his disciples to use the goods they are blessed with in this life as but another means of entering into eternal life.

+Friday 25

He was teaching and saying, ‘Is it not written,“My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”?  But you have made it a den of robbers.’  Mark 11. 17

 

Reflection

God's house is a holy place. Are you careful to behave with due reverence at all times when you are within?

+Saturday 326

So they answered Jesus, ‘We do not know.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.’ Mark 11. 33

Reflection:

The source of Jesus's authority was before their eyes, even as was that of John's. Sometimes people just want not to believe, no matter what the evidence. Pray for them, that their blindness will be lifted.

 

+Sun 27 May, Trinity Sunday of Month – Liturgical colour Green - As this is the festival day of one of the churches in our Union, Holy Trinity Bilboa – the only service in our union that day will be a United one of Holy Communion in that church at 11 am

 

Coming up this Week

+25 May (Friday): referendum on the Eighth Amendment. The text of the Eighth reads: 'The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right.' If repealed, it would be replaced with the following: 'Provision may be made by law for the regulation of termination of pregnancy.' The proposed legislation allows for abortion without restriction up to 12-weeks and under specified circumstances thereafter. The Archbishops of the Church of Ireland have expressed grave concerns about these proposals. Please reflect prayerfully on this issue; and remember to vote on the day.

Notes & Advance notices

+9 June: Wandesforde NS fund-raising cycle

+Sep 15th: Bishop Burrows invites those confirmed by him to a Confirmation Celebration in Bishop’s House, Kilkenny. Please contact the rector for details for how to get an invitation for this RSVP event.

 

Rector: Rev Patrick Burke: 056 4441677

[email protected]

Sunday Services:

The Colliery 9.15am / St Mary's 10.30 am;

Mothel noon 1st and 3rd Sun; 2nd Sun Evening Prayer 7pm;

Bilboa noon 2nd & 4th Sunday, & 10.30am on 3rd Sundays.;

5th Sundays 11am, as announced

Please use recorded giving (envelope, etc)! The parish gets 45c extra for every euro you give, if you pay tax, from Revenue (if you give €250 pa or more) if it is recorded!


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