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Forgiveness and the Cross

Posted on September 17, 2017 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (0)

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

 

The topic of our Gospel reading today is that of God's forgiveness; and the parable of the unmerciful servant demonstrates that his mercy toward us is essentially unlimited. There is no sin that we may commit that God cannot forgive, provided that we are repentant. However, it also shows, in order to attain mercy, we must ourselves be merciful; in order to be forgiven, we must also forgive. And if that seems hard, we must remember, as the parable demonstrates, that even though the offences that others commit against us may seem great, they are as nothing compared to the offences we commit against God. For any wrong done to us, no matter how great we may judge it to be, is simply an offence against a mortal creature; but all offences against God, no matter how trivial they may seem, if done against the Almighty creator of the universe.

 

It for that reason that Jesus died on the cross to atone for our sins. And it is because of that infinitely great sacrifice – God becoming man so that he might suffer and die for our sins – that we must keep the Cross at the centre of our lives. That Cross means the possibility of Salvation for all; and Salvation means that it is possible for us to one day be where we were created to be – with God, in heaven, for all eternity.

 

Therefore, wonderful things can happen for us if only we will keep the Cross at the centre of our lives. Indeed, let me tell you a little story concerning something rather wonderful that happened recently, in this very Church, when one person understood the importance of keeping the Cross at the centre of things.

 

One Sunday, not many weeks ago, I came into St Mary's to conduct Divine Services as usual. As I faced the altar, I was first startled and then entranced by an unusual sight. Upon the White Cloth on the surface of the Holy Table there shone an image of the Cross in golden light. It took me only a moment to realise that it was caused by light reflecting off the Cross in the Sanctuary onto the Altar Cloth. But why was it happening? It had never happened before that I had seen. Now, it was a sunny morning; and of course as we all know, the angle of the sun changes throughout the year and what with sometimes days being wet or cloudy, perhaps it was that conditions had never been just right for me to notice this happening before? But as the service progressed, I glanced back to the altar several times; and though the angle of the sun changed, the phenomenon continued and the bright, golden cross continued to shine unmoving upon the white linen of the Holy Table. This made it clear that it was the light of the sanctuary lights themselves being reflected from the cross down onto the altar; which made it all the more puzzling, as in that case why had it never happened before?

 

The only thing I could think of at that point was that someone must have moved the cross or adjusted its position so that for the very first time it was catching the light in this way and reflecting its image upon the altar. And so it proved to be. After the service, as I was telling the few people who had remained behind about what I had noticed and inviting them to come and see it for themselves, Sylvia Ward told me that when she had been cleaning and doing the flowers she had noticed that the flowers were obscuring the cross to some extent; and thinking that it was wrong that the cross should be hidden in any way, she had moved it a little so that it would remain in plain view and retain its position of prominence within the church. She had kept the Cross at the centre of things. And something wonderful had been the result.

 

Now, of course, this is only a small thing – although I must confess that it caused me great excitement and wonder at the time, and still warms my heart whenever I see it – but it does, I think, serve as a sort of a parable. We as Christians are called to keep the Cross at the centre of our lives. When it was done in this case, something rather beautiful was the result – a glowing cross was cast upon the Altar in God's Church. And that I think can serve to remind us of the even more beautiful and wonderful things that can result when we keep the cross at the centre of our lives always … if we lead our lives always thinking of how Christ died for us … if we lovingly follow his teachings, carrying our own crosses, forgiving others as we ourselves wish God to forgive us when we fail to live up to our calling to be as Christ-like as possible … realising that even as we carry our cross, the cross of Christ carries us … carries us daily ever nearer to our heavenly home and eternal life … to the place where all mourning ceases, all sadness is over, where all is joy and love, and all our sins forgiven … a forgiveness that we have through the Cross of our Lord … the Cross that I pray that all here will embrace, now and always, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 17 September 2017: 14th after Trinity liturgical colour ??? Green

Posted on September 17, 2017 at 4:55 AM

Please remember to maintain Holy Silence both before and after the service to allow others to pray quietly before the Lord

Condolences to all in the Stone/Smyth family on the recent passing of George Stone. May he rest in peace to rise in glory.

 

+Monday 18 September

‘Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.' Luke 7.7

Reflection

Several times in the Gospels we read of Jesus' praise for the great faith displayed by some. In what manner do you think would he regard the faith that you have in him?

 

+Tuesday 19

Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, rise!’ Luke 7.14

Reflection

Each day our Lord commands us to rise up, to hear and obey his word, so that we may enter into eternal life. How do you respond to his command?

 

+Wednesday 20

'They are like children sitting in the market-place and calling to one another, “We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;we wailed, and you did not weep.”' Luke 7.32

Reflection

There are some who will criticise you no matter what you do; truly it is a case of damned if you do and damned if you don't. Ignore them. There is only one whom you must hear and obey for he has the words of eternal life.

 

+Thursday 21 (St Matthew)

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him. Matthew 9.9

Reflection

Our Lord called St Matthew to be an apostle and he followed. He calls each of us also, each to our own role within the Church. And we must respond as St Matthew did, by rising up and following Christ – whatever the cost.

 

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

Soon afterwards Jesus went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. Luke 8.1

Reflection

Our Lord did not just proclaim the good news, he brought it with him wherever he went. We too must live our lives in such a way as to bring his good news into the lives of those we meet.

 

+Saturday 23 (Rector's Day Off)

'The ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe only for a while and in a time of testing fall away.' Luke 8.13

Reflection

We face many things that test our faith. When trials occur do you stand fast? Do you fall away and think you will ask for forgiveness later? Or do you fall away without even realising that you have done so?

 

+Sun 24 September, 15h after Trinity; Liturgical colour Green (4th Sunday of month, services according to usual pattern – see below) Castlecomer Male Voice Choir Collection: after the 9.15am in the Colliery and before the 10.30am in St Mary's. Your generous support of the choir, who regularly edify our Carol Services, is greatly appreciated.

 

Notes & advance notices

+Bilboa 'Sale' money now due; Comer/Colliery grass money €40 due.

+Please give names for the coming cycle of confirmations to the rector

+Youth Club will begin again in October.

+21 Sep 7.30pm Ecumenical Prayer Service for World Peace, Carlow Cathedral, with refreshments afterwards in the Parish Centre

+27 Sep (Wed) Select Vestry Meeting, Wandesforde Hall 8pm

+29 Sep Whist Drive Wandesforde Hall 8.30pm. Volunteers to help with the catering appreciated. Please let the Parrs know if you can assist. Raffle prizes also needed! There will be a beginners/refreshers class at 7.30pm on the night.

+13 Oct Bilboa Dinner Dance: Music by Michael Collins & his Band. Meal at 8pm sharp. Dancing from 9.30pm. Tickets €25 each, available from parishioners

+15 Oct, Harvest 'Songs of Praise' 7pm (please note time change) St Mary's. Please let the rector know your favourite harvest hymns! The only other service that day is Holy Communion in Mothel at noon.

+24 Nov 'Comer Autumn Fayre

+1 Dec: Christmas Whist Drive, Wandesforde Hall 8.30pm. There will be a beginners/refreshers class at 7.30pm on the night.

+April 16th - 25th 2018 'Tour To Israel' led by Rachel Treacy & Sophie Shirley. Anyone interested can contact Rachel at 087 9905059 for more details and brochure.

 

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, in rotation (29 Oct – Bilboa)

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!

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 10 September 2017: 13th after Trinity liturgical colour ??? Green

Posted on September 10, 2017 at 4:20 PM

Please remember to maintain Holy Silence both before and after the service to allow others to pray quietly before the Lord

+Monday 11 September

The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Luke 6.7

Reflection The wicked seek for reasons even in the good deeds of the most holy to accuse them of evil. But the evil is in their own hearts and will one day be their undoing. Pray they will repent before that day comes.

 

+Tuesday 12

He spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles. Luke 6. 12, 13

Reflection Our Lord did nothing without first engaging in prayer. We must also seek God's guidance and strength before we act.

 

+Wednesday 13

Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Luke 6. 22

Reflection Great are the rewards in heaven for those who risk the hatred of the world for the sake of the Lord. Can you say that you have earned the Lord's blessing in this way?

 

+Thursday 14

'But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.'

Luke 6.27

Reflection In the context of this passage, our Lord spoke of those who hate you because of your faith in Him. And what greater love could you show to such as those than to do all that you can to bring them also to the path that leads to Salvation?

 

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

He also told them a parable: ‘Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?' Luke 6. 39

Reflection Who is it from that you seek to learn how to live – those blind guides who speak with the approval of the world? Seek the counsel rather of He who speaks with the authority of the Divine, God's Son, who speaks to us through Sacred Scripture and through the Church which he founded.

 

+Saturday 16 (Rector's Day Off)

'Why do you call me “Lord, Lord”, and do not do what I tell you?' Luke 6.46

Reflection There is no salvation without sacrifice. Christ died that we might be saved; and we must forego all that does not conform to his teaching if we hope to partake of the salvation that he offers.

+Sun 10 September, 14th after Trinity; Liturgical colour Green (3rd Sunday of month, Harvest Thanksgiving Bilboa 4 pm. Guest preacher: Fr Sergiy Mironenko, a local priest of the Orthodox tradition. The only other service that day is Holy Communion in St Mary's at 10.30am)

 

This Week

+Tue 8pm MU Opening Service, Bilboa. The service will be led by Canon Mark Haydon, MU Chaplain. All welcome!

+Wed: Castlecomer is to have the privilege of being the starting point for our bishop's Rapid Road Tour and Sermon Marathon, stopping at 66 places in the Diocese, and preaching a short reflection based on each of the 66 books of the Bible. His first stop is on Wed 13 Sept at 9.15am in St Mary's. All are welcome – and a good turn out in St Mary's to get things off to a flying start would be appreciated!

 

Notes & advance notices

+Bilboa 'Sale' money now due.

+Please note that there has been a fault on the phone line at the Rectory. The phone company are dealing with it, but it might be a few days before all is normal again!

+'Comer/Colliery grass money €40 due.

+Please give names for the coming cycle of confirmations to the rector

+Youth Club will begin again in October.

+Union BBQ: amount raised approx €1400

+24 Sept: Castlecomer Male Voice Choir Collection: after the 9.15am in the Colliery and before the 10.30am in St Mary's. Your generous support of the choir, who regularly edify our Carol Services, is greatly appreciated.

+29 Sep Whist Drive Wandesforde Hall 8.30pm. Volunteers to help with the catering appreciated. Please let the Parrs know if you can assist.

+13 Oct Bilboa Dinner Dance

+15 Oct, Harvest 'Songs of Praise' 6pm St Mary's. Please let the rector know your favourite harvest hymns! The only other service that day is Holy Communion in Mothel at noon.

+24 Nov 'Comer Autumn Fayre

+April 16th – 25th 2018 Tour To Israel led by Rachel Treacy & Sophie Shirley. Anyone interested can contact Rachel at 087 9905059 for more details and brochure.

 

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, in rotation (29 Oct – Bilboa)

 

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!

true love means speaking the truth

Posted on September 10, 2017 at 5:30 AM

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


The topic of our Gospel reading today concerns the correction of wrongdoing in others. It is an uncomfortable one, particular in this modern age of 'live and let live.' And it seems to stand in contradiction of our Lord's words elsewhere of 'judge not, lest you also be judged.' This is a favourite scripture quotation of many these days; ironically, generally used by those who would never dream of obeying anything else that Christ teaches – people who, indeed, would deny our Lord's divinity, and perhaps even the existence of God.


However, our Lord's words here, and in many other places in scripture, make it clear that when he teaches us to 'judge not' he is not commanding us to be silent in the face of evil, whether in the world or in the behaviour of others. The Church has always taken it to mean that it is not for us to comment on the eternal fate of those who, ostensibly at least, seem to be very great sinners. That is something that is left to the judgement of God alone; and it is why the Church has never during the entirety of her nearly 2000 year history ever taught that any particular person, no matter how evil they have seemed to be, no matter how great their crimes, have passed from this life into eternal damnation.


But refraining from making this kind of judgement does not mean, as I have already said, being silent when we see those around us breaking God's laws. Let us look at a fictional example to consider why it is important that we should not.


Let us imagine a young, married woman whose husband's job takes him abroad for long periods of time. During one such absence she is seen having drinks with an old boyfriend in the local public house, their behaviour becoming increasingly flirtatious. Her family and friends say nothing. Soon after she goes out for dinner with him on several occasions and then on to local nightclubs until the wee hours. Again her family and friends say nothing. Finally, his car is seen parked outside her house all night, several nights a week. The other nights her car is parked outside his. And still her family and friends say nothing.


And of course they should speak. Why? For the sake of her reputation? Well, naturally, reputations are very important things. A good reputation is more valuable than silver and gold. Indeed, to quote Shakespeare : 'Who steals my purse steals trash … but he that filches from me my good name robs me of that which not enriches him, and makes me poor indeed.' But even so, there was a more important reason that her friends and family should speak.


For the sake of her marriage? Again, marriage is something of great importance. For the Christian it is something sacred – in the words of our Lord: 'What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.' And irrespective of faith, it is the very building block of society. This young woman's action threaten not only her own marriage but also helps undermine the institution of marriage within society. And yet there is an even more important reason that her friends and family should speak to her about the wrongness of her actions.


And that is for the sake of her immortal soul. This woman is engaging in adultery. This is not to judge her – it is to speak the plain and objective facts of the matter. And we all know what the commandment says: 'thou shalt not commit adultery.' And our Lord, even as he protected the woman taken in adultery from those who would stone her to death, told her to 'go, and sin no more.' Why did our Lord tell her to 'sin no more'? Because those who die unrepentant of serious sin face serious eternal consequences. The friends and family of this woman can not know that this woman will be damned; and it is certainly not for them to say that she will be; but that is quite evidently the fate that she is risking. And if her friends and family love her, then the fear of her anger at being told what she is doing is wrong, the worry that she will end their relationship and never speak to them again, will not stop them from speaking to her. Because what is that risk compared by what she risks by her actions?


This example, as I said, is made up. And it covers, you will note, only one of the commandments. There are others. Perhaps it would be good if you went through them all in your mind, if not now, then later. Think of the lives of those whom you love. Are they living in such a way as to break God's law? Would you dare, out of love for them, to tell them so? And as you ponder, think of your own lives. Are there aspects of it that need correcting? And if there are, are you willing to do so? And if not, do you have friends and family loving enough to help you, loving in the true sense of love, love that will only the best for the other person, understanding that the best must always look to the eternal salvation of the one they love? I pray that you do – even as I pray that you will love all others in his way in the Name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

false compassion

Posted on September 3, 2017 at 5:30 AM

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

 

In our Gospel reading today* (printed below) we see St Peter try to persuade our Lord from accepting the things that must happen to him – that he must go to Jerusalem, suffer greatly at the hands of the authorities there, and be killed. And it must surely seem to us that the reaction of St Peter is a very natural one – the man whom he has left everything for to follow, the man he believes to be the promised and long-awaited Messiah, the man he has declared to be the Son of the Living God, the man he calls master and teacher and Lord, the man he loves more than life itself has told him that he is soon to face a very cruel fate. And the greatest of the Apostles is quite frankly appalled. So much so that he is moved to speak to our Lord in a manner that is, to put it bluntly, astonishing. He begins to rebuke him! Imagine – a mere man takes it upon himself to rebuke the One he knows to be the Son of God! But, as I said, at a certain level his reaction to the information that Jesus shares with him about future events can be seen as being quite natural. Who among us, after all, would be happy to be told that even someone we did not like very much was soon to suffer greatly and then die? And if we were told that this was to be the fate of someone we greatly loved, would we not do everything within our power to prevent those terrible future events from taking place?

 

And yet the reaction of our Lord shows that reactions such as St Peter's are not to be countenanced. Consider: he does not say to him 'I know that you are saying this because you love me and do not wish to see me suffer'; and he does not say 'you speak this way because you are a man of great compassion who does not wish to see someone else in pain'. No; he says 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men.' He is telling St Peter that when he behaves in this way, even though he may think he speaks out of love, out of compassion, that he is actually doing the work of Satan; that far from being good, what he is doing is evil. Why? Because he is placing the way human mind thinks and the human heart feels above the will of God as it has been revealed to him. And let us be quite clear – God's will has been revealed to him concerning this matter in a very unambiguous and direct way. For he has been told by Jesus himself what the fate of the Christ is to be; and he himself, only moments before, just a few verses prior to those we hear read in our Gospel reading today, when Jesus asks his disciples who do they say that he is, has declared that he is the Christ, the Son of God.

 

This, of course, makes St Peter's actions all the more surprising. He knows this is the will of God – for the Son of God himself has told him that it is. And yet he sets himself to argue against it. This demonstrates to us what a powerful temptation it is that St Peter faced – the temptation that when obeying God's will seems hard or to come at a great a cost to try and find a way around it. It is so powerful a temptation that it is little wonder that we will often hear people speak out against the clear teachings of Scripture or the Church founded by Christ, saying that those teachings must be changed, or if not changed at least not acted upon, so we can deal with people more compassionately, or more pastorally … but it is a false compassion as the reaction of our Lord to the words of St Peter shows. It is false because even though these things may seem good, even godly to us, they are not – they are evil, they are of Satan. It is false because it puts the desires of men before the will of God.

 

And it is false because it forgets, as St Peter did that day, that there are things beyond this life. For when our Lord outlined the fate of the Christ to his disciples on that occasion, it did not end with suffering, it did not end with death. It ended with the Resurrection – the Resurrection which is for us the promise of eternal life. That is why Jesus was able to tell his followers that they must take up their cross if they wished to follow him; because no matter what it cost them to do so, it would not end in death for them just as it did not for him – it would end in eternal life. And it was for eternal life that we were all created; it was for eternal life for us all that Christ suffered and died and rose again; and it is for eternal life, for ourselves and all others that we must daily strive … even as we pray for it in the Name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

*Matthew 16: 21-28

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you." 23* But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men." 24* Then Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life? 27* For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done. 28* Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."



Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 3 September 2017: 12th after Trinity liturgical colour: Green

Posted on September 2, 2017 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Please remember to maintain Holy Silence both before and after the service to allow others to pray quietly before the Lord

 

+Monday 4 September

They said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’ Luke 4.22

Reflection

We all face those who say things like 'who do you think you are to teach me anything?' Take courage from the fact that Christ himself faced the same problem; and that the teaching you share comes not from you but from the Father of us all.

 

+Tuesday 5

They were astounded at his teaching, because he spoke with authority. Luke 4.32

Reflection

Mere mortals that we are, we can not claim to have authority like Christ's. And yet if we pass on his teaching faithfully, the authority that is his teaching shines through.

 

+Wednesday 6

Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them. Luke 4.39

Reflection

The example of St Peter's mother-in-law speaks to us all. God provides us with everything. Our first response should be that of grateful service.

 

+Thursday 7

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man!’ Luke 5.8

Reflection

The honest and humble response to the greatness of God is to recognise how unworthy we are. And yet, God loves us and calls us to serve him.

 

+Friday 8 (day of discipline and self-denial) (Birth of the BVM)

And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.' Luke 1. 46,47

Reflection Mary, utterly pure, rejoiced at the privilege of being the Mother of our Lord. Should not we also rejoice, we for whom he took flesh, died for our sins, and nourishes with his own body and blood in the Blessed Sacrament?

 

+Saturday 9 (Rector's Day Off)

Then he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.’ Luke 6.6

Reflection

Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath. Why then do so many who call themselves his followers neglect him or pay him little heed on the day that is his?

+Sun 10 September, 13th after Trinity; Liturgical colour Green (2nd Sunday of month, services according to regular pattern – please see below)

 

This Week

+Thur 11am St Mary's WNS Opening Service to mark the start of the new school year. All are welcome to attend and encourage the children in their journey of faith by their presence. The collection will be in aid of the bishop's Rapid Road Tour.

+Friday The Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Holy Communion St Mary's 10.30am

 

Notes & advance notices

+Bilboa 'Sale' money now due.

+'Comer/Colliery grass money €40 due.

+Those hoping to be confirmed in the coming cycle of confirmations should let the rector know so he can organise a date with the Bishop.

+Youth Club will begin again in October.

 

+13 Sep: Castlecomer is to have the privilege of being the starting point for our bishop's Rapid Road Tour and Sermon Marathon, stopping at 66 places in the Diocese, and preaching a short reflection based on each of the 66 books of the Bible. His first stop is on Wed 13 September at 9.15am in St Mary's. All are welcome – and a good turn out in St Mary's to get things off to a flying start would be appreciated!

 

+17 Sept; Harvest Thanksgiving Bilboa 4 pm. Guest preacher: Fr Sergiy Mironenko, a local priest of the Orthodox tradition. The only other service that day is Holy Communion in St Mary's at 10.30am

+24 Sept: Castlecomer Male Voice Choir Collection: after the 9.15am in the Colliery and before the 10.30am in St Mary's. Your generous support of the choir, who regularly edify our Carol Services, is greatly appreciated.

+29 Sep Whist Drive Wandesforde Hall 8.30pm.

+13 Oct Bilboa Dinner Dance

+15 Oct, Harvest 'Songs of Praise' 6pm St Mary's. Please let the rector know your favourite harvest hymns! The only other service that day is Holy Communion in Mothel at noon.

+24 Nov 'Comer Autumn Fayre

 

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, in rotation (29 Oct - Bilboa)

 

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!

no room for race hate in the Church

Posted on August 30, 2017 at 5:30 AM

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

 

There is a very obvious theme running through our readings today from Sacred Scriptures – and that is how God is the God of all people upon the earth; and his Son was sent for all. In our Old Testament reading God, speaking though his prophet Isaiah says his house will be a house of prayer for all people. In our epistle St Paul reminds the Romans that God is merciful to all, Jew and Gentile. And in our Gospel reading the Canaanite woman comes to Jesus asking for healing for her daughter, who is tormented by a demon; she is a foreigner, but she seeks God's help and mercy – and her prayer is granted.

 

This message that God is the God of all people, with no preference being given to the colour of their skin or what part of the world they may happen to come from, is very timely in the light of recent events in the United States, where Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists marched openly in the streets. Theirs is the quite frankly evil ideology that lead to the Holocaust, a dark stain in the history of humanity when millions of innocent lives were brutally snuffed out on the basis of the nonsensical and blatantly pseudo-scientific notion that some races were superior to others and that the interests of 'racial purity' demanded that what were deemed 'lesser races' be exterminated.

 

Now, when we think of the Holocaust we quite naturally think first of the Jews, six million of whom lost their lives in its horrors. But we must also remember that over eleven million others, mainly Slavs, lost their lives as well. They were also deemed to be lesser by this dreadful ideology; as were those of African origins and many others too. That over seventeen million lost their lives is horrifying and reason enough that such beliefs as these should be seen as being beyond the Pale. But this mind-numbingly large number was simply the tip of the ice-berg in terms of what was intended. Had the Nazis prevailed, their evil ideology would have required the death of not just millions but billions.

 

Sadly, sometimes there are those who try to claim that religion justifies racism. Sometimes they do so to justify their own racism; and sometimes they do so in order to justify their own prejudice against religion. But as our readings from Sacred Scriptures today make clear there is no basis upon which a person can find comfort for such views in the Holy Bible. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that just as the Lord told his followers that they could not serve two masters and could not serve both God and Mammon, neither can a person claim to be a follower of Christ while also adhering to this kind of ideology. How could they? The first is to seek to be holy as God is holy; the second is evil and therefore must be seen as belonging to the Evil One.

 

He is, of course, the Father of Lies; and the lie that one race is somehow superior to another is one of his most noxious ones. It is denied by science which, by virtue of the study of DNA, tells us that ultimately all men and women of the earth are kin to each other, that no matter how far you travel every person you meet is a distant relation. And it is denied by Sacred Scripture, which tells us that we are all children of our First Parents, Adam and Eve.

 

Because the Christian faith is utterly hostile to such an evil ideology, it is important the Christian faith in all its fullness be proclaimed fearlessly in the world. We must never forget that many thousands of brave Christian men and women also died during the Holocaust, sent to the death camps specifically because they knew their faith demanded of them that they speak out against the evil they saw taking place around them. They spoke then; we must speak out now – not just against this evil, but all the evils in the world today. We may not have white supremacists in our nation, but there are plenty of other evil creeds seeking to tempt the unwary, the gullible, the dissatisfied, or the oppressed soul to follow them. And also, because we know that those who follow such evil ideologies are deluded by lies and falsehoods, we must pray for them. For our Scripture readings today tells us today that God desires the Salvation of all. And deluded though they are, they are also our brothers and sisters, some through their baptism, all through their blood. We must never abandon them to the Evil which has ensnared them but instead pray for them endlessly -

in the Name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 27 August 2017: 11th after Trinity liturgical colour ??? Green

Posted on August 26, 2017 at 2:00 AM

Please remember to maintain Holy Silence both before and after the service to allow others to pray quietly before the Lord

 

+Monday 28

‘But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them.' Matthew 23.13

 

Reflection

Who locks people out of heaven by harsh teaching today? Perhaps there is a new danger now - those who try to make the faith so easy that it asks nothing of us at all.

 

+Tuesday 29

'You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!' Matthew 23.24

 

Reflection

Is that not true of many of us, that we take great care over the smaller matters of our faith while ignoring the major ways in which we breach God's holy laws? What Jesus condemned in his own day is made no less sinful by the passage of time.

 

+Wednesday 30

‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth.' Matthew 23.27

 

Reflection

There is more to your life of faith than convincing the neighbours you lead a God-fearing life. What goes on behind closed doors where they cannot see matters also, as does your own interior life which is known only to you and your Creator.

 

+Thursday 31

'Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.' Matthew 24.42

 

Reflection

We know neither the moment of our own death nor the day when our Lord will come again. Therefore it is plain common sense to live as if either might come any moment.

 

 

 

+Friday 1 September (day of discipline and self-denial)

Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.” But he replied, “Truly I tell you, I do not know you.” Matthew 25.11,12

 

Reflection

This life is but a preparation for the next. And there will come a moment when all the time for preparation is gone and you will be judged on what has gone before. Pray that your life will be such that Jesus knows you and opens the door.

 

+Saturday 2

But the one who had received the one talent went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. Matthew 25.18

 

Reflection

We all know the fate of the servant who did nothing with the talent entrusted to him – his master called him wicked and lazy and cast him out. The gifts God gives us are to be used for his glory in the world. There is much to lose if you do not and everything to be gained if you do.

 

+Sun 3rd September, 12th after Trinity; Liturgical colour Green (1st Sunday of month, services according to regular pattern – please see below)

 

Notes & advance notices

+There has been changes to the scheduling of buses going through 'Comer. Please be sure and check the new timetable before making plans to travel

+'Comer & Colliery grass money now due. €40

+Those hoping to be confirmed in the coming cycle of confirmations should let the rector know so he can organise a date with the Bishop.

+29 Sep Whist Drive Wandesforde Hall

+13 Oct Bilboa Dinner Dance

+24 Nov 'Comer Autumn Fayre

 

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, in rotation

 

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!

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 20 August 2017: 10th after Trinity

Posted on August 19, 2017 at 5:50 PM

Please remember to maintain Holy Silence both before and after the service to allow others to pray quietly before the Lord

 

The Union BBQ takes place immediately following this service in the Wandesforde Hall (start time approximately noon)

 

Please note changes to regular service times next Sunday, when the only services will be at 10.30 am St Mary's & Noon Bilboa; both Morning Prayer

 

+ Monday 21

Jesus said to him, 'If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.' Matthew 19. 21

 

Reflection

Not all are called to Holy Poverty for the sake of the Kingdom. But all are called to love God above all else and at all times strive to lay up treasure in heaven.

 

+Tuesday 22

And Jesus said to his disciples, 'Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.' Matthew 19. 23

 

Reflection

Do not say to yourself 'I am not wealthy' and think that therefore these words do not apply to you. Think rather of the great attachment you have to your material possessions and whether your love for them stands between you and God.

 

+Wednesday 23

And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. Matthew 20. 9-10

 

Reflection

The Lord has but one reward for all who serve him – eternal life. Do not spend so much time thinking you are more worthy than others of God's free gift, lest by your vanity you lose this reward for yourself.

 

+Thursday 24 (St Bartholomew)

'For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves.' Luke 22.27

 

Reflection The world sees success as the gathering together of many possessions; but all these mean nothing if at death you are without treasure in heaven. St Bartholomew left everything to follow Christ, giving up even life itself for his sake. And yet he died a richer man than many kings. And so may we, if only we follow his example.

 

+Friday 25 (day of discipline and self-denial)

And he said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'  Matthew 22.37

 

Reflection

Loving God totally and unreservedly is the first step on the road to holy living. Focus on this first; and from it all other virtues will flow.

 

+Saturday 26

'The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice' Matthew 23. 2,3

 

Reflection

Sadly there are often sacred ministers who fail to lead holy lives. But their lack of holiness does not invalidate the Truth of what the Church teaches. However, be careful that what they teach is indeed in accord with that Truth; for there are those who will offer teaching intended to make their own misdeeds seem good.

 

+Sun 27th August 11th after Trinity; Liturgical colour Green - Please note changes to regular service times next Sunday, when the only services will be at 10.30 am St Mary's & Noon Bilboa; both Morning Prayer

 

Notes & advance notices

+There has been changes to the scheduling of buses going through 'Comer. Please be sure and check the new timetable before making plans to travel

+'Comer & Colliery grass money now due. €40

+Those hoping to be confirmed in the coming cycle of confirmations should let the rector know so he can organise a date with the Bishop.

+29 Sep Whist Drive Wandesforde Hall

+13 Oct Bilboa Dinner Dance

+24 Nov 'Comer Autumn Fayre

 

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, in rotation

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!

walking on water

Posted on August 13, 2017 at 5:30 AM

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

 

Today's Gospel reading is the account of our Lord's walking on water. It is a dramatic display of his divine power and has become justly famous, so much so that the phrase 'to walk on water' is widely used in popular culture – so that, for example, a person who has done something seemingly impossible might well say 'and for my next trick I will walk on water' or a person who thinks he is above others and doesn't think the usual limits apply to him might be disparagingly described as 'thinking he can walk on water.'

 

Read carefully, the account in fact details three miracles. First our Lord walks on water; next he permits St Peter to join him on the surface of the lake and walk on water also; and finally, he calms the storm that is afflicting those in the boat. And each teaches us something important about Christian life.

 

Looking at the first: initially when the disciples see Christ coming towards them, they are terrified. There they are, in a boat, in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, with a storm raging all around them. And suddenly they see someone walking towards them. That they should react with fear, thinking it is some kind of apparition, is not surprising. But Jesus tells them not to be afraid. And the fear leaves them.

 

We also have much to be afraid of. We live in a world that surrounds us with threats, both physical and spiritual. But we have been washed in the waters of Baptism and made part of his Body, the Church; we are fed on the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist; and we have the Sacred Scriptures and the Holy Traditions of his Church to guide us. Christ is with us also; and therefore we need not be afraid, whatever threatens.

 

It is in response to this first display of divine power that the second follows. St Peter sees our Lord on the water and asks him, if it is he, to command him to come to him. Our Lord does; and St Peter obeys. It is important for us to note here that the apostle does not attempt to do this in his own strength; he does not see Jesus walking on the lake and say to himself 'well, if he can do it, then so can I!' No, he seeks to do so in the power of our Lord; more, he asks him to command him to do so. And when, because of the howling wind around him he becomes frightened and begins to sink, his immediate response to to call out to our Lord, who saves him.

 

We as Christians often face great difficulties. Sometimes they seem impossible to overcome. But here we see St Peter, rather than try to avoid what seems impossible, instead actively seeking it out … and remembering that it is by God's power that he prevails; even when he doubts he remembers this. And therefore rather that giving up, he prays to God for further help. And God grants him that help.

 

Our Lord and St Peter then join the others in the boat. And the wind at once ceases. The storm is over. And the response of the disciples to this final miracle is equally immediate. They worship him, saying that he is truly the Son of God – the first time in the Gospels that he is recognised as such.

 

Many Church Fathers regard the tempestuous sea as representing the world; and the boat, once Christ has entered in, as being his Church. Thus it is the only place where we may truly find safety; and therefore we as Christians must be careful never to separate ourselves from it. Christ did not found his Church idly; it is a vital part of his plan for the salvation of all. His Church is the people of God; and a person who deliberately sets themselves apart is not part of a people. His Church is the only place where we may be in fellowship with those other people who are also members of the body of Christ. And his Church is the only place where we may partake in the Sacraments that sustain us during our earthly pilgrimage that is intended to lead us to our heavenly home. In our Gospel reading it is in the boat that the disciples worship Jesus; and if we are also to worship him rightly we must also do so from within that boat, that ark of Salvation, which is his Church.

 

And as I finish, a final thought. There is an element of fear in each of these three miracles: the fear of the disciples when they see Christ approaching; St Peter's fear that causes him to sink; and the fear all in the boat have of the storm that threatens them. Christ takes away the fear in all three instances; and he can take away the fears that surround us and threaten us, not just our bodies but our very souls, if only we will trust in him – something that we must all pray for: in the Name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.


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