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giving thanks for the Resurrection

Posted on April 15, 2018 at 4:30 AM

Sermon: 15 April 2018; Easter 3

Christ is Risen! The Lord is risen indeed – Alleluia!

In our Gospel reading today our Lord, having come to spend time with his disciples, shows that he is truly a living man of flesh and blood and bone. He touches things. He eats food. They both see him and hear him. And at the end of his time with them, he tells they are witnesses to what they have seen and heard and they are to preach to all the nations his good news of penance and remission of sins to all nations.

They were his witnesses. And in this season of the resurrection, it makes me wonder when it was that all here first heard that good news – that Jesus was risen from the dead. Truly, I must say I can not say the precise moment when I first heard that good news. My first memories connected with religion is of when I was a small boy, kneeling with my brother by the side of the bed as our mother taught us our prayers. My sister was too young to be with us, still being a baby in her cot. And as I am two years older than her I must have been somewhere between the ages of two and three. I do not remember the precise moment, as I said, when I first heard the resurrection mentioned; but it was most likely at that young age with my mother and brother.

A few days ago I came across a short video clip on line of a man who remembered precisely when he first heard of the Resurrection. He was an elderly bishop of the Romanian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Ioan (John) of Timisoara, and he told the story in a very moving way. Allow me to tell you in his own words how it was that he told the story. My telling, I am afraid, will not do justice to the heart-felt emotion with which he told it. You must imagine a very old man with a long white beard; his eyes are full of tears as he speaks; and he says what he has to say very slowly, because he has to stop often, so choked is he with emotion at the memory of what it is that he is recounting:

“I will tell you when I received the good news in my life. When I was in the cradle, on Easter night, my mother went to the church for the service of Resurrection. And… She came back home with the lit candle. Leaning over my cradle, making the sign of the cross with the lit candle she whispered to me: “Christ is Risen!” Since then, I believe in the Resurrection, because my mother never lied to me… Brothers and sisters, I also believe that your mothers never lied to you…”

He does not give his exact age for when this took place. Now, he says he was in his cradle; but the Romanian word he uses might equally well translate as cot, and as he remembers the details we may estimate that he was a small boy, a toddler, perhaps around two. Why was he so emotional as he told the story? Well, perhaps it was simply because he was an old man being a little bit sentimental, remembering a tender moment from when he was a small child with his mother who has long since gone to her grave. But it is more likely his tears are a combination of joy and sorrow. Joy as he thinks back to the time when his mother gave him the most precious gift one person can give another – the wondrous central truth of our faith that Christ is risen … and sorrow as he thinks of all those who have been offered that great gift, lovingly by their mother, or perhaps their father … only for that gift to be rejected … if not openly, by their child's later failure to lead a Christian life … or even try to do so.

That sorrow would not just be for the one who has so foolishly rejected the gift of eternal life … but also for the pain of all those mothers and fathers who have seen their children chose not the narrow path that leads to life, but the broad one that leads to perdition. For all parents want what is best for their children; this includes, of course, the good things of this life; but far more important are those that lead to eternal life. For no life is a success if it does not end in heaven.

This is why parents, in the Christian tradition, are the primary educators of their children. It is so that they can bring them up in a godly fashion – so they can do for them as Christ commanded his disciples and be his witnesses to them. If all parents took that duty seriously so many of the evils in the world would be eliminated. Parents would go to their graves proud of their children, not because they had a good job or a fancy car, but because they were faithful disciples of Christ. And those same children, when they were old and grey themselves, would weep tears of joy that they had had such parents … parents who loved them enough to give them to gift of faith in Christ … the faith that would bring them one day to the place where they would be with God: Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Christ is Risen! The Lord is risen indeed – Alleluia!

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Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 15 April 2018: Easter Three (liturgical colour ??? White)

Posted on April 14, 2018 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Please remember to maintain Holy Silence both before and after the service

 

+ Monday 16

Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ John 6. 29

Reflection

Our faith in Christ must be reflected in our obedience to his teachings. For, as he taught, those who love him will be obedient to him also; and if you believe in him, you must also love him.

 

+ Tuesday 17

Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.' John 6. 35

Reflection

Christ gives us his very body to eat to strengthen us in our faith. For his is the bread come down from heaven that gives life to the world.

 

+Wednesday 18

'This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.’ John 6. 40

Reflection

It is never for us to judge who will and will not be saved. But from Christ's words it is clear that those who having seen him refuse to believe in him risk much; therefore pray that their eyes be opened.

 

+Thursday 19

'I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live

for ever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ John 6.51

Reflection

Christ died for us and gives us of his flesh to eat in the Holy Eucharist. Partake of this holy food joyfully, humbly, and worthily that you may have eternal life

 

+ Friday 20

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’  John 6. 52

Reflection:

This is one of the mysteries of our faith. Yet we believe, for our Lord said 'this is my body' and told us that he was 'the bread come down from heaven.' And we remember that when those who followed him could not accept this teaching left him, he did not call them back, but rather asked those who remained if they wished to leave also.

+Saturday 21

Jesus said; 'It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.' John 6. 63

Reflection:

We worry a great deal about material things – which we indeed need to live. But we must not in pursuing these things neglect those which are more important – those which lead to eternal life.

 

+Sun 22 April, 4th Sunday of Easter, 4th Sunday of Month – Liturgical colour White/Gold - Services according to usual pattern – please see below

 

Coming up this week

+ Friday: 8pm Table Quiz in the Community Hall, Castlecomer, to raise funds for the much needed renovations of the hall. This is the first fund-raising event in support of the Hall since its transfer into community ownership in 1995. The is a light hearted quiz with MC extraordinaire John "De Dame" Coogan. Refreshments will be served. Please support this very worthy event so that this essential facility can be maintained at the standard that our community deserves. Table of four: €20 (€5 per person).

 

Notes & Advance notices

+29 April: 5th Sunday of month; united service of Holy Communion in Mothel Church at 11 am

+10 May: The Ascension Day – the usual early morning service will take place in Rosmore, followed by breakfast – full details to be announced later

+20 May; Pentecost (Whit Sunday): This is the third most sacred day in the Christian Calendar. As full an attendance as possible is strongly encouraged.

+27 May: Trinity Sunday – 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.

 

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!

Doubting Thomas and weak theories

Posted on April 8, 2018 at 5:30 AM

Christ is Risen! The Lord is risen indeed – Alleluia!

This might well be thought of as the Sunday of Doubting Thomas, for the reading that earned him that nick-name is the traditional one for this day. The reason for its place in our liturgical calendar is obvious. The appearance of our Lord that he 'missed' took place on Easter Day; and the one that he was present for happened exactly one week later, what we would now term as the second Sunday of Easter.

St Thomas, of course, might seem a very appropriate saint to be high-lighted at this time of year. Because even as Christians recall and celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the dead, the doubters and the nay-sayers predictably crawl out of the wood-work to re-cycle all their old anti-religious 'fake news'. Particularly they love to make all sorts of false claims about how Christianity has hi-jacked various pagan festivals and symbols. In this case the hi-jacked occasion would be the celebration of the coming of Spring with Easter; and the hi-jacked symbols would be those associated with fertility such as rabbits and eggs.

So in the interests of what in modern parlance is called 'fact checking' let us examine those claims, beginning with the claim that Christians have somehow tried to take over a pre-existing Spring Festival with Easter. First, let us note that the best lies always contain some small element of truth. So it is indeed true that festivals celebrating the coming of Spring long pre-date Christianity. But what of it? That Christians celebrate Easter during this season has nothing to do with the timing of various pagan festivals. It is rooted in the historical fact that Jesus died on Good Friday, at the beginning of the Jewish Passover festival; and rose from the dead three days later, what we now refer to as the first Easter Day. The suggestion that Christians were somehow acting strategically, picking a time that was already a cause for celebration in wider society so that it could in some way supplant the existing festivals is nonsense that flies in the face of the historical facts.

Indeed, given that Easter is a movable feast, one whose date can vary by several weeks from one year to the next, one would wonder exactly what pagan festival it is supposed to be taking over. Of course, the purveyors of modern doubt never specify; they merely talk vaguely about pagan festivals without ever identifying exactly which one Easter is supposed to have supplanted.

Some, occasionally, will try to do a little better and talk about how the word Easter comes from the Old English word 'Eostre' which scholars speculate was the name of a pre-Christian Old English goddess. However, by doing so, they merely compound their ignorance. 'Eostre' was the name given to April in the Old English calender; and because April is the month in which Easter normally falls, with the passage of time, the Christian festival in English became known as Easter. But it is only called Easter in the English language. Originally in Greek and later in Latin it was referred to as 'Pascha', referring to the Passover. It is still known as Pascha in many other languages; and even in English the word Paschal remains – used, for example, to describe the Paschal candle lit during the Easter season. There was never, it should be noted, a spring festival in honour of this goddess as far as we know; a pagan deity, it should be remembered, whose existence remains a theory constructed for the sole purpose of explaining why it is that a month in the Old English calendar should have the name that it did.

Regarding eggs – they are indeed a fertility symbol of long-standing. But their association with Easter has to do with the fact that during Lent Christians traditionally fasted from them, along with meat, dairy, alcohol, and other items. It became the custom to paint eggs and give them to children as treats once the fast was over; and the tradition continued even after the practice of fasting from them during Lent was abandoned in the Western Church. As for the Easter Bunny – well, given their fast-paced breeding, rabbits have not surprisingly long been associated with fertility. But the association of rabbits and Easter is a rather late development. Children today have no idea how lucky they are – for having done some historical research of the matter it would seem that the Easter Bunny made his first appearance in the late 17th Century, less than 350 years ago. Why he should have done so then and not before is a matter that is shrouded in mystery; but the fact remains that for most of Christian history there was no bunny bearing eggs to children; and by the time he appeared paganism was long vanished from our society. The idea that he is some kind of Christian hi-jacking of some old pagan symbol is simply too ludicrous to take seriously.

Interestingly, these rather lame theories are put forward by those who claim to be too intelligent to be taken in by the foolishness of religion. Of course, if they were really as smart as they think they were they wouldn't keep repeating their tired old claims about Christians festivals. But instead they cling to them and continue to repeat them no matter how often their errors are refuted. They could learn a lot from St Thomas. He may have doubted for a short time; but once he was confronted from the truth he turned from his error and uttered the words for he should be better remembered, the words which made him the first to directly acknowledge the divinity of Christ: my Lord and my God. That is the truth that we celebrate in this season; a truth that has withstood all the foolish errors, half-truths, and deliberate falsehoods that the world has thrown at it down through the ages … and will continue to do so until the end of the ages. For Christ is Risen! The Lord is risen indeed – Alleluia!

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 8 April 2018: Easter Day (liturgical colour ??? White)

Posted on April 7, 2018 at 1:00 AM

8 April 2018: Easter Day (liturgical colour – White)

 

Please remember to maintain Holy Silence both before and after the service

 

+ Monday 9

‘No one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.' John 3.5,6

Reflection

Through the waters of baptism Christ offers us eternal life. However, it is the beginning, not the end in itself. Strengthen yourself, therefore, by prayer and the sacraments, that you may grow in holiness all your days and at the last end in heaven.

 

+ Tuesday 10

'If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things?' John 3. 12

Reflection

If people will reject what God teaches us through the laws of his natural world, is it any wonder that neither will they believe what he has revealed by his Word?

 

+ Wednesday 11

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.' John 3.16

Reflection

Jesus came into the world and died for you. Confess his name, both with your lips and with your life, that you may enter into the eternal life he offers.

 

+Thursday 12

'Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath.' John 3.36

Reflection

Christ, here in his own words, links the eternal life he offers both with belief in him and obedience to his teachings. Ponder these words deeply and pray and pray that you may both believe and live out his teachings daily in your life.

 

+ Friday 13

So they sat down, about five thousand in all. Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. John 6. 10,11

Reflection:

These words echo the Institution of the Holy Eucharist as found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. As well they might; for Christ is the bread come down from heaven and he feeds all who will draw near to him with the bread of life.

 

+Saturday 14

They saw Jesus walking on the lake and coming near the boat, and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ John 6. 19,20

Reflection:

Coming near the divinity of Christ can cause us to fear; and that fear can cause us to do foolish things, to draw away, to risk turning from all he offers. Remember that he is truly man as well; and that through your baptism he is your brother and you have no need to fear.

 

+Sun 15 April, 3nd Sunday of Easter – Liturgical colour White/Gold

Parish Confirmation date; 11.30am, Holy Trinity, Bilboa (the only other service that day is Holy Communion in the Colliery at 9.15am).

 

Coming up this week

+Wednesday - Easter General Vestry, 8pm The Wandesforde Hall (Our treasurer, Mrs Treacy, has asked me to let all know that the accounts will be presented by way of a video projector this year; a copy of the accounts will be available, as usual, at the back of the churches).

+Saturday - all confirmation candidates must meet with the bishop in Bilboa at 10.30am.

 

Notes & Advance notices

+20 April: 8pm Table Quiz in aid of badly needed renovations of the Community Hall, Castlecomer. This is the first fund-raising event in support of the Hall since its transfer into community ownership in 1995. The is a light hearted quiz with MC extraordinaire John "De Dame" Coogan. Refreshments will be served. Please support this very worthy event so that this essential facility can be maintained at the standard that our community deserves. Table of four: €20 (€5 per person).

 

 

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!

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed ??? Alleluia!

Posted on April 1, 2018 at 5:30 AM

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed – Alleluia!

We gather here this morning to celebrate one of the greatest historical events that has taken place since the beginning of the world – the Resurrection of our Lord. I use the word 'historical' deliberately – for ours is a faith that is grounded in history, in things that took place at certain places and at certain times, happenings which we need have no doubt are completely and utterly true. And we know that they are true because the documentary evidence that supports the facts that took place during our Lord's time on this earth are more varied and of greater reliability than we have for any other event that took place around that time.

 

Some will say the Gospels and the other New Testament writings are not to be trusted because the writers had an agenda. But all writers have an agenda. Why should a writer be trusted more because he wishes to glorify some military or political leader than one who wishes to share the good news of Jesus Christ? If we are to apply such a standard fairly, then we must say that there is nothing we know from written sources of what happened in the Ancient World that can be relied upon. Most would, rightly, regard such a position as nonsense; and therefore the idea that the facts as related to us as in Scripture as to the details of our Lord's life are not to be trusted are equally nonsensical. The same standards must apply to both; what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

This means that the events that took place in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover Festival in the year of our Lord thirty-three are to be accepted as absolute fact. Jesus did indeed enter the city to the acclamation of the crowds shortly before the festival began. A few days later one of his own closest disciples betrayed him for money and handed him over to his enemies, the religious authorities of the city. They, regarding him as a danger to their own power and as someone who might bring down the wrath of the Roman overlords upon the region, conspired against him, falsely accusing him of blasphemy to turn the people against him, and of fomenting rebellion so that the Romans would have cause to execute him. The governor, Pilate, saw through their deception, but allowed the execution anyway rather than risk a riot in the city and out of fear that the Jewish leaders would send false reports about him also to Rome. And so Jesus was scourged, made to carry his cross, and crucified. And after a few hours upon the cross, he died and was buried by two members of the Council, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, while women from his group of followers watched.

 

All are happy, whatever their religious persuasion or none, to accept this account of what happened in Jerusalem during those frightful days. And had the story ended there, no one would have raised any issues. It would simple be the tale of a holy man like Buddha, who lived and died; or a wise man like Socrates, conspired against by his enemies and executed. But the story does not end there; and that is what makes it one of the greatest historical events to ever take place. For Jesus did not remain in the grave – he rose from the dead. Such things do not happen say the scoffers. But the evidence that he did is just as good as it is for the facts concerning how he died; to believe those and refuse to believe the rest is to fail to be consistent. These are the historical facts. Jesus lived. Jesus died. And Jesus rose from the dead.

 

Not only is this true, it is something that all should want to be true. For it is a truth that gives ultimate meaning to all our lives. Without it the coming into being of the universe is an inexplicable occurrence; the existence of life is a matter of highly unlikely random chance; and that there is intelligent life is even more unbelievably unlikely. Without it all our lives are just the blink of the eye in the vastness of eternity – we came into being for no reason, our brief time consciousness is without significance, and soon we will die and all too quickly what we have done will be forgotten … even those lucky few whose lives and deeds are remembered for a short number of decades or even centuries after their deaths are little better off, for time will consume the universe and everything that exists will fade into nothingness.

 

But we know that this is not the case. We know this because Jesus rose from the grave, proving to us and all the world that what he told us was true. We have a God who loves us so much that he became man for our sakes; a God who made both the world and us; a God who created us so that once our lives on this earth was over, might live with him for all eternity in heaven.

 

And we know this to be true not just because it is something that we want to be true, not just because it is something that are hearts know to be true in spite of what logic and reason tell us, but because the plain and simple historical facts, documented and attested beyond all doubt, tell us that it is true. This day all those many years ago Jesus rose from the dead and left behind him an empty tomb – breaking the bonds of death for all and letting us know that our lives and every life is precious and full of meaning – not just now but into all eternity. No wonder we celebrate this day – it is something that we should celebrate every day for the rest of our time on this earth – and then, please God, continue celebrating with him throughout all eternity. For Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed – Alleluia!

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 1 April 2018: Easter Day (liturgical colour ??? White)

Posted on March 31, 2018 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Please remember to maintain Holy Silence both before and after the service

 

Monday 2

So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Matthew 28. 8

Reflection

The reaction of the women to the empty tomb was both fear and joy. Joy that the grave no longer held their master; but fear as to what all this might mean. Therefore, even as you rejoice in the resurrection, tremble also as to what it means for you.

 

+ Tuesday 3

‘See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death.' John 20.18

Reflection

Even as Jesus had warned them of his death, he had told his disciples of his resurrection; and still they were bewildered when it happened. Do not be too quick to think that you understand all that it means for you; prayerfully and with great wonder ponder this awesome event.

 

+ Wednesday 4

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. Luke 24. 30, 31

Reflection

The joy of the men who journeyed to Emmaus when they recognised our Lord in the breaking was great. Great must our joy be also, we who are also priveleged to meet with him in the breaking of the bread.

 

+ Thursday 5

He said to them, ‘Have you anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence. Luke 24. 42-43

Reflection:

The risen Lord proved himself to his disciples to be a real flesh and blood person that truly walked among them. Is it any wonder that they were willing to witness to the faith unto death, knowing now that the power of death had indeed been broken?

 

+ Friday 6

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.  John 21.4

Reflection

How many times we read in the Gospels that Jesus' disciples had difficulty recognising him after the resurrection. Perhaps we can make it easier to recognise him ourselves by remembering that we are called to see him in the face of all we meet.

 

+Saturday 7

'I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.' Mark 16. 12,13

Reflection:

Christ promised he would never leave us and indeed he did not, for he sent his Holy Spirit to guide us.

 

Examin

By his Resurrection Christ indeed proved that he was who he said he was and that he had broken the bonds of death for all mankind. But the salvation he bought for us came at a terrible price, his suffering and death which he willingly bore. Do not ever take that for granted, thinking you may sin and sin and that the price for it all has been paid. For the salvation that comes by the Cross requires sorrow for your sins and repentance; followed by obedience and striving daily for holiness.

 

+Sun 8 April, 2nd Sunday of Easter – Liturgical colour White/Gold

United Service of HC, the Colliery Church , 11am. (followed by coffee!)

 

Notes & Advance notices

+April 11th, Easter General Vestry, 8pm The Wandesforde Hall

+15 April Parish Confirmation date; 11.30am, Holy Trinity, Bilboa (the only other service that day is Holy Communion in the Colliery at 9.15am). NB – all candidates must meet with the bishop in Bilboa on Saturday, the 14th, at 10.30am.

 

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!

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 25 March 2018: Passion Sunday,The 6th in Lent (liturgical colour ??? Red)

Posted on March 24, 2018 at 3:00 AM

Please remember to maintain Holy Silence both before and after the service

 

+Monday in Holy Week (Day of special Observance & Discipline & Self-denial)

Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone. She bought it so that she might keep it for the day of my burial.' John 12. 7

Reflection

Our Lord well knew that the time of his suffering and death was near. Pray for his grace that you never willingly act to wound our Blessed Saviour further.

 

+ Tuesday in Holy Week (Day of special Observance & Discipline & Self-denial)

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12.24

Reflection

Christ, being fully human, loved his life as much as any man. Yet he willingly laid it aside for our sakes. Pray that you may never by your actions reject so great a sacrifice.

 

+ Wed in Holy Week (Day of special Observance & Discipline & Self-denial)

After saying this Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ John 13.21

Reflection

Great was the betrayal of Judas. But great also is ours when we place the passing things of this world above love and obedience to our Lord.

 

+Maundy Thursday (Day of special Observance & Discipline & Self-denial)

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was tied around him.  John 13. 5

Reflection:

The Son of God did not think himself too great to do the work of lowliest slave. Why then are you so lacking in humility? Are you greater than your master?

 

+Good Friday (Day of special Observance & Discipline & Self-denial)

When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. John 19.30

Reflection

Let all creation be still; the One by whom all things came into being has been slain. Remember that he willingly took up his cross and died; and that he did so for thee.

 

+Easter Eve (Day of special Observance & Discipline & Self-denial)

There was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so ...they laid Jesus there. John 19. 41,42

Reflection: Remember that this day the one who died for you lies in the tomb. Yet even there, he works for the salvation of others, descending to the dead to preach to the spirits imprisoned there.

 

+Sun 1 April, Easter Day – Liturgical colour White/Gold

services as below

 

Notes & Advance notices

Note: the Frugal lunch has now ended; those who didn't get a chance to make it in and would like to contribute may give donations to the rector (in aid of Parish Poor Fund and local VdeP);

+Wed final Confirmation class 6.45pm, the vestry, St Mary's;

 

+Holy Week/Easter Services: Liturgical Colour – Red.

Mon – Bilboa, The Litany; 8pm

Tues – The Colliery, Compline; 8pm

Wed – Mothel Evening, Prayer; 8pm

Thur – St Mary's, HC with the stripping of the Altar. 8pm

(update of the Register of Vestrypersons takes place after the services Mon, Tue, Wed).

+Good Friday:

11.30am 'Walk of Witness', St Mary's to Mary Immaculate, Castlecomer;

1.30pm 'the Passion from St Luke', Mothel;

2.15pm 'the Passion from St Matthew', Bilboa.;

7.30pm 'The Carrying of the Cross', Colliery to Moneenroe

(please note time changes to those published in the magazine)

Easter Vigil (Saturday): 8pm Mothel Church Liturgical Colour – White.

Easter Day: 9.15 The Colliery; 10.30 St Mary's; noon Bilboa (all HC)

 

+April 8th, United Service of HC, the Colliery Church , 11am. (followed by coffee!)

+April 11th, Easter General Vestry, 8pm The Wandesforde Hall

+15 April Parish Confirmation date; 11.30am, Holy Trinity, Bilboa (the only other service that day is Holy Communion in the Colliery at 9.15am). NB – all candidates must meet with the bishop in Bilboa on Saturday, the 14th, at 10.30am.

 

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!

the obedience of Christ

Posted on March 18, 2018 at 6:30 AM

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

Our Gospel reading today begins with the requests of some Greeks who were visiting to Jerusalem to St Philip that they might see Jesus, might meet with him. There are two interesting points concerning them that strike me. The first is that in original language of the New Testament, which is Greek, these men are quite literally described as Greeks … but in some older translations this is rendered as 'gentiles'. There is a reason for this, I suspect; in many other places in the New Testament, particularly is some of the writings of St Paul the word 'Greeks' is really meant as a synonym for gentiles, the Jewish term for all those who were not Jews. We may think perhaps of what he says in his letter to the Galatians when he says that there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for all are one in Christ. The tradition of the Church down through the ages has been to understand what St Paul here is not literally someone from Greece but rather all people who are not Jewish – and for that reason some modern translations actually use the word 'gentile' in place of Greek, to avoid confusion in this age when biblical literacy and the understanding of our heritage is not what it once was among Christian peoples. Regarding our reading today, the reason, I think, that some older translations use the word 'gentiles' here is because they regard it as more important for us to understand that there were people who were neither from the Holy Land or even of Jewish origin present at that time, rather than knowing the precise country they were from.

 

The second interesting point is that after they are introduced they disappear from the text completely! These men take their request to St Philip; he repeats it to St Andrew and together they take it to Jesus – who them begins to teach them about the things that to happen to him … and we are never told how he responded to the request that was made to him by these foreigners and whether they ever indeed get to meet with him.

 

This is not, I think, a lapse in the story-telling techniques of the evangelist. It might be nice for us to know what became of the men who made the request; but it is really of very little importance in the context of the Gospel message. What is important is that their request, when brought to Jesus, caused him to speak the teaching which followed. And it is the teaching that matters – because it is the Word of God, given to us directly from the mouth of the Word who was made flesh.

It must be said it is not immediately evident what it is about their request that sparks the teaching that follows. Perhaps it is merely the fact that it is made by foreigners – men who were presumably, given that they had come to Jerusalem for the festival to worship, would have been what were called 'God-fearers' … those who found Jewish religious thought and practices attractive but had not taken the decision to convert … and who most probably, given that it would have required that they be circumcised, would be unlikely to take such a step. But as God-fearers they would have known a great deal about Jewish teachings; and they would have known well the prophecies of the Messiah to come. And being able to meet the one that so many were either saying was the Messiah, or wondering if he was indeed the Messiah, would have been tempting indeed for them.

So there is our Lord, teaching those standing close by; when along comes his apostles with this request, from men who are perhaps a bit star-struck at the idea of meeting the Messiah. A request that was made within the hearing of all there. And for our Lord the important thing was not so much what the men wanted, as to make it clear to all who the Messiah was – someone who was to suffer and to die.

More, and perhaps this even more important, that the Messiah was one who was perfectly obedient to the will of the Father … even if that obedience should require death. The impact of that teaching is far greater for us – or should be - than it was for those who heard it on that day. For them the Messiah was simply a man – a man sent by God, but a man nonetheless. We know that he was much more than that – he was God incarnate. And having taken on human flesh he was, in his manhood, obedient to the will of the Father … irrespective of the cost.

There is a foreshadowing here of the words he will all too soon speak in the garden, when he prays that if it be possible that the cup of his crucifixion should pass him by: but not my will, but thine be done. This shows us the importance of obedience to God's will; for if even the Son of God must be obedient to the Father, how much more so must we be?

This is a teaching to be followed by all who would follow Christ. And he speaks it to us all directly by the medium of Sacred Scripture. Indeed, in this way we may understand why it was that the evangelist saw no importance in recording whether or not those men visiting Jerusalem that day met with Jesus or not; for they, like we, if they would meet with him through his teachings, through his word. Christ is someone whom all may meet; male or female, slave or free, Jew or Gentile. And as I end, I pray that here will indeed meet him, and know him, and love him, and learn from him the perfect obedience that leads us to become one with the Father as he was one, the perfect union with God that leads to eternal life that his Son suffered and died so that all might attain. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 18 March 2018: The 5th in Lent (liturgical colour ??? purple)

Posted on March 17, 2018 at 8:05 PM

Please remember to maintain Holy Silence both before and after the service

 

Monday 19 St Joseph (Day of Discipline and Self-denial) An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you.' Matthew 2. 13 Reflection: St Joseph listened to the voice of God and so saved the Christ-child.Thus he played his part in ensuring the Gospel message was shared with all the world. God calls us all to a role in sharing his word; what is yours?

+ Tuesday 20 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

(Jesus said) 'I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.’ John 8.24

Reflection

Again Jesus speaks of sin; and again he speaks of being the way to the forgiveness of sins. Draw near him, and draw others with you, that salvation may be yours.

 

+Wednesday 21 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her. Luke 1. 38

Reflection

Did God need Mary? No, for he might have chosen another way to bring about our salvation. But he did not; and so we must give thanks for Mary's 'fiat' her 'let it be with me according to your word;' for from her obedience did the Incarnation begin.

 

+Thursday 22 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial) 'Very truly, I tell you, whoever keeps my word will never see death.’ John 8.51 Reflection: Here Christ binds his promise of eternal life to obedience to his word. We must then ask his grace to do his will; and, truly repenting, his pardon when we fail.

+Friday 23 (Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you, but for blasphemy, because you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.’ John 10.33

Reflection

Some try to pick and chose what they will accept about Christ's teaching. Yet it can not be so. To reject part of what he teaches is to reject him.

 

+Saturday 24 (Rector's Day Off; Day of Discipline and Self-denial)

Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all! You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.’ John 11. 49, 50

Reflection: Caiaphas, in his unwitting prophecy of Christ's death, condemns himself. He seeks to have a man killed in order that peace may be maintained. But it is never permissible to do evil on the grounds that you seek a good end.

 

+Sun 25 March, The 6th Sunday in Lent, Passion Sunday – Liturgical colour Red

4th Sunday of month; services according to usual pattern (see below)

 

Notes & Advance notices

+Tue 11 am Wandesforde NS Easter Service, St Mary's – please do come and support the children by your attendance

+Wednesday: Final Frugal lunch 1-2pm, The Rectory (donations in aid of Parish Poor Fund and local VdeP); Confirmation class 6.45pm, the vestry, St Mary's; Lenten mid-week service 8pm Bilboa

+Friday WNS Coffee Morning in aid of School funds, 10 – noon. All welcome.

+Friday: Castletown Table Quiz, Pedigree Corner, 8.30pm, (promptly), table of four €40

+Friday rescheduled Wellie Race distribution of funds. 9pm Shorthalls

 

+Holy Week/Easter Services: Liturgical Colour – Red.

Mon – Bilboa, The Litany; 8pm

Tues – The Colliery, Compline; 8pm

Wed – Mothel Evening, Prayer; 8pm

Thur – St Mary's, HC with the stripping of the Altar. 8pm

(update of the Register of Vestrypersons takes place after the services Mon, Tue, Wed).

+Good Friday:

11.30am 'Walk of Witness', St Mary's to Mary Immaculate, Castlecomer;

1.30pm 'the Passion from St Luke', Mothel;

2.15pm 'the Passion from St Matthew', Bilboa.;

7.30pm 'The Carrying of the Cross', Colliery to Moneenroe

(please note time changes to those published in the magazine)

Easter Vigil (Saturday): 8pm Mothel Church Liturgical Colour – White.

Easter Day: 9.15 The Colliery; 10.30 St Mary's; noon Bilboa (all HC)

 

+April 8th, United Service of HC, the Colliery Church , 11am. (followed by coffee!)

+15 April Parish Confirmation date; 11.30am, Holy Trinity, Bilboa (the only other service that day is Holy Communion in the Colliery at 9.15am).

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!

Mothering Sunday

Posted on March 11, 2018 at 6:30 AM

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

 

As this is laetare Sunday, I thought I might preach a fairly light-hearted sermon today … Lae-what? I hear some of you say? Lae-ta-re … meaning in Latin 'Be joyful' … this is the 4th Sunday in Lent, roughly the half-way point in the season … and traditionally by way of encouraging people for all the austerities that they had been practising up until now, they got to take a little break & cheer things up a little bit … and so flowers were allowed back to decorate the altar … music, which was traditionally banned during this season, was played … even the liturgical colour changed, going from the sombre purple to a more light-hearted 'rose' colour … & if we don't keep up with those traditions very well any more, perhaps it is because we don't take Lent as seriously as they did in times gone by and we don't feel the need for a break in the same way that they did!

 

Now I'm sure some of you are thinking at this point, what's all this Laetare stuff? I thought today was Mothering Sunday? Well today is also called that … but have you ever stopped to wonder why we have a mothering Sunday, when we don't have special day in the church calendar for any other relatives? There's no fathering Sunday, or uncle-ing or aunt-ing Sunday … no cousin-ing … and if we were going to pick a relative, why not brother-ing or sister-ing, given the emphasis in the New Testament on how we are all brothers and sisters in Christ?

 

Well, the clue is in today's Gospel reading, where we see the Mother of our Lord at the foot of the Cross with the beloved disciple … & if you looked at the other Mothering Sunday reading which the lectionary gives us as an alternative, you would find that it also has Mary in it – in that case the passage from Luke where the prophetess Phanuel tells Mary that a sword will also pierce her heart …

 

The readings suggest that there is very much a Marian character to this festival … that the title 'mothering' refers not to the secular (or non-church version of Mother's Day) but the sacred …

 

And in fact, this festival began as just that: a festival of Mary, as mother of us all who have been baptised into her Son, Jesus Christ … and also a festival of the church's role as mother, how it nurtures us and cares for us … the impetus for there being a festival of mothering began in the early days of the church … the ancient Romans had a festival in March in honour of the mother goddess Cybele, who was connected with the earth & fruitfulness … our early brothers and sisters in Christ while they thought it a good idea to do away with the pagan festival, nonetheless thought it a good idea to have their own festival, honouring both Mary and the Church, and so we ended up with Laetare Sunday … so named from the entrance antiphon traditionally used on this Sunday which begins 'laetare Jurusalem' O be joyful Jerusalem … Jerusalem, of course, being the mother city of the Christian faith.

 

Many customs grew up around this Sunday … and with all the references to motherhood, it is not perhaps surprising that the custom of honouring our earthly mothers also came to be seen as appropriate. Initially the term 'mothering Sunday' came from the practice of going 'a-mothering' which was when people went either to the mother church of their diocese on this Sunday, or for those living away from home, returning to visit their own mother church, their parish church, on this Sunday … and as for most people in the old days this might be the only chance to visit their homes and families in the entire year, the custom also grew up of bringing some small gift home to mother, even if it was only as simple as picking her some of the flowers that grew along the roadside as they made the long journey home on foot.

 

But – and I think this can not be stressed enough – what we celebrate in church on mothering Sunday is not mother's day … Mother's day is a secular American idea … and worthy as that idea is, we do not make secular events part of our church calendar … what we are celebrating is the idea of mothering … an ideal of mothering drawn from the perfect mothering of the Blessed Virgin Mary for her Son … and the image of mothering as presented to us in the love and care we receive from the Church as our metaphorical mother …

 

This reminds us that on Mothering Sunday, while we may rightly look to honour our own mothers … we must also honour those who in some way fulfil the role of mothering in our own lives … we must also look to honour, for example, grandmothers, aunts, big sisters, and god-mothers … neighbours and friends who have looked out for us … teachers who have watched over us in loco parentis during our school days … all those who with love and affection have contributed in some way to creating the cocoon of love and affection that has sheltered and nurtured us all our days …

 

And of course as love and affection is not limited to women, we must also on this day remember fondly all those men who have provided us with care and nurture, perhaps doing the things most commonly associated with women, but nonetheless, often also done by men … most of us, no matter how impoverished our backgrounds, have many people to give thanks for in our lives …

 

Which is why this Sunday, laetare Sunday, we give thanks with great joy for all those who have shown a mother's love to us … the Mother of our Lord … our mother the Church … our own mothers … and all others who have cared and nurtured us … and pray that they will continue in that love … and that we will continue to be nurtured by it, even as we show that love to others … something that I pray that we will all be able to do on this Sunday, in this Holy Season of Lent, and always … in the name of the Father & the Son & the Holy Spirit. Amen.


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