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knowledge, wisdom, and eternal life

Posted on November 12, 2017 at 5:30 AM

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

 

There’s a lot of talk about wisdom in our readings today. The first reading is from the book Wisdom; and our Gospel reading has the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. So, as we begin, it might be a good idea to think about what we understand by the word wisdom. Particularly what is the difference between wisdom and knowledge.

 

A simple definition might be the knowledge are facts and wisdom is knowing how to apply them. By way of illustration, we might think of a young man who has spent four years in college studying agricultural science, specialising in the husbandry of sheep, without ever having set foot on an actual farm. He graduates, and then goes to a sheep farm. He begins by thinking that he is the expert; after all he knows far more than the farmer who has never been to college. And we can all imagine he would soon learn differently. The farmer may have far less knowledge, but what little he knows he is able to apply well. He is wise in the way of sheep.

 

Now let us think about this distinction in relation to the parable we heard earlier. Why are some of the virgins wise and some foolish? Both groups have been invited to the wedding. Both have been given the task of bringing lamps to light the way of the bridegroom into the feast. Both have brought their lamps, filled with oil and wicks trimmed so they may burn brightly. So far so good. But only one group has brought extra oil. They are able to refill their lamps when the bridegroom is delayed, while the others have to rush off and buy more. Which means that they are not there when he actually arrives and so they miss the wedding feast as a result.

 

What is the difference between those who are wise and those who are foolish? Well, that the bridegroom might come late was foreseeable; and preparing for that by bringing more oil in case what was in the lamps ran out was a prudent action. Both had the same knowledge of the situation; but only the wise ones used that information well and gained access to the feast as a result.

 

Now, of course, our Lord did not tell this story for the sake of providing career tips to young women working in that part of the hospitality industry that specialises in wedding receptions. He told it for the sake of the salvation of all mankind. So what is the deeper meaning of this parable?

 

The virgins, wise and foolish, stand for all mankind. The wedding feast is eternal life in heaven. And the time they spend waiting represents our time in this life, which will end either with the end of the ages or by death. Entering into the feast is being welcomed into eternal life; while being refused means being cast into the outer darkness where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

 

And what of the extra oil? After all, that is the primary distinction between the two groups. The oil, the Church Fathers tells us, stands for the good deeds of those who live their lives wisely, those who lead their lives according to God's laws and commandments. The oil represents the treasure they have laid up in heaven; the essential treasure that all too many neglect.

 

And I would like to draw your particular attention to a very important detail of the parable – a detail that is easy not to notice because it involves taking into account what it is that Christ does not say about those he describes as foolish. He does not mention them as being guilty of great wickedness of any kind. They are not murderers or robbers; they are not liars or blasphemers; they are not worshippers of idols or gluttons or

drunkards. Indeed, as he describes them as being virgins we may even consider that they are not sexually immoral. But Jesus did not need to mention such things. It is only in our own rather silly age that people almost universally agree that all that is needed to be a good person is not to do bad things. And, of course, what they really mean by that is that as long as they do not lead an evil life full of great wickedness then they are good. Essentially it is the standard of the extreme: Hitler bad; pretty much everyone else OK.

 

Such a way of looking things may be sufficient for the atheist who has no belief in an after-life, and thinks nothing of God and his holiness, and certainly thinks the idea of sin as offence against God's laws is either a joke or dangerous nonsense. But for the Christian, it is a very different matter altogether.

 

The Christian is called to lead his or her life in the light of eternity. We know that man was made by God, was tempted by Satan and fell into sin; and that God has rescued us from the consequences of that sin, both original and personal, by his Incarnation and Death on the Cross. Those are the facts of the situation; and the choice that falls to us is whether, knowing what we know, do we act foolishly or wisely. We can be foolish and act as if all this really means nothing at all, that we have no need to lead holy lives, and that sin is either not real or matters not at all; or we can be wise, and do our utmost to live as God wishes us to, accepting the graces that he offers us to help, especially those he offers us through the sacraments of his Church, asking his pardon when we fail.

 

The latter is the way of the wise; it is the way to lay up treasure in heaven, to fill up our flasks with the oil of salvation that will keep our lamps burning until the day of the great wedding feast so that we may walk joyfully with him to join with him in his banquet forever - a wisdom that I pray will be granted to all here - in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 12 Nov 2017: 3rd before Advent liturgical colour â?? Green (Remembrance Sunday)

Posted on November 10, 2017 at 2:45 PM 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 13

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come!' Luke 17.1

Reflection Each person is liable for their own sins; but the one who leads another astray, whether by the example of their life or the exhortations of their lips, is by no means innocent and they will be held to account.

 

+Tuesday 14

'So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, “We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!” ’ Luke 17.10

Reflection God has given us everything – life itself and the means to sustain it. Why then should we think that he is in some way in our debt because we have followed his laws?

 

+Wednesday 15

Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean?' … Then he said to him, ‘Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.’ Luke 17.17-19

Reflection God gives of his bounty to all, the grateful and ungrateful alike. But a much greater gift falls to those who give him glory – the spiritual gifts that lead to eternal life.

 

+Thursday 16

‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed … For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.’ Luke 17. 20,21

Reflection Those of Jesus' time mistakenly thought the Messiah would bring about an earthly kingdom rather that a spiritual one. Neither must we, in this materialistic age, put our faith in the things of this world; but rather keep our hearts on higher things.

 

+Friday 17 (day of discipline and self-denial)

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating & drinking, & marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. Luke 17. 26,27

Reflection The great and terrible day when the Lord comes again will come without warning. Those who would be ready must live every moment as if our Lord will come in the next.

 

+Saturday 18 (Rector's Day Off)

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. Luke 18.1

Reflection It is important to persevere in prayer. And the Christian at prayer seeks to conform himself to God's will, rather than trying bend God to his.

 

+Sun 19 Nov, 2nd before Advent ; Liturgical colour Green (3rd unday of month; Service according to usual schedule – see below)

 

Coming up this week

+Tuesday pm MU the Wandesforde Hall; 'Seasonal Flowers' with Marion Graham. All welcome .

+Thursday: Youth group 7pm, the Hall. Burgers & a film. Bring a cushion & €2!

+ Friday Nov 17 Bus Route 817A - Castlecomer to Kilcullen (Ring-a-Link) service which departs Castlecomer at 8.30 a.m. daily ends today due to low passenger uptake.

 

Notes & Advance notices

+Please contact your treasurer to see if you need to 'top up' your giving before 31 Dec. Thank you in advance for your generous support of our church community.

+The annual collection for the Carlow Protestant Orphans Society is now taking place. This charity has provided great support to families in this Union both in the past and currently. Please get donations to Mrs Marion Minion as soon as you can.

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

 

+24 Nov 'Comer Autumn Fayre 7pm (set up the night before from 6.30pm) Helpers needed – and cakes! (suggestions: Tray bakes, tea bracks, biscuit cakes, small Christmas puddings?)

+25 Nov 2.30-3.30 pm MU Prayer Vigil against gender-based violence, St Laserian's

+26 Nov The noon Eucharist in Bilboa will also serve as a memorial to John Graham. His brother, Canon Isaac Graham, who lives in Canada, will take part in the service.

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

+17 Dec Carol Service, The Colliery, w/the Castlecomer MVC

+24 Dec Sunday 11am Holy Communion, St Mary's

+24 Dec Christmas Eve: 7pm Bilboa, HC; Christmas Eve: 9pm The Colliery, HC

+25 Dec Christmas Day: 10 am Mothel, HC; 11.30am St Mary's HC

+31 Dec Sunday (& New Year's Eve) 11am HC The Colliery

+Parish Confirmation date: 15 April 2018. Please give names to the rector

+April 16th - 25th 2018 'Tour To Israel'; contact Rachel at 087 9905059 for details

 

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!

false prophets: yesterday and today

Posted on November 5, 2017 at 5:30 AM

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

 

Christians who take their faith seriously wish to do all that Christ commanded us to do, understanding that the salvation of their soul is intrinsically linked to our humble obedience to God's law. For that reason, our Gospel reading today can sometimes raise questions for faithful Christians, particularly those in the mainstream denominations that value the traditions of the Church. The passage seems to condemn the idea of there being religious leaders with teaching authority, leaders who possess titles of honour and wear distinctive dress. And yet our clergy have a particular form of apparel, especially during liturgical services; they have titles such as Reverend or Father or even my Lord Bishop; and they most certainly have the authority to teach and preach, both from the pulpit and elsewhere. So what is going on here?

 

The first thing to note is that there is not really a problem here at all; if there were, then the Church has being getting things wrong in this regard almost since the beginning … the same Church that Christ founded, called his body on earth, and said he would send the Holy Spirit too in order to lead it into all truth. However, the problem only arises if the passage is read out of the context of the remainder of Sacred Scripture and also from the context in which our Lord is delivering this teaching.

 

Let us begin with Scripture. In both Old Testament and New we clearly see religious leaders having authority from God in order to teach his children. The Old Testament prophets spring immediately to mind; and in the New our Lord himself sent out the 72 to the towns and villages to prepare the way for his own coming, saying to them that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. And the letters of St Paul are filled with references to his teaching authority, that of the Apostles, and others. The Pentateuch, or first five books of the Bible, gives detailed instructions on the sacred garments to be worn by the priests while engaged in sacrifice and leading the people in worship. And concerning titles, again we find these commonly used in Scripture. In the New Testament, for example, our Lord gives those in his inner circle the title of Apostle; elsewhere we read of Episkopoi, the root of our word episcopal, or bishops; and Presboutorous, the origin of our word Priest; and St Paul in many places refers to himself as the spiritual Father of those under his pastoral care. So there is nothing scriptural that speaks of these traditions of the Church which have been practised since the earliest days. Which, of course, is good news for me!

 

Looking to the context in which our Lord gave this teaching, we see that he is making his remarks directly of the religious leaders of his day. Among them were hypocrites, men who taught the law of God but did not live it; worse, they added to the law, by their teaching making it harder to live. For them titles were not a mark of respect for the office they held; they took it to be an honour personally granted to them. And they wore distinctive clothes when they were out and about in the streets, not to give glory to the Almighty by way of practising a ministry of presence, doing their best to keep God before the minds of men by acting as a visual reminder by the manner of their dress. But rather, they sought respect for themselves, that none should be in any doubt of the high office they held so that they would always be treated with greater courtesy and dignity than all around them.

 

Naturally, Christ spoke against such men. They abused their sacred office for their own gain; as did the prophets and teachers that the propeht Micah condemned in our Old Testament reading. Such behaviour was not to be tolerated then; and neither should it be tolerated now. Church leaders who preach the truth of the Gospel but fail to live it are a cause of scandal to the faithful; something we know all too well from recent events in this country. How many souls have lest the Church because there were those who were supposed to be shepherds, but acted instead as wolves? With respect of Church doctrine, those privileged to be teachers of God's truth have no authority to make it any harder than it need be. So, for example, we may preach against drunkenness, but we may not try to claim that all drinking, even in moderation, is evil. We may preach against gluttony, but we may not try to forbid certain foods, claiming for example that it is more virtuous to be a vegetarian than to eat meat. Neither, it must be remembered, do we have authority to abrogate or reduce the force of any teaching, arguing that it is somehow more pastoral to allow those who find a particular teaching hard to live by to ignore it, or say that since certain teachings do not fit in with the values of the secular culture they must now be abandoned. Such behaviour, to paraphrase our Epistle today, takes what is the word of man and tries to present it as being the word of God. It may well bring earthly glory to the false preacher; but it does nothing to bring glory to God, and does nothing that aids in the salvation of souls.

 

For the salvation of souls is the purpose and aim of our faith. It was for that reason that our Lord severely criticised the religious leaders of his day who behaved hypocritically; it was for that reason he came to earth and suffered and died for our sins; and it the reason why we must do our utmost to be faithful to him and the teachings he gave us – something that I pray all here will be, this day and always, in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 5 November 2017: 4h before Advent liturgical colour ???¢?????? Green

Posted on November 4, 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 6

But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’ Luke 14. 13,14

Reflection

The Christian seeks to help those in need for no other reason than they are in need, no matter who they are. And the only reward they hope for is the one our Lord offers to those who helped others in his name.

+Tuesday 7

He sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, “Come; for everything is ready now.” But they all alike began to make excuses. Luke 14. 17, 18

Reflection

No doubt we think that we would never behave like the people in the parable. But the truth is that we do exactly that when we place our earthly concerns ahead of the demands of the Kingdom.

+Wednesday 8

Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14. 27

Reflection

Discipleship costs. What sacrifices do you make for your faith? And do they truly come at a cost to you – or are you instead fooling yourself into thinking what is easy and convenient for you is more than it is?

+Thursday 9

'Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.' Luke 15.7

Reflection

And whose work is it to bring those lost sheep to repentance? It is the work of all Christians. As for those who think it is work for someone else, perhaps there is more about the lost sheep about them than they would care to imagine.

+Friday 10

'And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.' Luke 16. 8

Reflection

People go to great efforts to manage their affairs in this world, over things that do not last and often are of little worth. How much more then should we apply our skills and efforts towards laying up treasure that lasts in heaven?

 

+Saturday 11 Nov (Rector's Day Off)

'No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’ Luke 16.13

Reflection

We live in this world and must work to pay our way. But even in that we must seek to serve God and take care that the pursuit of wealth, material goods, fame, or anything else of this world does not become an end in itself.

 

+Sun 12 Nov, 3rd before Advent (Remembrance Sunday); Liturgical colour Green (2nd Sunday of month; Service according to usual schedule – see below)

 

Coming up this week

+Thursday 7pm Autumn Fayre Organising Meeting

 

Notes & advance notices

+10 Nov 10.30 am – 12.30 Coffee morning, St Canice's Cathedral in aid Errislanan Church Appeal (the church near Clifden, Co Galway, desecrated by vandals recently).

+Please contact your treasurer to see if you need to 'top up' your giving before 31 Dec. Thank you in advance for your generous support of our church community.

+The annual collection for the Carlow Protestant Orphans Society is now taking place. This charity has provided great support to families in this Union both in the past and currently. Please get donations to Mrs Marion Minion as soon as you can.

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

+Parish Confirmation date: 15 April 2018. Please give names to the rector

+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.

+17 Dec Carol Service, The Colliery, w/the Castlecomer MVC

+24 Dec Sunday 11am Holy Communion, St Mary's

+24 Dec Christmas Eve: 7pm Bilboa, HC; Christmas Eve: 9pm The Colliery, HC

+25 Dec Christmas Day: 10 am Mothel, HC; 11.30am St Mary's HC

+31 Dec Sunday (& New Year's Eve) 11am HC The Colliery

+April 16th - 25th 2018 'Tour To Israel'; contact Rachel at 087 9905059 for details

 

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!


Good without God?

Posted on October 29, 2017 at 5:30 AM

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

 

Sometimes in the culture of the world around us we hear talk of people having no need of religion in order to be good. There is, for example, a book by a prominent American Humanist called 'Good with God'; and closer to home the group Atheist Ireland even has a charity called 'Good without gods'. This idea of human-based morality raises two important issues. The first is that in this context what is meant by being good? Presumably 'good' here must mean whatever people think of as good. The obvious problem is that when there are no objective standards of what constitutes right and wrong what happens when people disagree? In our modern world you end up with what is good and moral in one place being quite different to what is good and moral somewhere else, or even from person to person … which is bizarre when looked at logically. How can something be good when done by one person, and yet also be wrong when done by another?

 

Not only is the idea illogical, it is also, from the Christian point of view heretical, idolatrous, blasphemous, and, of course, sinful. It is heretical because it goes against the teaching of the Church that it is God in his infinite wisdom who fashions the moral law, not man. We might term it the heresy of individualism. It is idolatrous because it places the individual in the place of God when it comes to deciding what is right and wrong, thereby putting each person in the place of God for themselves – essentially worshipping themselves rather than God – the idolatry of the person. It is blasphemous in its open defiance of God and his authority as creator and sustainer that all that there was, is, and ever will be until the end of the ages. And it is sinful because it goes against what our Lord Jesus Christ, as we hear in our Gospel reading today, declared to be the first and greatest commandment; that we love the Lord our God will all our heart, soul, and mind. And those who do not keep God's commandments do not and can not love him, as our Lord and Saviour makes clear elsewhere in Sacred Scripture when he says that those who love God will keep his commandments.

 

That deals with the first of the two issues that I said claims that we can be good without God raises. The second is this: it suggests that the primary purpose of religion is to make us good. And it is not; that is a false narrative of the secular culture that sadly all too often many even within the Church not only allow to go unchallenged but often even accept. But it not true; it is in fact a lie. We are not called to be Christians in order to be good; we are called to be Christians in order to be holy.

 

And that is the only thing that makes sense if you really think about it. Genesis tells us that we are made in the image and likeness of God; and therefore just as he is holy, so too must we be holy. God even tells us himself directly that this is what we must be. Listen again to what we heard in our Old Testament reading from the book Leviticus: “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 'Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.'” Naturally, being holy will lead us to be good; for the good man or good woman, the good boy or good girl, will all, out of love of God keep his commandments, not just as they apply to loving him, but as they concern loving our neighbour.

 

But can being good make us holy? Well, if by good we mean following God's law as set out in Sacred Scripture and the Holy Traditions of the Church, then it is indeed a good path to holiness. But if by being good we mean good as defined by the secular culture of the world around us, then I am afraid the answer must be no. How could it possibly be otherwise? So much of what the secular culture proposes openly defies God's law, calling a great deal of what the Church teaches to be good evil, and presenting as good many things the Church Christ founded has called evil on the basis of not only the natural law but the Divine Revelation that God has granted us.

 

As I draw to a close, there is something else that needs to be said concerning the idea of being good without God - things that the Christian must always keep in mind. It was God who created us and sustains us; the idea of being good without him is an illusion, for without him we are nothing. It was he who died upon the Cross to save us from our sins; without him all our efforts are as nothing. It is He, who through his Church, gives us the Sacraments that give us the Grace, the Strength, and the Divine Nourishment we need to make us Holy; without him we have nothing. God created us to be with him in heaven; and it is by our lifelong struggle, aided by him, to be Holy as he is Holy – a holiness that is reflected by a life that does such good deeds that are pleasing to him – that will lead us there. And it is such holiness of life that I pray for all here: in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 29 October 2017: 5h before Advent liturgical colour â?? Green

Posted on October 28, 2017 at 1:00 AM

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

Our condolences to the family and friends of Fr Joe Campion. May he rest in Peace to rise in Glory

+Monday 30

But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had cured on the sabbath, kept saying to the crowd, ‘There are six days on which work ought to be done; come on those days and be cured, and not on the sabbath day.’ Luke 13.14

Reflection

The leader of the synagogue, in his zeal for the sabbath, forgot the duties of love and mercy, and our Lord rightly chastises him. However, what would our Lord say to the carelessness with which his day is treated in our time by many?

 

+Tuesday 31

Jesus said: 'the kingdom of God … is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in the garden; it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.’ Luke 13. 18-19

Reflection

Sometimes we look at the world and worry about the future of the Church. But we must never give way to despair; for it is in God's hands and he has promised us that not even the Gates of Hell will prevail against his Church.

 

+Wednesday 1 November (All Saint's Day)

'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God'. Matthew 5. 8

Reflection

A saint is not some plaster figure, divorced from reality and untouched by the troubles and temptations of the world. A saint is one who has struggled with the messy reality of human life and managed to remain faithful to the end.

 

+Thursday 2

'Jerusalem, Jerusalem, … how often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!' Luke 13. 34

Reflection

Our Lord shows tenderness and love even toward his enemies, and longs for their salvation. Will he not then give great help to those who love him, even if they sometimes stumble and fall?

 

+Friday 3 (day of discipline and self-denial)

When Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely … and Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, ‘Is it lawful to cure people on the sabbath, or not?’ But they were silent. Luke 14. 1-4

Reflection

Blinded by their opposition to Christ, his enemies disregarded even basic mercy for a fellow man. We must never become fanatics like them, attacking everything that comes from a person we mistrust; for even an enemy may speak the truth on occassion.

+Saturday 4 (Rector's Day Off)

But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, “Friend, move up higher” Luke 14. 10

Reflection

Prides often moves us to seek the riches and glory of this world. But the Christian is called to humility; which not only gives glory to God but makes us rich with treasure in heaven.

 

+Sun 5 Nov, 4th before Advent; Liturgical colour Green (1st Sunday of month; Service according to usual schedule – see below)

 

Coming up this week

+to all our young people – enjoy mid-term break!

*Wednesday – All Saints' Day – Holy Communion 7pm The Colliery Church

 

Notes & advance notices

+ Bilboa dinner dance raised €5000 – a marvellous result! Well done to all who organised, helped, and supported. The next one takes place 19 Oct 2018.

+The annual collection for the Carlow Protestant Orphans Society is now taking place. This charity has provided great support to families in this Union both in the past and currently. Please get donations to Mrs Marion Minion as soon as you can.

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

+Parish Confirmation date: 15 April 2018. Please give names to the rector

+Sandra Parr has kindly offered to organise a 'cuppa' after the service in the Colliery on the first Sunday of each month, starting in November.

+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.

+17 Dec Carol Service, The Colliery, w/the Castlecomer MVC

+24 Dec Sunday 11am Holy Communion, St Mary's

+24 Dec Christmas Eve: 7pm Bilboa, HC; Christmas Eve: 9pm The Colliery, HC

+25 Dec Christmas Day: 10 am Mothel, HC; 11.30am St Mary's HC

+31 Dec Sunday (& New Year's Eve) 11am HC The Colliery

+April 16th - 25th 2018 'Tour To Israel'; contact Rachel at 087 9905059 for details

 

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!

render unto God that which is God's

Posted on October 22, 2017 at 5:30 AM

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

 

Our gospel reading today concerns one of the many occasions on which the religious authorities of our Lord's time attempt to lay a snare for him. And I imagine you know all too well the explanation for what they are trying to do, learned from your days in the schoolroom, sermons heard over the years, and hopefully even your own reading, what the trap is that they think they are setting. Should Jesus answer that that people should not pay taxes to the Emperor, then they will denounce him as a rebel to the Roman authorities – who will then, they hope, arrest him and at least imprison him and perhaps even execute him. But if he says that they should pay taxes – well, what sort of a Messiah is he, one that publicly declares that the Jewish people should meekly bow before the demands of the hated Roman oppressors? That answer, they hope, would finish him as a teacher of the people and remove him as a threat to their own authority. Whichever way he answer, Jesus is finished; something that will make them very happy.

Our Lord, of course, sees through their plan. 'Why are you putting me to the test?' he asks them. And he knows also that they are not asking him this out of a spirit of honest enquiry, but rather, as St Matthew puts it, out of malice; for he finishes his question by saying to them 'you hypocrites.' He then he takes a coin and asks them whose image and title is upon it; and when they say the Emperor's, he gives them his justly famous response of 'Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s' , as the old translation so beautifully puts it.

Our Lord, of course, does more than give a clever answer to his enemies with this reply. He also gives us two commands. The the first is that we must render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. This means that Christians must be good citizens of the state. We must pay our taxes, obey the laws of the land, provided that they are just laws that do not conflict with our moral duties as children of God, and uphold the state in the lawful exercise of its authority.

 

The state, as St Paul tells us, has the sword to compel us. And that is true. The state, at the end of the day, has the ability to use force in order to make us obey its commands. But the faithful Christian should not fear that ability, because he complies with all the just laws of the state willingly and cheerfully, not only in public but also in private. The consideration as to whether or not we will be caught in any wrong-doing ought not be a factor when it comes to how law-abiding we are.

The other command of our Lord's that lies within his response that day is that we must render unto God that which is God's. And we know, or should know, what that is, for Christ has told us. He has told us what the first and greatest of all the commandments is – to love God with all our heart, and soul, and mind, and heart. And he has also told us what it means to love God – those who love him will keep his commandments. And, as St John the Apostle tells us in his letters, those who say they love God and yet do not keep his commandments are liars. There are doubtless many who present themselves to the world, and perhaps even to themselves, as faithful Christians; but if they deliberately reject any part of God's law and refuse to obey it, then they are lying to both themselves and the world. It is such as they of whom Jesus Christ spoke when he said that there were many who call him Lord Lord to whom he will say depart from me, ye evildoers; I tell you that I never knew you. And they will be sent from him into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

There is one final message in the twin commands from our Lord in our gospel today. And that comes, of course, from the fact that sometimes our duty of obedience to the state will sometimes come into conflict with our duty of obedience to God. What do we do should such a situation arise? The answer is obvious. Obedience to God must always comes first. It is, after all, from God that authority on heaven and earth comes – as our Constitution acknowledges.

And you will have noticed, I hope, that when I spoke of obedience to the laws I also said that those must be just laws. A law that, for example, tried to outlaw going to church on a Sunday would be just such an unjust law – it outside the authority of the state to interfere with a person's practice of religion - and therefore such a law must neither be tolerated or obeyed. Another would be if the state were to declare that a certain class of human beings could be arbitrarily killed. Justice requires the protection of innocent human life; and any law that suggests otherwise must be rejected and resisted. God and religion are not something that Caesar permits as long as they do not interfere with how he exercises power in any manner he sees fit; but rather God allows Caesar to have power in order that the societies in which his children live may be well ordered … and they can only be so if they are governed in a manner that is in accordance with the laws he has given us out of love, and which must lovingly obey in return … something that I pray all here will remember always, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 22 October 2017: 19th after Trinity liturgical colour ??? Green

Posted on October 21, 2017 at 6:35 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 23 (St James)

And looking at those who sat around him, he said ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.' Mark 3.34. 35

Reflection

All may be in a relationship with Christ as loving and close as with your dearest family member. But it requires that you not only hear his word but obey it also

+Tuesday 24

'Be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes.' Luke 12. 36,37

Reflection

Again Christ reminds us that none of us know when we will be called before the judgement seat. Therefore live every moment as if in the next one might be your last so that you might spend every moment of the life to come with Christ in heaven.+Wednesday 25

'If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.’ Luke 12. 39, 40

Reflection

So many times in the Gospels our Lord speaks of the suddenness of death and the unknown time at which he will come again. He tells us this not to frighten but to warn us; for he loves us, and wishes none to deny themselves their chance of heaven. +Thursday 26.

'And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”  Luke 12. 19

Reflection

The fool did not have the many years he hoped for to enjoy all he had; he had not even a single day. And what did his all his earthly wealth avail him – he who had no treasures laid up in heaven? This is why all of us, who also do not know the day or the hour we will be called before our Maker, must strive to be rich towards God.

+Friday 27 (day of discipline and self-denial)

'You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?' Luke 12. 56

Reflection

Christ condemned those of his day who though wise enough to know what weather was in store, yet refused to recognise the truth of who he was. How will he judge those of us who call him 'Lord, Lord,' yet place our own will above his?

+Saturday 28 (Rector's Day Off)

'Or those eighteen who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others living in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish just as they did.’ Luke 13. 4,5

Reflection

The judgement for sin comes not in this life, but the next. But unless we repent, that judgement will surely come.

 

+Sun 29 Oct, 5th before Advent; Liturgical colour Green (5th Sunday of month; United Service of Holy Communion, 11 am, Bilboa)

 

Coming up this week

Thursday (26th Oct) 7pm Youth Group, Wandesforde Hall – burgers & a film – bring a cushion!

 

Notes & advance notices

+The annual collection for the Carlow Protestant Orphans Society is now taking place. This charity has provided great support to families in this Union both in the past and currently. Please get donations to Mrs Marion Minion as soon as you can.

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

+Parish Confirmation date: 15 April 2018. Please give names to the rector

+Sandra Parr has kindly offered to organise a 'cuppa' after the service in the Colliery on the first Sunday of each month, starting in November.

+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.

+17 Dec Carol Service, The Colliery, w/the Castlecomer MVC

+24 Dec Sunday 11am Holy Communion, St Mary's

+24 Dec Christmas Eve: 7pm Bilboa, HC; Christmas Eve: 9pm The Colliery, HC

+25 Dec Christmas Day: 10 am Mothel, HC; 11.30am St Mary's HC

+31 Dec Sunday (& New Year's Eve) 11am HC The Colliery

+April 16th - 25th 2018 'Tour To Israel'; contact Rachel at 087 9905059 for details

 

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!

 

Wear the wedding garment!

Posted on October 15, 2017 at 6:00 AM Comments comments (0)

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

 

There are three categories of people in our Gospel reading today. The first are those ungrateful subjects who refuse their king’s lawful command that they should attend the wedding banquet. Some simply ignore his invitation and go about their daily business, treating his command with wilful disrespect; others go further and treat the king’s messengers with violence. And terrible is the fate that they bring down upon their heads because of their wickedness – they are destroyed and their city is burned.

 

The Holy Tradition of our Church has always been clear as to the interpretation as to who these people stand for. In the context of our Lord’s time, they stand for those who reject him and his teachings, and therefore reject both the Father who sent him and his will for the children he created. And Holy Scripture, as we well know, speaks to all ages; so we must consider as well the context of the age in which we ourselves live and what it means for us. This means we must consider the words of our Lord as being a prophetic warning to those who reject him, the Truth of his Gospel, and the Church which he established. No one should desire to be counted among those of this first category. For the destruction of which he speaks in his parable is, of course, eternal.

 

Moving to the next category, the king in the parable sends his servants into the streets to invite new guests. And so they do. And they are not discriminating. Good and bad alike are invited to the wedding banquet. And so the hall is filled. But it is not enough to simply accept the invitation, as what happens next shows when the king challenges the man who has come not wearing a wedding garment. This man is bound hand and foot and cast into the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 

What does all this mean? Again, the interpretation has always been clear. God invites all into his Church. But it is not enough to simply enter in and pay lip service when it comes to following his commandments. For as Christ says elsewhere there will be many who say 'Lord, Lord', claiming that they have been faithful followers of his, who will be told that he never knew them and they must depart into that outer darkness. They may never have formally rejected the Truth of the Gospel, but they have done so in the manner of their living. They may have come to the feast; but they never put upon themselves the wedding garment of obedience. It is not enough to say you believe, or even to actually believe, if that belief is not followed by action. A Christian is not someone who makes a formal intellectual acceptance of God's Truth; a Christian is someone who puts that truth into practice, whatever the cost.

 

For what is the point of belief if it is not backed up with practice? Let us consider some of the commandments. We say we believe that the Lord is God and we will worship nothing and no one other than him – and yet we will give work, sporting activities, and social events priority above the practice of our faith. We say that we believe that we must keep the Lord’s Day holy – and yet churches are near empty while the day that is his is treated as if it were simply another Saturday. We say that we believe in prayer – yet how many will actually pray even once during the course of a day, much less attempt to engage in the ceaseless prayer that we are called to by Scripture? We say the words ‘thou shalt not commit adultery’ - but how many will then follow that commandment by practising the sexual purity, both in mind and in body, that have always been part of the teaching that Christ gave to the Church he founded? And so on.

 

These practices are the wedding garment spoken of in the parable – the humble obedience to God’s law and the good deeds that follow from that obedience. Failure to clothe yourself in it leads, as we have noted, to being cast out. And it is not a category that any should wish to find themselves among.

 

But humbling oneself and putting the wedding garment on and wearing it always leads to the eternal life that is represented by the wedding banquet. Those who are invited in and allowed to remain are those who have clad themselves thusly, the practice of their faith bringing them to the everlasting wedding feast of the Lamb that takes place in heaven. These are the third and final category of the three I spoke of as being mentioned in the parable. And it is this last category that I hope and pray all here will numbered among on the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord when all shall be judged. Even as I hope that all here will pray likewise for me, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 15 October 2017: 18th after Trinity liturgical colour ??? Green

Posted on October 15, 2017 at 5:40 AM

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

 

Monday 16

‘This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.' Luke 11.30

Reflection

The death and resurrection of Christ stands at the heart of our faith. This alone should be enough to bring you to repent and seek God's mercy.

 

+Tuesday 17

‘Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. Luke 11. 39

Reflection

It is quite possible to seem good to the world, while sinning greatly in your heart. Turn your heart from sin; and if your heart is pure, so also will be your deeds.

 

+Wednesday 18 St Luke's

He said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Luke 10.2

Reflection

St Luke laboured well in the service of the Lord. A physician by profession, he turned his learning instead in the writing the Gospel that bears his name and the Acts of the Apostles. We also must seek always to see how our gifts may be turned to the harvest of the Lord.

 

+Thursday 19

'Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.’ Luke 11. 52

Reflection

Beware those who seem to have great knowledge, yet use it to make Scripture say whatever they like. Trust rather those who may seem simpler, but whose teaching accords with what the Church has always taught.

 

+Friday 20 (day of discipline and self-denial)

‘I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.  Luke 12.4,5

Reflection

To fear for your life is natural. But take courage from your faith and consider rather what is more important and fear instead for your immortal soul.

+Saturday 18(Rector's Day Off)

‘But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God; it is these you ought to have practised, without neglecting the others.' Luke 11. 42

Reflection

It avails nothing to follow all the rules and regulations of Church teaching without love of God and neighbour in your heart. The Christian must obey God's holy laws joyfully and with love.

 

+Sun 15 Oct, 5th before Advent; Liturgical colour Green (4th Sunday of month; services according to usual pattern)

 

Coming up this week

+18 Oct Diocesan Synod, Woodford Dolman, Carlow. Begins with HC at 2.45pm

 

Notes & advance notices

+The annual collection for the Carlow Protestant Orphans Society is now taking place. This charity has provided great support to families in this Union both in the past and currently. Please get donations to Mrs Marion Minion as soon as you can.

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

+Parish Confirmation date: 15 April 2018. Please give names to the rector

+Sandra Parr has kindly offered to organise a 'cuppa' after the service in the Colliery on the first Sunday of each month, starting in November.

+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.

+17 Dec Carol Service, The Colliery, w/the Castlecomer MVC

+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!


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