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Amazing God

Posted on July 8, 2018 at 5:30 AM

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

It is never pleasant when you give someone important information and they refuse to believe you. I remember one such occasion when I was working as a broadcaster in the Azores. It was a joint-services unit, made up of people from the Army, Navy, and Air Force. I was in the Navy; and my immediate supervisor was in the Air Force. One day I was called down to the Naval personnel office to sign my regular six-month evaluation. And I was rather stunned to find that it was rather a poor one – I had always had excellent ones in the past. And not only was I the senior naval person at the station, I had essentially being given a promotion recently, being made the manager of one of the sections in the station, and had had no complaints about my work – quite the opposite in fact – the poor evaluation was rather out of the blue.

I did not, of course, sign it. I knew exactly what was going on. My supervisor had going through a bad patch in his own career and had been taking it out on those around him. Clearly my turn had come. I went straight to my supervisor and asked for a meeting to discuss the matter. He gave me a little smirk.

'There's nothing to discuss,' he said. 'I have written it. And there's nothing you can do about it.' Now, that might have been true were I in the Air Force as he was; but, as I said, I was in the Navy. And that wasn't how things worked. I was entitled to discuss the evaluation with him – in fact, he should have discussed it with me before sending it down to the personnel office – and I was also entitled to go over his head and appeal what he'd written to higher authority. And I warned him that, on the basis of my past record and known current performance, that what he'd written wouldn't stand. And I suggested to him that, based on my superior knowledge of the way that the Navy worked, that the least embarrassing way forward for all concerned would be if he would simply re-write the evaluation.

Naturally, he refused to believe a word of it. He was outraged that I would challenge what he had written. I was called a great many names. He also said a great many uncomplimentary things about the Navy when things turned out exactly as I told him they would and the evaluation was changed, leaving him with egg all over his face as a result.

He should, of course, have believed me when I told him about the way things worked in the Navy. I was after all, as I said, the senior naval person in the station. But the simple fact is that there are times when people don't want to hear the truth. No matter how clear that it it, objectively speaking, the truth; and despite the fact that consequences will follow for having treated the truth as if it were a lie.

This is the situation we read of in our Gospel reading today. Jesus is visiting Nazareth. And objectively speaking they should have no doubts about who he is. He has by this time healed a great many people. He has, for example, cleansed lepers, he has by his power caused a paralysed man to rise from his mat and walk, he cured a woman of a flow of blood that has afflicted her for twelve long years that no physician was even able to grant her some relief from, much less cure. And if that were not enough, he has cast out demons from those possessed by them, including the notorious case of the Gerasene Demoniac who was in the power of not just one evil spirit, but an entire legion of them. More, he has calmed a storm that threatened to engulf the boat he was on and the other boats that accompanied him. He has even raised the dead.

On the basis of this objective evidence they should accept him as the Messiah. At the very least they should regard him as a great prophet, a holy man sent from God. And yet they reject him. Why? It would seem because of pride. They can not believe he could have walked among them for almost thirty years, from when he was a boy until he was a man come of age, without them realising that he was someone special. And so they mock and sneer at him and will not accept him  - to his amazement.

But before we wonder too much at their foolishness, perhaps we should look to our own age. We live in a time of great apostasy, of turning from the faith. Some do so openly, rejecting Christ and what he teaches; of these, some think Christians deluded – others hate them and see them as the enemy of progress in the world. But they, at least, are open about their apostasy. Others I think are perhaps worse, the ones who claim to be Christian, but feel in no way bound to live by the faith, at least not in its entirety. They cherry-pick what they like or causes them no discomfort or challenge; and the rest is put to the side, either ignored or vociferously dismissed as no longer mattering in the modern age. It is almost as if they think there is two Christs; one in the pages of the Bible, and another for time in which we live. But this can not be so; for as St Paul tells us in his letter to the Hebrews, 'Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. What he taught, and has been passed down to us in Scripture and the Apostolic Tradition, stands until the end of the ages. And of those who would claim otherwise, we may look to our Lord's own words in Matthew's Gospel where he said that not everyone who calls him 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do the will of his Father in heaven.

My supervisor suffered no lasting harm for his refusal to listen to my advice concerning Navy performance evaluations. At worst some slight embarrassment at being proved wrong in the end, along with some damage to his reputation among the Navy personnel on the base. Indeed, perhaps in the end it did him some good by teaching him that he can not treat people unfairly and expect to get away with it. But those who reject Christ by refusing to listen to what he says to us through the Bible and what he teaches us through the Church he founded risk far more. The risk being counted among those our Lord said would not be welcomed into the kingdom of heaven. This is truly a fate worse than death; because it is a fate that entails the loss of eternal life in heaven.

And so as I end, I pray that all here, and all those throughout the world who count themselves Christians will heed carefully what Christ taught us – and died that he might bring us – so that they will in the end be granted to spend eternity in the place they were created to be – with God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 8 July 2018: 6th after Trinity (liturgical colour ??? Green)

Posted on July 7, 2018 at 1:00 AM

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

 

+ Monday 9

‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.' Matthew 11. 34

Reflection

The Prince of Peace sends his followers forth to challenge the consensus of the world. Difficulties should be no surprise; they are what we are called to face.

 

+ Tuesday 10

'Then he began to reproach the cities in which most of his deeds of power had been done, because they did not repent. … 'I tell you that on the day of judgement it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom than for you.’ Matthew 11.20-24

Reflection:

The more gifts God grants you, the more he expects from you. And those who think they can take and take and yet reject him without consequence are wrong.

 

+Wednesday 11

‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants.'

Matthew 11.25

Reflection:

Those who think themselves great can often miss that which is obvious to the humble of heart. And their self-importance, if not repented of, carries within it the seeds of destruction.

 

+Thursday 12

‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.' Matthew 22. 28

Reflection:

This world is no easy place. But Christ calls us all to him; and those who take up his yoke find peace, for the things of this world can trouble them no more.

 

+ Friday 13 (day of discipline & self-denial)

'For the Son of Man is lord of the sabbath.’ Matthew 12.8

Reflection:

The Lord's Day is for rest and worship. Necessity can make this difficult for some; but the necessity of the few does not grant license to the many. Consider this in relation to how you spend your own Sundays.

 

 

Saturday June 14 (Rector's day off)

The Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. Matthew 12.14

Reflection: This is something for all Christians to consider, for if the master was hated, why should the servants be surprised if they too face hatred? For the servant is not greater than the master and can expect no better treatment than he.

 

+Sun 15 July, 7th after Trinity, 2nd Sunday of Month – Liturgical colour Green - services: 10.30 St Mary's; Noon Mothel

 

Notes & Advance notices

+The 'grass money' for the 'Comer/Colliery end of the parish is now due - €40. Many thanks in advance.

+Through 2 Sep there is an exhibition of Katie Watchorn's artwork in the Visual, Carlow.

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

Note: the rector is currently 'in training'! All going well, he will run the Kilkenny half-marathon in September as a fund-raising effort for the Union. Please keep him in your prayers (especially during this extremely hot weather).

Further note: The current heat wave is causing distress to many, especially those in the farming community involved in animal husbandry or the growing of crops. Please keep them in your prayers at this difficult time.

 

Summer Services Schedule for July

15 July 10.30 St Mary's; Noon Mothel

22 July: 9.15 The Colliery; Noon Bilboa

29 July: 5th Sunday – United Service 11 am St Mary's (the 50th anniversary of the passing of Canon Curry, former rector of Castlecomer, occurs around this time and will be specially remembered at this service).

 

Rector: Rev Patrick Burke: 056 4441677

[email protected]

Sunday Services:

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

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

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

5th Sundays 11am, as announced

 

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

 

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

healed forever

Posted on July 1, 2018 at 5:30 AM

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

I recently fell into conversation with a man when I was out and about – I won't say what part of the country I was for the sake of preserving his anonymity. As is common with such chats – which is one of the reasons why I think they do not happen by accident – it wasn't long before he was telling me his tale of woe. And by any standards he had had a hard time of it over the last number of years when it came to his health. He has suffered from a variety of various fairly serious problems for the last number of years, affecting not only his quality of life but also his mobility and therefore his independence. And, to add suffering to suffering, he has only recently been diagnosed with cancer; and in his already weakened state his prospects, quite frankly are not good. This gentleman was a good many years younger than I am; and the chances he will make it to my age seem slim.

'A lot of prayers have been said for me,' he told me. 'And I've said a lot myself. But they don't seem to have done any good.'

What he means by this, of course, is that he has not been healed from the diseases that afflict him. And his disappointment is understandable. We know that God can heal our bodies of all that ails them. We read of it in the Bible all the time. There is an account of one such miraculous healing in our Gospel reading today – the woman who had been afflicted with a flow of blood for twelve long years … causing her much suffering, huge expense as she went fruitlessly from one doctor to another, and enormous social stigma – for a woman in such a condition was considered ritually unclean, which meant that she could neither take part in public worship, not could anyone lay hands on her lest they be considered unclean themselves and be similarly ostracised. All she has to do is to touch the hem of Jesus' garment and she is at once healed. And we also read today of Jairus' daughter. She is dead when Jesus arrives at her house; whatever the unknown illness it was that she was suffering from has already killed her. But this is no obstacle to our Lord. He restores her to life and to the bosom of her family.

And I do not think it unreasonable for those who think their prayers to be unanswered to ask – why them and not me? Why were they healed while my suffering continues? It cannot be because God loves the people of that time more than those of today – our Father in heaven loves all his children equally. And indeed, the Apostle St Paul assures us in his letter to the Romans that God shows partiality to none. It can not be that we in our day are greater sinners than those who walked the earth with our Lord. The New Testament is replete with proof that sin is a fixture of the human condition. And yet Jesus healed them anyway – even healing the ear of the slave of the high priest when he was arresting him to take him to his death when it was cut off by St Peter. And it can not be that people's faith was greater then than now. And even if it were, we read in the gospels of our Lord healing those who, on the face of it at least, did not seem very strong in the faith. We may think here of the ten lepers who were healed of a disease which made them ritually unclean restored both to their society and their families – of whom only one returned to thank Jesus and give glory to God … and he was a Samaritan, of a race considered by the Jews as being enemies and almost worse than the heathens.

No, to understand why it is they were healed in such numbers then and why miraculous healings are so few today we have to remember why it was that Jesus performed those miracles in the first place. Compassion for the suffering of those who stood before him naturally played a part; for Christ was not only fully God but fully and man. But that was not the primary reason – for human suffering is part of the fallen world in which we live and that suffering has its purpose, even though we may find it hard to understand or sometimes even to accept. No, the primary reason for those miraculous healings, as it was with the other miracles he performed, was to give witness to who he was, and to demonstrate that he was who he said he was – the Son of God who had come into the world for our salvation, to save us from our sins so that all might have life and have it abundantly – eternal life in heaven. He performed miracles so that the people of his day – and the people of every age that followed right down to the present age – might believe in him and be saved. He healed the bodies of a few then that the souls of all in his day and all the days that followed might be healed of the deadly disease that they suffered from – the fatal affliction of sin – and by that healing live forever in heaven.

I told the man that I met that day that his prayers had not gone unheard. For there is more than one kind of healing. The first was the healing of the body that he longed for. But there is also healing of the soul, a spiritual healing that helps bring us back into a right relationship with God. Physical healing brings relief of present suffering, but it is of its nature always temporary, for in the end death comes to us all in one form or another. But spiritual healing has the potential to be eternal, for it is the kind of healing that at the end of our lives will bring us to be with God in heaven – the very reason for which Christ came into the world.

As I end, I pray, of course, for the good bodily health of all here. But I pray also for the good health of the soul. For that, I think, is far more important … that is the health that when your life on this earth ends will bring you to live forever with God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 1 July 2018: 5th after Trinity (liturgical colour ??? Green)

Posted on June 30, 2018 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (0)

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

 

+ Monday 2

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5. 6

Reflection And what is righteousness other than to hear and obey completely and willingly all that God wants of us?

 

+ Tuesday 3 (St Thomas)

Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" John 20.28

Reflection: St Thomas was the first to stand before Jesus and recognise him as the Living God made man. Blessed are you who, like he, will do the same.

 

+Wednesday 4

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

Reflection: Jesus made it clear that in his teaching the moral law of the Old Testament continued in its authority. This puts the lie to those who try to claim that he was silent on those areas of the moral law where traditional Christian values are in conflict with the new values of secular society.

 

+Thursday 5

It was said to those of ancient times 'thou shalt not murder;' … but I say to you that if you are angry with your brother you will be liable to judgement. Matthew 5. 21,22

Reflection: The love of Christ is no 'soft option,' equivalent in some way to the 'live and let live' attitude of modern society. He was not afraid to call sin what it was, and often was even stricter in his interpretation of the moral law than the Old Testament prophets.

 

+ Friday 6 (day of discipline & self-denial)

It was said 'you shall not commit adultery'. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5.27-28

Reflection: Look into your hearts; if you long to do what Christ and his Church teaches is wrong, then you sin, even if the deed itself goes undone. Not having the chance to do the wrong you would wish to do will be no defence on the day of judgement.

 

+Saturday 7

Who ever divorces a woman causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. Matthew 5.32

Reflection: The idea that the sole context for sexual relations is that of a man and woman married for life is sometimes seen as one of the hardest of Jesus' teachings. It was a hard one to hear in his own day, down through the years, and especially in our own liberal times. And yet it is a teaching that Christ has given us. Finding it difficult is no excuse to disobey

 

+Sun 8 July, 6th after Trinity, 2nd Sunday of Month – Liturgical colour Green - services: 9.15. The Colliery; 10.30 St Mary's; noon Bilboa

 

Coming up this Week

Tuesday 8pm, the reception of the Rev Connor O'Reilly into the ministry of the Church of Ireland in St Iberius', Wexford, in which cure he will serve as curate.

 

Notes & Advance notices

+'Comer/Colliery raffle: this raised just under €1850 - a great result! Many thanks to those who donated items for the hampers and took turns selling lines … and, of course, those who bought lines!

+Through 2 Sep there is an exhibition of Katie Watchorn's artwork in the Visual, Carlow.

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

Note: the rector is currently 'in training'! All going well, he will run the Kilkenny half-marathon in September as a fund-raising effort for the Union. Please keep him in your prayers (especially during this extremely hot weather).

Further note: The current heat wave is causing distress to many, especially those in the farming community involved in animal husbandry or the growing of crops. Please keep them in your prayers at this difficult time.

Summer Services Schedule for July

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

15 July 10.30 St Mary's; Noon Mothel

22 July: 9.15 The Colliery; Noon Bilboa

29 July: 5th Sunday – United Service 11 am St Mary's (the 50th anniversary of the passing of Canon Curry, former rector of Castlecomer, occurs around this time and will be specially remembered at this service).

 

Rector: Rev Patrick Burke: 056 4441677

[email protected]

Sunday Services:

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

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

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

5th Sundays 11am, as announced

 

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

 

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

why fear death?

Posted on June 24, 2018 at 5:30 AM

 

(today's readings)

 

 

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

When I was being interviewed for the Theological College, as part of the process to discern whether I would go forward for training for ordained ministry, one of the interviewers asked me an interesting question. He said 'What would your reaction be if you found out that you only had a short time to live?' Now as it happens I had had not long before had something of a health scare. A large and rather painful lump had appeared on my hand; I hadn't bumped it or suffered any injury to it that I was aware of. And, naturally enough, the first thought that pops into anyone's head under such circumstances is – what if it is cancer? And if it is cancer, then what are my chances of surviving this? It turned out not to be very serious. I had been overdoing the DIY and the lump on my hand was only what is called a ganglion – basically a kind of fluid filled cyst that disappeared on its own after a few weeks.

So as close-calls with death go it doesn't really compare with the one faced by the apostles in today's Gospel reading. They are caught in a sudden and violent storm in a small boat miles from shore on the Sea of Galilee. Many among them are fishermen who not long before had earned their living in these waters. They would have been very familiar with the sudden squalls that could come out of nowhere; and they better than anyone would have known how dangerous they could be. So if they felt their lives were in danger that day – that at any moment they might day – then we have to accept their expert testimony as to how serious the risks they faced were.

Christ's response to their terror is therefore interesting indeed. He rebukes them for their lack of faith. What does he mean by this? It might mean that their fear indicates a lack of faith in him, because they thought they might die even though he was in the boat with them. And yet their response to the storm was to wake him – they had taken their very immediate problem straight to Christ – and their asking him did he not care that they were perishing seems indicative of their belief that he could do something about it.

No, it would seem that his rebuke his aimed at something else, something deeper – their fear of death itself. The message conveyed by our Lord's response is that the Christian should not fear physical death – because they know that this life is not all there is. There is something greater beyond it; and those who are strong in their faith need never fear death.

And if the Christian should not fear what we might call ordinary death – death that comes as part of the usual course of life such as disease, accident, or – hopefully for most of us – old age – much less should they fear death when it is suffered for the sake of the faith. Physical danger has always been a real consequence of faith. See, for example, our Old Testament reading today when King Saul tries to kill David, the Lord's anointed. He feared him because God was with him. And we read of many places elsewhere in Scripture where Saul attempts to bring about David's destruction, deliberately trying to thwart God's plan for Israel.

Yes, faith is a risky business and always has been. Look at the litany of ill treatment that St Paul gives us in our Epistle today – he suffered much for the sake of the Gospel during his life … and finally he died for it. In doing so he was simply walking in the footsteps of his master – and our master also – the one who suffered and died for our sins. And did so willingly. Long before Calvary he said that it would be so. And he also said that only those who would deny themselves and take up their own cross could follow him.

So to be a Christian is to take up the cross. But why should anyone wish to do so? Let me suggest three. The first is naked self interest. We wish to be saved and when this life ends spend eternity in heaven. This may not be the noblest of motives, but it is a practical one … and it is perhaps somewhere to begin for those who struggle with the demands of the faith. For I do not think that one lives the faith for even such a reason can long resist doing it for a higher one.

The next reason, which is a higher one, is out of love of God. He is the Father who created us, the Son who came into the world to save us, and the Holy Spirit who inspires us and leads us into all truth. Love is the natural response to the Holy and Undivided Trinity; and those who love God will wish to show that love by humble obedience to his commandments – no matter what the cost.

The third reason I will put forward is the love of others. We are called not only to love God but to love our neighbour. And to love someone is to want what is truly the best for them – which, it should go without saying, may not always be what they claim to want for themselves. And this 'true best' that we should will for all others is that they will at the end of their lives be welcomed into heaven. And as Christ has told us that he is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through him then we must show our love for them by doing all we can to bring them to Christ. It is not an easy task; the world, the flesh, and the devil will do more than resist, they will fight against us tooth and nail. But we have Christ on our side. If we suffer we suffer in a good cause; and we die then we receive a martyr's crown and the reward of eternal life.

But waiting on a diagnosis for the little health scare I mentioned earlier had given me some time to reflect on the possibility that I might be facing the end. So when the interviewer asked the question how I thought I would respond in such a situation, my honest response to that was that I was OK with that; this life comes to an end sooner or later … and what really matters is that you die in a state of grace so that you can return to the One Who made you. The interviewer must have been satisfied with my answer; had he not been I suppose I would not be standing before you today. But it is something I truly believe: death is not to be feared; the only thing we should ever fear is that after this life we do not gain the prize that Christ died that we might have – eternal life in heaven. And so I end with the prayer that, by faith, you will nothing fear, and that by faith you will live forever with God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Castlecomer Union Pew News & Prayer Diary 24 June 2018: 4th after Trinity (liturgical colour ??? Green)

Posted on June 23, 2018 at 10:10 AM

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

 

+ Monday 25

'Judge not, that you be not judged.' Matthew 7.1

Reflection: Judging the eternal destiny of any soul lies in the hands of God alone. That does not mean, however, that we should not warn people of the danger they face when they break God's law. Indeed, Scripture itself commands us to do so.

 

+ Tuesday 26

Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's; and unto God what is God's Mark 12. 17

Reflection: We fret if we are late with some trivial bill or how we will pay some new tax; do we give even a fraction of the same concern over what it is that we owe to the God who created us and sustains us?

 

+Wednesday 27

Jesus said: He is not God of the dead but of the living Mark 12.27

Reflection: Eternal life is ours in Christ. Never forget to live your life in the knowledge that how we live our lives in this life determines our fate in the next.

 

+Thursday 28

(After the scribe had spoken publicly in support of Jesus' teaching) he said to him: 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.' Mark 12.34

Reflection: The more closely you align your heart & mind & soul to the will of God, the more nearly you draw to him; bringing true happiness in this life; and in the next, eternal life.

 

+ Friday 29 (day of discipline & self-denial) St Peter

'Get thee behind me Satan!' Matthew 16.23

Reflection Even the holiest can become an unwitting agent of the powers of darkness. Be alert therefore, for as St Peter himself warns 'your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring line, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith.'

 

+Saturday 30

Jesus said 'Truly I tell you that this widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury.' Mark 12.43

 

Reflection: Of your weekly 'budget' of time and money, how much goes to the Lord? Is it only from what is 'left over' that you wouldn't miss? Or is it more – like the widow, everything that you have to live on?

 

 

+Sun 1 July, 5th after Trinity, 1st Sunday of Month – Liturgical colour Green - services: 9.15 The Colliery; 10.30 St Mary's; noon Mothel

 

Coming up this Week

+28 June (Thurs) Annual MU tour

 

Notes & Advance notices

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

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

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

 

Summer Services Schedule for July

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

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

15 July 10.30 St Mary's; Noon Mothel

22 July: 9.15 The Colliery; Noon Bilboa

29 July: 5th Sunday – United Service 11 am St Mary's (the 50th anniversary of the passing of Canon Curry, former rector of Castlecomer, occurs around this time and will be specially remembered at this service).

 

Rector: Rev Patrick Burke: 056 4441677

[email protected]

 

Sunday Services:

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

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

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

5th Sundays 11am, as announced

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

 

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

A sermon for Father's Day

Posted on June 17, 2018 at 5:30 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

+Monday 18

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

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

 

+ Tuesday 19

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

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

 

+Wednesday 20

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

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

 

+Thursday 21

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Saturday 23 (Rector's Day Off')

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

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

 

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

 

Coming up this Week

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

Notes & Advance notices

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

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

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

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

Summer Services Schedule for July

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

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

15 July 10.30 St Mary's; Noon Mothel

22 July: 9.15 The Colliery; Noon Bilboa

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

 

Rector: Rev Patrick Burke: 056 4441677

[email protected]

Sunday Services:

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

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

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

5th Sundays 11am, as announced

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

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

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

Posted on June 10, 2018 at 5:30 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

+Monday 11 (St Barnabas)

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

Reflection

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

 

+ Tuesday 12

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

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

 

+Wednesday 13

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

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

 

+Thursday 14

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Saturday 26 (Rector's Day Off')

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

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

 

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

 

Coming up this Week

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

Notes & Advance notices

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

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

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

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

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

Rector: Rev Patrick Burke: 056 4441677

[email protected]

 

Sunday Services:

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

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

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

5th Sundays 11am, as announced

 

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

 

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


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