Saturday, 25 July 2015

Homily Notes: 17th Sunday Year B

In the darkest hours of life, we whisper a prayer to God, a prayer of trust and a prayer of abandonment to his will. Faith is trusting that God is always with us as he promised us he would be.

Faith is the power to do more than we can ever do on our own. Faith is the ability to trust when we have no answer to how we will accomplish our many tasks.

As the letter to the Hebrews tells us: .Faith is the substance of things hoped for. The evidence of things not seen.

Faith is the perception that God touches hearts and transforms them. The disciples are sceptical about Jesus’ ability to feed the crowds with so little and yet there are many baskets left over.

Faith is looking as the priest lifts up the sacred host and says “Behold the lamb of God” and believing in the real presence of Jesus, truly present to us, influencing, inspiring, assisting our living, colouring our vision of how to live life, and giving concrete meaning and purpose to the life we are gifted with.

St Paul urges us in the second reading at Mass today to
live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:”

We ask for these gifts each time we receive the Eucharist. We come forward in faith to say Amen to the Life of Jesus. To say “yes” to that life of Jesus radiating in our own, lighting up the darkness of doubt and banishing fear.

Faith is a precious gift, a soothing ointment, and light for our path. We pray that our faith may not fail us in the course of the many trails and afflictions that come our way, but that our faith may give us the courage and inspiration to carry on believing in the things hoped for, and be the evidence for things not seen.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Winter Has Visited

Winter Has Visited

Winter has visited here on this bright summer’s day
Its cold icy fingers pressed against us, taking her away
Shivering grief has run amok in the garden of each heart
Plucking at its flowers, tearing our stable world wide apart
Though she is now gone from our poor sight, she is at peace
Adorned by the faithful blanket of an enduring eternal fleece
Sweet hope hovers gently in the background of our living
Waiting for its discovering, to make sense of life’s passing

Fr. Patrick Brennan © 2015 all rights reserved

For Pauline McCulloch. May she rest in peace.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

A Day

A Day
Yawning, he stretches, looks around, youthful, he begins the journey of this brand new day
Joyfully vibrant, his wide eyes survey the welcome canvas, exited, he rushes into the day
Maturing, slowing, tiredness becomes his friend, enthusiasm gives way to an ageing day
Growing older, twilight descends, a murky fog of confusion characterises a closing day
Dying, giving in to the creeping darkness, sleep caresses tired eyes at the end of the day
Awaking, a glorious feeling of returning envelops a departing soul, seeking an eternal day!

Fr. Patrick Brennan © 2015 all rights reserved
The above verse is inspired by Psalm 90, a prayer of trust in the unfathomable, immensity of God! The depths of his love and mercy is an endless torrent washing over us, as each day is entrusted to the God of our life. A blink of God’s eye and a thousand days pass! Before his majesty I bow in adoration and worship, humbled I entrust each of my “little days” to the Lord.

Psalm 90 1-5

Lord, you have been our refuge
through all generations.
Before the mountains were born,
the earth and the world brought forth,
from eternity to eternity you are God.
You turn humanity back into dust,
saying, “Return, you children of Adam!”
A thousand years in your eyes
are merely a day gone by,
Before a watch passes in the night,
you wash them away;
They sleep,
and in the morning they sprout again like an herb.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Sunday Homily Notes: 16th Year B

The ordained ministry in the church is a call to service. You cannot be an ordained person just when you want to be, you can’t pick and choose when to be ordained and when not to be, although some times we may give a good impression that you can!
The call to service is an all consuming vocation, one that sets Christ at the very centre of that service. There may be times when after a busy day sitting down to watch a film, or read a book, or just relaxing, the phone goes and on the other end of the line is a person who wants your attention. Here is the heart of service, the giving of oneself and not counting the cost. Giving of oneself is a very rare attribute, and the reality can be trying to give but sometimes falling short. Often in a moment of grumpiness the cost of giving is evaluated!
Jesus demonstrates in the gospel today the loving compassion that motivates the giving of his time, the giving of his whole self. Jesus is moved with pity when he sees the plight of a people, like sheep without a shepherd, and he teaches them at length.
The first reading gives a warning to the bad shepherds whose motivation is about self interest, a shepherd when it suits! Pope Francis spoke famously about shepherds smelling like the sheep, to be a good shepherd means to put your own needs to one side, and embrace the needs of the sheep first.
What is true of the shepherds in the church is very relevant to all who bear the name Christians. The needs of the other, the plight of another, the compassion and pity that Jesus shows is to be our model and motivation for caring deeply for each other. Each of us is called to be Christ like in our attitudes and our actions, in our words too. In the course of a day or a week or a month, there are moments when we will be called to be Christ like, to be kind, to be compassionate, caring too. In these moments we embrace the call to service… or we put ourselves first. The little things matter, the going out of our way to encourage, to affirm, to help, to support, to just be sometimes, in service to another. What I want has to come second at times to the pursuit of gospel values. Are we prepared to make that sacrifice in our dedication to the gospel?

Monday, 13 July 2015

Life, mystery, miracle

Life, mystery, miracle
The miracle of birth, engaged in journeying,
constantly yearning, desiring for meaning,
searching, ecstatic in joyfully discovering,
though not always fully understanding;
the soul imprints a time for every season,
a place for truth, for abandon, for serene reason,
found in grateful moments of prayerful silence
life’s progression makes its most profound sense;
heavens shadows dissipate, removing concealing veils,
a bright light of eternal life unfurls its glorious sails,
a perfumed scent fills each sense, a peculiar sensation,
life’s mystery solved, in a heady mix of awe and devotion.

Fr. Patrick Brennan © 2015 all rights reserved

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Sunday Homily Notes: 15th Year B

There was a story in the press this last week of a member of a boy band fainting on a flight and needing medical attention. Usually it is the fans of boy bands who faint and need medical attention! The reason for his fainting was because he had put on many layers of clothes from his suitcase, so as not to incur a charge for heavy baggage! The 20 kilo weight for his suitcase was obviously not enough!
Travelling usually finds us putting far too much in, and the phrase everything but the kitchen sink can very much apply to our travel plans. Jesus in the gospel today gives the disciples and us good advice. He is telling us… don’t get too weighed down with things on the journey, why…because it hinders the good news and its carrying. Things are useful, but when they become the most important part of life then they hold us back from fully embracing the gospel.
Proclaiming our faith is something we do with our whole selves, and to be effective in that proclaiming, Christ is to be at the centre of our efforts. Too many strategies, too many things, can clutter the spaces in our lives where Christ is to be the centre.
Jesus tells the disciples to go out in two’s to support one another, to reinforce the words he has taught them with in their time spent with him. That by being companions on the journey, they are to remind each other of the mission of the good news that they carry. Two eyes are better than one, two’s company…support of each other is a fundamental part of the Journey of the Christian life.
In a few moments at the altar we break bread with one another, which not coincidentally is the root of the word companion. It is in the breaking of the bread, in this companioning, that we are reminded, like those disciples sent out in the gospel by Jesus, who we are, where we have come from, and where we are going.