Saturday, 15 November 2014

Sunday Homily Notes: 33rd Year A

When I was at seminary there were different interpretations of what was required. One would say have you done your best? If so there is nothing more to say. Another would be your best is not good enough…you ought to give more. How much more than your best can you give?
The parable of the “Talents” can be an illustration of how thinking you are doing your best is not always the best option! The man who dug a hole in the ground and gave the money back as he found it, thought he was doing the best he could do, but he could have done more. We can find ourselves saying that coming to church each week, is doing our best, but is it? Coming along but not taking part, coming along, leaving early, coming along but having no contact with the parish for the remaining days of the week, until the next weekend is that giving our best? Before we came to Mass did we prepare by reading the scripture, did we pray for the grace to respond to our Lord’s calling to engage our faith in each and every day, not just for one day of the week? Have we shown a good example and encouraged others to come to faith in Jesus?
If you have done your best then there is nothing more to be said. Yet when it comes to faith we can always do a little bit more.
The most harrowing pictures I find are those of children who are hungry, images of poverty in the world can break the heart. Poverty blights the world and yet it is a reality. Recently there was a crash in the desert of a vehicle that was due to take people into space, as space tourists, each person pays over £100,000 for a ticket…it seems obscene when there are people hungry and through no fault of their own, starving and dying in poverty. The priorities of the world are upside down, and it is said that Christianity is out of touch with the world, good thing I would say, if that is the rational for the world! The Church is called to proclaim Christ to the world, to bring light where there is darkness. It is a hard task, one that leads to being hated at times, misunderstood at other times, and rejected too. It is not easy to do. The parable warns about how hard it is. Burying our faith in the ground and not using it to the full, is not what Jesus wants of us. He asks more.
The first reading speaks of the wisdom required to be doing our best, wisdom reaches out to the poor, a helping hand for the needy. The second readings speaks about the task a Christian has to proclaim Christ to the world, an urgent task one that needs us to be alert, a task that is done best when we are giving of ourselves.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


Remember, a word that is whispered in the hush of a half lit room,
a sanctuary, where a name can be treasured, and in remembering, that name becomes the greatest treasure. 

Remember, is to evoke an emotion, one that hugs tight the very gnawing pain of the hurting soul, tugging at the fabric of meaning, remembering, is clinging to that unbreakable bond of hope. 

Remember, brings back open wounds where words were left unsaid, a lament of silence for the long time dead, yet in the act of remembering there grows a flicker of laughter, a time where the fullness of life held court, and hope poured forth. 

Remember, a task, an annual pilgrimage, a daily enlightening, enabling the heart to continue beating, the soul to keep hoping, the spirit to soar into the delight of the reality of the ecstatic joy that is to…remember.

Fr. Patrick Brennan © 2014

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Sunday Homily Notes: Dedication of the Lateran Basilica

In the Church calendar, we celebrate the feast of the dedication of The Lateran Basilica.
It may seem unusual to celebrate a building far away. But this building, which was a palace of the first Christian Roman emperor Constantine and which he gave to the pope in about 311, this building, which still stands, is the first of the Churches of Rome. It is therefore our mother church. It was the residence of the popes until 1308 and the cathedral of Rome.

What do we think of when we hear the word “Church” The buildings themselves or the worship that happens in them?

Today's scriptures explain what the church means. Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and speaks of his own body as the true holy of holies. St. Paul also personalises the temple and writes,

“YOU are God’s building! YOU are the temple of God.”

And Ezekiel describes the temple as a great well-spring from which flows a river of living water filling the oceans, nurturing all life and providing healing.

We are God’s building; We are the living temples of God. Each of us is one of the living stones in the temple of God. None of us is the whole temple: I am not. You are not. Pope Francis is not. But each of us and all of us together build up that temple that is Christ’s body.

Together, we are the living, Body of Christ in this parish as in all parishes and places where the Church is lived out. St Teresa of Avila reminds us of this in one of her prayers.

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.

More than any church building in Rome, the church is the Body of Christ as it lives in us. From this body, this living temple, should flow forth healing waters providing life and sustenance, especially for the poor, the hungry, the homeless. The church, the Body of Christ, never exists for itself alone, but always for others. Saint John Henry Newman said in a famous quote

“I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, But God declared: "Go down again - I dwell among the people."

The Church is called to be ever faithful to Christ. The Church is called to be his witnesses and bring about his Kingdom. As unique parts of the Church, may we all play our little part in building it up here on earth.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Solemnity of All Saints: Homily Notes

The Solemnity of All Saints celebrates the triumph of a life of faith lived to the full! It celebrates those men and women who attuned their ear to the Lord’s words and their hearts to carrying out the Lord’s commands.

It is a feast that gives us hope amidst the daily struggle we face to strive to be saints. More often than not we fall short in our life of faith. It is as if the intentions are willing but the actions are weak. Having the saints as our example and role models spurs us on and helps us to become inspired.

Choosing a favourite saint is always a good exercise for it allows us to gain great inspiration from their story. The story of hero’s always inspires. The film industry is full of stories of hero’s of one kind or another. Literature celebrates the hero’s of living, as does art depict such inspiring figures. The saints are our hero’s in the church those we aspire too. There is much literature and artwork inspired by these hero’s of the church. We can be inspired to choose faith, we can be inspired to work at our faith and practise it too.

The readings today seek to inspire our life of faith too. The Beatitudes in the gospel reveal to us the values of a person of faith. What brings us blessedness? What brings us happiness? The simple values of loving God and neighbour; having a concern for each other; living unselfishly; seeing heaven as the goal of faith and living with a heart open to the influence of Christ. These values are what make saints. These are the inspired words that helped beatify our brothers and sisters to pronounced saints by the church.

We are God’s children, he loves us and reveals that love through Christ Jesus, our Lord! Today let us celebrate with great affection the saints and let us too seek their inspiration and help through our devotion towards them and our prayers too.

St Thomas More one of our parish saints inspires our faith as we seek his intercession Two quotes from his writings inspire me to deepen faith today. He said to his children:

“We cannot go to heaven in featherbeds.”

And in Utopia he said.

You must not abandon the ship in a storm because you cannot control the winds….What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can.”

St Thomas More pray for us. All holy men and women pray for us

Friday, 31 October 2014



Glimpses of light, mingling with distant shadows
Memories of smiling faces, sitting at familiar windows
November winds carry precious voices whispering, 
Remembrance washes tears, heals past conversations
Silence visits the steely aspect of weathered faces
Etched in wrinkled lines, the ghosts of fallen comrades 
Standing to attention as the pipers haunting melody plays
Thoughts returning to the horrific scenes of earlier days 
Red poppies adorn the breasts of grateful generations 
Walking sticks scrape along, proclaiming freedom won
The watery sun slowly fades from the afternoon sky
This departing annual ritual, to remember the fallen by. 

Fr. Patrick Brennan © 2014

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Sunday Homily Notes: 30th Year A

Our world is a turbulent one, trouble seems never far away. The root cause of the trouble is debated time and again. Some say that religion is the cause of all wars; people say and sing, the message give peace a chance, and why can’t we all just get on? And yet our world is blighted by hatred, by conflict, by the absence of peace.

The Cross of Christ has echoed throughout our history, the sacrifice of love, Jesus, is the demonstration of God’s love and care for us. The Church proclaims the prophetic message of Jesus, safeguards the truths of faith, engages people in the poorest moments and moments of weakness and poverty, the pain of people is addressed when Jesus is proclaimed. In weakness, the word of God is one that engages the hearer. At the lowest ebbs of humanity the word of God proclaims peace, love of God and neighbour, faith, mercy, forgiveness, loving compassion and hope.  

Many reject the Church because their lifestyles conflict it. Others want the Church to change so that it is line with a modern world. But the modern world is a turbulent one and the Church can be the lifeboat that sails the turbulent seas of the world navigating to a safe and sure haven and harbour! I would stick with that lifeboat any day, but everyone has a choice to make.

Jesus in the gospel tells the people of the bedrock of all the commandments: Love God and love your neighbour! People go on searches throughout life for the meaning of life and come up with one theory or another but the fundamental principle of life is to love God and love neighbour. If you do both you can’t go far wrong. Jesus stresses this seemingly simple point and yet it is so important.

We are still it seems not loving our neighbours, still not loving God! Our world is a very bleak and frightening place. It needs Jesus, it needs his words! Christianity speaks the message of Christ, a message of peace: Love God with your heart, soul, mind and with your whole strength and love your neighbour as yourself. If this were being listened to and embraced, then peace would ensue!

The message of Christ is as relevant today as it always has been. The world needs to be reminded of the importance of loving neighbour, of loving God. We as heralds of Jesus’ message should never tire of preaching and proclaiming this message, both by our words and the example we give!