24 February 2012

'Give Up Yer Aul Sins.' Sunday Reflections for 1st Sunday of Lent Year B

The Temptation of Christ, Tintoretto, painted 1579-81
Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)
Gospel Mark 1:12-15 (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.
After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. 'The time has come' he said 'and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.'

An Soiscéal Marcas 1:12-15 (Gaeilge, Irish)

Chuir an Spiorad Íosa amach faoin bhfásach é agus bhí sé daichead lá san fhásach á phromhadh ag Sátan. Agus bhí sé in éineacht leis na beithígh allta; agus bhí na haingil ag freastal air. Tar éis Eoin a bheith tugtha ar láimh, tháinig Íosa go dtí an Ghailíl ag fógairt soiscéal Dé agus ag rá: “Tá an tréimhse caite agus tá ríocht Dé in achmaireacht. Déanaigí aithrí agus creidigí sa soiscéal.”


Back in the 1960s Peig Cunningham, from County Donegal in the north-west of Ireland, was teaching in a primary school right in the heart of Dublin, in an area where there was still great poverty, the place where the Venerable Matt Talbot lived most of his years. She recorded the children telling in their own words some of the Bible stories she had taught them.

The tapes were found some years after the death of Miss Cunningham and issued as a CD and tape, with Fr Brian Darcy CP doing much of the work. Later Brown Bag Productions made a series of videos using the recordings.

The language of the child telling the story of St John the Baptist is a Dublin dialect of English. The accent and the terms used may take some adjusting to. But the message that the young girl repeats a number of times, Give up yer aul sins (‘Give up your old sins’) – the title given to the CD and tape – is very clear and is precisely the message of Jesus in today’s gospel: Repent and believe the Good News.

St Mark puts the preaching of Jesus in the context of the arrest of St John the Baptist. Jesus echoes the preaching of St John in Mark 1: 4: and so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Below is a video on Matt Talbot (1856-1925) who lived only two or three minutes’ walk from the school where ‘Give Up Yer Aul Sins’ originated. He never attended that school, as far as I know, and his academic career in my own nearby alma mater, O’Connell Schools, was extremely short, since he was what is known in Dublin as a chronic ‘mitcher’ – one playing truant. But, with God’s help, he did manage to ‘give up his aul sins’ – mainly those connected with excessive drinking - and lead a life of extraordinary holiness. One of the most powerful graces from God in his life was regular confession.

May Matt, to whom I pray every day, obtain for each of us the grace to ‘give up our aul sins’, especially through the sacrament of confession.

Matt Talbot (2 May 1856 – 7 June 1925)

To learn more about this holy man who 'gave up his aul sins' read Mary Gaffney's article, Matt Talbot - the Workers' Saint.

1 comment:

Holly said...

Father S~ Very Interesting post. I loved the video clip of The bible story in the child's voice. Plus, all the interesting information about how it was created. It really brings home the point of the reading too. Like you said, it took me a bit to get used to the accent.