29 June 2023

'She gave Christ to me.' Sunday Reflections, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A


Cup of Water and a Rose on a Silver Plate
Francisco de Zurbarán [Web Gallery of Art]

Whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward (Matthew 10:42; Gospel).

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland)

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Gospel Matthew 10:37-42 (English Standard Version Anglicised, India)

Jesus said to the Twelve:

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

“Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”


Léachtaí i nGaeilge

Head of a Peasant Woman with Greenish Lace Cap
Vincent van Gogh [Web Gallery of Art]

There is a beautiful reflection by English mystic Caryll Houselander (1901-1954) in Magnificat, the monthly liturgical magazine/missal that I highly recommend, for today's Mass. I'll quote part of it.

The only real oneness possible [is] Christ in us . . . In Holy Communion, millions of small hosts are given to millions of people; this does not mean that Christ is divided into millions, but that the millions are made one in Christ.

A flesh and blood example tells more than many words. I was at a Mass in a side chapel where I knew the priest would have no Communion hosts. But at the Lord I am not worthy a woman came out of the shadows and whispered, 'Come, he has one Host for me; he will divide it.' I turned and saw poverty, suffering that shamed me, a woman in rags, her face burnt and hardly human, only the eyes that looked out of it shone with unbelievable serenity. The priest divided the Host reserved for her between us. She gave Christ to me, Christ's Passion to the world.

I have shared a story here a number of times over the years about an elderly woman in a poor part of Dublin who stopped me on the street when I was a young priest, more than 50 years ago. She was shabbily dressed but didn't ask for anything. She kept repeating how lonely she was. I can still see her vividly and have come to realise that that meeting has been on ongoing grace for me. I sometimes pray that she will welcome me to heaven.

But Caryll Houselander's reflection leads me to see another aspect of meeting and listening to that woman. In a very real way, like the very poor woman in Caryll Houselander's experience,  she gave me Christ in his Passion, or at least part of his Passion. - his loneliness. Jesus was betrayed by Judas and abandoned by the other apostles except for John. Peter had denied him three times. On the Cross Jesus felt forsaken by his Father in heaven: My God, my God, why have your forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46).

Recently at a Legion of Mary meeting one of the members reported that at one of the houses two Legionaries visited the man who opened the door and chatted with them told them that he doesn't go to Mass anymore because he felt betrayed by scandals in the Church, particularly the abuse of minors by priests.

I would have been inclined before to see that as an excuse for not being involved with the Church at that basic level. But I have listened to people, some of them fervent Catholics, who have been deeply hurt by those same scandals. And it struck me that this is sharing in the suffering of Jesus. This can be pointed out to people, perhaps transforming their experience for them.

One of the most extraordinary statements for me in the New Testament is St Paul's statement: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church (Colossians 1:24). What I think this means is that when we unite our sufferings, in whatever form they come, to those of Christ we share his life-giving suffering with others. 

The poor woman unnoticed by Caryll Houselander until Communion time at Mass in a side chapel shared the Body of Christ with her. The woman I met on a street corner in Dublin so many years ago shared with me the suffering of her loneliness and in doing so shared with me - and continues to share - something of the life-giving loneliness of Jesus himself. The cup of cold water that I gave her was a few minutes of my time and a listening ear and heart. (The Wikipedia entry on Caryll Houselander mentions the sense of isolation she would feel at times.)

May we place our hope in the truth of the closing words of today's Gospel, the words of Jesus himself: And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

Calon Lân (A Pure Heart)
Words by Daniel James, music by John Hughes

A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51 [50]: 12).

The response to the Psalm today is I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord (Ps 88[89]:2). Wales is famous for its male choirs but choral singing is not confined to men. It is part of the 'DNA' of Welsh culture. This hymn has become associated with the Welsh Rugby Union team and the video was recorded on the occasion of a game between Scotland and Wales, hence so many of the singers wearing the red shirt of Wales. The Welsh language, which is much older than and not related to English, is the mother-tongue of about one fifth of the country's population of three million or so. Wales is part of the United Kingdom. Its choral tradition largely grew from Methodist chapels and from choirs started by coal-miners.

Traditional Latin Mass

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

The Complete Mass in Latin and English is here. (Adjust the date at the top of that page to 07-02-2023 if necessary).

Epistle: 1 Peter 3:8-15. Gospel: Matthew 5:20-24.

Apostle Peter Preaching
Lorenzo Veneziano [Web Gallery of Art]

In your hearts reverence Christ as Lord (1 Peter 3:15; Epistle)

26 June 2023

Elderly Columban Missionaries Say 'Thanks'!


The video above, with yours truly speaking, was posted last week on the website of the Missionary Society of St Columban in Ireland under the title Elderly Columban Missionaries Say 'Thanks'!

Most of us Columban priests living here in St Columban's, Dalgan Park, Navan, are officially retired, though some of us are still active in various kinds of pastoral work. There are more than sixty of us here, most of us in our 70s, 80s and 90s. When I entered what was then our seminary here in 1961 there were more than 190 studying for the priesthood, spread over seven years. 

St Columban's is northwest of Dublin city. We have a very good bus service, with four buses per hour most of the time going to and coming from the city centre, a journey of about 50 minutes. There is also a bus to and from Dublin Airport every hour, 24 hours.

We are very conscious of the support of the people of Ireland, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the USA from our beginnings more than 100 years ago. In more recent years we have been receiving support from the Catholics of Chile, Fiji, Korea, Peru and the Philippines. That support is both financial and spiritual. Indeed those who pray for us are spread far and wide. 

St Paul in his letters uses words of gratitude extensively. Romans 1:8 is an example: First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.

Those of us who spent many years in the Philippines, in particular, see the truth of this because many of our former parishioners are now living and working in Ireland. Irish people now associate Filipinos with hospitals because so many of our nurses in Ireland are from 'The Pearl of the Orient'. None of us when we went to the Philippines could have imagined that. And many of the Filipinos here proclaim their faith often without being aware of it, through their care for the sick, through their participation at Sunday Mass, which most Irish Catholics don't do any more. Some parishes have Filipino choirs, the initiative coming from the Filipinos themselves.

And we have a growing number of Filipino-Irish people. Some are immigrants who have become Irish citizens and a growing number are the children of Filipinos born here in Ireland.

The same can be said about Catholics with origins in other place, notably Poland, Nigeria, Kerala in India, but also from many other place. 

We retired Columban missionaries are often bridges between immigrants from the countries we worked in and the people of Ireland who welcome them. We know what it is like to be an immigrant. We know what it is like to learn a new language and to adjust to what we initially experience as 'strange' ways of doing things. But we also identify with immigrants from places where we have worked. They are not strangers to us. Their identity is part of ours.

Above all, we know that our deepest identity comes from our baptism as children of the Father, brothers and sisters of Jesus the Risen Lord and therefore of one another. And we hope and pray that those not yet baptised may one day discover the deepest identity and the eternal life to which they are called.

Stephane Grappelli and Frankie Gavin

The opening music to the Columban video is Oh the Days of the Kerry Dances (or The Kerry Dance), words and music by James Lynam Molloy. One of the recurring lines in the song is Oh for one of those hours of gladness, Gone, alas, like our youth too soon. John McCormack's recording, with which all of us here have been familiar from our childhood, is here. The lyrics resonate with me from time to time.

However, in the joyful version of the tune above - the one used in the Columban video - we have an elderly jazz musician from France, Stephane Grappelli now no longer with us, and a young Irish traditional musician, Frankie Gavin, playing together and blending their different traditions. There is clear respect between the two and their supporting musicians, each taking delight in the playing of the other. Both come from musical traditions where the older pass on their skills to the younger, where the older encourage the younger and take joy in their talent and progress, where the older and the younger listen to and appreciate the other.

This video is a kind of metaphor for me as an older missionary priest and resonates with my experience down the years. The young and the old have a great deal to share together and are a source of inspiration and life to one another. I remember a few years ago one quiet afternoon in St Andrew's Church, Westland Row, Dublin, seeing a grandfather teaching his toddler grandson how to genuflect before the Blessed Sacrament and pointing out different things in the church to the youngster. The old man was passing on the Faith while the child was a source of life and encouragement to his grandfather. 

As I say in the video, Being old is good! And thank God for that.

St Columban’s Cemetery, Dalgan Park, Navan, Ireland

More than 400 Columban missionaries are buried here.

We humbly beseech your mercy, O Lord, for your servants  that, having worked tirelessly for the spread of the Gospel, they may merit to enter the rewards of the Kingdom. 

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.

23 June 2023

'Her spirit of kindness and sacrifice towards us prisoners will be my most precious memory.' Sunday Reflections, 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A


Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland)

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Gospel Matthew 10:26-33 (English Standard Version Anglicised, India)

Jesus said to the Twelve:

So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?[b] And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.


Léachtaí i nGaeilge

Sr Joan Sawyer SSC with friends in Peru

I think it was during the summer of 1968, a few months after my ordination, that my parents and I visited the motherhouse of the Columban Sisters in Magheramore, County Wicklow, on the east coast of Ireland. We were deeply struck by the extraordinary gentle warmth of Sister Joan Sawyer from Country Antrim, Northern Ireland, who showed us around. 
In December 1983 when I was giving a retreat to Columban Sisters in their convent in San Juan, Metro Manila, we got the shocking news of her violent death in Lima, Peru.
The following, in italics, is from an article on the website of the Columban Sisters, 'I was in Prison and You Vistited Me.'
Joan Sawyer was a Columban Sister who was shot dead in Lima, Peru, in December 1983. She used to go to the Lurigancho Prison in Lima three or four days a week to visit the prisoners there. The prison held over 5,000 men. Conditions were bad. Out of 5,000 prisoners only 1,000 were sentenced. The rest were pending sentence or perhaps innocent. Joan used try to bring them some relief - medicines for some, a kind word for others, news about how she was progressing with their legal papers in the ministry for Justice, etc. 
The large majority of prisoners came, in her own words, 'from the poor sectors of Lima where they never had enough to eat, didn't finish school and couldn't find decent work'. On the morning of 14 December 1983 a group of prisoners decided that at all costs they were going to escape. They took as hostages Joan Sawyer, three Marist Sisters and social workers. After all-day negotiations with the prison authorities it was agreed that the prisoners and their hostages would be allowed leave the prison in the evening in an ambulance, the most inconspicuous mode of travel for getting out unnoticed. 
They were no sooner outside the prison gate than waiting police riddled the ambulance with bullets from all sides. Four bullets struck Joan, one through the back of the neck, two through her leg and one through her finger. When removed from the ambulance she was dead. Joan Sawyer was born in Donegore, County Antrim, in 1932. She entered the Columban Sisters in 1949 having previously worked as a secretary in Belfast. Subsequently she took her BA degree in Mundelein College, Chicago. She went to Peru in 1977 and was 51 years old at the time of her death

Hilary Cross, Sr Joan's niece, visited Lima for the 30th anniversary of the death of her Aunty Joan. In an article in the English newspaper The Guardian she tells of the two great sacrifices made by her grandfather, George Sawyer, Sister Joan's father. George was a Protestant who married a Catholic, Brigid Deegan, in the 1920s in the newly independent Irish Free State, now the Republic of Ireland. They had a mixed marriage in the 1920s, and it was hard to find their place in a free state that wasn't really so free. So they moved north; my grandfather, George, the eldest son, losing his family farm for love of a sweet girl, Brigid, from 'the other side'. They settled in Donegore, near Antrim, where George's love of the land led him to labour on another man's farm.
The article continues: Joan was the youngest of seven. Although all were much loved, it was said that 'wee Joan' held a special place in her father's heart. Gentle, slight, spirited and with a deep faith, she left at the age of 17 to join a convent in the remote west of Ireland. That day George retreated to the land, unable to say goodbye. A man of great faith himself, he must have struggled to reconcile whose sacrifice this was, his love of a Catholic girl had lost him more than just his farm.

Hilary Cross at her Aunty Joan's grave

The Story of Sr Joan Sawyer, formerly on the website of her native parish in Northern Ireland, quotes from a letter written by a prisoner named Julio in Lurigancho Prison: Minutes before Sister Juanita [as she was known in Peru] was taken hostage I was speaking to her when she came with a packet sent in with her by my mother. I can still see her eyes which reached to eternity. Her love, pure and gentle, which reflected her great love for people. Her spirit of kindness and sacrifice towards us prisoners will be my most precious memory.

Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul (today's Gospel).
You may read more about Sister Joan on the website of the Columban Sisters hereherehere and here. The website is also the source of the photos above.

Columban Sisters carrying Sister Joan's coffin [Source]

Everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven (Matthew 10: 32; today's Gospel).

Traditional Latin Mass

Fourth Sunday After Pentecost

The Complete Mass in Latin and English is here. (Adjust the date at the top of that page to 06-25-2023 if necessary).

Epistle: Romans 8:18-23Gospel: Luke 5:1-11.

The Miraculous Draught of Fishes
Pieter van Edingen Aelst, after a cartoon by Raphael Sanzio 

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:8; Gospel)

17 June 2023

'God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.' Sunday Reflections, 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A


The Harvest (Breton Landscape)
Émile Bernard [Web Gallery of Art]

The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest (Matthew 9:37-38; Gospel).

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland)

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Gospel Matthew 9:36-10:8 (English Standard Version Anglicised, India)

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.”

And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Léachtaí i nGaeilge

St Margaret Mary Alacoque Contemplating the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Corrado Giaquinto [Web Gallery of Art]

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly . . .  God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6, 8; Second Reading). 

At breakfast on Friday, the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I overheard one of my brother priests quoting someone pointing out that our faith is not one of sin but of God's love for us. The Second Reading at the Mass of the Sacred Heart included theses words of St John that we need 'drummed' into us constantly: In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 John 4:10-11).

Loving and serving others comes from the reality that God has shown his love for us as sinners to the extent that the Second Person of the Trinity became one of us and died for us on the Cross. In the Second Reading at this Sunday's Mass St Paul tell us: For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation (Romans 5:10-11). In the Jerusalem Bible translation that last verse reads: We are filled with joyful trust in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have already gained our reconciliation.

The First Reading tells us what we are called to be: and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:6).

The Responsorial Psalm reinforces this: Know that he, the Lord, is God. He made us, we belong to him, we are his people, the sheep of his flock (Psalm 99 [100]: 3).

The opening words of the Gospel show us how God sees us when we are in need, when we sin and turn away from him: When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. That is why he died for us.

That is why the Church has made June the Month of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Church invites us to reflect constantly on St Paul's words to us today: God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Christ in Agony on the Cross

In recent decades, most notably in the Western world, the month of June has been hijacked by a powerful international lobby that takes 'Pride' in and promotes sinful ways of behaving and living that deny the reality that God has made us male and female. God teaches us this through nature itself. The more extreme wing of this movement demands that children and adolescents be allowed to change their sex, something that is impossible. They use nonsensical, unscientific terms such as 'the gender assigned at birth'. This is corrupt language that corrupts culture, society and individuals, that cuts us off from God our loving Creator. We're not assigned anything at birth. We are either male or female human beings made in the image of God from the moment of conception.

This extreme lobby promotes the genital mutilation of minors; it promotes cheating in women's sports by allowing men to participate in them; it promotes disrespect for women and girls by allowing men who say that they are women into the private spaces of women and girls. All of this is a form of abuse.

Fr Paul D. Scalia of the Diocese of Arlington, Virginia, USA, has an article in The Catholic Thing, Pride and Prejudice, that shows how pervasive this false ideology has become, especially in the United States. This article concludes with words of hope for all, reflective of the readings in this Sunday's Mass.

Humility! is not quite as effective a battle cry as Pride! Humility is hard to embrace because it always carries the stinging reminder of our created and fallen nature – that we neither create nor save ourselves. Pride presumes the power to define ourselves and to brush off the creaturely limits of male and female. In so doing, it closes itself off from – it becomes intolerant of – a Savior.

Humility opens us to the Savior who has opened his Heart to us. 'Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart' (Matthew 11:29). The feast of the Sacred Heart bids us open our hearts in humility to the One who has opened his Heart in humility to us. It is a fitting feast to turn away from the pride that divides and toward the humility that saves. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine!

The Sacred Heart

Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do' (Luke 23:34).

Traditional Latin Mass

Third Sunday After Pentecost

The Complete Mass in Latin and English is here. (Adjust the date at the top of that page to 06-18-2023 if necessary).

Epistle: 1 Peter 5:6-11. Gospel: Luke 15:1-10.

Parable of the Lost Drachma
Domenico Fetti [Web Gallery of Art]

Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it? (Luke 15:8; Gospel).

09 June 2023

'You must sit down,' says Love, 'and taste my meat.' Sunday Reflections, Corpus Christi Sunday, Year A

Institution of the Eucharist
Blessed Fra Angelico [Web Gallery of Art]

The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread (1 Corinthians 10:16-17; Second Reading). 

Corpus Christi Sunday, Year A

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Year A 

In most countries this solemnity, formerly celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, is now observed on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday, this year replacing the Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. 

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland)

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Gospel John 6:51-58 (English Standard Version Anglicised, India)

Jesus said to the crowd:

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live for ever.”

Léachtaí i nGaeilge

Pope Benedict XVI, Zagreb, Croatia, 2011

John and Pam are a couple who live in the parish of the Assumption, Howth, in the Archdiocese of Dublin whom I have come to know very well since I came back to Ireland from the Philippines six years ago. John was seriously ill in hospital recently and shared some reflections with me in emails which I thought would be good to share on Sunday Reflections for the feast of Corpus Christi. 

From a small swelling below my left knee I developed sepsis and suffered septic shock late at night in which my vital signs: heartbeat, pulse, disappeared. My guardian angel must have been watching over me because Pam, my beloved of 53 years, was sitting beside me and her nursing training acquired 60 years ago, sprang into action as she gave me the kiss of life and applied CPR. 

Fortunately, Pam’s action was successful. I came to and the ambulance brought me to Beaumont Hospital where I received extraordinary care from a dedicated team for 3½ weeks as they worked to bring the infection under control, which has been a slow business. Thankfully I have now been discharged and continue to recover at home under Pam’s dedicated care.

It has been a time for reflection. Our wonderful parish community - the Body of Christ - has been praying for me as has our faithful Marriage Encounter family.

53 years ago, Pam and I vowed to live as one body as Jesus called us in Matrimony to do. Now Pam, who is an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion in our parish, has been bringing me the Body of Christ, broken for us on the Cross and risen to Easter glory, to receive in my hospital bed and now at home. It has been extraordinarily profound for both of us. St Paul links the various meanings of ‘body’ together.

I have to assume that the Lord still has some task for me that I may neither know nor understand at this moment.

I was pretty poorly in hospital and had some dark nights of the soul, unable to sleep and wondering if I would ever really recover. However there were always others more ill than me in the ward.

As expected, we’ve had extraordinary love and prayers from our Marriage Encounter Family. One couple, Mike and Rose, have kindly been keeping everyone up-to-date on my faltering progress.

However what has been perhaps less expected has been the outpouring of love and prayers from our daily 10:00 Mass community in our  parish church in Howth that I join every day via the webcam. I have had a real tangible experience of belonging to a community who truly love me and Pam. It has been an alive experience that St Luke describes so vividly in Acts referring to the early Christian communities. Both Pam and I feel humbled by it all and this outpouring of love prayer and support has so buoyed me up especially through the darker moments.

The idea of Body is a strong theme running through St Paul’s letters. There is Jesus offering his Body broken on the Cross to be gloriously raised on Easter Day. Jesus himself tells us [in today’s gospel] that unless we eat his Body and drink his Blood we shall not have his life in us. He it was who raised marriage to be a Sacrament by calling Pam and me and countless others to live as One Body.

Paul develops this by identifying the Christian Community as Christ’s Body with the members looking out for other members. We have experienced this in huge and tangible measure pressed down and over-flowing. 

Pam and I are Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and if asked, we stand in the middle of the church and it has often occurred to me that we as a married couple called to be one body by Jesus, are serving his Body to the Body of Christ in our parish. This became a deep thought in my present illness, watching Pam receive the pyx with the Blessed Sacrament in it at the end of Mass to bring the Lord to me on my sick bed.

Love (III)
Performed by Lance Pierson 

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
            Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
            From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
            If I lacked anything.

"A guest," I answered, "worthy to be here":
            Love said, "You shall be he."
"I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
            I cannot look on thee."
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
            "Who made the eyes but I?"

"Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
            Go where it doth deserve."
"And know you not," says Love, "who bore the blame?"
            "My dear, then I will serve."
"You must sit down," says Love, "and taste my meat."
            So I did sit and eat.

Supper at Emmaus (1606)
Caravaggio [Web Gallery of Art]

Traditional Latin Mass

Second Sunday After Pentecost

The Complete Mass in Latin and English is here. (Adjust the date at the top of that page to 06-11-2023 if necessary).

Epistle: 1 John 3:13-18. Gospel: Luke 14:16-24.

St John the Evangelist
Bernardo Cavallino [Web Gallery of Art]

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren (I John 3:16; Epistle).