Newsletter Resources: May

You are welcome to use these resources in any parish newsletter distributed free of charge.

Please give credit to the author and/or this magazine.

Download Newsletter Resources .pdf

 

Week beginning Sunday, 1 May 2016

 

SEEING YOUR LIFE THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS

John 14:23-29

 

  1. Jesus seeks to reassure his followers in the face of his imminent death. Although he will be leaving them he promises them the gift of the Spirit. How have you been aware of the gift of the Spirit of God in your life?
  2. Remember times of separation from a loved one through change of residence or other circumstances. How has the love between you been a support after the separation?
  3. To his followers, Jesus promises ‘we will come and make our home with them’. Our God is not a distant God but one who lives in us. What has helped you to be aware of the closeness of God to you?
  4. ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid’. When you have been anxious, who have been the Jesus people for you who were able to calm your anxiety. How did they do this? For whom have you been one who calmed anxiety?

 

John Byrne osa

Email john@orlagh.ie

 

*******

 

MUSINGS

 

Reflecting on the Gospel brings home the reality of The Trinity and is so powerful in emphasising the unity of Christ’s followers in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Many years ago, my parents taught me how to make The Sign of The Cross and at my Dublin national school this was reinforced where I was taught to make The Sign of the Cross when passing a Church and when seeing a hearse go by. How beautiful and uplifting it is to witness today’s young Catholics continue to engage in this simple and yet powerful ritual. As a grandparent, I delight when I see my youngest grandchildren in their first attempts to copy their parents making this great sign of faith. How lovely it is to, witness the youngest member of the family begin family meals by leading the grace before meals.

 

Alan Whelan

Carnahone, Beaufort, Co Kerry

 

 

*******

 

THE DEEP END • Don’t’ Worry

 

They say a problem shared is a problem halved. ‘Don’t worry’ is one of the most reassuring things that a friend can say. Isn’t it a relief when someone assures us there is no need to fret or worry, that everything will be okay? If only for a moment, we can breathe a sigh of relief, take the pressure off ourselves. Even if things are messy now, we dare to hope that all will be well.

 

The words of Jesus in today’s Gospel are very reassuring. ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid,’ he says. ‘My own peace I give you.’

 

Jesus was speaking these words to his disciples shortly before his Passion and death. He knew the time was coming for him to leave them. All was certainly not well, and his disciples surely knew that some difficult times were ahead. But Jesus was offering hope and consolation. Don’t worry, he says. I am giving you the gift of peace, a peace the world cannot give. Don’t be afraid. The Holy Spirit will be with you to guide you and teach you. When our hearts are troubled and restless, let us reach for these words of Jesus.

 

‘You have formed us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in you.’

St Augustine of Hippo

 

Tríona Doherty

Athlone, Co Roscommon

Email trionad@gmail.com 

 

 

Week beginning Sunday, 8 May 2016

 

 

SEEING YOUR LIFE THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS

Luke 24:46-53

 

  1. The Ascension of Jesus was an important growth point for the disciples. Jesus would be with them in a different way from now on. Painful though it was, it was necessary for them to let go of his physical presence and adjust to the new reality. Perhaps you have known similar transition points in your own life.
  2. Jesus invited the disciples to be witnesses to the good news they had learned. The way we live, speak and relate to others speaks of what we have learned about life. We all are witnesses. How have you been a witness to the goodness of life?
  3. In particular, Jesus invited them to be witnesses to the good news of forgiveness. Recall people who have been witnesses to you of forgiveness and reconciliation. What effect did they have on your life? Have you been able to be a witness to the good news of forgiveness in your life?
  4. In v.49 Jesus instructs the apostles to wait patiently for the moment of grace. What been your experience of waiting for a moment of grace? What are the moments of grace that you particularly recall (a friendship, a new opportunity, birth of a baby, etc)?

 

John Byrne osa

Email john@orlagh.ie

 

*******

 

MUSINGS

 

In these final verses of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus explained to his chosen disciples the nature of His Mission and how what had just happened to Him, and what was about to happen, was foretold in the Jewish scriptures. He is powerful in stating and communicating His Mission and in telling His own followers that fortified with the Spirit they are to give witness to this truth and to share the Good News with each member of humankind. Today, we should hold our heads high and look to the heavens while we witness and proclaim this same message of joy and hope. We have a divine duty to communicate this good news by every means possible. As a child, I so much looked forward to this special feastday which was celebrated on Thursday and brought with it a day off school. Sadly these occasional free days are no more!

Alan Whelan
Carnahone, Beaufort, Co Kerry

 

*******

 

THE DEEP END • Conveyors of Mercy

 

As well as the feast of the Ascension, today is World Communications Day 2016. This year’s theme is ‘Communication and Mercy: A Fruitful Encounter’. The theme was chosen to coincide with the Holy Year of Mercy called by Pope Francis to highlight the mercy of God.

 

In his message for the 50th World Communications Day, Pope Francis talks about how our every word and gesture should express God’s compassion, tenderness and forgiveness.

 

‘If our hearts and actions are inspired by charity, by divine love, then our communication will be touched by God’s own power. I would like to invite all people of good will to rediscover the power of mercy to heal wounded relationships and to restore peace and harmony to families and communities.’

 

He also highlights the importance of technology and social media as tools of communication, which must be used responsibly. ‘The digital world is a public square, a meeting-place where we can either encourage or demean one another, engage in a meaningful discussion or unfair attacks. The internet can be used wisely to build a society which is healthy and open to sharing.’

 

It is fitting that this day coincides with the Feast of the Ascension. When Jesus was lifted up to heaven, he entrusted his disciples with the important task of preaching forgiveness to all the nations.

 

‘The Church’s words and actions are all meant to convey mercy, to touch people’s hearts and to sustain them on their journey to that fullness of life which Jesus Christ was sent by the Father to bring to all.’

Pope Francis’ message for the 50th World Communications Day

 

Tríona Doherty

Athlone, Co Roscommon

Email trionad@gmail.com

 

 

Week beginning Sunday, 15 May 2016

 

 

SEEING YOUR LIFE THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS

John 20:19-23

 

  1. Jesus comes into a room full of fear. Sometimes it is fear itself that makes us close the door on others and on God. Occasionally a person comes along with the gift of breaking through our closed doors, a person who comes to be with us in our fears. Do you have memories of people getting through to you and being with you despite your closed doors? Who brought you peace in a time of anxiety?
  2. Jesus showed his wounds to his friends. Moments of grace can occur when another shows us their vulnerable side, or when we do that with them. Let your memories speak of such experiences to you.
  3. As Jesus was sent by the Father, so he sent out the disciples. This evokes images of receiving and handing on the things that give life: values, meaning, sense of purpose, love. Who are the people who gave you life by what they handed on to you? To whom have you handed on what is life-giving?
  4. In our tradition the final verse reminds us of the Sacrament of Reconciliation but its meaning is broader than that. Spirit-filled people are people who forgive. You might like to recall memories of when you have forgiven, or retained, another’s sins. What difference has it made to you and others when you forgave rather than hold sins against others?

 

John Byrne osa

Email john@orlagh.ie

 

*******

 

MUSINGS

 

‘Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me’ is my favourite hymn refrain for this day when I reflect upon my own Confirmation Day. Some dioceses organise a cathedral gathering of all the recently confirmed for a special Mass on this day: a sending out as witnesses day! In some parishes this is a special day of reconfirmation of grown-up faith. One of the favourite names for the Holy Spirit, and one which especially appeals to me, is the Comforter. When the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, is at work we are challenged and transformed and it is then that we especially need confidence in His comforting presence and assurance that He will be with His Church always. When I lived in a London we always celebrated the ethnic and national diversity of the parish on this Sunday: it was a great unifier in the Spirit!

 

Alan Whelan

Carnahone, Beaufort, Co Kerry 

 

*******

 

THE DEEP END • Catching Fire

 

Unless the eye catch fire,

The God will not be seen.

Unless the ear catch fire

The God will not be heard.

Unless the tongue catch fire

The God will not be named.

Unless the heart catch fire,

The God will not be loved.

Unless the mind catch fire,

The God will not be known.

from ‘Pentecost’ by William Blake

 

The arrival of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was by no means a quiet or gentle event. First there was a powerful wind from heaven – so loud it filled not just the room the apostles were in, but the whole house. Tongues of fire came to rest on their heads, and they suddenly began to speak in foreign languages as they were ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’. It must have been a chaotic, intense scene.

 

The poem ‘Pentecost’ by 19th century poet William Blake captures some of the power of the scene, with its repetition of the phrase ‘catch fire’. When a piece of news or gossip gets around quickly, we say it ‘spreads like wildfire’. By its very nature, fire jumps from one things another, burning more intensely the more it spreads.

 

The symbol of tongues of fire is apt, then. The arrival of the Holy Spirit propels the apostles from the room where they were huddled out into the street. They simply cannot contain themselves as they begin to preach and to spread the Good News far and wide – like wildfire.

 

Tríona Doherty

Athlone, Co Roscommon

Email trionad@gmail.com

 

 

Week beginning Sunday, 22 May 2016

 

 

SEEING YOUR LIFE THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS

John 16:12-15

 

  1. Wisdom about life comes slowly and sometimes painfully. Hearing the ‘right’ answer at the ‘wrong’ time does not help us. We need to be ready and open to receiving the truth if it is to have any impact. Perhaps you can recall some occasions when it was the ‘right’ time for you to learn a truth about life. Remember your experiences of growing in understanding and truth.

 

  1. Perhaps the Spirit guided you through the words of someone close to you, or through the words and actions of people you read about or saw on TV. Or maybe understanding came to you when praying or reflecting on your life. Remember and give thanks for the people who have helped you to greater wisdom on your journey through life.

 

  1. Wisdom is handed on from person to person, and from generation to generation, within families, within communities, etc. Are there any particular gems of wisdom that you cherish from what has been handed on to you?

 

John Byrne osa

Email john@orlagh.ie

 

*******

 

MUSINGS

 

As a child in Dublin, the story of St Patrick and his use of the shamrock to explain the mystery of three persons in one God was frequently repeated in homilies. The shamrock and symbols of The Trinity are frequently used in Celtic art and something that we especially associate with our Irish Church. The Book of Kells and other early Irish Gospel manuscripts are beautifully adorned with these sacred symbols. I often think of this great Trinitarian art while I pray the words of today’s Alleluia verse ‘Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit’. The response is completed by the words ‘the God who is, who was, and who is to come’ which remind me of the difficult concept of infinity. My prayer today is that the God who created me, lived on earth like me, will continue to inspire me to higher things.

 

Alan Whelan
Carnahone, Beaufort, Co Kerry

 

*******

 

THE DEEP END • Making Space

 

Do not try to save

the whole world

or do anything grandiose.

Instead, create a clearing

in the dense forest of your life

and wait there

patiently,

until the song

that is your life

falls into your own cupped hands

and you recognize and greet it.

Only then will you know

how to give yourself

to this world

so worthy of rescue.

‘Clearing’ by Martha Postlewaite

 

There is deep wisdom in this poem. The advice to ‘create a clearing in the dense forest of your life’ particularly resonates with me. It can be difficult, with our hectic lives and all the noise of the world around us, to have time to take stock of things. Of course we feel a calling to be good people, to be a positive force in the world, but where do we start?

 

Well, Jesus tells us to start small. In today’s Gospel, he is careful not to overburden his disciples. He has lots more to say and to teach them, but it would be ‘too much’ for them now. Instead he gives them space. After he is gone, when the time is right and they have had time to reflect, he will send his Spirit to lead them in the right direction. That same Spirit is with us now, if we can make space to listen.

 

Tríona Doherty

Athlone, Co Roscommon

Email trionad@gmail.com

 

 

Week beginning Sunday, 29 May 2016

 

 

SEEING YOUR LIFE THROUGH THE LENS OF THE GOSPELS

Luke 9:11-17

 

  1. Jesus welcomed the crowd, taught them, and cured those in need of healing. Bring to mind the ways in which the story of Jesus and his message have brought you enlightenment, and healing.
  2. The miracle is symbolic of the abundance of blessings coming to us from God through Jesus. How has your faith in Jesus been a source of nourishment to you? What blessings have you received through your faith?
  3. When the disciples became aware of the problem, they wanted to send the crowd away and Jesus told them ‘You give them something to eat’. They thought what they had was insufficient but Jesus used the little they had to feed the crowd. Have you ever found that when you give the little you have to a situation, the results were beyond your expectations?

 

John Byrne osa

Email john@orlagh.ie

 

*******

 

MUSINGS

 

Today’s Gospel always evokes in me a sense of a sharing: a sense of family picnic. Using mindfulness I try to place myself at the table of The Last Supper just as I do when meditating on the Fifth Luminous Mystery of the Rosary. Those schools and parishes that organise a First Communion Breakfast know well how to recapture the community aspect of Communion. Another tradition much appreciated by so many parishioners is the Corpus Christi procession. In many places it is no doubt a day special for this year’s First Communicants and another opportunity to dress up in those special clothes and be part of the sacramental community and the larger family community. Today, we don’t just receive Jesus into our souls, in song we also take Him with us around our streets.

Alan Whelan
Carnahone, Beaufort, Co Kerry

 

*******

 

THE DEEP END • In Communion

 

‘If there is hunger anywhere in the world, then our celebration of the Eucharist is somehow incomplete everywhere in the world … In the Eucharist we receive Christ hungering in the world. He comes to us, not alone, but with the poor, the oppressed, the starving of the earth. Through him they are looking to us for help, for justice, for love expressed in action. Therefore we cannot properly receive the bread of life unless at the same time we give the bread of life to those in need wherever and whoever they may be.’

Pedro Arrupe SJ

 

The Feast of Corpus Christi reminds us of our responsibility to be in communion with the whole body of Christ. There is room for everyone at the divine banquet – especially the poor and the hungry.

 

In today’s Gospel story of the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus refuses to leave anyone hungry, even when his own disciples suggest sending the crowds away. There is more than enough bread for everyone.

 

Notice that Jesus gives the food to his disciples to distribute among the hungry crowd. He is passing on the responsibility to his followers. It is up to all of us to help those in need. Having received Jesus’ body and blood in the Eucharist, we are expected to pass it on – to play our part in feeding the hungry and working for justice.

 

Tríona Doherty

Athlone, Co Roscommon

Email trionad@gmail.com

 

**********

 

Tags: , ,

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now

×