FEAST OF ALL SAINTS 1st November 2021
1ST JOHN 3:1-3 (Like Father like Son)
Jesus is often known as the Son of the Father.
He himself says, “I come to do the will of my father” and “The father and I are one”.
In the second reading John focuses on union of God’s children to God himself.
He makes the claim that we are God’s offspring, and therefore we honour him with a loving title: “Father”, “Papa” or as young people in England might say “Daddy”
A child sometimes looks incredibly like one of the parents and sometimes not only in looks but also in thoughts and actions.
I remember my youngest brother walking behind my father with his hands behind his back and a stick in his mouth…my father smoked a cigar…not exactly what one would be proud their children copy these days!
Jesus is more explicit in what he wants his disciples to do. At the last supper Jesus washes and wipes the feet of his disciples, then he tells them to, “Copy what I have done to you” – implying that he is imitating the actions of his Father.
To be one with Our Father means that we learn to be son or daughter by imitating Jesus in prayer, but we must also show the qualities of God in our actions, God’s generosity in the giving of himself service for all, his justice and mercy, his reaching out to all who call to him. As sons and daughters we learn to do the same to our parents, spouses, children and like Our Father – to all who call out to us in desperation.
If you do that, gradually in this life and more completely in the next, John says, ‘We shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is’, and this means that when the Father catches our loving gaze at the end of this life he will overwhelm us with such love that like Jesus we too will be one like him. (This is what it should be like whenever we receive the Sacrament of Communion).
We believe that all good people are marked with the Father’s love and we pray that our own loved ones are part of the great company described in the Book of Revelations (Chapter 7ff) as we gather at the place where we have buried their bodies or ashes.
On this day of great celebration we look forward to the life promised to us. May your friends always remember with love the life you offered them in union with Our Lord.
Let it be that way.
15th November 2020
Why don’t we call upon your name? Where is our faith and trust that you are on all the pathways we travel on? Sometimes we live as if that earthly life was eternal. We persist in our anger; we don’t forgive ourselves or others.
“Look upon me from the heights of heavens and visit me. Protect what your right hand has given”.
We look forward anticipating love, peace, which will fill up our hearts but we feel as if we had fallen into some washing machine and enter into a downward spiral – it is some kind of madness which doesn’t want to stop. “Only you, O Lord, have the means to stop it so that we can experience the knowledge of that which is most important”.
Keep watch, for it may be too late to say to someone that you carry him/her in your heart: “I love you”, “you are important in my life”. You won’t have time to visit your elderly mother or father. When you knock, you may not hear the “come in”, the phone will remain silent. The letter to your friend will be returned. You’ll be shocked to find out that your children have grown up and that you know so little about them. Maybe, you don’t remember anymore how the sun rises.
Your body is screaming with tense muscles, headaches, and neurosis of the heart. It screams, “Stop, keep watch, don’t mess up your life!” Deal at last with what is hurting you from within.
Love is what takes you over to the other side of life. In many guises, it leaves a mark of beauty on people. It gives strength and makes sense of life. That which you preoccupy yourself with today – what kind of meaning and memory will it have in a year’s time, in 5 years, 15 years? Do we look at people in a way which would enable them to recognise God? It is that kind of glance after which a person feels good, valuable, exceptional. That kind of glance has a creative power of becoming a true human being, slowly, with faults, but free and always returning.
Jesus keeps watch so that – if we only turn to him – he will heal; touch our feelings, our body, our thoughts, our spirit so that we can experience that which is everlasting.
Fr Patrick Ryan
8th November 2020
Today’s Gospel gives us a parable (Matthew 25;1-13), a story, for us to think about.
Here are my thoughts for what they are worth.
Jesus simply wants his listeners to think carefully about their own preparations to meet God at the great feast he has painstakingly prepared for them.
So, each of us will need to prepare by getting ourselves ready to meet him and to encourage others to get prepared for themselves.
Unlike the earthly bridegroom who was late and kept the bridesmaids waiting, Jesus is the one who is waiting for us and he will not close and bolt the door until we are safe. He does not get tired of waiting for us. Like the father in the story of the prodigal son he waits and waits and waits for everyone. The question is:
Do you love him enough to get ready for him?
Are you ready to greet him as he runs out to take you in?
How do you prepare? Well, you greet him as you prepare to receive the sacraments. That is why it is hard when you are deprived of this presence during these times. The fire has gone out, there is no light, there is no warmth. There is an absence. So in some ways you grieve because you are unable to meet Him at mass. You are unable to receive Him in the Eucharist. You cannot practice your faith in the way that you are accustomed to, through the sacrament of confession and all the other sacraments. You cannot baptise your children, at least not in the church at the moment. You cannot celebrate the sacrament of confirmation. It is difficult because you are deprived of Christ’s presence in the Sacraments, or so it seems.
However, don’t be afraid because in times like this God reaches out to you and reminds you that his presence is closer than you can imagine.
Stay awake, stand ready – you will see Christ. Look no further than your wife or your husband. When you got married, you became that sacramental presence to each other within the sacrament of matrimony and you said the words, …”for better or for worse,” I love you! What are you doing to support each other now? Don’t lose sight of these sacred words of gratitude: thank you, please, I am sorry, I ask forgiveness. These words make Christ’s presence real. Through these words we make Christ’s love present, but only if those words are genuine and spoken with tenderness.
What kind of relationship do you have with your children? God has given you the senses: touch, taste, sight, hearing, voice, smell. Do use all the gifts given to bring your children together, to show them, how much you love them. Be genuine in activating the gifts God has given you.
Young people, when you look to each other – how do you love and support to each other as brother and sister? With respect for the dignity of each other? How do you encourage one another to grown up? It is within your relationship that Jesus’ sacramental loving presence is visible within family.
When you are with your friends, do you attempt to deepen that relationship? Do you talk about things that matter rather than just making a small talk? There must be something more, if you value that relationship. How can you find the words to express what you feel for one another.
I’m sure during this time of social distancing, many of you look out for your neighbours…those who are finding these times trying. There is a sacramental presence when you do something wonderful for those who are weak and vulnerable because you are doing it to Christ.
Look after the people God has given to you, because they are people who are waiting for you to arrive.
As someone told me not so long ago: don’t waste time in your relationship with others. The time you spend with them will be remembered and you will not look back and feel that they have gone, and the door is closed. Never! the door of love is never closed.
So brothers and sisters – I leave you with this Gospel passage: don’t say the mass is over thank you very much. I don’t need to think about it anymore. No, keep the Gospel alive. Let it sustain you, let it nourish you, let it be food for your heart, your mind your soul and your body today. Give thought to the wisdom of the God’s Word and stay awake and stand ready, because you do not know the hour when the Son of Man is going to call you. And he calls you because he wants you to be with Him. You have completed your work and it’s time to celebrate life to the fullest.
May Mary, the Morning Star, continue to shine brightly and may she protect you and keep you in her care.
Fr Patrick Ryan