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11th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Please note: only the view of the above.


Jesus, as second Person of the Blessed Trinity, took part in Creation. What a magnificent work of God! It is huge, and we may not yet know the full extent of God’s work. Creation is given to us all and that is a huge responsibility; each generation must guard creation and hand it on.

Jesus, as Son of God incarnate, came among us to restore us in God’s original plan. This time, Jesus worked with the small rather than the big. First, His birth was in an outhouse due to overcrowding caused by a census. His first visitors were shepherds, not at the top of the social ladder! But, this is what God wanted.

Almost immediately Jesus, with Mary and Joseph, are refugees in Egypt. In time, they return home to Nazareth. For the next almost 30 years, Jesus lives at home and becomes familiar with the work of Joseph, a carpenter.

Then, He emerges with none of the signs of power. He is the opposite – simple, humble, and close to the poor. His model for His Father’s Kingdom is not a powerful adult. It is a child to whom the Kingdom belongs.

It would be a mistake to think that Jesus would have done better if he taken the high road of power. He knew what He was doing!

 Without insulting you, I ask you to see yourself as a seed thrown on the ground. You disappear and seem to die until a first shoot appears. Then an ear follows, and finally the full grain. It’s a slow process and hidden. Others will not know the Divine work going on in our heart and soul.

But, this is what is happening to you under a loving and caring God. Your growth is real and will continue into eternity. A Stock Exchange or a National Parliament is also real. But, one day they will end to be no more.

When Jesus brings growth into our lives, He does so to give us joy and peace. More than that, the growth is so that we can reach out to others and help them become aware of the hidden work of God in their hearts and souls. No one created by God is left to their own devices. God, the Creator, stays always with creation.

Just as a mustard seed goes from the smallest seed to become the biggest shrub, so we are called to be shelters for people who are most needy. This, to me, is a model of church for today.

There were times in the past when ‘pomp and ceremony’ was the order of the day. No longer is this so. We are, thank God, called to be a humbler community of believers. Like Jesus, we are called to be ‘small’ rather than ‘powerful’, as likely to be at the margins as in palaces. But, that is the example Jesus has left us.

Perhaps a joy of Heaven will be the discovery of how much good people are doing in secret. Heaven will fill people with joy as God addresses them as a ‘Saint’! We are all sinners, but we are struggling to be saints.

God is patient. Just as the farmer must wait for the harvest, God has infinite patience with each of us. Each of us is called to be patient with others. Each of us is called to be patient with ourselves. God knows what He is doing in our lives. He never leaves us to struggle alone.

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Please note: only the view of the above.


We worry about those we love. If they are travelling, we pray for a safe journey and return. Going for surgery, family and friends pray for a successful outcome. There are people I know, who also fast and give alms when caring for a person in some need of support.

Mary and family of Jesus are no different. For some time, they become increasingly alarmed as their beloved Jesus is stirring up a storm. There is talk that some want to kill Him. It had reached a point that with His disciples, ‘they could not even have a meal.’ It’s time to, ‘set out to take charge of him, convinced he was out of his mind.’

The reaction they get from Jesus is interesting. I find it consoling that Mary, Mother of Jesus, did not yet know the full story of her Son’s mission. I love Mary precisely because she was ready to follow her Son and to go on learning of God’s plan. She is full of grace and the Holy Spirit has overshadowed her, but still she has a lot to learn.

I often imagine that I should know the full story of God’s plan for me. In truth, I know very little. I’ve a lot to learn, with a lot of listening. I’ve to pray in silence to hear the whisper of God’s voice. Mary is my model; she had to learn, how dare I think that I have the full story?

Mary and relatives arrive outside. A message is sent in to Jesus for him to come home. The crowd tell Jesus, ‘your mother and brothers and sisters are    outside asking for you.’ When we are on the ‘outside’ and not one of the ‘in people’, Mary knows what that feels like.

Mary is a great Mother to Jesus and to us. She is gentle as a Mother and prepared to wait on the outside.

If Mary and the family thought Jesus was going to rush out to see what they wanted, they were mistaken. He stays put. The crowd hold their breath. Then He speaks, ‘who are my mother and my brothers [sisters]?’ The crowd around Jesus thought the answer was, the people outside! Wrong!

The people outside can’t see or hear what happens next. A redefinition of the family of Jesus takes place. Mary and her relatives can never be excluded. Rather, a new family enters the ‘tent of Jesus’, the Church. Those around Him, ‘who do the will of the God, that person is my brother and sister and mother.’ Thanks be to God!

We are all family now. Mary must have gone home, not for the first time, pondering these words in her heart. Mary will learn on Calvary in the message from the Cross that she is Mother of all God’s children.

Even though her ‘pilgrimage’ to bring Jesus home did not succeed, Mary did the right think to try. She acted with the warmth and love of a Mother. She learnt another side to her Son that day. She realised that people were telling her that He was possessed, out of his mind. How dangerous it is for us to judge others and to assume that we know. There is a foolishness in the Cross: “The word of the Cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than people and the weakness of God is stronger than people.” (1 Cor 1.)

If you hear I am out of my mind, it is true! Followers of Jesus Crucified embrace the folly of the Cross.

Corpus Christi – Feast of Body and Blood of Christ – 2018

Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Please note: only the view of the above.


From time to time during a meal – Christmas dinner, gathering of the family or with friends – I get a strong sense of, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here.’ Somehow, it gives me a warm feeling. Sadly, I know that this will not last and the meal will end and we all go our separate ways. Such is life!

During Mass I get the same sense of it being good to be at the table of the Lord. The call to Mass is utterly personal, by name. The invitation to be there is His. Jesus sends out the invitations to us. He chooses each of us, before any of us ever choose Him. It never ceases to amaze me, that God would want me every day at His table. After all these years of being at the Altar, I am still unable to get used to being there.

Every meal is special. Jesus’ Mass does something that is unique. He wants us to feel at home by never feeling inferior to Him. Of course, I am – He is God and I am a creature. But, once we gather, He wraps a towel around his waist and is ready to wash your and my feet. At Mass, He is there as a servant of people to assure them of His abiding love and service of every one of us.

It is understandable to me when people say that they find Mass boring. If it is, blame me as priest, but not Jesus.

Each Mass gives us the Body and Blood of Jesus. But, each giving of His Body and Blood reaches us differently every time. At each Mass, Jesus comes to touch our lives exactly as we are and as we need. One time at Mass, my heart may be bursting with joy and Jesus comes to increase this and bless me. Other times, I may be in the depths of even despair and He come to feed me Hope and Consolation. The Body and Blood of Jesus are not elements, not objects, but a person who sees how we are and comes to help us.

No two Masses are the same. Jesus loves us too much just to give us His Body and Blood without preparing His gift of Himself to match our need.

Sometimes I have been at a meal – say a reception of some sort – and I feel a bit out of it arriving on my own. I may know nobody. At Mass there are no strangers. The person next to you may not speak your language, understand your culture – but every person at Mass is your sister, is your brother. The link is Jesus, our Brother. He is the vine and we are the branches. He unites us in the deepest form of friendship that any human can share.

O Sacrament most holy,

O Sacrament Divine;

All praise and all thanksgiving

Be every moment Thine.

 

Most Holy Trinity 2018

Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Please note: only the view of the above.


This weekend, we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Trinity. The Trinity is God’s family. There is only one God but not a solitary God. God as Father loves the Son. That love is the Holy Spirit. The Trinity is not primarily a doctrine to be explained. It is a network of relationships that gives us a peep at the heart and soul of God.

Last weekend, I saw a trinity of events that spoke so clearly of God and love. The children on Saturday morning making their First Communion shone with joy and happiness. They were nervous, but happy. They were full of questions for me – some of which were not easy to answer. Once again, it came home to me why Jesus has shown a child to be the model of His Kingdom. They are Jesus in our midst.

Scarcely had the Communions ended and the cake cut for the party, then I began to prepare for the Confirmation of Adults at Notre Dame Cathedral. There were 400 Candidates – average age about 30 years – who assembled with their sponsors to receive the anointing with the Holy Spirit. St Joseph’s had one candidate and along with her Parents it was an event of immense significance and joy. In this age, surely this is ‘good news’ to be proclaimed?

After a few hours’ sleep, Pentecost Sunday dawned. The sun shone. Then in the afternoon the third great event was the Confirmation of 33 young people by Bishop Denis Jachiet, with us for the first time. With their parents and relatives, some of whom travelled long distances, this step to adult faith was taken. Another cake was cut in the garden and people stood chatting in glorious sunshine. I got the feeling, ‘it is good for us to be here.’ God was in our midst. The Holy Spirit was in the air and the breath of the Spirit inspired us.

Such a Trinity of events speak clearly to me of a God of love. Scholarly writing on the mystery of Trinity is good and needed. But, if we don’t find God loving us in the Son and giving us the Spirit here, we search for a meaning, which can be hard to find.

The meaning and gift of God is before us – in the spontaneity of the child who loves Jesus; in the decision of an adult who steps forward on a Saturday night and declares themselves for God. The Spirit is revealed in the school student, not embarrassed to declare their belief in God.

On Pentecost Sunday night I went to bed knowing that I am truly blessed to have been in the company of God revealed in these three ways on one weekend.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.

Feast of Pentecost 2018

Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Please note: only the view of the above.


This weekend at St Joseph’s is one of unsurpassed joy. It is a most blessed time with First Holy Communion on Saturday and Confirmation today. It is way beyond my poor words to capture. My belief tells me that the breath of the Holy Spirit is in the air. Come, Holy Spirit!

If there is a shadow over this joy it comes from what is happening in our world. Last weekend, worshippers in Indonesia were targets at Mass and other religious liturgies. Conflict in the land and city, Jerusalem, where the Holy Spirit first came on the infant church, shows how elusive trust and peace can be. Come, Holy Spirit sent today on your Church, continue to work in the world.

The Holy Spirit is needed in the heart of the Body of Christ, our Church. The hierarchy of Chile is called to Rome to address the tragic situation of the church in their dioceses. Not so many years ago, it was the hierarchy from Ireland that was called to Rome for the same reason. Come, Holy Spirit, and bind up the wounds on the Body of Christ today. May God’s little ones, that He loves so dearly and so tenderly, be always safe.

Pentecost fills us with wonder and awe, as the Spirit breathes upon us in this sacred place. Welcome Holy Spirit!

There can be a coldness about religious practice that can leave people who seek God to pass us bye and look elsewhere. Our hearts need to be set on fire by the tongues of fire of this great Feast. Come; Holy Spirit and rest on my head this day. Penetrate my heart and set it aflame like the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Thaw my coldness.

The many languages on the day of Pentecost spoken, was a miracle of hearing rather than one of speaking. Come Holy Spirit and open my ears to your word. Open my ears and my heart to the prophets living in our community who have a message from You for us.

The Holy Spirit celebrated today is the Third Person of the Trinity revealing the love between Father and Son. Holy Spirit does not live in a world of ghosts and shadows but in a home, which is a Temple. We are the Temples. There is more to people than appearances and looks.

Those we know and love, we appreciate for their inner beauty and love. Each of us is a Temple and provides a home for the Spirit. Come home Holy Spirit to my heart. Where there is a lack of warmth, please bring me your fire so that other people may know that God is in our midst. Make me daily worthier of carrying you in my heart.

My hope and prayers are that many communities will be as blessed as St Joseph’s is today.  

StJoeParis

Saint Joseph's Catholic Church
50 Avenue Hoche
75008 Paris, France
33(0)1 42 27 28 56
stjosephparis@wanadoo.fr

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