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33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

Weekend Reflection – for you.  Aidan Troy, C.P. - just my view!

Armistice Centenary was marked last Sunday in Paris and throughout the world. We know that also because of the difficulty of accessing St Joseph’s Church last Sunday! The joy was the end of the World War 1 being remembered and celebrated and prayer offered that we will learn the lessons of history.

“And now I face the final curtain”, sings Frank Sinatra. The “final whistle” of a football match can bring joy to the victors and dejection to the vanquished. At the end of the railways line, the train hits the buffers. It is the end of the line.

No, I am not depressed and feeling sorry for myself. It is the final Sunday of the Church’s liturgical year with just the Feast of Christ the King separates us from the First Sunday of Advent. Then the Mystery of Christ will be celebrated.

Only God knows when, but there will come a date when there will be no future on this earth. The Second Coming of Christ will be the final victory of God over sin and death won over 2,000 years ago by Jesus. Jesus will claim the Universe and hand the whole of creation back to His Father. In simple language, the world will one day end and then eternity will open before us. Many have tried predicting the exact day and time for the world to end – always without success. God alone knows.

Not only do we not know when this will happen, but neither do we know what Eternity will be like. We are told that some will wake up to joy and delight and others to sadness and a sense of loss. God will not decide which of these will be my experience. That is for me to create by the way I live on earth.

As the fig tree when its twigs become supple and its leaves come out, we know that Summer is near. So, when we see times of distress, the sun darkened, the moon losing its brightness, we need not be unduly upset. These are reminders to us of how little control we have over the destiny of our world. This is God’s gift to us. We never possess it as if we were owners. All remain with God and one day He will come back to claim us.

There are also signs of God’s Kingdom that is beginning to be built on earth. Wherever the poor are respected and helped, the hungry fed and the naked clothed we see a trace of the Kingdom.

When all else passes away, Jesus tells us, “my words will not pass away.” God’s Covenant with us, he will never take back. The Archangel Michael is our protector. God holds us in the palm of His hands and has our names engraved on them. He could never forget us or cease caring for us. He waits for us more eagerly than we wait for Him.

When the curtain comes down or the final whistle blows, don’t over-worry what awaits you. It is natural to be concerned about the unknown. Even on earth, I get nervous when meeting new people or beginning a job I have never done before. These are natural. But at the end, we are going home to our best friend. He knows us ‘inside/out’.

His stamp is on us and we are utterly precious in His eyes and totally loved. He wants to save us even more than we may wish to be saved. From all eternity, He has seen the final meeting with us. He has arms as wide as the universe and a heart that has only love – for you and for all people. In the words of the Psalm: Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you.

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

Weekend Reflection – for you.  Aidan Troy, C.P. - just my view!

Neither of the widows in the Readings today are given a name. Is it because once their husbands were dead, they were no longer of any great importance in their society? I don’t know. But this I do know, that they have inspired me and perhaps generations of believers who have read or heard their story.

It is easy to take inspiration from the great heroes of our age and of history. Just think of those who have inspired you and still do. I have my favourites as you probably do. Most of these are unknown to church and world.

Lurking around the corner of every town and village, of every parish, there are truly amazing people who have a streak of generosity that is truly great. Think of some of the people who have inspired you most and whose names are not known outside of a handful of people.

Patients in a Dublin hospital told me of the loving care and fellow-feeling for sick people shown by a lady cleaner. She was great with people afraid of going for surgery or recovering from a great loss. She gave them her heart and in that she gave hope. She was also a great cleaner.

Both widows in the Readings today had little to give, but what they had they gave. It is a divine truth that the more we give, the richer we become. There may be no increase in our possessions, but in return we receive a peace and joy from God that defies reason.

Jesus gave His life not because he was forced to do so, but because he loves.

This basic pattern of Jesus I forget. Hoarding, saving for the “rainy day” are part of my ‘insurance’. To give like these great widows did, makes me blush. I am not in their league. I would love to be as selfless as they were, but I am not.

I’ll never had nor ever will have great possessions. But my greatest selfishness is my meanness with what God has given me freely, for no charge, to be used generously for others.

He has given me TIME that I can keep for my own interests and pursuits and only give you whatever time I have over.

He has given me a HEART to love you. Self-love is so much easier for me than loving you and all who cross my path. In my selfishness, I can love those who love me and ignore those who do not.

He has given me FAITH, totally freely, to be shared and spread. My religion I can reduce to solely seeking after my death a blissful Heaven and avoiding Hell. Faith is to be spread, not selfishly hoarded.

He gives me Daily Bread’ as I pray in the Our Father. I eat it all and leave not even the crumbs for those who have none.

He has given me Tears to shed. I shed many tears selfishly for myself but not for you and all those who are suffering beyond anything I have ever endured.

He has ADOPTED me as His child blessed beyond measure. Yet, I often fail to live up to what is expected of a child of God.

He, Jesus THE PRIEST, gives a share in this to chosen men like me. Use of titles, promotion ambitions, clericalism, abuse of power, have sadly cast a shadow over the face of Christ’s Body, His Church. Forgive me, Lord, in your mercy.

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

Weekend Reflection – for you.  Aidan Troy, C.P. - just my view!

November is a month I like a lot. It begins with All the Saints, spills over into All Souls and trundles on to end with Christ the King. This ends another year of the Mystery of Christ. The new Ordo of Liturgy will arrive. Year B will give way to Year C and weekday Year 11 to Year 1.

All Saints is for the ordinary, small and unassuming people who lived out faithfully the call to become Saints. That at the end of life is all that will matter. Did I become Christ-like for you? Did I die to myself and live for you? Did I have the courage to get down on my knees and wash your feet? Is sounds easy, perhaps, but I never found it so.

There are great Canonised Saints – many of us have our favourites. When I lose something, I call on St Anthony’s help to find it and I promise to light a candle in thanksgiving. When I face a bleak prospect with little hope, I call up St Jude, because he does not believe that there are hopeless cases. He sees that there is a way out, even when I don’t.

The child who went into the church with her Mother and was amazed to see the beautiful colours of the stained-glass windows. ‘Who are those people in the glass windows?’ asked the little one. They are the saints who have gone to Heaven to be with Jesus, replied the Mother. Beautiful thought the child.

Next day at school, teacher asked the class, ‘what are saints like’? The little girl gives her answer, ‘they are people who let the sun shine through them’, she tells her class. What words of wisdom! We either spread doom and gloom or we radiate the Light of Christ as Saints do.

There is no distance really between us living and our loved ones who have gone to God. They now look on the light of His face. They lived what they thought were ordinary lives. God saw differently. He looked into their hearts and saw the love, sometimes hidden, that was there. He saw His own reflection in their souls and saw in them an image of His Son – ‘made in the image and likeness of God’, the Book of Genesis tells us.

When they died and went to God, Heaven was not as strange as they had imagined it might be. After all, no eye has seen, no ear has heard not has it entered into our hearts what God has prepared for us. And yet, there was something familiar about God, His Son the Spirit, the Angels, Saints, Relatives and Friends. They were all united in love, in friendship, in total peace. There was no competition, no gossip; all were wrapped in the utter glory of God. On earth there can be moments when all comes together in love, peace and unity. Those Kingdom moments are precious.

At the end of November, we get the great Feast of Christ, Universal King. He is the still carrying the wounds of the Cross, but they are there not for Him, but for us to remember the cost of Love. What better end could there be to a year of praise and worship of God than to have a feast of the Christ the King.

No one of us was born by accident. To be born is to be chosen. Each one of us was sent here by God for a purpose(s) that no one else could accomplish. To discover the purpose(s) takes prayer and a lot of it. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the special and unique purpose(s) for which you were born. That is how you become a saint and live forever.  

30th Sunday in Ordinary Times 2018

Weekend Reflection – for you.  Aidan Troy, C.P. - just my view!

At Monday’s Pastoral Council, the words spoken by parishioners and their sharing, convinced me that the Holy Spirit is powerful and active among us.

The Spirit is always present – where two or three are gathered in the name of Jesus, He is there. On occasion factors can mask or conceal the presence of the Spirit. My sinfulness, my closed mind or mean spirit, my refusal to hear the other in sincerity and truth, can all dim my awareness of the activity of the Holy Spirit. At Monday night’s Pastoral Council, the Spirit came through to me loudly and clearly through the presence and words of the participants. I am truly grateful to the participants and to God.

Bartimaeus’ prayer in today’s Gospel is a great prayer not only about blindness of his eyes from which he was cured, but also for us. Jesus asks him, ‘what do you want me to do for you?’ ‘Master, let me see again’ comes Bartimaeus’ plea. My sight is a gift for which I could never thank God sufficiently. My inner ‘eye’ of the soul can often be blinded by my selfishness and refusal to see the hand of God tracing the path ahead for me and for His Body, the Church.

My ‘blindness’ to the Holy Spirit, may I humbly suggest, can apply also to a Passionist community, a parish and to our Church, the Body of Christ. When the brightness of the Spirit grows dim, I stumble and lose my way with serious consequences. Blindness when humbly admitted, finds Jesus restoring sight – as He hears our Bartimaeus prayer. I can be afraid of facing the changes the Spirit is prompting me to see and accept.

My temptation is to continue in the darkness of blindness. At least, I have become familiar with all that makes up my life and ministry now. To risk the Holy Spirit showing me another way is truly scary. The past may be gone and deep down I know that. But, to let the past die and move on to a new life given by the Spirit, may be a step too far for me. At present, I know how things are, how they work, and I know how people react and respond.

To risk giving up my security and to take hold of the hand of Jesus so that I may see more clearly with His eyes, can paralyse me with fear. He whispers, ‘Do not be afraid.’ His is the Way. His is the Truth. This ends up with Life and life to the full. It is the only way forward.

Saint Joseph’s, loved and revered over the past 150 years, is at a crossroads. We can be tempted to recreate the past, especially when we remember the great times of bygone days. Those days were truly great. The challenge today is to risk asking the Holy Spirit what we need to now see moving forward as He wants

My fear and sinfulness are like driving a car with its hand break on. I can still drive forward but the way ahead is being slowed down and is doing the car no good. The Holy Spirit, to change my analogy, is like a sailor having the wind in the sails. The breath of the Spirit, like the wind, gives us progress beyond what we could have achieved on our own.

A moment of grace for St Joseph’s is being offered by God. Please join me in praying that hearts and minds be ready: “Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Holy Spirit.”

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

Weekend Reflection – for you.  Aidan Troy, C.P. - just my view!

It’s said that comedians rely on ‘timing’ telling their jokes. James and John don’t have a great sense of timing in asking Jesus to do them a big favour. Bluntly, they want to be allowed, “to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.” No more, no less.

Apart from a poor sense of timing, Jesus tells them, ‘you do not know what you are asking.’ What’s the problem? Jesus reply is simple - “these are not mine to grant”. They had come to the ‘wrong’ Person. Even if they were His to grant, they still had to learn about sitting beside God in the Kingdom.

The timing of James and John is poor because they missed hearing for the third time Jesus speaking of his destiny awaiting Him in Jerusalem. He tells them that the road to glory that they seek at God’s right and left hand, only comes after the suffering of the Cross.

Along the road to Jerusalem, a row had broken out among the Apostles as to who is greatest. This development is sad as Jesus is drawing closer to His destiny. Ambition can spur us on to even better and more generous things in life. It can also be destructive when it descends into petty rivalry. I wonder if James and John were jealous that Peter had been declared by Jesus to be the Rock on which the church would be built?

In our time, followers of the Crucified Christ strive for even greater esteem. Amidst famine and refugee crises, some Cardinals and Bishops wear a ‘capa magna’ with many metres of expensive material in red or purple. What a contrast with the poor Crucified Jesus.

Since my ordination almost forty-eight years ago, I have never liked being called by the title, ‘Father’. There is only one High Priest who carries to His Father in Heaven the wounds of the Cross. He goes back to His Father having refused Him nothing. All other priests, like me, take priesthood from the only true priest. All the baptised share in Jesus’ priesthood being baptised to be priests, prophets and kings in Jesus’ footsteps.

Our world is turned upside down by the message of Jesus. The first are named as last and the last as first. Sounds crazy until it is realised that Jesus starts with the helpless innocence and beauty of a child. In His days, the child did not rate as significant – at best, seen but not heard. Each weekend at St Joseph’s, I see your love for your children. They are precious, and models given by Jesus to remind us of how his Kingdom will look.

Slavery isn’t acceptable in a civilized society. Strong efforts must continue to rescue men, women and children from the control of others who want to “own” them. Enslaved people must be free to live with the dignity of one who has been created by God.

Turning the accepted wisdom of the world on its head, Jesus tells us that if we want to be first, we must become the slave of all others. What a teaching! That is, until we realise that Jesus gave up divinity and emptied himself taking the form of a servant [a slave]. He washed feet at the Last Supper, the work of a lowly household slave.

Privileged to receive Jesus in Holy Communion, He joins His heart to mine, calling me to become like him in all things, including the privilege of being your servant and servant to His people.



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

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