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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.

          

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

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


Wealth or riches are not bad or sinful in themselves. Before the coming of Jesus, wealth and riches were seen as signs of God’s blessing. For instance, recently at daily Mass the First Reading traced the story of Job. When he was wealthy, he was considered as greatly blessed. When he lost everything, he was thought to have sinned in some serious way.

Yet, Jesus in the Beatitudes told us, “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God” [Luke Chap. 6: 20] It is interesting that this is first beatitude that Jesus spoke. He must have seen it as important. Luke reports Jesus, “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” [Luke: 9:58] He was homeless once He left Nazareth to gather disciples.

This tiny background given above may help us to pray about the story in St Mark’s Gospel today. Jesus is setting out on a journey and this man doesn’t want to miss becoming a dedicated follower. So, he runs to meet Jesus. He kneels before him. He puts a question to Jesus, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” It strikes me that this is a good person on a search for something. He didn’t yet know that he was really searching for Someone, namely, Jesus.

The fact that the man before Jesus in this story has no name, seems to be deliberate – it is any woman or any man looking for ‘more’. If this is true, what a lovely reception we get when we approach Jesus:

  • Jesus looks steadily at us
  • Jesus loves us
  • Jesus says, ‘There is one thing you lack’.

The man was attached to his wealth and that was where his heart was. He did not have any idea that following Jesus would involve giving all his heart to Him. This is tough. This is a good man who has kept the Commandments since the age of reason. No wonder his face fell and went away sad. He couldn’t let go and take the risk of following Jesus, the poor One.

This was for this man. What about me? And if you wish, what about you? When I took a religious vow of poverty many years ago, I surrendered the right to own property or have a personal bank account. Truthfully, that was not all that difficult. As a child, we lived in a rented house, we had no car and no riches, and I had few possessions to give up.

Does this leave me able to follow Jesus as He would wish me? NO! Over the years I have often held onto my own will, not God’s. That is like a halter around my neck preventing me from being free. It is only when my reliance on Jesus is as near to total as possible, will I be able to follow Him as he wishes.

A preacher once asked the people at Mass to look around at a mirror at the back of the church. On it the priest had written, ‘This is your greatest treasure’. Our greatest treasure is not in a bank vault or in stocks and shares. Our greatest treasure is inside ourselves.

Just think about it:

  • We are made in image of God
  • We are temples of Holy Spirit
  • We belong to Jesus’ family
  • We’re destined for life eternal
  • We are loved totally by God

If you want to do your own reflection on meeting Jesus as the man did in the Gospel, you will not be disappointed.

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

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


As a person who has never married and not known its joys and its challenges, I need to be humble in writing about marriage. This challenges me as I listen to the Word of God this weekend. My first experience of marriage was that of my parents. As a child growing up, I loved the place I called home and the family to which I belonged. But, even in those years, I knew that not all homes and families stayed together. Next door to our home was an Orphanage. I used to worry about the children there and often ask if they were alright.

After four decades as a priest, I have concluded that parents, and families must be among the most heroic people that God has made.

This is not because I believe that all marriages work out well or that all homes are happy. I grew up also imagining that all priests’ lives always led to holiness.

There are great priests who have dedicated themselves to God’s service among His people. Such priests are still in ministry. Other priests have criminal records. But, that does not mean that God made a mistake in creating the Priesthood. God gave us His Son as the One priest. All of us share in Jesus’ priesthood through our baptism and some by ordination. Couples do not marry to get divorced. It happens. Reasons for a divorce can be as numerous as couples who suffer the pain of the breakdown of their relationship.

Their pain calls us to prayer and any help we can offer. Couples are well-placed in every parish to be the companions to other couples going through this pain.

This week a Marriage Preparation course will begin at St Joseph’s. These couples will search together to enter the Sacrament of Marriage as worthily and prepared as they can. They will be supported by our prayers.

We are fortunate that each year generous couples are ready to lead this preparation by sharing their own experience of living the Sacrament of Marriage. It will be a joy to listen and to share in any way I can. This is a time of blessing for them and for us.

Pope Francis in calling a Synod on the Family two years ago, sought the guidance of the Holy Spirit on how best to deal with the joys and the heartbreaks of marriage. He gave great hope to many people that God had not abandoned them, even when their marriage had not worked out. He also caused upset to others who do not see things his way.

One uniting factor is that all of us are called to work and pray that the Love of God in our hearts will work out in our vocations.

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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