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2nd Sunday in Advent 2018

Weekend Reflection – for you.  Offered by Aidan Troy, C.P.


For this and next weekend, the figure of John the Baptist plays a central role in the liturgy of Advent. Yet, it is part of the mission of John to not shine. He is a voice, not the Word; he points to the Light but is not himself the one who shines. He has a far from easy mission.

He has the unpleasant task of asking us to change our way of life. To change in any way is not easy. When shoes of mine are beyond repair, I am slow to throw them out. They are comfortable. They may not look great, but they feel good. To put on new shoes, reveals pinches and pains here and there until I have got used to them. They too will wear out!

To change my soul is more challenging than to change my shoes. My soul is the Divine eternal element within me. It is the centre of me in which the Spirit of God lives and breathes. Within me lies contradictions. Beside the gifts of grace given by God, there are the weaknesses alongside these that Satan is delighted to exploit. There is often a battle within me – St Paul knew this well – where I end up doing the wrong thing instead of the good that I know God wants.

But, to change is not easy because it is not just a matter of deciding that ‘enough is enough’ and changing my life once and for all. If it were that simple, I would already be a saint! As you know, I am not. I am, at best, a sinner struggling to be a saint. Change from sinner to saint is one of life’s huge challenges. Like an athlete, to recall St Paul once again, in order to change at the core of my life, I must go into training on a daily basis. A basis will be prayer – mine and yours.

Today, John the Baptist has a double message for you and me in this training to become saints. Firstly, to die to my selfishness can be a living martyrdom. If each day, I tackle what is most urgent there will be a resurrection to a new and fuller life. Suppose, I find it hard to forgive you, forgive myself of something I can’t get over, only God can loosen the hold that resentment, hardness of heart, long memory of past hurts has over me.

The second part of John’s message is to be converted. Often, I must admit that I am afraid. In my better moments, I know that God will help me change from sin to grace, from coldness to warmth. At the last moment, it is like plunging into the freezing sea for a swim. The thought of the cold water holds me back. Once I take the plunge, I find that it is wonderfully refreshing and energising.

Nobody ever followed the message of John the Baptist to die to my worst self and to convert to the all-holy God and lived to regret it. In Confession I carry in a load of my worst self in the sins that are mine. I am not proud of them. In truth, I am ashamed – no matter what these sins are about.

In the moment of telling Jesus what I have done – of course, He already knows – there is the lifting of a burden from the core of my being that is truly amazing. God smiles at my anxiety and reminds me that if like His Son, Jesus, I die a little every day, then I will be converted to Him. Then my life changes more than I could have imagined.

Advent still has two more Sundays to run, so there is time to act – do it now!

 

1st Sunday in Advent 2018

LETTER TO YOU

Dear Sister, Brother in Christ,

Since 1869, the Passionists have served at St Joseph’s. Next year we will be celebrating 150 years since the beginning of the journey that has brought us to this day. What we are today is built on this history.

As Advent 2018 dawns, along with the Parish Pastoral Council I invite you to a ‘Conversation’ about our life at St Joseph’s. Times change; priests are moved to other places; families and individuals finish in Paris; some people stay many years. Blessed be God for each person who was here, is here and whom God will send in the next 150 years!

The present time is God’s gift. Our Mission Anglophone has always been a partnership between parishioners, tourists or whoever joins us and the Passionists assigned to St Joseph’s. Since August one Passionist is assigned here. Our present reflection seeks to develop our partnership in which all are called to share our life and talents for Jesus’ Kingdom.

Just as Pope Francis has a ‘Synod of Bishops’, so our Mission Anglophone next weekend will begin our ‘Synod’ in which the principal guide will be the Holy Spirit. You are asked to come along and to share the gifts God has given you. Some of us have only a little, but together we can continue building the Kingdom of God started here in 1869.

Let’s get together to continue the journey next Sunday – Hall at 1.30 p.m. Refreshments served and maybe you can bring some to share.

Aidan Troy, C.P.

First Sunday of Advent 2018
(On behalf of the Pastoral Council of St Joseph’s and the Passionists of St Patrick’s Province)

(More information & details  in your  "Bulletin Notices")

Feast of Christ The King 2018

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


The day you were baptised you began sharing in the life of Jesus Christ. If like me you were baptised as an infant, you will not recall the words spoken over you when anointed with the Oil of Chrism. On this day of celebrating the Kingship of Christ, maybe we could reflect on the words used at your baptism:

As Christ was anointed Priest, Prophet and King, so may you live always as a member of his body, sharing everlasting life.”

You and I were anointed priest, prophet and king as a baptised child of God. In that sense, today’s feast is our feast. Sure, you and I are not king of the universe. But we do share in the life of Jesus in all that He is and all He does.

What I am getting at is that this is not looking at a King from the palace gates and knowing that it is unlikely that you will ever meet the king. The idea of a meal or even a cup of tea with the King is beyond our wildest dreams. Of course, some of you, dear readers, may be in regular contact with a Monarch. But, most of us don’t move in those circles.

It never ceases to amaze me how readily accessible Jesus, King of the Universe, is to us whenever we call upon Him. Better still, He approaches us first. He makes the first move, and this moves my heart and mind to speak with Him in prayer.

Even better, words are not needed to be in contact with our King. Jesus is the King of our hearts and emotions. There are times in my life that I am lost for words to speak to Jesus. Sometimes the best I can do is to shed tears. Other times I fall silent and He soothes my troubled spirit.

At His baptism in the River Jordan by John the Baptist, Jesus was anointed as priest, prophet and king. That was the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus to accomplish our salvation. Today in the Gospel we are with Jesus in his final hours. He is in on trial. Just imagine, the Divine Son of God faces accusation. His sham trial will lead to a miscarriage of Justice – one of many that the world has seen since. That is why the Gospel is a call to each of us to work for Justice.

Pilate, whom we need appreciate knows nothing of the wonder of Jesus and His mission, asks Jesus if he is king of the Jews? Jesus does his best to instruct Pilate in whom he is interrogating:

  • “Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoke to you about me?” Pilate says it is His own people who are accusing Jesus. He washes his hands of the whole matter.
  • Jesus gives a master- class in how different a King he is – “My kingdom is not of this world.” That is why we are different also. Our belief is that we are not citizens of this world as our one and only life. We are on our way to full life in the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • “Yes, I am a king” says Jesus. That is good for us to hear. It reminds us that we belong to the Kingdom of God even here on earth. Our future is not limited to the horizon of death. We will arise and come into the Kingdom of God.

Next Sunday we begin the Season of Advent as we prepare for Christ’s birth.

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.

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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