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13th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

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

‘Do not be afraid’ is a refrain running right through the Word of God. The prophet Isaiah, the Archangel Gabriel to Mary and Jesus encourage us not to be afraid. But when you are afraid, you are afraid, and it is difficult to escape from fear. The mind tells me not to be afraid, the emotions tell the opposite. I have a feeling that Jesus understands this.

The woman who touched the hem of his garment came forward, “frightened and trembling” when she knew that Jesus had discovered her ‘secret’. She had thought that in the push and shove of the crowd that Jesus would just feel another bump!

Terrified she falls at his feet and, ‘told him the whole truth.’ She must have hoped that Jesus would not reverse the cure of her issue of blood. She must have hoped that He would not punish her too severely. She is waiting for her ‘sentence’ to be delivered.

The Divine lips open and out comes words that sounded like music to the ears of this cured lady: “My daughter, your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free from your complaint.” It does not get much better than this! Fear is banished by love. She knows that God understands her and will live the rest of her life as a ‘new woman.’

There are so many people ‘crippled’ by fear. It is not easy to admit being afraid. I hear the message not to be afraid; in my heart there remains a fear that needs to be ‘exorcised’. It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to reach the depths of the soul where such fear lingers.

I wonder if humans rather than God generate most fear? If we are to love each other as God loves us, then we do not judge others. We treat them as we would like to be treated. That is how it is supposed to be. I must stop myself slipping into judging others and making them uneasy or even fearful. God’s judgement does not worry me as much as human judgement.

There is something sad, I think, in the reaction of the people when Jesus came into the room of the Jairus’ daughter. Jesus was not impressed by all the commotion and crying that was going on. Jesus asked why? He said the child was not dead but asleep.

A line of Scripture that makes me very sad is, “But they laughed at him.” How hurtful! It’s the same if any one mocks or jeers the words of another. Jesus was right. Even when a person is wrong, laughing at them does not help. God never laughs at us but laughs with us. God expects us to have respect and understanding for each other.

Feast of Nativity of St John the Baptist 24June2018

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

St John the Baptist’s Birthday being celebrated this Sunday may be a bit hard to understand. 24th June is chosen because just three months ago, on 25th March, we celebrated the feast of the Annunciation. That feast marked Our Lady conceiving Jesus in response to the Word of God. At that same time, Mary heard that her cousin Elizabeth had conceived and set out in haste to visit her. After about three months with Elizabeth and Zechariah, when John was born, Mary came back to Nazareth.

The feast of the birth of John the Baptist is more than looking back to Jesus’ cousin being born. It’s retracing the Mission of John to prepare the way for Jesus. Jesus will be born six months after the Birth of John. That is why we have 24th June six months before Christmas Eve.

John’s name in Hebrew means, ‘the Lord is gracious’. Not only is God showing great favour to a childless Elizabeth and Zechariah, but to the whole of humanity. Before John came on the scene, the prophetic voice in Israel had been silent for 400 years. John broke the prophetic silence. John is the bridge between the Old and the New Testaments.

Up to John, the Law and the message of the Prophets are what people know and live by. As a great prophet, John is part of remembering a glorious past. The hand of God is laid upon Elizabeth and upon Mary. Both give birth. John is the precursor, the one who will prepare the path for Jesus. John gives us a glimpse of what the New Testament will be about.

John will not gain anything personally because of being the prophet announcing Jesus. He will lose everything, including his life. Like Jesus, by losing his life, he will gain eternal life in Heaven. John has his Passion. He finds new life through losing all to gain all.

There are many needs in our world and our church, as well in personal and family lives. No matter how great the past has been, I find I need people who can show me Jesus now. I need to have a St John the Baptist in my life so that the path to Jesus can be prepared. I am not strong enough, or holy enough to do this on my own.

People respond to prophets who point away from themselves and show us Jesus. Who are the prophets in your life? Name them and thank them.

As I stood at the Altar during recent Holy Communions surrounded by children on their special day, I saw them pointing out to me the way to Jesus. They, without even knowing it perhaps, are St John the Baptist to me. It is a matter of realising my need; also, having eyes to see the traces of Jesus’ footprints.

In the community of St Joseph’s, I meet prophets who nourish my faith and show me how to move forward toward and with Jesus. You may never know how much you do for me by your kind word, your smile, your attitude. You don’t have to wear sackcloth and ashes to be the Baptist.

Maybe, at St Joseph’s we could see how we might cultivate a school of prophets in our midst. It happened in the past, why not today?

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.



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

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