The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

Sunday Reflection

December062015

Second Sunday of Advent - Year C    

Sometimes when we are trying to describe something it is easier to say what it is not than to pin down precisely what it actually is.  For example, if you are trying to describe an emotion, or if you have an ache or a pain, it can be easier to say it’s not exactly this or that and in that way, give a description of what is going on for you.   In some ways Advent is a little b ....   Read More

September062014

Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A: 7th September 2014    

There is a very clear thread that runs through the three of today’s readings. Even the psalm, in fact, points to the same thing – community. In the Bible the importance of community, time and again, is made very evident – and for all sorts of reasons. Israel was a small people in the midst of many larger and also very aggressive other peoples; they needed to remain ....   Read More

August162014

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 17th August 2014    

Last week we heard the prayer of Peter: “Lord, save me”, when he was sinking under the waves as he tried to walk on the water. Today we hear a very similar prayer from the Canaanite woman whose daughter is experiencing frightening trauma.   Something important is happening here. Keep in mind that the community for whom Matthew was writing was composed of people who h ....   Read More

August092014

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 10th August 2014    

Today’s gospel passage places us squarely in the context of faith. We know that Peter is a follower of Jesus, he is the leader of the group, and yet, today, we see him being called by Jesus a “man of little faith”. This throws up the question: “When is believing not believing? This question doesn’t really have anything to do with how much we believe o ....   Read More

August022014

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 3rd August, 2014    

July262014

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 27th July, 2014    

The parables that we have before us today are really about two things. On the one hand, they are about the Kingdom of God, the pearl of great price; and, on the other hand, they are about what the attitude of the disciple should be when offered the Kingdom of God. The kingdom is the greatest good which is worth more than everything else. The disciple, when offered the possibility ....   Read More

July182014

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 20th July 2014    

The parable that we’ve just listened to is one of those where there is much more than meets the eye. The straightforward message is clear – the farmer, God, allows the wheat and the darnel to grow together knowing that they can be separated at harvest time. In other words, God never loses sight of the good and can always distinguish them from the bad. But that ....   Read More

July062014

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 6th July 2014    

One of the things that is becoming more and more familiar in Ireland is that we can no longer presume that those we meet believe in God. There was a time when practically everyone believed not only in God, but was also a member of the same church. That is no longer the case. As the politicians are quick to remind us, we live in a multicultural society. There are, of course, m ....   Read More

June082014

Pentecost Sunday - Year A - 6th June, 2014    

Today, Pentecost Sunday, marks the end of Eastertide and the beginning of what is called Ordinary Time. After Easter this is the period of six weeks which we have just gone through when we reflect on the accounts of the risen Lord. Even after the Ascension, that we celebrated last week, we spend a week reflecting on that episode in the life of Jesus.  After Pentecost, however, ....   Read More

May112014

Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year A - 11 May, 2014 - Good Shepherd Sunday (Vocations' Sunday)    

March302014

Fourth Sunday of Lent, Year A - 30th March, 2014 (Laetare Sunday)    

There is a very clear thread that runs through each of today’s readings. They all have to do with seeing or, perhaps more accurately, being able to see.  In the first reading Samuel has been sent to anoint a new king for Israel. Saul had turned out to be a big disappointment. When Samuel had originally anointed Saul he was looking for someone who was, quite literal ....   Read More

March232014

Third Sunday of Lent, Year A - Twenty-third of March, 2014    

The six weeks of Lent that we are making our way through, from the earliest years of the church, was always a time that was dedicated to preparing for baptism. Catechumens, those who were preparing for baptism, would go through the final stages of their preparation which would have lasted for anything from 2 to 3 years. During Lent they would be presented to the community gathered for ....   Read More

March172014

St. Patrick's Day - March 17th    

  St. Patrick’s Day is probably the biggest and most celebrated event at a global level. The numbers of people involved in the celebrations, however, has very little to do with St. Patrick himself.    It is highly unlikely that the man who returned to Ireland, to the land of his captivity, way back in the 5th century, would recognise himself in the way he is depicted i ....   Read More

March152014

Second Sunday of Lent, Year A - 16th March 2014    

In 2005 Desmond Tutu, the famous Anglican archbishop from South Africa, published a book called “God Has a Dream”. This book was about the transformation of South Africa from being a state founded on inequality and discrimination to being a country in which all could belong and be valued. Throughout this book Tutu speaks of transfiguration. He speaks of it as being the ....   Read More

January192014

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 19th January 2014    

St. Augustine dedicated a lot of time to thinking about what it means to be a believer in Jesus Christ. One of his most important insights is that God, no matter how close we may draw to him, will always remain somewhat distant. He says that we must seek God if we want to find him; and that we must find God if we want to seek him. This strange paradox is part of what it means to b ....   Read More

December222013

Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A - 22nd December 2013    

For the last three weeks we have been hearing two things. On the one hand, we have listened to the prophecies from the Old Testament that speak about the coming of the Messiah; on the other hand, we have heard episodes from the life of Jesus in which he has performed actions that are associated with the Messiah. The message is clear – the Messiah that you have been waiting for ha ....   Read More

December142013

3rd Sunday of Advent - Gaudete Sunday - Year A, 15th December 2013    

Today is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday, which means “Rejoicing” Sunday. That is why, on this Sunday, we have lit the pink candle on the Advent Wreath rather than another purple one. The readings, the prayers, in fact everything we hear in the liturgy today speaks of joy. There are two Sundays in the year when the focus is on joy – that makes joy stand out ....   Read More

November242013

Feast of Christ the King - Twenty-fourth of November, 2013    

  Practically every Sunday we are invited, in one way or another, to put our faith into practice in some way. Being a disciple is, very much, about doing; it has to be, it is all about loving and caring is a very important part of loving. How we can be faithful disciples is a challenge that is put to each one of us by the word of God that we hear every week.  Today, the focus ....   Read More

November162013

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 17th November, 2013    

There is a famous story about the Irish “mammy” who went to her son’s passing-out parade as a Garda. As she watched the parading Gardai she remarked to the person beside her that her son was the only one who was marching in step. Unfortunately, that lady is not on her own. We all, very often, see what we want to see; or, perhaps more accurately, we see what we ar ....   Read More

August282013

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, 1st September 2013    

I have often heard people saying the last shall be first in a way that sounds very different to the way Jesus says it. In fact, many people seem to use this phrase in an angry or resentful way that seems to say "Just you wait!" Jesus, however, uses this phrase in a completely different way. In fact, he uses it in a way that undermines both anger and resentment. The point is that, in the kingdo ....   Read More

August282013

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year /c    

August192013

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 25th August 2013    

 I really don't remember the number of people I've met who say they know somebody famous and then, when they are asked about the person, reluctantly admit that, in fact, they were in school with the person many years ago or else they had grown up in the same town as the person who is now famous but then were really of no particular consequence.  Once somebody has achieved something notab ....   Read More

August122013

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 18th August 2013    

When I was a child central heating was not common in Irish homes.  Practically everyone that I knew then used coal, logs, or even turf to heat their homes.  The winters, often cold and long (not to speak of the summers!), were times when the fireplace became the centre of the living room.  It was very important to keep the fire going - even when that meant having to go out in the co ....   Read More

August062013

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 11th August 2013    

  One of the meanings of “to believe” that we are often inclined to forget is that of “to trust”.  A hint to this fact can be found in the English word “credit” which shares the same Latin root (credere) as the English word “creed” which, as we all know, is the name given to the profession of faith we share each Sunday.  An act of fai ....   Read More

July292013

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 4th August 2013    

Every time the prize for the National Lottery passes 5 million Euro there are queues to buy tickets.  When the prize is 1, 2, or even 3 or 4 million people seem less interested.  Isn't there something very interesting in the fact that people, most of them not particularly wealthy, will almost scorn a prize of "only 1 million Euro"?  When you think about it, the likelihood ....   Read More

July262013

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 28th July 2013    

Welcome is a very important idea in today's readings.  Following on from Abraham's welcome to the three travellers/ angels last week we read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Many people have incorrectly identified the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah as having been homosexuality - it's not.  The sin of these cities is their failure in the area of hospitality.  The intimacies referred ....   Read More

July152013

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 21st July 2013    

It’s very tempting to take the story of Martha and Mary as one which illustrates the priority of prayer and contemplation over work and service.  This distinction, in many ways, seems enshrined in the history and life of the church – contemplative or active orders; the balance between prayer and action; and even the fuga mundi (literally the flight from the world which was the e ....   Read More

July082013

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 14th July, 2013    

There is more than one way to read the parable of the Good Samaritan.  I suspect that everyone is familiar with the very practical idea contained in this parable – that loving others is something that involves practical, and sometimes very onerous, commitment to serving the needs of those others.  Even if there were someone who was not familiar with this story, the message of goi ....   Read More

July022013

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 7th July, 2013    

I don’t know if you have ever noticed but, when you go to travel anywhere there are lots of preparations before the journey begins.  There are also, often, many plans for what we will do when we arrive.  Much less importance is given to the in-between bit; the actual travelling bit.  Despite the evident usefulness, most people don’t even pay much attention to the safet ....   Read More

June292013

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 30th June, 2013    

The fact that smoking has become so unacceptable in public has led to those who smoke being corralled in restricted smoking areas which, in many cases, has probably made them more visible than ever.  One interesting phenomenon has arisen in this context and it is the way the smokers care for their smoking area.  Efforts are made to keep it clean and, very often, rotas are established to ....   Read More

June192013

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 23rd June, 2013    

They say that there are so many relics of the true cross in so many places around the world that it would be possible to recreate the Black Forest by putting them all together.  This cynical phrase betrays a truth. The cross features large in our Christian consciousness.     This is hardly surprising since the crucifixion represents one of the most dramatic episodes in the ....   Read More

June112013

11th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 16th of June 2013    

The hurler on the ditch is a common figure in Irish culture.  Unable to decide what team he supports this figure is imprisoned by his inability to make a commitment.  He consoles himself by knowing better than anyone what those who are actually playing the game should be doing.  Those who are playing don’t have time to roar and shout out advice and complaints but the hurler ....   Read More

June062013

10th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C. June 9th, 2013    

We often speak of the idea that each one of us is individually called by God.  It can be difficult, however, to be able to articulate what this actually means.  While it is clear that to respond to that call involves using our talents and gifts for the good of others, it can be more challenging to try to go beyond this and describe what our individual vocation is all about. For ex ....   Read More

May272013

Feast of Corpus Christi - 2nd June, 2013    

On the Channel 4 programme Ready, Steady, Cook the chefs always seem to be able to make the most interesting of dishes out of any combination of ingredients provided by the participants.  The underlying philosophy of the programme seems to be that it is always possible to make a meal, no matter how limited the ingredients seem to be.   When the little boy presented himself with his f ....   Read More

May202013

Trinity Sunday - May 26th 2013    

One of my earliest memories of being taught religion in school is when the nun said (and I can’t even remember the question that had been asked): “It’s a mystery, you’re not supposed to understand it…!”  This is not exactly a response that encourages investigation and yet, this statement, or something like it, is one that can provide a sort of refuge for ....   Read More

May072013

Feast of the Ascension - 12th May, 2013    

The feast of the Ascension provides us with, in many ways, the link between Easter and Pentecost.  The frightened group of believers who gathered in the upper room after the resurrection have come a long way.  While in the aftermath of the resurrection they felt themselves to be abandoned, now, as Jesus ascends into heaven, they are left once again but it is a very different experience. ....   Read More

May012013

May 1st - Feast of St. Joseph the Worker    

Apparently in response to the “May Day” celebrations for workers sponsored by Communists, Pius XII instituted the feast of St. Joseph the Worker in 1955. But the relationship between Joseph and the cause of workers has a much longer history.   In a constantly necessary effort to keep Jesus from being removed from ordinary human life, the Church has from the beginning proudly ....   Read More

April242013

26th of April - Feast of Our Mother of Good Counsel - Patroness of the Irish Augustinian Province    

The 26th of April is the feast of Our Mother of Good Counsel.  Under this title Mary is invoked as the Patroness of the Irish Province of Augustinians.  The Irish Augustinian association with this picture is likely to be related to friars having bought a “villa” in the Italian town of Genazzano.  While this would seem like an inordinate expense nowadays, San Pio (a churc ....   Read More

March202013

Palm Sunday - 24th March 2013    

Holy Week begins with the celebration of Palm Sunday.  This is a day that, in some ways, is the poor relation in the celebrations of the week.  The week is dominated by the Easter Triduum which, in its turn, is dominated by the Easter Vigil, called by St. Augustine, "the Mother of all Vigils".  However, Palm Sunday actually fulfills a very important function in the context ....   Read More

March162013

St. Patrick's Day (5th Sunday of Lent) - 17th March 2013    

Lá Féile Pádraig. La ina bhfuil daoine ar fud an domhan ag ceiliúradh; lá ina thuigtear gach rud Eireannach mar rud speisíalta le caint, comhrá, rírá agus rúille búille. Ach cá bhfuil Pádraig?   It sometimes seems that Patrick, in some ways, has disappeared from the celebration of this day ....   Read More

March142013

Lent    

When I was a child Lent was all about giving things up.  This giving up of things, unfortunately, became an end in itself which created to my childish mind the idea that the more miserable you were, the better you were doing it. Patently, this doesn't make sense for Christians who live their lives knowing that Christ is risen.  Ours are to be lives of joy and lives of hope.  Lent ....   Read More

December162012

Third Sunday of Advent, Year C - 16th December, 2012    

Today is one of the two days in the year which in which the focus is placed on joy.  In fact, it is known as "Gaudete" Sunday.  Gaudete is a Latin word which means "Rejoice".  One interesting thing about this word is that it is in the imperative form of the verb which means that it has the character or an order or an instruction.  We are being told to rejoic ....   Read More

November172012

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - 18th November 2012    

Each time we come to this time of the year we hear about the end of the world.  I suppose part of the logic behind this arrangement is that we are drawing close to the end of the Church’s liturgical year.  Very soon we will be beginning a new year as we enter the season of Advent.  While it seems clear that the first Christians expected Jesus to return in glory sooner rather ....   Read More

November032012

Thirty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - 4th November 2012    

The story of Narcissus is a very ancient story which preserves for us some eternal truths.  Narcissus was a Greek.  Unlike the Greeks of our times who are pressured by financial insecurity and international scrutiny, Narcissus had no cares.  He was free to wander the hills and valleys of his native country as a sort of archetypal free-spirit.  There was one very special thing a ....   Read More

October132012

Twenty-eigth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - 14th October 2012    

The question that the rich young man asks in today's Gospel passage has to be one of the most famous questions in the entire New Testament.  We can almost feel his disappointment when he ends up going away sad from his encounter with Jesus.  In fact, with the exception of the pharisees and other jewish notables, he is the only one to come away sad from meeting Jesus. The question he a ....   Read More

October082012

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - 7th of October, 2012    

The introduction of divorce to Ireland is something that has been the focus of much debate.  Especially with regard to how much it has affected the family unit.  The fact remains, however, that couples who wish to get married do not intend to divorce or separate.  Their intention is to remain united and in love for a very long time to come.  Those who wish to marry have found s ....   Read More

September302012

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B- 31st September, 2012    

A quick look at the gospel commentary reveals that today's gospel passage comprises a number of different sayings of Jesus.  That sort of explains why the piece does not read as a unit.  These are sayings that were considered so important by the first Christians that they preserved them by writing them down.  I will just look at one part of this passage. We are told that if our h ....   Read More

September222012

Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - 23d of September 2012    

What is religion all about? This question lies at the heart of the gospel passage which we hear this weekend. The disciples who are arguing over who of them is the most important illustrate one of the classic difficulties of any religious project – missing the point.   Religion is one of those things with which we are generally familiar but, if we are asked to define it, w ....   Read More

August172012

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - 19th August 2012    

It seems that very often we equate wisdom with knowledge but, actually, the two are quite distinct.  Knowledge is about information, memory and experience.  Wisdom has much more to do with meaning, understanding and being able to apply knowledge to differing circumstances and events.  The writer of the Book of Proverbs reminds us that wisdom also has a lot to do with being prepared. ....   Read More

August102012

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B, 12th of August 2012    

Sometimes we can fail to see things because they are not what we are looking for.  Today's first reading is an example of this.  On the face of it this reading provides us with the account of Elijah who was having a tough time.  So tough, in fact, that he wished he would die.  In his despair God draws near and nourishes him for his journey.  All in all, this is the sort of ....   Read More

July262012

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - 29th July 2012    

There is a well-known saying that surfaces every once in a while which tells us that "size doesn't matter".  Supposedly, this phrase is of a rather dubious origin but, nonetheless, it surfaces regularly in all sorts of situations. Sometimes, however, size does matter.  In fact, sometimes, size is precisely the point. This weekend's gospel passage is one in which we must take ....   Read More

July132012

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - 15th July, 2012    

From time to time in the gospels we come across references to unclean spirits.  We can read how Jesus had no hesitation in casting them out and curing those who had been afflicted.  The idea of spirits was very common in the ancient world.  Today, there are generally two contrasting attitudes to this phenomenon. 1- There are those who believe in the presence of spirits and in their ....   Read More

March032012

2nd Sunday of Lent, Year B - 4th of March 2012    

I have never been very good with my hands and when it comes to machines or cars I can only plead total ignorance.  Luckily, I have been blessed with people who have always helped me with these things.  One thing that I always notice, however, is that they invariably invite me to look at the workings of the machine or under the car bonnet.  Why?  I have no idea what I am looking ....   Read More

February262012

1st Sunday of Lent, Year B - 26th of February, 2012    

Lent began on Wednesday with the customary imposition of ashes. This gesture remains extremely popular even with people who do not normally attend church services. Particularly striking, last Wednesday, was the fact that so many young people continue to wear the ashes that mark the beginning of Lent. What is going on behind this gesture?   Those. more cynical than I, might ....   Read More

January212012

Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B - 22nd January, 2012    

John was arrested; Jesus came to Galilee. The kingdom of God has drawn near. The disciples drop everything and follow him. Today’s gospel reading telescopes quite a few events into one narrative which is urgent and racing. This is the way the story is told by someone who has just witnessed an accident or by a child who has just discovered that Santa has come. Initial ....   Read More

November302011

2nd Sunday of Advent, Year B - December 4th, 2011    

Preachers, politicians and teachers are often reminded that if you want to hold the attention of your audience it is important to have a strong beginning which will arouse interest in the listeners and encourage them to pay attention.  Mark does this with his gospel although perhaps in a way that we are unable to appreciate.  The people of Mark's time knew that the Messiah was expected b ....   Read More

November252011

1st Sunday of Advent, Year B, 27th November 2011    

Today's gospel tells us very clearly to be awake, to be on the watch.  As we begin Advent this year we are, possibly, more aware of the need to be awake than usual.  The introduction of the new Roman Missal this Sunday is something that will surely keep us all on our toes as we try to get used to the new responses in the liturgy as well as the new format of prayers that have been familia ....   Read More

October092011

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 9th October 2011    

There are some things that, as a priest, I have come to dislike very much.  I dislike constant meetings; I find it a challenge to be pleasant to people all the time; and wedding planners, I really hate wedding planners. However, there are times when even I have to accept the advantage of having a wedding planner.  Today's gospel passage is one of those.  I mean, invitations to the ....   Read More

October012011

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - October 2nd, 2011    

Today's gospel passage is one that can be read and understood from many points of view.  For the Jews it clearly evokes the imagery of Isaiah where the vine represents the people of Israel.  The message is very evident.  If the people that God has chosen do not live up to their side of the covenant; then God will find a people who will. For Christians, especially given the int ....   Read More

August062011

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 7 August 2011    

Every child loves to be in the water.  Apparently, this may well have something to do with the fact that for nine months they have enjoyed the safety of the womb where they have floated in the intimacy of their mother's body.  Water recalls this safe experience. And yet, almost every child, at some stage, will have the experience of being knocked over by a wave; of swallowing too much w ....   Read More

July032011

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 3rd July 2011    

Many people who have orthopaedic operations in hospital really do very well.  The surgeons do their work and the skilled nursing ensures that the patient is, quite literally, back on their feet very quickly.  When the patient is discharged becomes a very important time because as they are discharged they are invariably given a set of instructions that are to enhance their healing process ....   Read More

March122011

First Sunday of Lent, Year A - 13 March 2011    

Oscar Wilde famously said that he could resist everything except temptation.  With this phrase Wilde managed to do two things at the same time.  Firstly, as was his wont, he managed to come up with another of his famous aphorisms and secondly, he managed to appear to speak about temptation without actually doing so. Fundamentally, temptation is about choice.  Specifically it refe ....   Read More

March062011

Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 6th March 2011    

Even the most dodgy of cowboy builders knows that if a house is to stand it will need solid foundations. Without foundations a building will always be ready to fall. The fact that the foundations are solid gives us peace of mind. Recently, however, I have begun to see things differently. Twice, over recent weeks, we have had two windows smashed – one by an attempted the ....   Read More

February192011

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 20th February 2011    

To allow someone to walk all over you is never a good idea, and, no matter how it might seem, it is not what Jesus is suggesting for us in today's gospel passage either.  To offer the other cheek to the one who hits you and to pray for your enemies seems ridiculous but we really have to look on it in the context of what this passage is really about - love your neighbour as yourself. It is ....   Read More

February122011

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 13th February 2011    

If it is true that the exception proves the rule, as is generally held, it is also probably true that too many exceptions can very quickly do away with the rule.  We have grown accustomed to seeing, in our legal system, people who seem to be excused from the normal punishment due to their crimes due to mitigating circumstances or technicalities.  People often get angry when this is the c ....   Read More

February052011

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 6th February 2011    

Nowadays we are told to be careful of our salt intake as it can cause health problems.  However, we all know that without salt our food would be insipid and tasteless.  Jesus' remark, that we should be salt for the earth uses one of the most common elements of our kitchen cupboards to describe what Christians should be like. This seems, to me at least, to be significant.  Christian ....   Read More

January292011

Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A - 30th January 2011    

Many authors have written about the fact that the Beatitudes are the magna carta for the disciples of Jesus.  Whereas the ten commandments frame the experience of following God in terms of "don'ts" the Beatitudes present the experience of discipleship in terms of what we should do - or, more accurately, in terms of how we should be. There is a very important difference between bein ....   Read More

January012011

Second Sunday after Christmas Year A - 2nd January 2011    

Today's gospel reading presents with one of the most poetic passages of the entire New Testament.  John's words about the beginning evoke the first lines of the book of Genesis when God's spirit moved over the waters in the act of creation. This ongoing creation begun by God reaches its climax in the proclamation that the word became flesh.  In the first creation God burst forth in a sp ....   Read More

December182010

Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A - 19th December 2010    

This Sunday marks the culmination of our Advent preparations.  We are now on the cusp of celebrating what, in so many ways, seems to be the main event.  However, if Advent teaches us anything it is that the waiting is just as important as the event itself.  Our waiting is not one of patient endurance; nor is it the formal waiting which we might experience while awaiting our turn to ....   Read More

December112010

Gaudete Sunday, Third Sunday of Advent Year A - 12th December 2010    

Today is the third Sunday of Advent and is known as Gaudete Sunday.  Gaudete is a Latin word which means "Rejoice".  This Sunday's special name comes from the opening hymn that was sung on this day when the mass was in Latin.  Today is distinguished from the other Sundays of Advent by the fact that the priest wears pink vestments during the mass although many parishes do n ....   Read More

December032010

2nd Sunday of Advent, Year A - 5th December 2010    

Today's gospel passage presents us with the figure of John the Baptist.  This is the one of whom Jesus said that no one greater had been born of woman.  He is often referred to as the precursor of Jesus and the greatest of all the prophets. Despite his many titles John is a figure that remains distant from most modern experience.  If he were to appear today he would probably be dis ....   Read More

November262010

1st Sunday of Advent Year A - 28 November 2010    

And so, once again, we begin the liturgical year of the Church.  It's quite interesting to think that the beginning reminds us to focus on the end and on being ready. While in one sense Advent is closely related to Christmas it also has a significance of its own.  This is a penetential time and like all Christian penance the emphasis is on preparing oneself, not on making onself suffe ....   Read More

November132010

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 14 November 2010    

We often hear people speaking about the pace of life being very fast.  Older people will often comment on how things were simpler in their day.  If you try to think back over what you did during the past week (not to mention the past month or year) it will probably be difficult to remember everything.  Part of the reason for this is that our modern world is always "becoming ....   Read More

November052010

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 7 November 2010    

There are many types of question.  Some people ask questions so as to show others what they already know; others ask questions to because they are seeking information; some people use questions to embarass others.  Each of these types of question is far removed from the most sincere type of question which seeks the truth. In today's gospel passage we see Jesus being cornered publicall ....   Read More

October212010

30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 24th October, 2010    

There is a story that tells of a man who went into a church and prayed in the following way: "O Lord, I am such an unworthy sinner and yet you love me.  Your mercy surpasses anything I could ever deserve.  Your love for me gives me strength and courage." After a short while another man came in to the same church and said: "O Lord, I am such an unworthy sinner and yet you ....   Read More

October162010

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 17th October 2010    

The fight for justice is never an easy one.  By its nature, to have to fight for justice means that the one fighting is the underdog and underdogs always have to work harder.  The story that Jesus tells us in this passage uses the image of the widow who was looking for justice from an unjust judge and eventually gets her way by continuing to insist.  The message is that if you perse ....   Read More

October032010

Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - 3 October 2010    

Today's gospel passage raises many possible questions but the one that stands out for me is: "Who is in charge?"  Do we who see ourselves as followers of Christ believe, really believe, that Christ should direct our lives or do we think that we ourselves should be the ones who are the focus of our lives? Today's gospel uses a lot of language about masters and servants.  This i ....   Read More

October022010

Article by Muireann from Drogheda    

  A BAD ROMANCE....?   As a twenty-something in today’s modern world, or moreover, today’s modern Ireland, there are countless ideologies and influences permeating life at what can sometimes seem like an unstoppable pace.   The boundless bombardment of social networking and the usurping tide of global media is something that provides its own constant ....   Read More

September252010

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time - 26th September 2010    

Today we revisit the famous story of Dives and Lazarus.  In fact, the rich man is not named in the gospel story.  Dives is the latin for "rich man".  Nonetheless, this is one of the best-known, and in many ways, most challenging of any of the stories to be found in the gospels. One of the reasons that it is so challenging is that we can all probably see something of ourse ....   Read More

March292010

Easter Triduum    

The highlight of the Church's year is the Easter Triduum which comprises the ceremonies of the Mass of the Lord's Supper (Holy Thursday), the Veneration of the Cross (Good Friday) and the Easter Vigil (Holy Saturday Night).  Many places will also have ancillary services such as the Stations of the Cross, Penetential Services and other moments which are designed to help us to reflect. ....   Read More

March252010

Palm Sunday - 28th March 2010    

Today marks the beginning of Holy Week which is the highlight of the Church's year.  Palm Sunday recalls Jesus entering Jerusalem to the acclaim of the multitude, the same multitude which would call for his crucifixion just a few days later.  This week focuses our attention particularly on the passion of the Lord and it does this in two ways.  Firstly, it presents us with the events ....   Read More

March232010

Turlough was a student with us for two years, he wrote this article to speak to current events    

  We Catholics are under a lot of pressure. Reading the press, listening to the news would make one believe that being a Catholic or supporting the Hierarchy is synonymous with being a paedophile. Of course everyone will say “No way!” but look a little deeper. Our faith and Church is mocked and vilified, our leaders are running round like headless chickens and we, the Faithful, a ....   Read More

March182010

5th Sunday of Lent Year C - 21st March 2010    

The story of the woman caught in the act of adultery has to be one of the most emblematic stories in all of the gospels.  It is interesting to note that this passage did not originally form part of John's gospel but was part of a "floating tradition" which was incorporated into the gospel at a later date.  This gives testimony to the power of this passage and the importance att ....   Read More

March152010

St. Patrick's Day - 17th March, 2010    

Every year we spend a lot of energy on commemorating St. Patrick's day which, in many ways, has taken on a life of it's own, quite apart from the saint whose name it bears.  Today is about more than recalling the evangelisation carried out by Patrick; it is just as much about celebrating what it means to be Irish.  This year, of course, with crises in the Church, in politics and in the e ....   Read More

March112010

4th Sunday of Lent Year C - 14th March 2010 - Laetare Sunday    

Today is the fourth Sunday of Lent and has been traditionally known as Laetare Sunday.  Laetare is a Latin word which means "to rejoice".  Christian penance is never about beating us down and making us sad.  Every Christian act is done in the light of the resurrection and in the presence and hope of the risen Lord.  That is why both of the periods in the Church's year ....   Read More

March062010

3rd Sunday of Lent, Year C - 7th of March 2010    

There are many ways of thinking about repentance.  We can look at it as a disciplne, as a restoration of a relationship, as an expression of being contrite or even as a matter of justice.  Whatever point of view you take it should remain clear that repentance is really about the person. Our acts cannot influence God and therefore, our repentance will not change God.  God loves ....   Read More

March022010

Interesting Reflection about God by Ben Stein    

I received this as an email from a friend and want to share it with you.  It made me think... might do the same for you Possidius The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday  Morning Commentary. My confession:  I am a Jew, and every single one o ....   Read More

February252010

2nd Sunday of Lent, Year C    

Today’s gospel passage presents us with Luke’s account of the Transfiguration of Jesus.  I suppose it is hard for us to imagine what it must have been like to witness such an event but it certainly must have been one of those “Oh!!!” moments for the disciples when they began to grasp, however imperfectly,  that they were part of something much grea ....   Read More

February172010

1st Sunday of Lent Year C - 28th of February 2010    

The gospel passage which we listen to today, the 1st Sunday of Lent, recalls the temptations of Jesus in the desert when he was tempted by the devil at the beginning of his public ministry. In fact, today’s reading is at the heart of what Lent is all about. Spending forty days (Lent is just over six weeks long) in preparation for what is the culmination of the whole Jesus event ....   Read More

February152010

My Experience of Attending International Augustinian Youth Festivals by John (Ballyboden)    

  I have been attending the International Augustinian Youth Festival since 1998. I have been very fortuitous in getting to see Munnserstadt 1998, Rome 2000 and Madrid 2003. Being very candid, the events have been some of the highlights of my life over the last 10 years. They are a fantastic occassion and bring a huge eclectic culture to your attention. Ive met people from all continents, all ....   Read More

February132010

6th Sunday of Ordinary Time    

Luke's version of the Beatitudes differs from Matthew's signficantly. Firstly, while Matthew says: "Blessed are the poor in spirit" while Luke has the much balder statment: "Blessed are the poor".  Luke does not leave room for spiritualising in what has to be the magna carta for Christians.  Why are the poor blessed? Certainly, after my experience in Ecuador I can s ....   Read More

February042010

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time - 7th of February 2010    

Dom Helder Camara, the famous bishop of Recife in Brazil quoted today's gospel passage when addressing Church leaders in Brazil.  The phrase he quoted was the sentence of Jesus: "Put out into the deep".  He was calling on the Brazilian Church to be courageous in its witness to justice and in its service of the poor. In so many ways it seems as if the Church in Ireland has lost ....   Read More

February032010

Feast of St. Blaise - 3rd of February    

The 3rd of February is the feast of St. Blaise and is traditionally associated with the blessing of the throat. This is a day that seems to have an enormous appeal to Irish people and many who rarely come to church will attend on this date to have their throats blessed. Little is known about Blaise other than that he was bishop of Sebastea and was martyred in Armenia in the year 315. ....   Read More

February022010

Youth retreat - Feedback from Niall (Drogheda)    

  Weekend review On Friday the 29th of January the Augustinian Youth Ministry held a retreat to review the year that had just passed and to map out the intentions for the year to come, namely the A.Y.E gathering in London. While numbers were well below average, those that made the effort to turn up decided from the off to just go and try and make the most out of the retreat and so aft ....   Read More

February012010

A Little Parable About Mothers    

  A Little Parable about mothers   The young mother set foot on the path of life.   “Is the way long?”  She asked. And the guide said: “Yes. And the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning.”   But the young mother was happy, and she could not believe that anythi ....   Read More

January282010

Fourth Sunday of the Year - 31st of January 2010    

  If prophets just went around predicting the future, today’s first and third readings wouldn’t make sense. I presume no one’s ever put a contract out on those persons who, at the end of each year, confidently tell us what to expect during the next year. Though such people are almost always wrong, they’re harmless. Real prophets are dangerous. Bruce Vawter called t ....   Read More

January252010

Prayer for Victims of Haiti Earthquake    

  A Prayer After the Earthquake in Haiti Lord, at times such as this, when we realize that the ground beneath our feet is not as solid as we had imagined, we plead for your mercy. As the things we have built crumble about us, we know too well how small we truly are on this ever-changing, ever-moving, fragile planet we call home. Yet you have promised never to forget us. Do not forg ....   Read More

January212010

Third Sunday of the Year - 24th of January 2010    

  I presume all religions can identify with the scene in today’s first reading. Just when we think we’re doing exactly what God wants us to do, something happens, and we discover things God wants that we haven’t been doing; things which were an essential part of our faith from the beginning, but through the years and centuries were pushed into the background of that faith. ....   Read More

January172010

Second Sunday of the Year - January 17th, 2010    

In the early Christian community, Jesus’ epiphany comprised three events, not just one. It commemorated the astrologers’ visit to Mary and Joseph’s home in Bethlehem, but it also included Jesus’ baptism and his turning water into wine at Cana in Galilee. The first Christians regarded each of these three as an epiphany - a sort of “coming out” - for Jesus. In eac ....   Read More

January092010

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord - January 10th 2010    

Jesus is there anonymously in the crowd, coming forward with the rest to meet the famous John the Baptist. It's impossible for us to see him as an anonymous person; to us he stands out from every crowd and from the whole human race: above them, beyond them; we can't imagine him not yet majestic. But there he is, the village man, Jesus, known only to his family and neighbours. He's not yet famous. ....   Read More

January022010

Feast of the Epiphany - 3rd of January 2010    

Ours is not the first age to look east for wisdom; the East has always had a reputation for it.  The word ‘magi’ is translated here as “wise men.”  ‘Magus’ meant different things: a magus was a member of the Persian priestly caste; or one who possessed occult knowledge and power (this is the origin of our word ‘magic’).  If people had ....   Read More

December262009

Feast of the Holy Family - 27th December 2009    

Did you ever gaze at a distant house as the sun dropped over the hill? Did you ever notice the windows shining in the setting sun? Didn't they look like windows of gold? Didn't those houses seem to be bursting with gold? Did you ever hike over to see - to see whether those houses were really houses of gold? A ten-year-old boy once did that. From his house on the hill he saw another house on ano ....   Read More

December262009

Feast of the Holy Family - 27th December 2009    

Did you ever gaze at a distant house as the sun dropped over the hill? Did you ever notice the windows shining in the setting sun? Didn't they look like windows of gold? Didn't those houses seem to be bursting with gold? Did you ever hike over to see - to see whether those houses were really houses of gold? A ten-year-old boy once did that. From his house on the hill he saw another house on ano ....   Read More

December222009

Christmas - Feast of the Nativity of the Lord - 25th December 2009    

One Solitary Life   He was born in an obscure village, the son of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter's shop until he was thirty. Then for three years he became a wandering preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a house. He didn't go to college. He never visited a big city. He never travelled ....   Read More

December182009

Fourth Sunday of Advent - 20th December 2009    

The dramatis personae of this Sunday's gospel passage don’t lead us to expect anything revolutionary.  They are an old woman and a young girl.  Both are to give birth, true, and the birth of a child is always a potential revolution; but the old woman is really beyond the age of child-bearing (Luke 1:7) and the young girl wasn’t expected to be there yet (Matthew 1:18). ....   Read More

December102009

3rd Sunday of Advent Year C - 13th December 2009    

To appreciate our regular Advent readings, it might help to have a split personality. When Paul, for instance, reminds the Philippian community, “The Lord is near!” he’s talking about something quite different from John the Baptizer’s statement, “ . . . One mightier than I is coming.” Though Jesus is the subject of both sentences, the two authors aren’t re ....   Read More

December042009

Second Sunday of Advent - 6th of December 2009    

“From shadows and symbols to the truth,” (ex umbris et imaginibus in veritatem): this was the personal motto of John Henry Newman (1801-1890).  Since ancient times Christian writers have used this expression, and others like it, to place Jesus in relation to the prophets who went before him.  In him there is a coming out into the light after the long night of darkness and hal ....   Read More

December032009

Augustine and Unity - Talk given by Noel to Augustinian Values Institute, Waterford, November 2009    

Talking about Saint Augustine is a proposition which is bound to fail. He wrote such an amount of works on such huge variety of subjects that it is extremely difficult to do him justice and not to leave something out. In fact, between books, letters and sermons we have over 1030 still in existence which is quite remarkable considering the amount of time that has passed since he lived. Bear in m ....   Read More

December022009

Floods and Murphy Report    

In the same week in which we saw the country flooded and people's homes destroyed by water we also learned of the extent to which many young people and children have had their lives destroyed by evil people masqueading as pastors. This abuse was compounded by the reckless incompetence of Church leaders who acted as if the problem of Child Sexual Abuse would just go away on its own. Obviously, th ....   Read More

November282009

First Sunday of Advent - 29th of November 2009    

Luke appears to be the first author of the Christian Scriptures to presume Jesus’ Parousia won’t take place during his lifetime. Paul and Luke’s two gospel predecessors - Mark and Matthew - faithfully held onto the hope that Jesus’ Second Coming was just around the corner. By the mid-80s, Luke has given up that hope. He takes for granted he and his readers will live their ....   Read More



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