The opening words of the first reading this weekend (Mar. 30th/31st) are liberating i.e. ‘today, I have taken the shame of Egypt away from you’. The reference is to ‘today’ and our shame about the past or present that can overwhelm us. The context of the gospel is significant i.e. Jesus tells this parable/story to explain why he shares the company of ordinary people and not the self-important. The gospel account of the Prodigal Son is familiar. There is no need to add or subtract from the gospel reading. It is what it is. There is mercy that we might crave from someone else. There is the tenderness of the Father. There is the acceptance and recognition of reality by the son and how his life is dead. There is the imagery of the husks that the pigs eat and the misery of life. There is the dignity of welcome and the importance of people to a loving and merciful Father. There is the resentment of the older brother. There are so many angles, so many interpretations and slants on this parable. The word that could bring it all together is ‘home’. The son comes home to the Father. Home can be the image on this Mother’s day as well. Words can be hard to find. Maybe ‘home’ is the right one for all mothers today. Please God we remember mothers no longer with us and that they are at home in Heaven. In the Eucharist today, hopefully we can experience that same sense of home. Like mothers and fathers, words are hard to find. The Eucharist is much more than words; it is the action of God. You are here in great numbers because this is home for you. We look for the same welcome as the prodigal son, we can experience the same dignity as special guests and we can feel a sense of home.
62 children from Scoil Mhuire agus Eoin and St. Killian’s schools will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation from Mon. Kevin O’Callaghan VG. on this Thurs. Mar. 14th @ 10.30am. Please God, it will be a sacred day for the children, their families and their schools. Furthermore, it will be an historic day for our parish as the progressive reconfiguration of parish schools will be evident to all. Holy Spirit, fall afresh on us.
The gospel reading this weekend (Feb. 2nd/3rd) tells us that those listening to Jesus were ‘astonished’ by the gracious words which he spoke. Later the same gospel tells us that others were ‘enraged’ at His words because it was not what they wanted to hear and that they were one of many to hear the words of Jesus. Nowadays, people are often ‘outraged’ in public discourse and on social media. There are very few places where people recognize and have time for ‘gracious words’. Increasingly, we hear fewer gracious words and many more words that stir rage and outrage. The beauty of our Sunday Mass and our Christian faith is that we have a ‘space’ for gracious words. Words of faith, hope and charity can never enrage and are invariably gracious. In Our Lady Crowned, we are blessed with very good Mass attendances and beautiful celebrations in the church. Gracious words can be heard and can take root. Anything that comes from God is gracious. Such words nurture and encourage rather than create fear and anger. May God continue to bless us in our lives, bless our families, bless our homes and our parish.
A few years ago, a new phrase came into common usage called the ‘theatre of operations’. Sadly this phrase was associated with the desert wars that took place in Iraq. This phrase was another way of referring to the battlefield where dreadful events unfolded. War is always something dreadful with no winners and this phrase does not succeed in making it any different. In the gospel this weekend, Jesus is also in the dessert and also in a battle. However this battle against the temptations of the evil one are fought for us. Simply stated, Jesus is not trapped into making himself the centre of everything and overlooking us. We are not forgotten. Jesus Christ enters into a battle so that we can have hope and some meaning to the suffering of life. This battle will only conclude during the events of Holy Week and victory on Easter morning. Perhaps this weekend you find yourself in a cauldron and a ‘theatre’ of suffering and struggle. Perhaps you are fighting your own battles and need a word of strength. Take heart from the words and actions of Jesus in the desert and on the first Sunday of one of the most ‘real’ seasons of the year in Lent. Fight on and keep going!
2018 was a very busy year in our parish and community. The parish team, parish groups and parish ministries work together in our parish ensuring a welcoming, caring and prayerful environment. Just some of the events arranged by the parish and different parish groups are as follows: Our Lady Crowned welcomed Fr. Laurence Freeman on Aug. 23rd. Fr. Laurence gave a wonderful reflection and prayerful meditation in the church on that evening. Approximately 500 people attended this very successful event. The church was again full to capacity on Sun. Oct 14th for a memorable Finbar Wright Concert. The proceeds of the concert which reached €15,000 went to the provision of supports for the newly established ASD class for children with autism in Scoil Mhuire agus Eoin. Our parish was well represented at the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park in late August. The Mayfield bus was full to capacity and everyone enjoyed an historic event. While it was a very long day, everything went on schedule and people were delighted with their pilgrimage. A pilgrimage from Our Lady Crowned and surrounding parishes is planned to go to Loudres from Jun. 10th-15th 2019 with Fr. Michael. Details of this pilgrimage will be provided very soon. All bookings etc will be arranged through the Office of JWT Travel in Patrick St. Thanks to the Parish Finance Committee for their great work caring for the maintenance and upkeep of our church. Scoil Mhuire agus Eoin was officially opened in May 2018. The new school continues to expand rapidly serving our parish and community. Enrollments are very strong for 2019 and beyond. Refurbishment works on St. Killian’s School (previously St. John’s) was completed in August and the school opened smoothly on the 31st August. A further phase of refurbishment is due for completion soon. Additional ministers of the Word and Eucharist completed their preparations during the autumn and were commissioned in November. Our Lady Crowned Parish continues to work with St. Patrick’s/Holy Family and St. Joseph’s parishes in a very strong and successful pastoral area. We wish Canon Dan Crowley the very best as he continues to recover from illness. These are just some of the events along with the celebration of the sacraments of Confession, First Holy Communion and Confirmation for the children of the area. The church continues to be a special place of celebration and consolation with many christenings, weddings and funeral ceremonies. May Mary, Our Lady Crowned and our patron continue to bless us and we rely on her help and blessing in 2019 as our parish develops and grows. Our Lady Crowned, pray for