This weekend (Sept. 15th/16th), Peter’s declaration of faith in Jesus as the Son of God is at the centre of the gospel. Indeed, in Matthew’s gospel, these golden words of Peter are a turning point. Before Peter speaks, the disciples are hesitant and doubtful. They remain uncertain. After he speaks, they are emboldened and stronger. We can all recognize their doubts and their change of heart. In any relationship and within the family, doubts can linger. Then a moment comes when everything changes because we can see people for what and who they are. We can see and understand their nature. This is what happened to Peter. Once he was clear, everyone else was clear as well. Peter’s speaks the golden words of faith. All it takes at Mass each weekend is for these words to be repeated. We can trust that Jesus is truly the Son of God, that the Eucharist is the real presence of God and that our shared faith is well placed and strengthened. This weekend, and at every Mass, we repeat the words of Peter and we say yes, Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that makes all the difference in my life.
All roads lead to Phoenix Park for the major event of the Papal Visit this weekend. There are many highlights to this momentous event both public and private. Our fervent prayer at masses this weekend is that the presence of Pope Francis will bring people together, bring healing for those who have been hurt and bring hope to many people who may feel dejected. May God bless our Holy Father, Pope Francis in this daunting task and may God bless all those who attend and everyone in our beloved country. Our Lady Crowned, pray for us.
The readings are blunt and direct this weekend (Aug. 11th/12th). Elijah is close to despair yet the words of the angel to him are clear, ‘get up and eat’. In the gospel, Jesus bluntly tells people, ‘stop complaining to each other’. Both statements might seem uncaring to the listener and to the modern mind. These statements are blunt because they both point directly to the truth that is in front of people and they are unable to see it. It is as if a drape is removed from people’s eyes and they can see the truth and the power of the presence of Jesus Christ in the bread of life and the Eucharist. It is as if Jesus in the gospel and the angel in the first reading shake the people to see the answer to all their complaining straight in front of their eyes. Today, we may have many complaints, doubts, worries and reservations but the power and beauty of Jesus in the Eucharist is straight in front of our eyes and our lives. Listen this weekend and, if necessary, be jolted into the presence of God in the Eucharist. We are a privileged people with something truly wonderful in the Eucharist.
These are the concluding lines of the first reading this weekend (Aug. 18th/19th) and set the scene for the other readings. The psalm urges us to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’. The gospel concludes that ‘anyone who eats this bread (of life) will live forever’. This is the fourth consecutive Sunday that we listen to words about the bread of life and the Eucharist. It has been a continuous teaching about the nature and power of the Eucharist. Most likely, we are still in ‘holiday mode’ and during the coming week we will be immersed in the visit of Pope Francis. The highlight of the Pope’s visit will be the huge gathering for Mass in the Phoenix Park on next Sunday afternoon. The Eucharist will be at the centre drawing people from every parish in Ireland and beyond. Please God, the power of the Eucharist to unify people and to strengthen them will be tangible and that blessings will flow from that historic gathering. This weekend, we ‘walk in the ways of perception’. We want to ‘taste and see that the Lord is good’. We want the bread of eternal life in through the Eucharist.
This weekend (Aug. 4th/5th), we continue listening to chapter six of the gospel of John or the ‘Eucharistic Chapter’. At the end of the gospel, the whole community cry out ‘give us that bread always’. It is a cry from the heart to be nourished by the presence of Jesus who says ‘I am the bread of life’. Most days, we all have our meals routinely at a certain time of the day. We realise that we can become irritable and tired if we don’t do so. If we get very hungry, we will grab the first thing that we can put our hand on or rush into a shop to get anything to eat. The whole community are hungry and we can understand their cry. Jesus is their ‘bread of life’. Their hearts and their spirits are lifted and their hunger disappears in the presence of Jesus. It is a wonderful feeling and one that they will pursue. This weekend, we pursue the same nourishment and crave for the same bread of life. In our Mass we will hear that Jesus is the bread of life. Please God our hunger will be satisfied as well, our tiredness disappears and we can be refreshed