Last weekend, we saw Jesus caring for the disciples who were tired and worn. He brought them to ‘a lonely place’ where ‘he thought them at length’. Jesus does exactly the same in the account of the loaves and fishes in the gospel this weekend (Jul. 28th/29th). It says that Jesus ‘looked up and saw a large crowd approaching’. It also says that ‘Jesus knew exactly what he was going to do’ in providing for this huge gathering. Understandably, this account of the loaves and fishes is understood in the context of our celebration of the Eucharist. Jesus knows us well and understands our needs. Jesus understands our need for nourishment and companionship as we literally sit in groups in different churches and locations throughout the world. We receive more than we could ever imagine through the Eucharist and the golden virtues of faith hope and charity. These gifts are the ‘twelve baskets’ that ‘overflow’ from our Mass into life and the lives of our families. This weekend, we are in the right place, gathering around the altar of the Lord who nourishes our tiredness and our hunger. May God bless you and your family and may you be blessed with faith, hope and charity
The beautiful weather has put most people in good form. People are more relaxed and routine has been put aside to make the most of the sunshine. Please God, that will remain the case for people and families for another while. In the gospel text this weekend, Jesus is calling the disciples to ‘rest a while’. The disciples have even forgotten to eat. Many people understand how that can happen because of commitments, stress and worry. It is not a good thing to forget to eat and yet it happens so easily. Equally, people of faith can forget to sit at the table of the Lord and be nourished by the Word of God and the Eucharist. Furthermore, we can be rushing and stressed. Each time we come to Mass, we follow Jesus to that ‘lonely place’ to be with Him and to ‘rest a while’. We are fed at the table of the Lord and brought back to ourselves and to God. Every weekend, we can make that sacred journey with Jesus and be revived and renewed. Take that opportunity and gift today and ‘rest for a while’ in the company of Jesus and of one another.
On May 12th & 19th, there will be two First Holy Communion ceremonies in our parish. Many other children will receive their Holy Communion in neighbouring parishes. Many people will be invited to Holy Communion ceremonies in other places and in other parts of the country. The ‘Do This in Memory’ programme continues this Saturday evening. All these are tremendous family events providing nostalgia for adults and a sense of joy and excitement for the children. It is the presence of God in the Eucharist that brings such happiness. While 2018 is a different landscape for families, the gift of the Eucharist for children becomes even more important and not less so. One of the central images of the First Holy Communion programme is the image of the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd is illustrated and celebrated at the time of the First Confession. The Good Shepherd gathers together, gently leads and cares for all. The Good Shepherd is beautifully presented in this weekend’s gospel text. The Good Shepherd loves and cares for each one of us. This weekend is also Vocation Sunday. Again the Good Shepherd is the encouraging model and image. It is a tremendous gift from God to be able to serve as a priest in 2018 and we look forward to this year trusting in the Good Shepherd.
Those who have booked seats on the bus travelling to the Papal Mass in the Phoenix Park will soon receive details of their guaranteed tickets. These tickets are non-transferable. Shuttle bus services are planned to transport people from the Coach Parking to the Phoenix Park (walking distance from Coach Parking area to Phoenix Park may be up to 3-5 kilometres). Further details regarding shuttle service in due course. According to the website of the World Meeting of Families 2018, there is some walking involved however; rest areas will also be provided along the route for people’s comfort.
On this Second Sunday of Easter and also, Divine Mercy Sunday, we meet a very familiar friend in the disciple Thomas. We are all comfortable in his company because he says what we often think when we find it hard to believe without evidence. He says what the rest of us are thinking! The beauty of this dialogue with the Risen Jesus is the way in which he is received by Jesus. Jesus brings Thomas to belief by touch. It is not about convincing Thomas at a rational or academic level. Jesus ‘meets’ Thomas in his suffering and at a point which Thomas immediately grasps and understands. It is a model for each of us this weekend. While we struggle at a level of reason and intellect yet we can immediately grasp the presence of the Risen Jesus in our suffering and pain. This weekend, we ask the Risen Jesus to take our hand and to place it into His side. We can touch the Risen Jesus in the Eucharist and receive the healing and belief we crave. Doubt no longer, but believe.