26 Feb 2011

27th February 2011 - 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A

On this weeks show we begin the programme with a prayer space where we remember all those who were lonely, sick and struggling and those for whom we were asked to pray and invited the sick and the housebound who may not have been able to receive Holy Communion to join us in making a spiritual communion. We have an introduction to the Legion of Mary and how it encourages people to holiness and evangelisation, attempts at responding to our baptismal vocation; our regular reflection on the weekly gospel, Saints of the Weeks and EWTN 

We wish to thank our listeners for their positive comments on our programme - especially our new listeners who listen in to the repeat programme on Thursday nights at 10.30pm.

The Legion of Mary

On this weeks programme, we are introduced to the Legion of Mary - a very Irish contribution to the world wide Church.

The Legion of Mary is a lay apostolic association of Catholics who, with the sanction of the Church and under the patronage of Mary Immaculate, Mediatrix of All Graces, who serve the Church and their neighbour on a voluntary basis in about 170 countries with an excess of 10 million members worldwide.The first meeting of the Legion of Mary took place in Myra House, Francis Street, Dublin, Ireland, on 7 September, 1921. Membership is highest in South Korea, Philippines, Brazil, Argentina and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These countries have between 250,000 and 500,000 members each. 

Active members serve God under the banner of Mary by practising the Spiritual Works of Mercy. The main apostolate of the Legion consists in activities directed towards all men and women, young and old, rich and poor as well as people from the margins of society (homeless, prostitutes, prisoners etc.) and towards non-Catholics. The members of the Legion are primarily engaged in the performance of the Spiritual Works of Mercy rather than works of material aid with a particular focus on true devotion to Our Lady based on the teaching of St. Louis de Montfort which inspires the devotions and work of the Legion.  

Lorraine also introduces us to the potiential new Irish saints with the causes for beatification in the Legion - Frank Duff, Servant of God and Founder of the Legion, Venerable Edel Quinn, and Alfie Lamb, Servant of God.

We discuss how lay associations such as the Legion, which promote holiness and evangelisation among the laity, are attempts at responding to our baptismal vocation - the universal call to holiness (Lumen Gentium V).  John and Lorraine speak about the different apostolic works that the Legion carry out - visiting homes, nursing homes the sick etc.  Anyone interested in finding out more about the Legion is encouraged to go to their local meeting (e.g. in Newcastle West - every Tuesday, parish office, 4pm).

Sunday's Gospel is another excerpt from the Sermon on the Mount. This weeks gospel is especially challenging and we begin our reflection this week focuses on how sometimes we may have the tendency to skip over the challenging parts of the Gospel in order to go to the nicer, more encouraging bits of the Gospel. 

The lesson from today's gospel is very evident: God must have first place in our lives, if we really believe in the future, eternal life, as all Christians and most other people do. But we still must earn our living and work our passage through life. What Christ is warning us against is that we must not get so attached to, and so enslaved by, the things of this world, that we neglect our own eternal happiness. 

Lectio teaches us about the importance of sitting and meditating with the challenge of Sunday's Gospel - there are many who are genuinely asking " ‘What are we to eat? What are we to drink? How are we to be clothed?’ " (Mt 6:31) - how are we to pay the mortgage? how are we to feed the children?  where are we going to get the next pay check?  We encouraged people, if they could, to take a little step back today from the immediate worries of the recession, to see whether God or money was at the centre of their lives - what is the focus of our lives? - God or money? - because we cannot serve two masters (cf. Mt 6:24).

We acknowledged that we do have responsibilities to our families and to work as part of the dignity of the human person, but that if we put God at the centre of our lives, these responsibilities take on their proper proportion - "Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on his righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well." (Mt 6:33).  It is not that God is asking us to ignore our responsibilities, but rather He is reminding us that if we get our priorities right, everything else will fall into place.

Most of us will say: "There is little danger that we shall get enslaved by the wealth of this world - we have so little of it". But a person can be so attached to the little one has and so anxious to increase it, that one can cut God out of his/her life and forget the one thing necessary. It is not the possession of things of this world that Christ forbids, but letting the things of this world possess us. While we make wealth and goods of this earth serve our eternal purpose we can be true followers of Christ, but if we let them enslave us to the exclusion of that purpose then we are indeed on the wrong road.

As a closing thought, we looked at the very human response of worry in the face of difficulties and needs and pondered the question "Can any of you, for all his worrying, add one single cubit to his span of life?" (Mt 6:27).  In particular, John highlighted Fr. Frank's invitation from Lectio to think of a time in our lives when we were really worried about something... and what happened?  It was resolved or it didn't turn out to be as bad as we thought, because the grace and providence of God was working in our lives.  We encouraged those who were worried to imitate Our Lady, our model of faith and trust, by bringing our worries and needs to God in prayer, because our heavenly Father already knows all our needs (cf. Mt 6:32).

Other reflections on this weeks gospel from Word on Fire, English Dominicans, Catholic Ireland.net

Saints of the Week

February 28th - St Hedwig, Queen of Poland
March 1st - St David - Patron of Wales
March 3rd - St Katherine Drexel
March 4th - St Casimir
March 5th - St Kieran 

As always, thanks for listening.

John, Lorraine, Shane, Michael and Fr Michael

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