16 Feb 2014

16th February 2014 - Reaching out to our neighbours: the corporal and spiritual works of mercy - 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

On this weeks programme John and Lorraine reflect on the Christian imperative to reach out to our neighbours especially through what are called the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We have our regular reflection on the weekly gospel and other odds and ends.

You can listen to the podcast of the full programme HERE.

Reaching out to our neighbours: Corporal & Spiritual works of Mercy


Older listeners will remember lists of things to be learnt off as part of their cathechism - 10 commandments, 7 deadly sins, 8 beatitudes, 4 cardinal virtues, 3 theological vitures, 7 sacraments, 12 fruits and 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc etc This week Lorraine reflects on the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy which are actions we can perform that extend God’s compassion and mercy to those in need.
Could mercy be the trademark for Catholicism? After all, we share much of our faith with other Christians, even with Jews and Muslims. We even share many things that make up our faith with all people of goodwill everywhere. But the works of mercy—those really are uniquely Catholic. Perhaps that’s why Pope John Paul II named the Sunday after Easter as Divine Mercy Sunday. In this Update we’ll take a look at what mercy means, and then how our corporal and spiritual works of mercy flow from mercy itself: God’s grace in our lives.
Continue reading HERE.
 
The Corporal Works of Mercy
Corporal Works of Mercy are those that tend to bodily needs of others. In Matthew 25:34-40, six specific Works of Mercy are enumerated, although not this precise list — as the reason for the salvation of the saved, and the omission of them as the reason for damnation. The last work of mercy, burying the dead, comes from the Book of Tobit
  • Feed the hungry
  • Give drink to the thirsty
  • Clothe the naked
  • Shelter the homeless
  • Visit the sick
  • Visit the imprisoned
  • Bury the dead
The Spiritual Works of Mercy
Just as the Corporal Works of Mercy are directed towards relieving corporeal suffering, the even more important aim of the Spiritual Works of Mercy is to relieve spiritual suffering. The latter works are traditionally enumerated thus:
  • Admonish the sinner
  • Instruct the ignorant
  • Counsel the doubtful
  • Comfort the sorrowful
  • Bear wrongs patiently
  • Forgive all injuries
  • Pray for the living and the dead
You can listen to the reflection extracted from the programme HERE.


Catholic and Church of Ireland Diocese join ranks to support St. Mary’s Parish flood relief fund
 
The Bishops of the Catholic and Church of Ireland Dioceses of Limerick have called for the public’s support for a flood relief fund established to assist the people of St. Mary’s Parish in the aftermath of the recent severe flooding that has affected hundreds of residents. The ‘St. Mary’s Parish Relief Fund’ by St. Mary’s Parish will be an opportunity for people from across both denominations to donate to one of the areas worst affected in the country by the recent flooding. The monies from the fund will go towards providing provisions such as food and fuel, clothing and bed clothing.

The fund will be administered though the parish in association with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, which will also receive a direct contribution from the Catholic Diocese of Limerick and the Limerick Social Service Council.
 
 
 
Donations can be made by cheque, payable to St. Mary’s Parish - Flood Relief Fund and given to local parishes who will forward it to St. Mary’s Parihs. Alternatively, they can post cheque to St. Mary’s Presbytery, Athlunkard Street, Limerick. People can also donate through their bank to the relief fund account at the Allied Irish Bank, Raheen, Account No. 82611088, Sort Code 93:52:47.
 
Said Catholic Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy, “We have taken this step in response to the great need there is for support in St. Mary’s Parish. Minister Brian Hayes said this is the worst flooding he has seen in the country and there is an acknowledgement that no community has been worst affected.
“People’s homes are not liveable, they have huge amounts of personal belongings destroyed and, in an area with significant socio economic disadvantage, this has hit really hard. It is incumbent on all of us to do what we can and we are delighted to be joining with Bishop Trevor Williams and the Church of Ireland Diocese in putting the call out to the public to support this fund. “While we have all been struck by the plight of the people of St. Mary’s Parish in this crisis, I think we have also been reminded of the magnificent sense of community spirit that exists on Kings Island as there has been as proud a sense of unity and solidarity in the area in this crisis as you could imagine.”

Said Bishop Trevor Williams: “It is a terrible experience to watch your home being destroyed, knowing that you can do absolutely nothing to stop it. This has been the experience of so many residents of King’s Island recently. “This disaster has been met with a wonderfully generous response by those who want to help. But some people may not know how their gift can find its way to those most in need. St Mary’s Parish Relief Fund is there to make sure those who wish to help, can do so. “It’s at times of real need we can see that the impulse to care for one another is alive and well, and this appeal is to help us all support many families rebuild their lives.”

Gospel - Matthew 5:17-37

This Sundays Gospel is, as always, perfect for exactly where we find ourselves. Gods Word always, always has something to say to our reality. So here we hear Jesus say: 

" ‘...if your virtue goes no deeper than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never get into the kingdom of heaven."
If we keep the laws but miss the meaning, then we miss the point. To grow as Christians, we first need to keep learning and going deeper so that we understand Gods teaching and His challenge to be Disciples of Good News in the world. Do you remember the old verse that said: "Paddy went to Mass each week, he never missed a Sunday. Paddy died and went to Hell for what he did on Monday"? It pointed to the fallacy of being overfocused on rules, so that you missed the relationship God is calling us into. Pope Francis also recently challenged us not to get so caught up in particular rules, but instead to go deeper so that we might access the fullness of faith - the joy of the Gospel. 

 
This is not about relaxing the rules, or throwing anything away. Instead its a challenge to develop a mature faith. Any parent will tell you that they are more relaxed with their younger children - not becuse they love them less, but because they know what matters is much deeper than they initially thought, what matters is the relationship not the rules. As we struggle in Ireland in these days with opinions on right and wrong; may we avoid the temptation to name call or to judge. Instead may we take time to learn what our church teaches, to listen with compassion to all sides and to come to mature decisions as people who have chosen to witness to Jesus Christ's Good News in the world. 
 
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds and ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 2, 6th week of ordinary time

Saints of the Week

February 17th - St Fintan
February 18th - Bl William Harrington
February 19th - Saint Boniface of Lausanne
February 20th - Bl Jacinta Marto (one of the seers of Fatima)
February 21st - St Peter Damien
February 22nd - The Chair of St Peter


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