31 Jan 2019

St Brigid of Kildare, Mhuire na nGael, Patroness of Ireland

February 1st in Ireland is the first day of Spring and is dedicated to St Brigid of Kildare.Saint Brigid is renowned for her hospitality, almsgiving and care of the sick. Known as Mhuire na nGael (Mary of the Irish), she is a popular saint in Ireland and her feast day is celebrated as the first day of Spring (even if meteorologically speaking it is not for another few weeks for the official start of Spring).

Tradition holds she lived 452AD-524AD as is know in tradition and affection of the Irish as Mary of the Gael. She is said to be the patroness of babies; blacksmiths; boatmen; cattle; chicken farmers; children whose parents are not married; children whose mothers are mistreated by the children's fathers; Clan Douglas; dairymaids; dairy workers; fugitives; infants; Ireland; Leinster, mariners; midwives; milk maids; nuns; poets; poor; poultry farmers; poultry raisers; printing presses; sailors; scholars; travellers; watermen.

From the Intercom magazine archives, Mgr Raymond Murray gives us the history of the saint affectionately known as ‘Muire na nGael’. You can find the article HERE.

Over the years we have done quite a few posts, reflections etc on the blog about St Brigid which are available HERE.

Artist and folklorist Michael Fortune explores the folklore and customs surrounding St. Brigid's Day, which takes place on February 1st, complete with the voices and stories of people from all over Ireland and is shown on RTE at St Brigid and the Coming of the Spring.

From Michael's Facebook:

29 Jan 2019

Some web browsing.....

Cuba’s first church inauguration since the revolution 

UCD conference gives us a foretaste of the coming push for a ‘right-to-die’ 

BBC - Wanting to die at 'five to midnight' - before dementia takes over

Belgium’s euthanasia law in the dock at European Court of Human Rights

Government’s abortion plans meets roadblock in Muslim doctors 

Tale of German man who survived abortion has lessons for Irish abortion regime

Pope offers new pastoral strategy on abortion by calling for consolation and reconciliation

New York, Abortion and the Short Road to Chaos

Pope Says He Is Against Making Priestly Celibacy Optional in the Latin Rite 

Taming the Demon - How Desert Monks Put Work in Its Place 

Body of venerable teen exhumed, too early to declare incorrupt 

Remembering the Holocaust is more imperative than ever, says President Higgins 

“Wonderful things are happening in the young Church.” - Sixty students from Ireland attended the SEEK2019 conference in the United States and have come back inspired.`

How the Examen Made Me Smile at the Mailbox 

Wars of Religion. Because in Ukraine the Most Ecumenical Are the Greek Catholics 

World Youth Day 2022 to be held in Lisbon 

Welby says it is 'wonderful' to convert to Catholicism 

Laity must defend the faith not wait for bishops to 'get their act together', says Dreher 

The dangers of schism: the new Cold War within Orthodoxy 

Centenarian of Faith: 100-Year-Old Deacon Still Serves 8 Masses a Week

A round up of WYD2019 in Panama

WYD Panama 2019: Pope Francis greets the youth of the world

The pope shares his vision of the Church at the WYD Opening Ceremony

WYD Panama 2019: Pope Francis' address at the Saturday Prayer Vigil

At prayer vigil with youth, pope goes full-on hipster and techie

WYD Panama 2019: Homily of Pope Francis at Concluding Mass

At WYD Closing Mass, Francis Says Youth Are the ‘Now’ of God

What Christians must do when they are a minority - The Benedict Option (Post 2)

Following on from earlier post, a video of the talk by Rod Dreher is now available:

'Benedict Option' author, Rod Dreher, discusses how Irish Christians should respond now that they are in a minority situation in an often hostile environment. He spoke at the University Church, Dublin, on 21st January 2019 at a meeting hosted by The Iona Institute and the Notre Dame Centre for Faith and Reason.

26 Jan 2019

27th January 2019 - Benedictines in Modern Ireland: A reflection with Dom Brendan Coffey OSB

On this weeks programme the SS102fm team are joined by Dom Brendan Coffey OSB from Glenstal to reflect on Benedictines in modern Ireland and the contribution of the monastic life to the world. We have our continuing series on the Theological Virtues, our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel, local notices and other liturgical odds & ends.

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

Benedictines in Modern Ireland: A Reflection with Dom Brendan Coffey OSB

Fr Brendan Coffey OSB, Abbot of Glenstal Abbey joins us on this weeks programme to reflect on what is means to be a Benedictine and what the example of monastic life and in particular Benedictine life can offer us is Ireland today in this fast paced and hectic space. He introduces us to the Rule of St Benedict and the life of a monk and what it means to be a monastic in the modern world.

You can listen to the reflection with Dom Brendan excerpted from the main programme HERE.

Gospel - Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events
that have been fulfilled among us,
just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning
and ministers of the word have handed them down to us,
I too have decided,
after investigating everything accurately anew,
to write it down in an orderly sequence for you,
most excellent Theophilus,
so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings
you have received.
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit,
and news of him spread throughout the whole region.
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.
He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up,
and went according to his custom
into the synagogue on the sabbath day.
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.
He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down,
and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.
He said to them,
"Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing."
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Sunday Reflections
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 3, 3rd week in Ordinary Time

Saints of the Week

January 28th - St Thomas Acquinas
January 29th - St Dallan Forghaill
January 30th - Bl Margaret Ball and Francis Taylor
January 31st - St John Bosco
February 1st - St Bridget of Ireland
February 2nd - Presentation of the Lord (Candlemass) - World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life 

23 Jan 2019

What Christians must do when they are a minority - The Benedict Option

Rod Dreher, author of ‘The Benedict Option’, addressed a meeting co-hosted by The Iona Institute and the Notre Dame Centre for Faith and Reason in the University Church on St Stephen's Green on 21st January to a capacity crowd of 350+ people. He discussed what Irish Christians needs to do to pass on the faith and live out the faith now that they are in a minority situation in their country, and in an increasingly indifferent and often hostile climate.

The Iona Institute have posted the text of his speech HERE.

Rod Dreher is a senior editor and blogger at for the American Conservative and author of several books, including How Dante Can Save Your Life

His talk is an interesting read and while there may be many points people would disagree with him about it is an interesting and challenging analysis of the choices facing Christians in our modern post-Christian country. Something to generate some kitchen conversations! 

22 Jan 2019

World Youth Day 2019 - Panama

The 15th international World Youth Day is set to begin Tuesday, Jan. 22 in Panama City, Panama. The massive gathering of Catholic youth, which takes place every two or three years, this year will be held for the first time in Central America. Pope St. John Paul II established World Youth Day in 1985. The first international gathering was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1987.

The purpose of World Youth Day is threefold: a celebration of and putting trust in the young; giving young people a chance to make pilgrimage; and to give young people a chance to encounter the worldwide Catholic community.

The theme for this year’s gathering is taken from Mary’s affirmation of God’s will in Luke 1:38: “I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

The festivities in Panama end Jan. 27

CNA - 5 things to know about World Youth Day 2019 

Pope Francis heads to Panama for World Youth Day 

Vatican News - Panama Prequel: where in the world is the 34th Youth Day? 

Vatican News - A million rosaries from Bethlehem Christians for World Youth Day

20 Jan 2019

20th January 2018 - The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019

On this weeks programme we are joined by Fr Martin Browne OSB from Glenstal to reflect on the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019 and the urgent need to realise that Christian unity is not an optional extra. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday Gospel as well as other notices and liturgical odds & ends. 

You can listen to this weeks programme full podcast HERE.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019

We are joined on this weeks programme by Fr Martin Browne OSB from Glenstal to discuss the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2019 and the imperative for all Christians to urgently work towards the unity of Christians. 

Ecumenism should be taken far more seriously, an Irish priest has urged, ahead of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic, Fr Martin Browne OSB, a Benedictine monk based at Glenstal Abbey, Co. Limerick, and a member of the international group tasked by the Vatican and the World Council of Churches with preparing texts for the week, said the annual reminder of the need for ecumenism can be “a wake-up call”. Ongoing divisions between churches make it all the more important that we do pray for unity, Fr Browne said. “It is the Lord’s will, and Christian disunity is a scandal. “Realising the unity that is inherent in the Body of Christ will require not just ingenuity and imagination, but conversion and repentance.” Maintaining that “Christian unity is not an optional extra”, but adding “I don’t think it is considered a priority in many places in Ireland”, Fr Brown concluded that “if we take unity seriously then the Week of Prayer can be a real grace”

Bishop Brendan Leahy has invited Catholics across Ireland to support and pray for Christian unity throughout the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which takes place from 18 to 25 January 2019. During the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, he explains, “Christians all over the world and in every Church make an effort to focus on that prayer of Jesus – "May they all be one‟.
“At times we can let it become a habit or get used to it or forget about it. So, I would encourage everybody, wherever they are – even if they aren‟t necessarily with other Christians, in their local church to make an effort or in a local prayer group – wherever it might be – to make an effort to focus on praying for Christian unity,” Dr Leahy explains.
He suggests those interested should look up specially prepared resources on the dedicated website. This year‟s resources have been prepared by Christians in Indonesia and they have taken their theme from Chapter 16 of the Book of Deuteronomy: “Justice and justice only will we pursue”.
- From CathoilicIreland.net 
The Augustinians in Limerick will be holding a special service here in St. Augustine‟s Church on Thursday 24th January at 7.30pm. They are welcoming a number of people from other Christian denominations and Fellowships to a service of Prayer, Readings, Song and Silence in St. Augustine‟s to be followed by some simple hospitality. They warmly invite you to attend this special service as we pray together for Christian unity.
You can listen to the interview with Fr Martin excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE

  • You can find the resources from Churches Together in Britain and Ireland HERE.
  • Resources from Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches HERE.
  • WPCU2019 Twitter

Gospel - John 2:1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee,
and the mother of Jesus was there.
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding.
When the wine ran short,
the mother of Jesus said to him,
"They have no wine."
And Jesus said to her,
"Woman, how does your concern affect me?
My hour has not yet come."
His mother said to the servers,
"Do whatever he tells you."
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings,
each holding twenty to thirty gallons.
Jesus told the them,
"Fill the jars with water."
So they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them,
"Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter."
So they took it.
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine,
without knowing where it came from
— although the servers who had drawn the water knew —,
the headwaiter called the bridegroom and said to him,
"Everyone serves good wine first,
and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one;
but you have kept the good wine until now."
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory,
and his disciples began to believe in him.
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Word on Fire
Centre for Liturgy
English Dominicans
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 2; 2nd week in Ordinary time

Saints of the Week

January 21st - St Agnes
January 22nd - St Vincent
January 23rd - St Colman of Lismore
January 24th - St Francis de Sales
January 25th - Conversion of St Paul
January 26th - Ss Timothy and Titus

13 Jan 2019

Feast of the Baptism of the Lord - 13th January 2019 - Pope Francis Homily (Vatican News)

The Sacrament, by Solomon Raj
Baptism Of Christ, John The Baptist, Scripture Art
Pope Francis at Baptism Mass: ‘Faith is transmitted in the home’

Vatican Radio - During Mass on the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord, Pope Francis baptizes 27 newborn babies, and invites parents to transmit the faith to their children within the home.

Speaking to parents in his homily on Sunday, the Holy Father reflected on the parental duty of transmitting the faith to the next generation.

“You have asked the Church for faith for your children, and today they will receive the Holy Spirit and the gift of faith in each one’s heart and soul.”

But, Pope Francis said, “this faith must be developed; it must grow.”

Transmit faith at home
Before children study the faith in catechism classes, he said, their parents must transmit it at home, “because the faith is always transmitted ‘in dialect’,” that is, the native language spoken in the environs of the home.

The Pope said parents transmit the faith through their example and words, and by teaching their children to make the Sign of the Cross.

He said the faith must be transmitted “with your faith-filled lives”, so children see married love and peace within the family home. “May they see Jesus there.”

Don’t fight in front of children
Then Pope Francis gave parents a word of advice.

“Never fight in front of your children,” he said. “It’s normal that parents should argue; the opposite would be strange. Do it, but without letting them hear or see.”

“You have no idea the anguish it causes a child to see his or her parents fight.”

He said this was a word of advice “that will help you to transmit the faith.”

Get comfortable
Finally, Pope Francis invited the parents present at the ceremony to make their children comfortable, and to breastfeed them if they were hungry.

“To you mothers I say: Breastfeed your children, don't worry. The Lord wants this.”


Pope at Angelus: ‘Remember date of your Baptism’

12 Jan 2019

13th January 2018 - SS102fm 2018 Year in Review

On this weeks programme the SS102fm undertakes our annual review of the year with a trip through what was a rather challenging 2018 in ecclesial terms. We are introduced to our blog patron saint of the year for 2019. We have our regular reflection on the Sunday gospel of feast of the Baptism of the Lord as well as some small notices and other liturgical odds and ends.  

You can listen to this weeks full programme podcast HERE.

Patron Saints for 2019

As per SS102fm tradition we were given our 2019 patron saints via the saintsnamegenerator; and the saints allocated to us this year are:

  • John - St Matthew the Apostle
  • Shane - Archangel Raphael
  • Lorraine - St Mary Magdalene
  • Anne - St Jane of Valois

And our blog patron saint for 2019 is St Albert the Great - Albertus Magnus O.P. (c. 1193 – November 15, 1280), also known as Saint Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne, was a German Catholic Dominican friar and bishop. Later canonised as a Catholic saint, he was known during his lifetime as Doctor universalis and Doctor expertus and, late in his life, the sobriquet Magnus was appended to his name. The Catholic Church distinguishes him as one of the 36 Doctors of the Church.

2018 Year in Review

On SS102fm over the last few years about mid-January has had the custom of taking a look back at the year just gone from a faith perspective looking at things globally, papal related, nationally in Ireland and locally to Limerick diocese. We also do a bit of crystal ball gazing to see what might be the things to watch out for in 2019.

You can listen to the year in review discussion excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.

Gospel - Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,and all were asking in their heartswhether John might be the Christ.John answered them all, saying, "I am baptizing you with water,but one mightier than I is coming.I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
"You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased."
Reflections on this weeks gospel:

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter week 1 from Monday

Beginning of Ordinary Time until Ash Wednesday on 6th March 2019.

Saints of the Week

14th January - St Sava
15th January - St Ita of Kileedy
16th January - St Fursa
17th January - St Anthony the Abbot
19th January - St Fillan

9 Jan 2019

Ever wonder about leaving the Church?

“How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you! How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you! I would like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence. You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand what sanctity is. I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and yet I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful. How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.

No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, though not completely. And besides, where would I go? Would I establish another? I would not be able to establish it without the same faults, for they are the same faults I carry in me. And if I did establish another, it would be my Church, not the Church of Christ. I am old enough to know that I am no better than anyone else. …)

The Church has the power to make me holy but it is made up, from the first to the last, only of sinners. And what sinners! It has the omnipotent and invincible power to renew the Miracle of the Eucharist, but is made up of men who are stumbling in the dark, who fight every day against the temptation of losing their faith. It brings a message of pure transparency but it is incarnated in slime, such is the substance of the world. It speaks of the sweetness of its Master, of its non-violence, but there was a time in history when it sent out its armies to disembowel the infidels and torture the heretics. It proclaims the message of evangelical poverty, and yet it does nothing but look for money and alliances with the powerful.

Those who dream of something different from this are wasting their time and have to rethink it all. And this proves that they do not understand humanity. Because this is humanity, made visible by the Church, with all its flaws and its invincible courage, with the Faith that Christ has given it and with the love that Christ showers on it.

When I was young, I did not understand why Jesus chose Peter as his successor, the first Pope, even though he abandoned Him. Now I am no longer surprised and I understand that by founding his church on the tomb of a traitor(…)He was warning each of us to remain humble, by making us aware of our fragility. (…)

And what are bricks worth anyway? What matters is the promise of Christ, what matters is the cement that unites the bricks, which is the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit is capable of building the church with such poorly moulded bricks as are we.

And that is where the mystery lies. This mixture of good and bad, of greatness and misery, of holiness and sin that makes up the church…this in reality am I .(…)

The deep bond between God and His Church, is an intimate part of each one of us. (…)To each of us God says, as he says to his Church, “And I will betroth you to me forever” (Hosea 2,21). But at the same time he reminds us of reality: 'Your lewdness is like rust. I have tried to remove it in vain. There is so much that not even a flame will take it away' (Ezechiel 24, 12).

But then there is even something more beautiful. The Holy Spirit who is Love, sees us as holy, immaculate, beautiful under our guises of thieves and adulterers. (…) It’s as if evil cannot touch the deepest part of mankind.

He re-establishes our virginity no matter how many times we have prostituted our bodies, spirits and hearts. In this, God is truly God, the only one who can ‘make everything new again’. It is not so important that He will renew heaven and earth. What is most important is that He will renew our hearts. This is Christ’s work. This is the divine Spirit of the Church.”

― Carlo Carretto

8 Jan 2019

Pope's January prayer intention: For youth to follow Mary's example - January 2019

In his prayer intention for the month of January 2019, Pope Francis says: "Let us pray that young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world."
The full text of his intention is below:
You young people have, in the Virgin Mary, a reason for joy and a source of inspiration.
Take advantage of the World Youth Day in Panama to contemplate Christ together with Mary. We will pray the Rosary together for peace, each of us in our own language.
And ask for strength to dream and to work for peace.
Let us pray that young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world.

6 Jan 2019

‘They saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage’ - Rev Patrick Comerford

Homily for the Feast of the Epiphany
Rev Patrick Comerford
Sunday 6 January 2019

(Refer to Patrick's blog for his full and very interesting post on the tradition of Epiphany HERE as well as his interesting and informative posts through out the year)

11.30 a.m.: The Epiphany Eucharist (Holy Communion 2), Saint Brendan’s Church, Kilnaughtin (Tarbert), Co Kerry.

Readings: Isaiah 60: 1-6; Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3: 1-12; Matthew 2: 1-12.

We have completed the 12 days of Christmas.

‘On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me:

‘12 drummers drumming …
‘11 pipers piping …
‘10 lords a-leaping …
‘9 ladies dancing …’

And on and on it goes. Not very useful gifts at all, as Frank Kelly reminded us in his parody of this song as Gobnait Ó Lúnasa.

But this morning, in our Epiphany Gospel reading (Matthew 2: 1-12), we remember the Three Wise Men, the Three Kings or the Three Magi, who brought their true gifts to the Christ Child in the Manger.

In many parts of Ireland, today is also known as both ‘Little Christmas’ and as Nollaig na mBan or ‘Women’s Christmas.’

This makes it appropriate to refer to a popular joke on social media that asks: ‘Do you know what would have happened if it had been Three Wise Women instead of Three Wise Men?’

The answer is:

‘They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, brought practical gifts … and there would be Peace On Earth.’

Many of us have probably put Christmas behind us at this stage. We’ve probably taken down the tree, the decorations and the holly. Why, we have probably even forgotten our New Year’s resolutions too.

So, why should we remember this morning’s story of the visit of the three Wise Men? And how practical were their gifts?

Although Saint Matthew does not mention the number of wise men, the number of gifts they gave to the Christ Child has given rise to the popular tradition that there were three Magi.

I received Christmas greetings a few weeks ago from a friend, an icon-writer, who lives in Crete. For fun, I decided to run her message in Greek through Google Translate. And I was disturbed that it translated the three Magi as the three Wizards.

Our Old Testament reading (Isaiah 60: 1-6) and Psalm (Psalm 72: 1-7, 10-14) speak of gifts given by kings and of the Messiah being worshipped by kings.

Saint Matthew’s account was reinterpreted in the light of these prophecies, and so the magi became kings rather than Persian wise men or priests. Perhaps this interpretation was influenced by the negative image of magi not in the Old Testament but in the New Testament.

The magi were members of the Persian priestly or religious caste. In the Old Testament, for example, the magi or wise men are led by Daniel (see Daniel 2: 48). But the same term later has negative connotation when it is used in the Acts of the Apostles to describe the sorcery of Simon Magus (Acts 8: 9-13) and the magic of Elymas (Acts 13: 6-11).

As the tradition developed, the three wise men in this Gospel story were transformed into kings who have been named as:

● Melchior, a Persian scholar;

● Caspar, an Indian scholar;

● Balthazar, an Arabian scholar.

In Western art from the 14th century on, they are portrayed in these ways:

● Caspar is the older man with a long white beard, who is first in line to kneel before the Christ Child and who gives him the gift of gold.

● Melchior is a middle-aged man, giving frankincense.

● Balthazar is a young man, very often black-skinned, with the gift of myrrh.

Pope at Epiphany Mass: God’s gentle light shines in humble love

Pope at Epiphany Mass: God’s gentle light shines in humble love - Full text of homily 

Pope at Angelus: ‘Epiphany opens us to newness of Jesus’

Vatican News Report:

In his homily at Mass on the Solemnity of the Epiphany, Pope Francis invites us to imitate the Magi by recognizing God’s gentle light and by freely helping those who suffer. 
By Devin Watkins
Jesus reveals himself to all the nations in a gentle light that shines in humble love.
Pope Francis made that remark in his homily on Sunday, as he reflected on the Epiphany of the Lord. “Epiphany”, he noted, indicates the manifestation of the Lord. “The symbol of this event is light, which reaches and enlightens everything.”
He said the manner in which God revealed Himself is surprising. The Gospels contrast the powerful of the earth and their palaces with the humble abode where Jesus is born. “None of the powerful of the time realized that the Lord of history was born exactly in their days,” he said.
“Herein lies the surprise: God does not emerge at the forefront of the world in order to manifest Himself.”
Continue reading here

5 Jan 2019

6th January 2018 - Epiphany of the Lord - Starting out in a New year

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year! As we enter into the Feast of the Epiphany of the Lord we draw towards the end of Christmastide 2018 but it is still ok to have the decorations for another week! Christmastide finishes liturgically with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord!

On this weeks programme the SS102fm have a "magazine" style programme with various pieces including reflections on the New Year resolutions, events over the Christmas and upcoming programmes over the next few weeks. We have our regular reflection on this weeks gospel which reflects on each our searches for the Christ Child in our lives; as well as other liturgical odds & ends.

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

A Year of Time - Steven B. Cloud
…Though even thinking on the subject of time may prove discomforting, it is not a bad idea—especially at the beginning of a new year.
As we look into <year> we look at a block of time. We see 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours, 525,600 minutes, 31,536,000 seconds. And all is a gift from God. We have done nothing to deserve it, earn it, or purchased it. Like the air we breathe, time comes to us as a part of life.
The gift of time is not ours alone. It is given equally to each person. Rich and poor, educated and ignorant, strong and weak—every man, woman and child has the same twenty-four hours every day.
Another important thing about time is that you cannot stop it. There is no way to slow it down, turn it off, or adjust it. Time marches on.
And you cannot bring back time. Once it is gone, it is gone. Yesterday is lost forever. If yesterday is lost, tomorrow is uncertain. We may look ahead at a full year’s block of time, but we really have no guarantee that we will experience any of it.
Obviously, time is one of our most precious possessions. We can waste it. We can worry over it. We can spend it on ourselves. Or, as good stewards, we can invest it in the kingdom of God.

The new year is full of time. As the seconds tick away, will you be tossing time out the window, or will you make every minute count?

Arise, shine out, Jerusalem; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. 
For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.  
Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you;

your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses' arms.  
Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you.  
A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.

Isaiah 60:1-6

On January 6th in Ireland we celebrate Epiphany which is feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as a human being in Jesus Christ. On this feast, Western Christians commemorate principally the visitation of the Biblical Magi to the Baby Jesus, i.e., his manifestation to the Gentiles; Eastern Christians commemorate the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, seen as his manifestation to the world as the Son of God. It is also called Theophany, especially by Eastern Christians.

St Matthew tells us (2:1-12) that Wise Men came from out of the east seeking the new born child as the Messiah of the whole world not just for the people of Israel. Their homage to him upon locating him in Bethlehem is representative of the whole world who adore the Holy Child and recognise his Divine Kingship, he who is the Light of the World.

"They set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh."
The feast of the Epiphany in the latin tradition focuses on the manifestation or showing of the Child Jesus to the Magi or Wise men who have come to seek the new King of the Jews. The three wisdom seekers represent the gentiles; those outside the covenanted community of Israel to whom the Messiah will also come. Where the shepherds represented the Chosen People, the three magi represent all those who truly search and seek for God in our world even if from out side our community and experiences. The questions this familiar part of the Christmas narrative can pose to us include:
  • What "star" do I follow in my life? Do I follow the Morning Star which is Christ or do I have other things I follow?
  • Am I open to seeing the Divine in others even if they are different from me?
  • Like the Wise men, am I willing to trust in God and go where She leads me, even if it means travelling far (literally or metaphorically), believing that God will be "my staff and my shield"?
But like the shepherds, the three magi did not stay in Bethlehem, they had to go back out into the world, back to their homes and families and daily lives; just like we have to. But they took the message of what they had seen and heard with them. Epiphany demands that like these kings we should return to our own countries a different way, carrying to all those we meet the light of Christ. "For behold, darkness shall cover the earth," says the Epistle of the Epiphany Mass, "and a mist the people: but the Lord shall arise upon Thee, and His glory shall be seen upon Thee. And the Gentiles shall walk in Thy light..." These words may be applied to us, upon whom the light of Christ has indeed risen, and who have the responsibility to radiate that light in the darkness of our own world. It is clear how much the feast of Epiphany must mean to all who are engaged in the apostolate and are striving to extend the kingdom of Christ.

Part two of this weeks programme is excerpted from the main programme podcast HERE.

Gospel - Matthew 2:1-12

‘Star of Bethlehem’ (1887-1890) by Edward Burn-Jones (1833-1898
In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: “And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,   are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;for from you shall come a ruler   who is to shepherd my people Israel.” ’

Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.’ When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure-chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
Reflections on this weeks Gospel:

Word on Fire
English Dominicans
Centre for Liturgy
Sunday Reflections

Liturgical odds & ends

Liturgy of the Hours - Psalter proper for week after Epiphany

Saints of the Week

January 7th - St Raymond of Penyafort
January 8th - St Albert of Cashel
January 9th - St Adrian of Canturbury
January 10th - Bl Gregory X
January 11th - St Boadin
January 12th - St Aelred of Rievaulx