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Sermon for 3 March 2013



My Dear People,

Thank you for coming to the Special Mass on Thursday at 6pm - at the end of which (in our time) Pope Benedict lay down his Fisherman's Ring and his Seal of Office to be destroyed as would normally happen at a Pope's departure from this world. The world watched and commentated and so did we for this is the first time it had happened in 600 years. You know, two years ago Pope Benedict visit the tomb of Pope Celestine who last resigned from the Papal Office and he left his Pallium on the tomb. Maybe he was praying to the saintly Celestine for guidance as he felt the weakness of "mind and body" coming on.

The scandal of the Archbishop of Edinburgh is sad indeed and we must now draw a line under it. The Holy Father accepted his resignation before he appeared on BBC TV to tell the world he thought Celibacy for priests should be voluntary. The gift of celibate living in imitation of Jesus our High Priest has served the world and the church wonderfully over the centuries. The first thing the Reformation did was to do away with celibacy for their new brand of "clergy" - not priests - please note. Do you think there would be flood of vocations if we priests were allowed to marry? I doubt it, and what about married clergy getting divorced??? UGH. You would have to cough up a lot more money to keep my wife and kids you know that the diocese would be broke. Many young priests say that they value the gift of celibacy greatly. Cardinal O'Brien said he knew some clergy who found it difficult. Some married people find Marriage difficult eh?? Enough of that. Pray for the Election of a new Pope so we will have one before Holy Week. Thank God for the Saintly and Gentle Benedict XVI, Emeritus Bishop of Rome by the time you read this.

In the Gospel today we hear of a massacre that Pilate committed against some rebels or Jewish Freedom Fighters. He mixed their blood with the blood of their sacrifices and this was considered dreadful. However our Lord uses the occasion not to support the anger of the reporters but to call all to repentance. He mentions a few other local disasters that had occurred like the tower falling, killing eighteen and tells his listeners that they too will die unless they repent and change their way. We must remember that in the year 70 AD many of his listeners would still be alive when the Roman armies surrounded the Holy City and basically sacked it and drove into exile those they did not kill by the sword and all because they had rejected the time of their visitation by the Messiah – Christ our Lord. If they had accepted him then may be the Holy City would have stood and all would be well but hey did not and what happened - happened. The last ones to defend the city all committed suicide so when the Romans took it, they were all dead. Even today the Israeli Army take their Oath of Allegiance on that same spot.

I wonder what warning our Lord gives to our world now? The politicians in many ways have lost the plot and are caught up in political correctness. They cannot even find it to give married couples a tax break because this would make singles parents feel bad. The fact that so many kids go astray because they have no father and mother working together for them counts for nothing even though our society picks up the enormous bill for the social care of these kids. In fact those who govern us subsidise the practise of not marrying by making them lose money if they do marry and they say we are imposing our morals!!

Our Lord tells us through the story of the fig In so many ways they corrupt the youth with their "education programmes" about relationships which basically set out to corrupt the innocent and set them into sinful ways. Believe me I have seen the programmes and you would be horrified.

There is a kind of hostility to the things of God and religion in the very air we breathe and in Lent we have to kind of lift this pollution off the face of the earth by our spiritual input. May our Lord bless our efforts in being fruitful parts of the Lord's own Vine – the Church and may we bear fruit pleasing to our Divine Master. tree that we do not know how much time we have left and that we must always show the fruits of our Faith by Faith, Hope and Charity. By Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. By loving our Lord sincerely and trying with all your heart to resist sin. By seeking his help and absolution in Confession when I fall into sin and by forgiving others who offend me. I have to live in this passing world with my eyes fixed on the Kingdom of Heaven which our Lord on the Cross promised to the Repentant Thief.

Keep up the struggle my good People- you know it makes sense!!

God Bless you all,

Father Tom Connolly


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