FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT + 6TH MARCH 2016 + MOTHERING SUNDAY + YEAR OF MERCY
MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST
My Dear People,
Well, it is Mothering Sunday and I impart my blessing on all the mothers who are reading this parish newsletter. We all owe our mothers so much for carrying us for nine months and then all that sweat they shed giving birth to us and all that love and devotion they gave us along with their husbands when we were little and helpless. Who cannot respect and love their mam? This day always falls near enough the feast (April 4th) of the Mother of all Mothers - the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary when her single "Fiat voluntas tua" (be it done unto me ) brought her into the realm of being a mother in the virginal conception of her Divine Son.
Today we will be blessing flowers at the main Masses until they run out and giving them to the mothers of our community to take home as a keepsake of just how much our Mother the Church respects your gift and vocation. Remember that on one else can be the mother that you are to your children.
This Fourth Sunday of Lent we have a wonderful Parable of our Lord that has come to be known as the Prodigal Son. In a way it could be called the Parable of the Prodigal Father. It is the father in the story who is prodigal with his love and forgiveness of the son.
The son had done the unthinkable by asking his dad for what he was going to get in the Will. He gets the cash and clears off - leaving the Holy Land and living it up amongst pagans. You can tell this because they were keeping pigs which were anathema to the Jewish religion. Not only was he in a "distant country" but he was looking after unclean animals and therefore was breaking a number one taboo. The way he spent his new money was not nice either - debauched he was.
His motive was not the purest when he decided to "return home". He thought that at least as a servant in his father's house he would be better off and that was true.
However - still "a long way off" (in more ways than distance) the father came to him running and kissed him and embraced him, so glad was he that his son was alive and well even though he was dirty and in rags and a lot poorer.
The father was really good wasn't he and even when he had to deal with the ever good brother the father was full of kind words to the eldest too trying to persuade him to love his younger brother again. This is how our Lord is with us you know.
This story tells us the mind and the heart of God towards the sinner. It comes from our Lord's lips and he is God made flesh so it is accurate and utterly true - this is how God is to the sinner who returns. But my dear people, the son had to return and take the first step on the road to recovery, poor though his motive was at first. He had to turn to the Father and return to the father's house and confess what he had done.
So do we - We have to confess what we have done and especially if it was grave. Do not attend any Penance services that purport to be a sacramental celebration when there is no confession of all your sins. It is not valid and does not have the authority of the Bishop and sins are not forgiven. Also, so called General Absolution is only for people who are going down in a sinking ship or other such disasters. Bishop Arnold has banned it. One must confess each and all grave sins and be absolved individually by a priest. That is what this parable means.
The prodigal son did not get from his father forgiveness on the cheap, but surely the son's heart was made even more open to the father's love by the wonderful understanding of his dad?
Our Lord said on Easter Day "Whose sins you forgive - they are forgiven." " God the Father of Mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit." These are the sacramental words of absolution spoken over the penitent by the priest after the confession and act of Contrition. May the proper and lawful celebration of this Sacrament indeed bring us prodigals – Pardon and Peace just like it did for the prodigal son.
Happy Confession and Easter duties my good people.
Father Tom Connolly
Bidding 4th Lent C
Priest: Let us pray to Christ the Lord, who gave us the new commandment of love of one another and forgiveness from the heart.
Reader: Good Master, teach to love you in our fellow men and women, teach us to serve you in our brethren, especially those who stand in need of the corporal works of mercy. Lord in your mercy.
You interceded with the Father for those who nailed you to the cross; help us to love our enemies and pray for those who do us injury. Lord in your mercy.
Through the mystery of your Body and Blood you deepen our courage and faith, strengthen the weak, bbring back the lapsed, comfort the sorrowful and fill the dying with new hope. Lord in your mercy.
Light of the World, you gave sight to the blind man: in baptism you enlighten through the washing of water and the form of words- bring new life to us all this Lent. Lord in your mercy.
This mother's day - we pray for all our mothers living and dead that the Lord will reward them for their love and care. Lord in your mercy.
Grant to the sick healing and courage and hope: Maureen Quinlan, Chris Lyden, Canon Kevin O'Conner, Father Fallon, Irene Farrelly, Christine Booth, Patrick Snype, Michael Nolan, Aiden Kennedy. Lord in your mercy.
For those who have died recently grant them everlasting love; count them among the chosen of God and bring them to their heavenly home: Agnes Benson, Reg Harrison, Bernard Cunningham, James Leech, Lawrence Magnus Williams, Norah Hardy. Lord in your mercy.
For those souls whose anniversaries occur about this time: Thomas Mim-nagh, (Vigil), George Nagle (11am), Mary Ryan, J.L. Grimes and Mrs M. Flatley, Tom and Brendan Forkan. May their souls and the souls of..
Mary is the mother of all the living and the Mother of consolation we salute her: O Mary conceived without sin. Pray for us who have recourse to thee_ HAIL HOLY QUEEN, MOTHER OF MERCY.
Priest: We humbly approach your throne of mercy Lord asking the coming Easter festival may help us to prepare with ever greater devotion in this penitential season of Lent. Through Christ our Lord.