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Sermon for 10 April 2016



My Dear People,

The Holy Gospel for today's Mass is so full of meaning and pathos and destiny and promise. Remember that the last time Peter had been at a charcoal fire with the Master was when he was warming his hands in the Courtyard in the middle of the night as our Lord was on Trial inside the building where the fire stood. Peter had just been challenged for the third time about his association with The Twelve ("one of them") and therefore a follower of Christ. After the third time he lost his bottle and he declared and cursed that he did not know Jesus and then the cock crew and Peter looked up and caught the eyes of Jesus and his gaze as he was being led across the courtyard for his mocking and scourging and crowning with thorns. Peter had then gone outside and wept his heart out. He remembered our Lord's prediction that he, Peter, would deny he ever knew him before the cock crowed (dawn). And here Peter was standing again by a charcoal fire.

Jesus in his risen state had lit a charcoal fire on the pebbles of the beach of the Lake in order to prepare some breakfast. What a homely thing to do. Bread was already warming on the hot stones and our Lord intended some of the freshly caught fish to be the breakfast for them and the other fishermen – the apostles.

It was at this moment - when the breakfast had been eaten that our Lord in that most gentle of manner gave Peter the "come-back" call and allowed him, to reverse those three denials. The threefold question, using his old name – Simon - "do you love me more than these others do" gave Peter the chance to directly say "Yes I do" , reversing the "I know not the man" of the early hours of Good Friday pre-dawn cock crow. Three times Jesus asked the same question so that Peter got panicky in the end and said "Lord you know everything; you know that I love you!"" And so it is done. And that is how gentle our Lord is with us and just as personal too and geared to our particular treacheries and he calls us by our names too. "How good is the Lord to all!"

Dear Peter - he is our First Holy Father - the first of the long line of great Popes and occasionally, not so good, the Lord has bestowed on his Church throughout time and history to "feed my lambs and feed my sheep". It is the task of the Peter of our day, Pope Francis, to feed us which means teaching us true doctrine - guiding us pastorally in faith and morals and providing a rallying point and centre of unity for the world's Bishops - apostles and People, spread widely throughout the world. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ you know and that means he represents Christ above all others.

The other thing we should note in this Gospel is that net used for the fishing. So may many fish came into the net at the command of the Master that they could not haul it in. However Peter, who had got out into the shallows, single handed, went aboard and dragged the net in which contained a 153 fish - which happens to be the number of nations estimated to inhabit the earth at that time. So Peter can act alone in drawing in an impossible number…What we see when the present Peter - Pope Francis moves about - huge numbers he draws - everywhere like John Paul and Pope Benedict. Remember St. John Paul addressed the biggest crowd in history when he offered Mass in Manila for 4 million. How about that for the Guinness Book of Records then? Bigger than Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones in Havana!!

But if nothing else, think today think about the lovely manner our Lord drew Peter back and gave him back his Office of being the Strengthener of the Brethren - "Feed my sheep - feed my lambs" and in remembering - allow our Lord to minister to you likewise.

Pray for our Pope.

God Bless,

Father Tom Connolly

Tenth Anniversary of the Fraternas - THE MARIAN COMMUNITY OF RECONCILATION had a wonderful Mass last Monday with Bishop Arnold and the Bishop who was Bishop when they arrived - Bishop Brain and the Vicar General and Father Flynn and others (I could not be there for I was on a pre- booked post Easter break 4-8th April in Rome). Well done for the Witness of their service of the diocese and the parish. Fr Tom

Bidding Prayers

Bidding Prayer for 3rd of Easter year C

Priest: Let us pray to Christ, the author of Life. The Father raised him from the dead, and he himself will raise us to life by his own power.

Reader: Christ is the light which light which drives out darkness and draws men to holiness: let us make this holy day a living hymn of praise with our lives. Lord in your mercy.

Our Lord followed the way of suffering, seen to the cross, grant that we may dies with you and come to life in you. Lord in your mercy.

You are our Master and brother, you have made us a kingdom of priests to serve God our Father - let us offer you with joy this sacrifice of Praise. Lord in your mercy.

King of Glory we look forward to the day of your Coming again in power and great glory - let us see you then and share in your glory. Lord in your mercy. Peter drew in the unbroken net - give the modern Peter - Pope Francis - the strength to draw in the Universal Church into his teaching on family life. Lord in your mercy.

For the Poor Christian communities of the Middle East and Pakistan who find their homes and churches destroyed by militant Islam - that the Aid to the Church in Need and Mary's Meals will be able to help them with our charity. Lord in your mercy.

Grant to the sick the strength to look to the Risen Lord: Mark Colbert, Eileen Ramsbottom, Licy Myladoor (Father George's Sister), Francis Howarth, Christine Booth, Michael Nolan. Lord in your mercy.

For those who have recently died - that may see the glory of the Risen Lord very soon: Margaret Keegan, Patrick Grimes, James Boyle, Dezzie Moran and for the Anniversary of Charlie Ward. May their souls and the souls...

Mary your are our Mother - keep us faithful to Jesus your Divine Son: O Mary Conceived without sin. Pray for us. Hail Holy Queen.

Priest: Lord God, grant your people the constant joy of renewed vigour of faith on this great feast of the Resurrection