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Sermon for 14 February 2016

Mr Dear People,

Well - the joyful season of Lent is upon us. Loads of folk came to the Ash Wednesday Masses thank the Lord and many young people which is so good to see. Before us the Church, our Mother, presents us with the Gospel According to Luke relating the Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness. It is in the wilderness that Israel of old struggled in their temptations and often turned against God as when they worshipped the Golden Calf. It is to the wilderness that our Lord and Saviour goes in order to begin his public Ministry to redeem Mankind. The Devil knew that Jesus was like no other Man he had ever come across. Remember, the Devil is not all-powerful. He does not know everything - only God does. He was keen to tempt Jesus to see what kind of opposition he was dealing with. Gross temptations were out so he thought he would be subtle. The temptations are well planned.

Firstly Satan tests our Lord through his bodily hunger. The stones do indeed look like lovely crusty loaves; I have seen them myself - especially when you are starving and have only had water for 40 days - an epic fast. It is of course this fasting of Christ that we imitate in the 40 days of Lent. The Lord did the first Lent on our behalf. The Second temptation involves being the Redeemer by political and military means. The Third Temptation is to shake heavens with a mighty sign in Jerusalem - the "Superman" approach to salvation - throw yourself off and see if God catches you.

Our Lord responds to each Temptation with the Word of Holy Scripture for he has imbibed the Old Testament with his whole soul. In an odd kind of way St Luke tells us that the Devil cleared off at the end to RETURN AT THEAPPOINTED TIME. What was that "time"? I think it was when Satan entered the heart of Judas - "Now Satan has his hour" Jesus tells the Apostles at the Table of the Last Supper. Judas left before Holy Communion and went out into "the dark". Our Lord said to his Mother at Cana "My Hour has not yet come." He talks about "this Hour" a lot in St Johnís Gospel.

In all these things Christ is victorious on our behalf. He was tempted in everyway we are but has not sinned but he knows our weakness and we have a compassionate High Priest. We must not be afraid to take on the devil during this Lent. As soon as we begin a serious attempt in Lent we will be attacked by the Devil who does not wish us to draw close to God for he wants us in hell with him. Don't be afraid. Use the words of Scripture to drive him away by saying the holy Names of Jesus and Mary. Do not be undermined - stand firm and be on the winning side. It all ends you know with the Resurrection! We must remain on the winning side.

Have a good Lent,

Father Tom Connolly

LENT EXTRA: Stations of the Cross: On Wednesdays and Fridays after the 9.30 Mass. STATIONS OF THE CROSS EACH SUNDAY OF LENT AT 4PM.

Bidding Prayers

Priest: Let us turn in prayer to the Saviour of all men and women. By dying he destroyed our death and in his resurrection he restored our life so in confidence we pray.

Reader: Christ our Redeemer, let us share in your passion by works of Penance this Lent, let us attain the glory of the resurrection . Lord in your mercy. Hear our prayer.

Grant us the protection of your Mother, the comforter of the afflicted; help us to extend to others the consolation you have given us. Lord in your mercy.

You humbled yourself to accepting death, death on the cross; grant to your servants obedience and patience in the troubles which afflict us at times. Lord in your mercy.

Unite the faithful in your passion in times of trouble and distress and let the power of your salvation shine forth in their lives. Lord in your mercy. Raise up those who ill and who suffer in their bodies and minds: Maeve Collins, Barbara Nolan, Canon Kevin O'Conner, Kathleen Grimes, Irene Farelly, Julie Brady, Christine Booth, Michael Nolan, Pat Snype, Maureen Gallagher, Mary Cannon. Lord, in your mercy.

Lord, share with those who have died your Bodily Glory; let us rejoice one day with them in the fellowship of the saints.

We pray for those who have died recently: Mary Agnes Kelly, John Molloy, Terence Bagnall, Issac Ngormi Ebah, Tom Cummings AND Those whose anniversary of death falls about now: Tom Cummins (9am), Peggy Walsh (Sat 20th Feb Vigil), Denis McLaughlin Month's Mind (11.30am Sat 13th), Martin Bowens (VIGIL), Hugh Kelly (17th), Marian Johnson (11am).

May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. Our Lady of Lourdes is patron of the sick - Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy.

Priest: Give us grace Almighty God to continue the works of Penance we have begun; so that our Lenten observance we have taken upon ourselves maybe accomplished in sincerity of heart and hear our prayers. Through Christ our Lord.