Tired of all the bad news

While we can't deny the difficulites for so many people at home and overseas, it's important to take account of the positives, and to spread the Good News. I don't know who said this but; "No-one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side." Blessings..

Friday, 27 June 2014


I overheard two people the other day and one of them described someone who came up asking for directions as “Some randomer.” There’s a relatively new word to describe someone as a stranger – or someone we don’t know. And while I’m at it as they say, there are quite a few new words and expressions used more and more today. For example there’s ‘Totes’ and ‘Totes amaze’ and ‘Totes amaze balls.’ Epic is another well used word.  And then there’s the word ‘What eves’ (whatever that means (!) If you want to hear a fun and interesting take on all these new expressions go to the Drivetime Radio programme on the RTE Radio Player and Author, Joseph O’Connor speaks of these in his Radio Diary from Wednesday of this week.

We must therefore all be a ‘randomer’ to someone. I walk around and people pass me by day in and day out and most of them don’t know me from Adam. To the masses I must be just some randomer passing by and is gone. Unless you’re a rock star or a Hollywood actor or the Pope, could you just be some randomer? “Who was he, oh I don’t know, just some randomer.” It’s a cold expression I believe.
I may be some randomer to many out there and vice versa but the randomer has a mother and a father, is a son or a daughter, and perhaps a brother or a sister. She or he is part of a family and perhaps she or he is loved by someone or loves someone. I am conscious that our human love is not perfect but that someone is perhaps loved dearly by another.

I was a Hospital Chaplain for three years and everyday, people I never met before came in to the hospital either as admissions for procedures or serious surgery or in an emergency. One could call them randomers, but to someone they were special and at times prayers were said but hopes were high for a good recovery. The professionalism of the nursing, medical, surgical, and care staff was heroic in the treatment and care of the patients. No matter who came through the doors, especially in critical incidents, there was always a commitment to give the very best care to the patient.
To Jesus Christ we are no ‘randomer.’ Jesus knows the very hairs on our head. The Holy Father, Pope Francis in his homily during Mass yesterday said that Jesus is primarily a Pastor to us. That means he shepherds us and takes care of us. Today in his homily at Mass for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the pope described God as someone who seeks us out. “God is always there in front of us…When we arrive, He’s there. When we look for Him, He has already been looking for us…”

This is the description of a personal God who wants us to be part of his family, who wants to live in our hearts. He is interested in our hopes and dreams and our fears. He loves us, and he loves those we love. And like the lost son and the (Prodigal) Father, He keeps looking out for us and runs towards us when we begin to return.

“See, I have carved you in the palm of my hand.” (Isaiah 49:16)

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Renew the face of the Earth...

On this day, 17 years ago, June 8th, 1997, I was ordained to the priesthood in St. Kevin's Church, Kilnamanagh, Dublin the parish where I grew up in and the parish where, ten years before I left to join the Capuchin Order.

I am looking back today in particular because today is Pentecost Sunday, the birthday of the Church. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles to fortify them to do his work on earth. From the upper room where the door was closed, they were filled with the seven gifts of the Spirit which enabled them to un-lock the door and go out into the whole world fearlessly.

Fear is a terrible chain around people. It kills our joy and robs us of our ability to smile and laugh and share with others. It keeps us locked in the room where people find it hard to reach out to us. Several times in the gospels, when Jesus came into the presence of his disciples and others he said "Peace be with you." and "Do not be afraid." When the Angel Gabriel came to tell Mary that she was going to the Mother of Jesus, he said; "Do not be afraid, you have won God's favour..." In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus was initially terrified of what he was facing. He prayed "Let this cup pass.." Sweat fell from him like "great drops of blood..." Yet when he said, "Not my will, but yours be done..." His fear disappeared and it had become mission. Pontius Pilate could not understand why Jesus wouldn't answer the charges put before him. "Do you realise I have the power to release you or to put you to death?" "You would have no power over me unless it was given to you from above." Pilate was the one who became afraid.

For those of us in ministry; whether it's lay ministry, ordained ministry or religious life, the Holy Spirit is the one who takes our fear away and replaces it with action. We have been given this gift by virtue of our Baptism and then Holy Spirit came down upon us again the day we were Confirmed.

The Holy Spirit calls us to collaborate in this ministry to the whole Church and the great example of this is the miraculous catch of fish. Jesus shows the disciples where the fish are and they put their faith in him. And when they take the lead from Jesus they net such a huge catch that they need to signal to their partners in the other boats to help haul the nets in. (Luke 5:1 -11)

I am so grateful to God for that day in 1997 when I became a priest. I thank him too for that day in 1994 when I took my final vows in the Capuchin Order. Last year I celebrated 25 years since I was received into the Order as a novice. It has been a time of many blessings and some of those blessings became blessings because they first started out as challenges.

Come Holy Spirit - Renew the face of the Earth....

Monday, 2 June 2014

Come Holy Spirit - Jacques Bertier

Come Holy Spirit, from Heaven shine forth, with your glorious light.
Come Father of the poor, come generous Spirit, come light of our hearts.

Come from the four winds, O Spirit, Come breath of God.
Disperse the shadows over us, renew and strengthen your people.

Father of the poor, come to our poverty, shower upon us the seven gifts of your grace,
be the light of our lives. O come

You are our only comforter, peace of the soul, in the heat you shade us,
in our labour you refresh us, and in trouble you are our strength.

Kindle in our hearts the flame of your love that in the darkness of the world it may glow and reach all forever.

Taizé - Veni Sancte Spiritus