Thursday, 19 February 2015

Upcoming Masses: 2nd and 3rd Sundays of Lent and St Patrick's Day

Upcoming Masses in Belfast include the 2nd and 3rd Sundays of Lent and St Patrick's Day.

Jesus reveals His Divinity transfigured on Mount Tabor, His power in casting out devils and and His glory in the lives of His saints. Please encourage your family and friends to experience Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Homily 1st February - Septuagesima Sunday

                                               Epistle                            Gospel
                                          Rom. 15:4-13                   Matt 20:1-16

                                                       By Fr Martin Graham

Last weekend a new Government was elected in Greece replacing a Government that tried to push through Parliament austerity package after austerity package in a bid to stop the country defaulting on its loans and going bankrupt. All the good things that the Greek people enjoyed are gone and pensions and savings put past for a secure and comfortable retirement have evaporated.

The same is also true of the traditionally strong countries like the United States and Britain. Things have definitely improved but there is still such uncertainty and in almost all countries in the West the Trade Unions have been stirring for a confrontation with Governments over taxes and the loss of jobs. If the landowner in today’s Gospel did what he did then in our day, the unions would have a field day.

Yes, of course it is not a true story; it is one of Our Lord’s many parables, given to help the people understand that the grace of God is given to us as a pure unconditional gift. Whoever is called to follow Christ as a youth does not gain any extra grace or benefit over those who are called in adulthood or even when they are in the final moments of their life. Jesus makes it clear that it is never too late to follow Him; even for those near death it is not too late. After the 12.15pm Mass in Lagmore today, very unusually, I baptised only one baby, but I have also been honoured to baptise a 23 year old builder from East London, a 26 year old student at Queen’s and over the next couple of months I will receive two more adults into the Catholic Faith. Most of us are cradle Catholics but there are many who convert, like John Wayne, Bob Hope and Buffalo Bill, on their deathbeds!

One of the most remarkable things about the Catholic faith is that the Church can gladly and triumphantly declare that some of her children are saints. Every year on the 1st November we celebrate all those who have gone before us and who now live in the eternal light and joy of Paradise. Some of them are great models for us and so they receive some greater recognition by being formally canonised. What is remarkable is that the Church has never made a solemn declaration of someone going the other way – never has the Church pronounced someone as being consigned to Hell, to eternal damnation.

Catholic faith teaches us that Hell is real, that Hell is eternal and Our Lord Himself tells us so throughout the Gospels so we know that souls will find themselves in damnation...but the Church cannot know who. The reason why she cannot know is alluded to in this Gospel; even the worst, the most degenerate sinner may in the very last moments of earthly life repudiate his or her past and turn to God with a contrite heart. The Lord’s mercy is boundless and so that soul will be saved from Hell; the Lord’s justice is also boundless and so just as Hell is real so also is Purgatory.

For those of us who are faithful to God all our lives the Gospel is telling us not to be jealous of God’s mercy to those who come to Him later but to be thankful that we have a great and good God who is full of mercy and compassion – it is that mercy and compassion that we trust will also forgive our sins and failings and bring us into Paradise as well!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Solemn High Mass

This Sunday at 6pm in St Therese' church, Somerton Road there will be a Solemn High Mass. The celebrant is Canon Lebocq, the Deacon Fr Michael Rowe and the Subdeacon Abbé Gonzales. Please come along and encourage your friends and family to participate at this beautiful form of the Mass.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Homily 7th December - Second Sunday of Advent

                                               Epistle                            Gospel
                                          Rom. 15:4-13                   Mt. 11:2-10

                                                       By Fr Martin Graham

Saint John the Baptist was the last of all the prophets; 2000 years after Abraham lived the coming of the Messiah was imminent. For the Jewish people the Messiah was to come in majesty and splendour and of course that didn’t happen, He was to come as a baby, He was to wear a crown of thorns, He was to reign from a Cross. To the Hebrews this was far from what they had imagined, this could not possibly be the way God had intended.

When the Year 2000 was approaching the whole notion of the Second Coming was to be found in Hollywood films, books, and a variety of other places. The subject has, for a long time, captivated the human imagination and almost all the poems and prophecies, songs and stories foretell the Second Coming as a wretched day, a day filled with death, a day of disaster and destruction. Shortly after the bloodbath of the First World War and the turmoil that followed it W.B. Yeats wrote a poem called ‘The Second Coming’ and in it he wrote, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold, Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere, The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand; surely the Second Coming is at hand.”

Like the poem there have been many preachers who, when speaking of the Second Coming, present Our Lord almost as the enemy of humanity, as though we should resist His coming. True, we do not know when the Lord will come again – Saint Paul says that it will be when we least expect it, like a thief in the night. True, there will be no way for anyone to avoid it. True, the Lord will come to judge us in justice. True, unlike His First Coming all humanity will know for certain that He has returned. True, when faced with all these facts then it is only natural that we could look upon that day with fear and dread.

But, and it’s a big but, for all those who look towards God in faith, this should be a day of great hope, not dread. The Liturgy constantly encourages us to look with joy and hope for the coming of our Saviour.  Saint Augustine once wrote, “What sort of love of Christ is it to be afraid of His coming?” Surely it is a contradiction to profess our love for God and our faith in Him, yet, fear His coming. Saint Augustine quotes the First Book of Chronicles, “...all the trees of the wood sing for joy before the Lord for He comes to judge the Earth.” The Second Coming is the day that we, the Children of the Light, will receive the salvation promised us, so with the trees and with all creation we should welcome Him with shouts of joy.

As Children of the Light, the day of judgement should not cause us to fear. Let us remember that, He who comes to judge us has lived among us; He has loved us and walked with us, He is one of us. Let us not give in to panic and chaos, but let us listen out and hear the words of Christ, “It is I, do not be afraid” and rejoice that our salvation is near.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Mass and first Blessing of a newly ordained Priest

This Sunday at 7pm Holy Mass will be offered in St Therese church by Canon Benjamin Coggeshall, a newly ordained priest for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Following Mass Canon will give his first blessing and provide a prayer card for everyone who attends. Please share this information and encourage as many friends and family as possible to attend.

Christmas cards featuring beautiful images of the Nativity and published by the Institute will be available for sale, proceeds going to assist in the Institute's work of enhancing the beauty of the Sacred Liturgy. A pack of six cards costs £4 (€5).