2nd Sunday of Easter 2021 – RTE Broadcast 11th April 2021

2nd Sunday of Easter 2021 – RTE Broadcast 11th April 2021

Despite the epithet ‘doubting Thomas’, he was in reality prolific and heroic, a towering man of faith. He went on to be the only apostle to preach the faith far beyond the boundaries of the Roman Empire. He reminds us that sometimes it is the struggle with faith, it is in the moments of anguish and questioning when our faith, paradoxically is often at it strongest. We can see our own doubts, great or small, not as objects of shame, to be hidden and suppressed behind the mask, but as spurs to our spiritual growth and rebirth.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday

We gather as a Diocese to celebrate the new life and new hope of Easter. Our church buildings must remain closed but we still have each other, we can come together like this, we can pray for each other, talk to each other and hold each other in our thoughts and our hearts, we can continue to be the church together and to hope for better days to come – as surely they will.
After all the message of Easter is renewed life and new hope.

Holy Saturday – Easter Vigil – Darkest before the dawn

Holy Saturday – Easter Vigil – Darkest before the dawn

The Passion is almost over but not yet, Jesus is almost risen, but not yet. The Easter fire is lit outside the church as evening falls, a flame to light the Paschal Candle – a tradition credited to St Patrick. We start this service with the church unlit, illuminated only by the light of the Paschal Candle coming into our midst, slowly revealing its presence among us, symbolising the realisation, only gradually dawning upon the disciples, that Christ is the light of the world.

Good Friday – Standing at the foot of the Cross

Good Friday – Standing at the foot of the Cross

God does not insist on payment of a debt. Whereas we may equate crime with punishment, and our hearts scream out for vengeance, the heart of God offers forgiveness, acceptance and healing. God is surely above the anger, retribution and violence of the world that we have fashioned for ourselves. Rather he attacks the very source of wrong doing, in the corruption of the human heart and begins the healing there.

Tenebrae – Maundy Thursday

Tenebrae – Maundy Thursday

The Office of Tenebrae took place in ancient times during the Great Triduum, the three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday which brings Holy Week to an end. At the climax of the Office is the recitation of part of the Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremiah. The recitation is accompanied by the gradual extinguishing of the 15 Tenebrae candles which represents the overwhelming sense of darkness, defeat and desolation felt by the disciples in the aftermath of the crucifixion.

Palm Sunday – Are we just standing by?

Palm Sunday – Are we just standing by?

We celebrate Palm Sunday – a story of triumph, but a triumph that foreshadows terrible suffering to come. As we live through these difficult days, we might take time to reflect on how the Holy Week journey now speaks to us in new and different ways: of joy and sadness, of hope and despair, laughter and tears, life and death, so often intermingled, the one interwoven with the other, inseparable and indivisible. So it is with life, so too with our journey of faith over the next few days.

Passion Sunday – not quite as it sounds.

Passion Sunday – not quite as it sounds.

Today is traditionally known as Passion Sunday, although that it is not as exciting or as racy as it sounds. But it is a time to think very carefully about the kind of God that we say we believe in, and what that says about us, our own priorities and prejudices. Supposedly we worship what we esteem, what we value, what we hold to be the highest, the most holy and the finest – or do we? Passion Sunday is a good time to ask that question.

Mothering Sunday – What can we learn from Mothers?

Mothering Sunday – What can we learn from Mothers?

Today as we keep Mothering Sunday, we are challenged to reflect upon not only the bond between a mother and a child but the extent to which the self-sacrifice, the pain and the devotion that mothers must go through in order to bring a new life into the world, gives them some greater insight into the respect, compassion and reverence with which we should all seek to treat one another. A mother knows what new life costs, they might also teach us something about the value and the sanctity of life.

3rd Sunday of Lent – Does Jesus hate business?

3rd Sunday of Lent – Does Jesus hate business?

We hear the story of Jesus overturning trading stalls and tables, berating and ejecting tradesmen from the Jerusalem Temple, supposedly the holiest of places, but clearly also for some a place of business and profit. But the story has greater relevance than just an occasion where Jesus railed against particular people at a particular time. It also causes us to question the extent to which we as Christians should support or be wary of the profit motive, and whether the economic systems we have devised for ourselves are really just and equitable, and what role they might play in advancing or hindering the Kingdom.

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday

We gather as a Diocese to celebrate the new life and new hope of Easter. Our church buildings must remain closed but we still have each other, we can come together like this, we can pray for each other, talk to each other and hold each other in our thoughts and our hearts, we can continue to be the church together and to hope for better days to come – as surely they will.
After all the message of Easter is renewed life and new hope.

2nd Sunday after Lent – The Way of the Cross

2nd Sunday after Lent – The Way of the Cross

Jesus’s determination to stay true to the road that lay before him, true to his Father’s will, was to lead him to the Way of the Cross. On that journey he calls upon us to bear our own cross, for such is the way of Christian discipleship. But the truth is that we don’t like anything that looks like a cross, problems, troubles, sickness; we spend our entire lives trying to avoid them. In that, we are very much like Peter.

1st Sunday of Lent – The need for healing

1st Sunday of Lent – The need for healing

One of the problems in church life is that we do eventually take on new ideas, but we somehow cannot let go of the old.
Particularly at Lent there is the tendency of church teaching, especially in the liturgy and in hymns to concentrate on human sin and error from only one perspective – the tendency of the season to view the complexity and vulnerability of the human condition through just one simplistic and erroneous lens. For far too long, the western church has tended to see human failings in terms of crime and punishment.

The Transfiguration – The Times they are a-changing

The Transfiguration – The Times they are a-changing

We like to form a pattern of the world, a mental map of how things work, why they happen, an explanation of the way the world works, and why. We tend to seek explanations for new things according to the old ways, we like to fit things into an existing pattern. Generally it can serve us well. But sometimes it can serve us ill. As Jesus says earlier in Mark’s Gospel: “no one puts new wine into old wineskins”. Today, some elements of church life and teaching are now holding us back, limiting our ability to learn and progress. We can, of course, be tempted to hold onto it all; it’s familiar and comfortable, but like the old wine skin it cannot contain, it cannot hold the new, lest it burst apart.

2nd Sunday before Lent – Honouring Creation

2nd Sunday before Lent – Honouring Creation

The gospels of Matthew and Luke start with the genealogy of Jesus’s ancestors and his claim to a worldly royal heritage, or the story of his birth and his family – but for John this is already too late in the sequence of events. For whilst at the start of the Gospel of John we encounter Jesus already as a young man, commencing his ministry with a ritual baptism by John the Baptist; first John is at pains to set Jesus in his cosmic context. Not just as a person born into time, but as a reality which existed before all time.

Presentation of Christ – Candlemas

Presentation of Christ – Candlemas

In the temple an old man waits. Tired, near the end of his days, prepared for his dying, but waiting nevertheless. Utterly convinced that his eyes will not close for the last time, before he sees the promised Messiah, the saviour of his and all people. Outside a family prepares to enter. They are humble and poor, the sacrifice they are about to make is an allowance for those of few means, otherwise they would be expected to bring a lamb and turtledoves. But like the old man, they too are devout. All the rituals have been observed, their poverty does not prevent them from observing the pious demands of their faith. And so an ending and a beginning, as so often in life.

Third Sunday after Epiphany – What am I meant to do?

Third Sunday after Epiphany – What am I meant to do?

Jesus approaches some young men, in the middle of their work, at a critical point in their work and calls them to drop what they are doing, straight way, and to follow him to an uncertain and precarious future. Forget everything else, drop everything now, don’t look back, don’t prevaricate, don’t set pre-conditions, but follow me now. One might well ask is that the message of today’s gospel, is this really what I am being asked to do? To forget job, home, family, commitments, all other duties for my faith?

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