Today is the 18 Sunday of the Year: Last week was a bad week for those who had arranged holidays to Spain. People who go there for a break need to quarantine for 14 days when they return home. It seems that Covid 19 is stalking us at every turn. The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection, this reality is hitting us and we are grieving collectively. Today in the Gospel Jesus is grieving. His cousin John the Baptist was beheaded because of the whim of a dancing girl in the court of King Herod. Jesus had lost not only the person, who baptised him but John was also his prophet and who had devoted his whole life preparing people for his coming. Jesus goes off as it says in the Gospel “by boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves” (Matthew 14:13). At a time of loss and grief we all need space and solitude to deal with the pain we are experiencing. So many grieve today that because of Covid 19 their beloved friends and loved ones have died without the grace of a proper farewell. Jesus and his disciples are no different than us. Yet that space and quiet was denied to them. Great crowds gathered to meet them in that lonely place. Jesus forgetting his own need, spends himself out, reaching out to them with compassion, gentleness and healing. The sun was setting over their busy day and it was then that the disciples turned practical they were getting hungry they were in the middle of nowhere – the back of beyond – and they began to ask Jesus to send them away. But Jesus says: “There is no need for them to go away; give them something to eat yourselves” (Matthew 14:17) Imagine them saying things like “What do you mean we should give them something to eat? There are five thousand people out there! All we have is five loaves and two salted fish which is hardly a snack for 12 men let alone 5,000 people!” The disciples have the notion that things were scarce. They looked out at the crowd saw no picnic baskets or backpacks and assumed that no one had anything to eat. They looked at their basket and common sense said we haven’t got enough. Don’t we feel like that sometimes when we face moments of crisis in our lives? “I just cannot cope anymore with this, I have not got it within me to keep going!” Our inner resources grow smaller, weaker and dimmer. Like the disciples we are operating out of the assumption that things are in short supply. Jesus works out of a different set of assumptions. Wherever there is plenty of God there would be plenty of everything else. He was confident God would bless the “not enough” into plenty! Did the example of the apostles handing over their picnic basket to Jesus impel the crowd to hand over their small baskets of food and the food hidden in their pockets? It is one interpretation of the story. Is this just a whole crowd moving from a sense of scarcity to a sense of plenty – overcoming their fear of going hungry, giving up their need to protect themselves? Is this is a people refusing to play the age old game of “what-is-mine-is-mine-and-what-is-yours-is-yours”? Are they being like God who is rich in generosity? It says in the Psalm today “The eyes of all creatures look to you and you give them their food in due time” (Psalm 144). That is who God is, who pleads with the people in the first reading today from Isaiah not to be tied into an old system of commerce but to come to the Living God who gives life in all its fullness. “Open wide your hand, O Lord, and grant our desires”
Edith Stein (d 1942) the Carmelite saint writes; “Divine life is love, overflowing, and lavish freely self-giving love. Love that heals what is sick and awakens to life what is dead. Love that protects and cherishes, nourishes, grieves, and is joyful with the joyous that is helpful to every creature, so that it may become what the Father has destined it to be”
When God is no longer the centre, life gets harder than it has to be. Brother Klaus von Flue (1417-1487) had a vision of well. He sees in a village a large group of people who are doing hard work and yet remain very poor, He also sees a small building, which he walks into. He enters a kitchen that belongs to the whole community. As he climbs up a little staircase “perhaps four steps” he discovers a chest out of which, “as quick as lightning shoots, with a mighty roar, a great stream of three things, namely wine, oil and honey. The stream is crystal clear. And however powerfully it flowed out, the chest still remained filled to the very top” He cannot understand how the people can work so hard and yet be so poor and still not enter the kitchen. “And he saw no one go into the kitchen to draw from the well”
Thank you for your donations towards the upkeep of the Graan. Thanks also to all our ushers who help our visitors to acquaint themselves with our new seating arrangements here in the Graan. A little word of appreciation also to those who so readily help to clean the seats of the Church and door handles after each Mass. Despite the restrictions of social distancing etc our shop continues to be very busy and we appreciate your custom. You are being remembered everyday in the prayers of this community. Fr. Charles C.P.
DUTY FOR THE WEEK: Sun & Mon No Duty. (Monday to Friday) Mass @ 7pm – Anthony. Tues – Arthur. Wed –Arthur. Thurs – Charles. Fri – Charles.. Sat – Charles.
Friday Exposition continues each Friday from 10am – 2pm.
Shop Opening Hours: Mon to Sat: 9.30am – 7.30pm. Sunday – 9.30am – 5pm.
Guild Mass Cards: We have a wide selection of cards for Deceased, Mass Bouquets, Get Well, Birthday, Special Occasion, Wedding, Thinking of You and Exam Mass Bouquets which cost £2 / €2.50 each. We value your support. They are available to order online.
Michael Doherty, Letterbreen
Beatrice Whitley, Lisbellaw
Monica Gallagher, nee Donnelly, Omagh formerly Trillick
Patrick Mc Ginn, Ballygawley
Jimmy Kildea, Maguiresbridge
John & Elizabeth Maguire & Alice & Art Maguire, Lehinch, Newtownbutler & the Conroy & Maguire families
Sean, Mary & Anna Monaghan, Enniskillen
David & Sarah Mc Hugh & family, Ederney
Patrick O’Sullivan, Longford & Oliver Scallon (Month’s Mind) Irvinestown
Gretta Elliott, Graan Abbey Nursing Home
John Campbell, Cullyhanna
Telephone: 028 6632 2272
Fax: 028 6632 5201