Today is the Fourth Sunday of Lent: (Laetare Sunday): When we hear this Gospel our eyes glaze over because it is one that is so familiar to us. It is taken from the 15th Chapter of Luke’s Gospel and it is often referred to as the “gospel in miniature!” Who is this Gospel addressed to? It is addressed to Pharisees and scribes who were complaining that Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners! “This man” they said, “welcomes sinners and eats with them” (Luke 15:3). This was a constantly happening in the ministry of Jesus. The younger brothers (sinners) were coming to him. These were the ones who engaged in wild living. But the teachers of the law who held to the traditional morality were complaining. Who else is complaining in this chapter? Yes, it is the elder son! We hear often about the younger son’s wanton lifestyle, but the elder son was equally distant from his father. We must remember that the original listeners were not melted into tears by the story of the younger son but rather they were thunder struck, offended and infuriated. This story reveals the destructive self-centredness of the younger son but it also condemns the elder brother’s moralistic life in the strongest terms.The outcast is the one who connects with Jesus and the elder-brother type does not. Did not Jesus say in Matthew 21:31 “I tell you solemnly, tax collectors and prostitutes are making their way into the kingdom of God before you!”? The elder son does not go into the feast that is held to celebrate his youngest brother’s return to the family home. Custom requires the older son’s presence at the celebration. The older son has a responsibility. He should be at the door welcoming guests. That is his role as elder. He has a place in father’s home. A place of honour. He is the elder brother. In fact he needs to honour father with his presence. He needs to work together with his father. The eldest son’s behaviour forces the father to come out to speak to his older son, a demeaning thing to have to do when you are the lord of the manor and host of a great feast. The image of the father, leaving the celebration, to go outside to cajole his angry son, upsets the listeners. The elder son is so full of resentment that he refuses to go in. Resentment is the curse of the faithful, the virtuous the obedient and the hardworking and it settles itself in the human heart and cause havoc. Resentment is cold anger. It is very hidden and interior as opposed to being overt, explicit and obvious. The elder son ended up as being as lost as the son who went away. Younger son was totally out of control when he went away; the elder son was quite controlled and self-disciplined. By conventional standard we have one “bad” son and one “good” son yet both are alienated from their father. The important point of this gospel is that the father shatters the self-identity of both sons. Both define sonship in terms of servile, menial, obedient, and demeaning obligations. Each in his own way destroys the family. A relationship with the father that is defined in terms of slavery leads to destruction. The relationship as defined by the father leads to life and joy. Both sons are jolted out of their self-understanding and invited to a celebration of life out of death. The point is clear enough for each one of us. Is my relationship with God based on fear? Is it based merely on obligations alone? Or is it one that is based on love?
Thanks for the very generous collection last week. It came to £1590. We appreciate your generosity towards the upkeep of the Graan. We are also grateful to our Ushers, Ministers of the Eucharist and Readers for giving of their time and energy in the smooth running of our religious services.
Special Collection for Ukraine: The Irish Bishops have asked for a Special Collection to be taken up at Masses this weekend to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and especially the families and children who have had to flee their homeland in advance of the Russian invasion. The proceeds of this Special Collection will be directed to Caritas Internationalis, which is the helping hand of the Church on the ground in the Ukraine and the surrounding region. Please be as generous as you can. Thank you.
Renovated Confessionals: We are renovating the old confession boxes in the main body of our church. We will be moving out of the confessional room behind the sanctuary soon. For adequate ventilation we have new windows installed, and one can speak with the confessor face-to-face or behind the curtain. Only one penitent can enter the confessional at a time.
The Shop: Open Mon to Sat:9.30am – 7pm. Sun 9.30 – 4.30pm. Guild Mass Cards: Easter, Deceased, Mass Bouquets, Get Well, Wedding. Cost £2 / €2.50. We have a wide selection of confirmation and Holy Communion items etc.
Friday Exposition continues each Friday from 10am – 2pm.
Friday 1st is the First Friday in the month. Mass @ 7pm.
Mass: Mon to Fri @ 7pm. Mon (28th March) @ 7pm – Arthur. (Confessions Tues to Fri 2pm – 5pm). Tues: Brian. Wed – Arthur. Thurs – Charles. Fri – Charles. Confessions Saturday 5 – 6pm. Sat – Brian.
Felix Mc Caffrey Maguiresbridge
Rose Donnelly, The Moy
Kevin Mc Conway, Carrickfergus formerly Enniskillen
Owen Foy, Loughshore Rd, Blaney
Michael Burns, Garrison
Michael & Lilley Jones, Westville Terrace, Enniskillen
The Gray & Jones Families, Enniskillen & Manchester
Phil & Kathleen Dooris, Cornagrade Rd, Enniskillen
Grainne Timoney, Tullygrevagh, Belcoo
Patrick & Kathleen Gault & Family, Market St, Enniskillen
The Mc Cabe Family, Market St, Enniskillen
Sean Flanagan, Bellanaleck
Jamie Ridout, Milton Keynes
Patrick Keown, Roscor, Belleek
Mary Kate Gormley, Roscor Belleek
John F Corrigan, Gortermoan, Florencecourt
Pappy & James Mc Connell, Knockmore, Derrygonnelly
Rose Ann (Rose) Murphy, Omagh
Telephone: 028 6632 2272
Fax: 028 6632 5201