Today is the Fifth Sunday of the Year: In the first reading today from the book of Job (7:1-4, 5-7) we hear a man crying out in anguish to God. He is a man who has lost everything – his family, health, friends, prosperity, good fortune – and lost it all for reasons he could not fathom. His prayer mirrors the experience in our world today of many whose lives have been blighted by war, famine, sickness and financial woes. He complains to God, “Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle my days have passed and vanished leaving no hope behind” (Job 7:6) Suffering is an enigma, a puzzle, all too often inexplicable and senseless. It permeates the whole of creation and raises questions about guilt and responsibility, justice and mercy, living and dying, and – the biggest question of all – why? Human suffering is the hurting part of life. We try hard to avoid suffering but we cannot; our struggling often leads to further suffering. Suffering accompanies life. The spiritual writer Romano Guardini’s (1885-1968) description of suffering as a shoreless ocean illustrates its inescapable presence. Suffering is not always visible. The calmest appearance can mask great inner turmoil. Like the ocean, with its heaving, rolling waves or turbulent currents deep beneath the most tranquil surface, life carries suffering. How we meet and cope with suffering will define our whole approach to life. Jesus made no attempt to eradicate all suffering. Jesus was not a social reformer, intent on ridding the world of its aches and pains. He had another agenda altogether. He neither ignored suffering nor fled from it. Rather he entered into suffering, his own and the sufferings of others. In this way he exposed the mystery of suffering as a positive healing gift. When we embrace suffering, encounter and befriend it, we can experience an amazing transformation. The disease may not disappear, the heartbreak may not mend, the physical or emotional pain may still persist, but we discover an inner peace that changes attitudes of denial and anger to acceptance, patience and compassion. This healing can be so much richer than any actual cure. Saint Teresa of Calcutta, who died in 1997, tells us: “True love causes pain. Jesus, in order to give us the proof of his love, died on the cross. A mother, in order to give birth to her baby, has to suffer. If you really love one another, you will not be able to avoid making sacrifices”. All suffering is hard and, at the time, seemingly pointless and unrewarding. “I know that my Redeemer lives”, (Job 19:25) is possibly the best known quote from the Book of Job. But it is not the heart of Job’s story; it is rather the beginning and the end. Like book-ends, this expression of faith holds Job together: a good and just man, Job’s life is blessed by God; but then disaster strikes, plunging Job into darkness; slowly he recognises God’s presence and re-emerges into the light. We speak of someone as having “the patience of Job,” meaning they put up with so much. Here patience is most evidently relating to suffering, and is not simply a connection with time. Patience and love come together with great poignancy through Job’s encounter with suffering which challenged, threatened and finally reaffirmed his relationship with God. From the Psalm Reading at Mass today: “The Lord …heals the broken hearted, he binds up all their wounds” (Psalm 146)
Feasts of the Week: Monday St. Agatha died a martyr in Sicily in 3rd century. Tuesday: St. Paul Miki and Companions: These were martyred in Nagasaki Japan in 1597. The six Franciscans, seventeen Franciscan Tertiaries, and three Jesuits died suspended on crosses. Thursday: St. Josephine Bakhita (1868-1947) a native of Sudan brought as a slave to Italy where she became a Christian. Today is also International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking. Saturday: St. Scholastica who died in 543 AD and was a sister of St. Benedict. She spent her life as a consecrated virgin. Friday: In the Passionist calendar today, it is our custom on the Friday before Ash Wednesday, to celebrate the Commemoration of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanks for the collection last week. It came to £1990. We are grateful for your wonderful support. A word of thanks also to all who help out at our weekend liturgies, that includes our Readers, Singers, Ushers and Eucharistic Ministers. Thank you.
St Brigid’s Crosses: A big thank you to Philip Mc Grade for all his hard work making the crosses. £645 has been given to Mary’s Meals (Enniskillen Branch). Thank you all for your support to this very worthy cause.
Confessions: Sun & Mon no duty. Mass Mon (5th Feb) @ 7pm – Charles. Duty: Tues to Fri 2pm – 5pm. Sat 5pm – 6pm. Tues – Brian. Wed – Victor. Thurs – Charles. Fri – Arthur. Saturday – Arthur. Shop: Open Mon Sat 9.30am – 7pm. Sun 9.30pm – 4pm.
Novena of Hope: Sat 6:30 pm Vigil Mass 2nd March and ending on Monday 11th March 2024. A meeting will be held tomorrow Monday 5th February after the 7pm Mass in our upstairs prayer room. It should last less than one hour. Practical arrangements about the Novena will be discussed and your participation and opinions about this important week will be heard. All are welcome to attend.
Guild Mass Cards: We have a selection of cards for Deceased, Mass Bouquets, etc. Cost £2 / €2.50.
Save Our Acute Surgery (SOAS) continues campaigning to restore Emergency General Surgery to SWAH. Our Hospital was approved to host NI first Bariatric (weight loss) surgery clinic in 2019. SWAH was judged to be the best-equipped hospital to host this service. However, the Department of Health has now launched a consultation – ending one week from now – to decide which hospital this surgery will go to. We are asking you to help by signing the consultation forms in the church porch after each Mass today.
February’s Church Cleaning Group will meet on Wednesday next 7th February at 7.30pm.
Noel Parker, Belfast & Belcoo
Bridget Henderson, Derrin Rd, Enniskillen
Mary Durnion, Tempo
Kieran Cavanagh, Dublin
Patrick Francis Moran, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim
Brendan & Agnes Lilley, Chanterhill Rd, Enniskillen
Br Mark O Reilly, Graan Monastery
Jack Duffin, Belfast
Jimmy & Bridgeen Reilly, Breagho, Enniskillen
Bridget Duffy, Doagh, Derygonnelly
Ellie Louise Stenson, Ferney Rise, Enniskillen
PJ Mc Gurl, Gortnalee, Belleek
Joseph Gray, Holywell, Belcoo
Thomas Duffy, Derry Rd, Enniskillen
Joan Higgins, Newry & Springfield
Aiden Millar, Derrygonnelly
Fr James Hannigan, Graan Abbey Nursing Home & Virginia
Telephone: 028 6632 2272
Fax: 028 6632 5201