Dominican Fathers
Sunday - June 10, 2001
Privatising Religion
:Lone christians; is an issue we have already touched on but I return to it again because it is one that affects who and what we are as Church. I have a sneaking suspicion that every so often a little voice inside speaks up and says, :Lord, it would have been a lot easier if it had been just you and me. Why can・t we have a situation that takes place between the pair of us? All I ask is that you give me the Holy Spirit and with his/her help we can together walk life・s highways and byways with no outside interference.; There is a tendency to privatise religion and reduce it to .me and my God・. Religion is, indeed, a lot easier and cosier when we privatise it. Me and my God is neat and tidy. It keeps the motley, madding crowd at arms length. But this approach is a far cry from what Jesus proposed. The solo- run approach is alien to his thoughts and words. A christian living a good, decent, God fearing life in solitary confinement contradicts everything Jesus stands for. Baptism makes us people of God and in this vision no one goes to heaven on their own. As some wise person said: :No one can have God for his father unless he has the Church for his mother.; Still the temptation to cut oneself off from the group and go it alone is strong when the Church becomes a big disappointment and let down. That is what the apostle Thomas did after the death of Jesus. His world collapsed. He isolated himself from the Church of the day. He made a huge mistake in taking that route. When Jesus appeared in the upper room in Jerusalem he wasn・t there. Thomas missed the experience of a lifetime. He missed the first appearance of the risen Jesus. Jesus tends to appear not to individuals but to a gathering of people. We are the Church of the gathering. :Where two or three are gathered together I am present.; The temptation to say, :I don・t need the Church, I・ll worship God in my own way, I・ll say my prayers and attend to my own devotions,; is one we have to live with especially when the Church fails to measure up to our expectations. At the same time we can so easily forget that we see things, not as they are, but as we are. This is how Shakespeare puts it in Julius Caesar, :The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in our selves, that we are underlings.; Thomas soon discovered that he was the one who failed to measure up to the Church・s expectations not the other way around, and quickly came to his senses, returned to the fold and moved on to the next phase of his life. The story comes to mind of what a wise priest did when confronted by an angry young man who declared, :I don・t go to Church anymore but I pray a lot.; There was a log fire burning in the living room. The priest picked up the tongs and carefully removed a burning log and placed it on the stone hearth where it smouldered away. The heat went out of it. The log slowly lost it・s glow and gradually turned to ashes. The log to maintain it・s splendour needed the company of other burning logs. It was a powerful statement. We are by nature and instinct social animals. We need the company of one another. We do not go to God alone. We don・t worship along. The Church Jesus founded is a community. He has set a place for each of us at his table. John Donne reminds us, :No man is an Island, entire of itself; Everyman is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.;

Though Provoking

Over half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disaster that has befallen Russia: :Men have forgotten God; that・s why all this has happened.; Since than I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by the upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately that to repeat: :Men have forgotten God; that・s why all this has happened.; Alexander Solzhenisyn Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a person does not know what harbour he is making for, no wind is the right wind. Seneca (4B.C - 65 A.D) When the explorer David Livingston was asked where he was prepared to go he answered: :I am prepared to go anywhere, so long as its forward.; The idea of turning back never occurs to the follower of Jesus! On a Sunday morning, the priest announced: :My good people, I have here in my hands three sermons, a G50.00 sermon that lasts five minutes, a G25.00 sermons lasts fifteen minutes and a G10.00 lasts an hour. Now we・ll take up the collection and see which sermon I'll deliver. Unless you are a lead dog, the view never changes - be a leader not a follower!

Notice Board

Sunday Morning Ireland: Log in to this religious programme going out to the world website audience from St. Saviour・s, Bridge Street, Waterford, every Sunday morning. Sunday Morning Ireland is an attempt on my part to reach out to and continue ministering to the people who have touched and enriched my life at different times and in different places. It is, also, an attempt to reach those who haven・t left the Church but have stopped going to mass. Please pass the website address to anyone who might be interested. E-Mail: Note our e-mail address. If you have any comments, criticisms, insights or suggestions, we would be pleased to hear from you. We are grateful and encouraged by the responses we have received. Sunday Mass Schedule: The new Mass schedule for Sunday will begin on the feast of Corpus Christi (June 17th). The masses will then be: 7am 11am & 7pm. Alive and Free: A new CD, Alive and Free, has just been released in Canada of live homilies Fr. Vincent preached in Vancouver. A limited number of copies are now available in the shop at a special offer of G5.

Church Schedule

MASS SATURDAY: 7.30pm Vigil Mass SUNDAY: 7.00am 10.30am 12.00noon 7.00pm Weekdays: 8.00am & 10.30am CONFESSIONS SATURDAY: 10.10 - 10.25am 11.00 - 12 noon 4.00 - 5.00pm Weekdays: 10.10 - 10.25am All correspondence to: Fr Vincent Travers O.P. Bridge Street, Waterford. Tel: 875061 Fax: 858093.

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