In today’s second reading (1 John 4:7-10) and John’s Gospel (15:9-17), there are 20 references of the word ‘LOVE’. The message of Love is repeated again and again:
‘God is Love’;
‘Let us love one another since love comes from God’;
‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love’;
‘What I command you is to love one another’.
For Christians, God’s love for humankind is the foundation of all human experience of love. Since the beginning of time, poetry, prose and song have attempted to put into words the great mystery that is love. The Beatles reminded us: “All you need is love”! Endless songs have tried to capture what love is … and we are back to the beginning – God is Love!
Jesus showed the supreme example of love for us – he gave his life on the Cross out of love for us. While love is a free choice, love and friendship makes a demand on us. Parents give freely of their time and energy to care for their children, but it also requires a lot of effort. In any walk of life, to love and serve others is demanding. We have to forget about ourselves and put others first. The challenge as Jesus tells us is that we lay down our lives for our friends. This is exactly what Jesus did for us. We are asked to do the same.
On 12th June 1971, I joined 23 others in our Ordination Ceremony in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Next month would mark the 50th Anniversary of this day and my Golden Jubilee as a priest! On one hand, I would be happy to let the occasion pass by unnoticed, but that may not be the correct thing to do. So, at 12 noon on Saturday 12th June 2021, we will have a Mass here at St John Vianney. Archbishop George Stack of Cardiff will be joining us, as he did for my 40th Ruby Anniversary. I would like to invite some friends and people I’ve worked with over the past years and as many parishioners as possible. However, we are still on restricted numbers which makes life difficult. This is why I’m hoping to keep the celebration open for the three usual Masses that weekend.
Sadly, we can’t have a get together in the Hall for a reception yet on that weekend. Instead, we will attempt some form of sharing food and drinks within whatever restrictions may still be recommended on the last Sunday in June (after the 21st June lifting of restrictions).
Watch this space!
There is much discussion in many circles as to what life will be like when we get back to ‘normal’ whenever the COVID pandemic is under control (if that day ever comes). Many would say that within the life of the church, things will never be the same again. This past year or more has been something we never dreamed of. “Imagine our Churches close and not being able to attend Mass!” To help us learn from this past year and to look to planning for the future, we would like to ask your opinions on the best way forward as a parish community. While there will be many directives given us, we still need to pray and reflect on what it is that the Holy Spirit may be saying to us and plan accordingly. In this context, we will have a brief survey available NEXT WEEKEND so that all can put a few ideas forward. This will be a guide as to the best way forward. Please participate in this project.
Have a blessed week ahead, Fr Joe