Sunday, 1 December 2013

Credo Series - Episode 9

In this ninth episode in our series on the Nicene Creed we look at the phrase: "He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom shall have no end." Fr. John Harris OP will talk with Bro. Ronan about the final judgement.

Please share this series if you like it with your friends. We will release a new episode every week until we have gone through all the articles contained in the Creed.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Credo Series - Episode 8

In this eigth episode in our series on the Nicene Creed we look at the phrase: "He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father." Monica will talk with Bro. Ronan about the ascension.

Please share this series if you like it with your friends. We will release a new episode every week until we have gone through all the articles contained in the Creed.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Appeal for the Philippines

This short video is our appeal to support the people in the Philippines after the disaster of the typhoon last week.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Symposium - the New Evangelisation - Part 1/3

The topic during our monthly Symposium this month was 'The New Evengalisation'. This first talk out of the three given on this topic is by Fr. Terence Crotty OP. The other two are by Rosemary Sword and Fr. Brian McKevit OP.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

The Pharisee and the Tax Collector

Luke 18:9-14

Jesus is telling us in todays Gospel that we should be like the tax collector, and not like the pharisee. This might for us not be that much of a shock. Civil servants are defiantly not seen as sinners, and we are used to read in the Gospels that the pharisees are the ‘bad ones’ in the time of Jesus. Jesus is often told to associates with tax collectors, and even has an apostle who used to be a tax collector.
However in Jesus; time it was a shock! 

Tax collectors worked for the Roman Empire, and as such were seen as people who worked for the occupying forces. As we can read in many passages in the Gospels people counter tax collectors as sinner and Jesus is often rebuked for seeking association with them. It was well known that tax collectors had a set amount of revenue they had to bring in, and any surplus they kept themselves. They often charged people more then was due, and as such became very wealthy over the backs of others. The Pharisee, after his list of in-virtues behaviour of the rest of mankind, sees the tax collector as even worse.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Prayer? What is prayer?

(Luke 18:1-8)

What struck me mostly in the Gospel this week is when Jesus says at the end of the Gospel “But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any faith on earth”. The previous chapter of the Gospel is about how people lived their lives going about their business, but not thinking about what was to happen. There was no connection with the here and now, and the eternal reality which is God, and they found that their daily toil ended in nothing as suddenly the end came.

What is the alternative? Prayer, continual prayer so teaches Jesus.
When we don’t pray we don’t have real faith. We might have some believe, but faith is something more then believe. One of the priest I live with said once that faith is like a guide-stick, who somebody who is blind uses. It guides you along live, prevents you from straying from the right path, but nevertheless it does not give you sight of where you are going.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Who is Jesus in our lives?

In this weeks Gospel, Jesus is praying alone, but it happened that "the disciples were with him;" (Luke 9:18 RSV). Jesus asks the disciples who the people say He is. At least two things seem striking in this opening passage. The first is that Jesus is praying alone, but that the disciples are with him so he is not that alone, and the second that Jesus asks them who the people say He is, and also asks us this question.

To begin with there are different ways of reading this line. It can be taken that Jesus was praying alone, and that His disciples were with Him all the time, like praying together in a community or a family while still having at the same time a personal intimate conversation with God in ones own heart. But it can also be taken that the disciples came to Jesus while he was praying. Either way we get a little glimpse of the importance of prayer, something Luke often makes us aware of. It shows the importance of the balance between the outward discourse with the world, when for example Jesus is going around preaching the Good News and healing the sick, and the inward discourse with God himself; the time when we spent time with God in the inmost parts of our hearts.

Secondly regarding the question of who people say Jesus is it seems that the fact that Jesus is asking this question must have a reason. Other passages in the Gospel show clearly that Jesus has divine knowledge of people's thought, so surely He already knows.

But putting the two together it is possible to see a model of how we dialogue with God and how this encounter affects our lives and through us the lives of others. It is from his inward conversation with God that Jesus' question of who people say He is flows. An opportunity is given as the disciples approach Him to engage with Him. The moment of prayer and contemplation flows into a moment of an opportunity and of action of a deeper encounter. We can see that it leads to a deeper understanding, as Jesus now gently guides His disciples to the teaching which follows, the teaching that "the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised." (Luke 9:22 RSV) Following Him will mean the same for His listeners then as for us now: "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." (Luke 9:23 RSV)

Another aspect is that Jesus is also asking us every day who do we say He is. Do we answer with St. Peter "The Christ of God." (Luke 9:20 RSV)? Or is the answer maybe not as complete and do we see Jesus as a good teacher, a prophet or maybe even just a good example? But it is a question that is asked daily of us, a question on where Jesus is standing in our lives and which role He has to play. It seems that it is important to at least try to give the right answer and realise that Jesus is our Lord and our God and allow Him to take that role. As this Gospel illustrates, it is through prayer, through the sacraments, and also through others that we come to encounter Jesus. In these ways we hear His voice asking us the question what He means to us. Jesus is not asking because He is looking for the answer, but because He wants us to draw closer to Him.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Credo Series - Episode 7

In this seventh episode in our series on the Nicene Creed we look at the phrase: "and rose again on the third day in accordance with the scriptures." Fr. Terence Crotty OP will talk with Fr. Ciaran about the resurrection.

Please share this series if you like it with your friends. We will release a new episode every week until we have gone through all the articles contained in the Creed.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Credo Series - Episode 6

In this sixth episode in our series on the Nicene Creed we look at the phrase: "for our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate. He suffered death and was buried." Rosemary Swords will talk with bro. Ronan about Christ's Crucifixion.

Please share this series if you like it with your friends. We will release a new episode every week until we have gone through all the articles contained in the Creed.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Credo Series - Episode 5

In this fifth episode in our series on the Nicene Creed we look at the phrase: "and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate by the Virgin Mary and became man." Bro. Damian Polly OP will shed some light on the topic of the incarnation.

Please share this series if you like it with your friends. We will release a new expisode every week until we have gone through all the articles contained in the Creed.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Some thoughts about Pentecost

We are now in the time between the Ascension and Pentecost. Last Sundays Gospel narrated the story of Jesus taking leave of the disciples and being carried up into heaven. The nine days between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost Sunday is the first novena which was ever prayed, in which the disciples gathered together with Our Lady to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

In this Sundays Gospel Jesus says that He will sent down what the Father has promised, the Holy Spirit, but what does this mean? If the ordinary comprehension of the disciples of what Jesus is about is an indication I would suggest they didn’t have a clue either. And while they were full of joy when they saw Jesus being taken up into the clouds, we can read in the Gospel of Luke that when Pentecost came they were afraid as usual and locked themselves up in the upper room. However we now know what happened to them, and how it transferred the disciples from being hidden and locked up by themselves into the preachers which stand up boldly and address the crowds telling them that Jesus has risen!

Does this event have any relation to my own praying of the novena for this outpouring of the Holy Spirit, do I regard it as something that is actually going to happen, or an event in the past only held in a memorial? That is a difficult question. And a related question is really if I want it to happen. Do I really want to be a preacher like Saint Peter and Paul, being persecuted, flogged, scorched, stoned and eventually killed for my witness to the Good News? It is something to think about I think...

In the difference between reflecting on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as a past event, and the desire to receive the grace to go out and make disciples of all the nations lies a fundamental difference. The one can maybe be said to focus on me, and my direct surroundings, and can maybe be seen to be more inward. The second however is concerned with the outgoing to the outside, to spread out. It strikes me that the commandment to “go and make disciples of all the nations” is something that needs to be taken serious, and has to be taken literary. We need to go out and make disciples. We need to go out and tell people about Jesus. We need to go out and share the joy we ourselves discover when we try and live an authentic Christian life in communion with God!

It is very easy to become inward looking, to focus on what our own direct surroundings or our own community in the Church. I dare to say that the fact that a lot of ‘ministry’ is only seen as being related to the liturgical celebrations is one of the effects of this. But instead of looking inwardly, we are called to look outward, to go out and to share. It is not about gathering up what we have and create our own comfortable place in the world, but in stead a calling to go out and gather those who are not part yet of the fold.

The joy which it is to know Jesus is something which should set out heart on fire. It puts our heart on fire to share with others who might not have experience this as yet, be in near to us, or farther afield. This time between ascension and Pentecost is maybe a time to pray especially for the grace to be able to stand up for our faith, and to have the courage as the apostles did after their Pentecost!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Credo Series - Episode 4

In this forth episode in our series on the Nicene Creed we look at the phrase: "I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father."

Bro. Conor McDonough OP talks with Dr. Carol Brown who will shed some new light for us. 

Please share this series if you like it with your friends. We will release a new expisode every week until we have gone through all the articles contained in the Creed.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Through accepting Jesus’ love we automatically accept His life giving message

Sixth Sunday of Easter (Year C)

Last Sundays Gospel, taken from the 14th chapter of the Gospel according to John, is part of the farewell discourse Jesus gave to His disciples to prepare them for the change which is about to happen; Jesus is going to be crucified and die for the sins of the world, but He will rise on the third day to open Heaven and allow us to become children of God. Jesus’ passing opens a complete new reality for us, and Jesus is preparing His disciples so “when it does happen [they] believe.” For us too, now in the time of preparation for Pentecost, it is a chance to think again about what it means that Jesus is risen and that He is with us, that it too might strengthen our own belief.

Earlier in the chapter Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one can come to the Father except by me”. Only through Jesus can we come to the Father and to eternal life; only by listening to Him can we accept and grasp the meaning of what it is to be true children of God. It is however not an easy thing to understand how we can become children of God, and how God is going to live in us! Indeed it is a teaching that can only be understood through faith. 

The encounter with Jesus is an encounter with genuine love, and an encounter which can open our hearts to accept the Truth He is offering to us. Through accepting Jesus’ love we automatically accept His life giving message, and through this acceptance we receive the grace we need to see and understand reality as it really is.

If we love Jesus we automatically accept His message, we automatically keep His word. There is no separation between who Jesus is and what He teaches. While for people who do not have faith Jesus’ teaching can be obscure and unacceptable, for those close to Him they are life giving, and they indeed recognised it as the teachings of God Himself.

When I discovered my faith about 10 years ago this was exactly what happened in my life. The encounter with the Truth suddenly makes so many things which were obscure before as clear as glass. For me the initial encounter was through reading the Word of God, especially the Gospels, and through the love of Jesus  experienced in prayer. This new discovery opened up for me a whole new perspective of the world. It changes everything! 

If we listen to the Word of God and keep it, then God really comes to dwell within us! He comes to us and helps us to become the persons we are really meant to be, the persons we are as God intended us to be when He made us. By allowing God into our lives we open ourselves up to a new reality in which our daily lives are not limited to the finitude of our day to day business. No, it opens up our experience to already participate in some of the blessings we will receive in Heaven. 

The true light comes into our lives and sheds light on aspects we did not notice before or maybe rather did not want to see. In my own personal experience I have seen this in the whole Pro-life struggle here in Ireland. When I grew up in the Netherlands there was never a hint of the baby in the womb being a person. It was just something which was never mentioned, a question never asked, and something never thought about. It was one of those things which was hidden in the dark, in the shadowy corners of the world, to be left ignored and left obscure. But with God in our lives it becomes clear. 

The closer we are to God the better we can see what is really happening around us. This gives a security, and indeed a peace which Jesus promises us. A peace which the world cannot give. Even though seeing everything clearly is not always the easiest, it is much better to go through life in daylight then stumbling all the time in the half dark, not knowing exactly where we are going.

If we don’t accept Jesus’ Word, and do no accept His teaching, or when we reject God and close our hearts to His love we somehow lose the sense of this reality, we shun the light which can enlighten the half-dark corners of this world. Reality lived in the shadows is not real anymore but becomes an enclosed world centred on ourselves where we cannot see much further then what is within our reach. Instead of living a life which is opened by love, we live an enclosed life. This is a life which is incompatible with a life with Jesus at its centre, and by its very fact of that way of living it is possible to shut God out and reject the gifts He wants to give us. When we do accept Jesus in our lives then we find the peace Jesus promises, a peace which if we look for it in the world we cannot find, a peace the world cannot give.

This is true, and this is real. I stand up to it myself, and wouldn’t be here if I did not belief it. Walking in the light is not always easy, and sometimes we prefer the dark. However, God is always there to help and guide us. He wants to be with us, and he wants to help us, He wants to be our light. Moreover, God has sent His Holy Spirit to guide us and enlighten us. As he promised in todays Gospel, the Holy Spirit will always guides us in finding the true way, to help us to understand, and remind us of what Jesus is saying to us and who will teach us to become better people.

Finally, we are not alone, there are many people around us who have discovered the treasure of our faith too. They too have encountered the Word, and embraced it! They have found this peace Jesus is offering. They are the people who are described as kind and gentile, and they radiate a happiness which seems to some almost unreal. This is what is offered by God, only to be accepted by us as a gift.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Credo Series - Episode 3

In this third episode on our series on the Nicene Creed we talk about creation in the article: "maker of heaven and earth". Bro. Conor McDonough OP joins us this week to give some new insights. 

Please share this series if you like it with your friends. We will release a new expisode every week until we have gone through all the articles contained in the Creed.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Year of Faith: Refocus on the Faith that is given us

Pope Benedict XVI has called this year the 'Year of Faith' to put a renewed focus on the importance of what faith really is. As I have only come to believe in God about 10 years ago, I can still clearly remember what it is to discover the gift of faith. The experience that suddenly everything I knew is transformed into a new fuller reality which can only be seen through the eyes of faith. It is the light shining in the darkness, making clear so many things which were vague or unknown before. It is through faith that we discovery and come to experience that God really exists and that He loves us and wants to know us. Everything we experience in this world is subsequently coloured from this perspective. This initially experience can be almost overwhelming! 

However then, over time the ‘newness’ wears off and the excitement of the encounter can turn into a dull routine. This year is an opportunity to make an effort to once more be touched and surprised by the encounter of faith. To grow in faith and communion with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Credo Series - Episode 2

In this second episode on our series on the Nicene Creed we look at the very first article: "I believe in one God the Father almighty". Dr. Carol Brown joins us this week to give some new insights.

Please share this series if you like it with your friends. We will release a new expisode every week until we have gone through all the articles contained in the Creed.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Credo Series - Episode 1

In this first eposode on our new 13 part series explaining aspects of the Nicene Creed we look at the very first word: "Credo: I believe". Fr. Joseph Dineen O.P. will tell us a bit about the history of the Creed.

Please share this series if you like it with your friends. We will release a new expisode every week until we have gone through all the articles contained in the Creed.

Monday, 8 April 2013

The Annunciation

This year the Annunciation of the Lord is celebrated on the 8th of April, instead of the 25th of March because the 25th of March fell on Holy Thursday.

This story is one of the most astonishing passages of scripture to contemplate; just for a moment think of what really happened in the little house in Nazareth. In the current basilica of the Annunciation, where the Angel appeared to Mary, it reads on the altar front ‘Verbum caro hic factum est’; ‘here the Word was made flesh’. It is this feast which celebrates the point when it all started, when God became man, when Jesus was conceived in the womb of the Virgin, when the all-powerful Word became flesh to dwell humbly among us!

At the moment when Mary said ‘yes’ Jesus became flesh in order to die and save us from our sins. He took from us our human nature so as to renew us in his divine nature. This is moving especially now after Easter when we have just celebrated the culmination of the incarnation in the crucifixion and resurrection: Jesus gave himself completely for us. This was the divine plan from the beginning, and it all started in this little town in Galilee called Nazareth.

Mary is a great example for us, and shows us what faith is really about. She did not doubt, she did not hesitate, she accepted God’s will. It seems such an opposite to our normal daily human experience. In the last week we have heard the various Gospel accounts of what happened in the days after the Resurrection. While the disciples close to Jesus must have known Him very well, it is clear that they did not grasp the reality which was before them. The risen Lord does not appear to them in a way they can recognise Him. We have Mary Magdalene who doesn’t recognise Jesus who is standing in front of her at the tomb until He speaks to her. Neither do the two disciples on the road to Emmaus until the breaking of the bread. Later when the disciples are together think He is a ghost and even the third time Jesus showed himself standing at the shore of the Sea of Tiberius they fail to recognise Him.

So the fact that the disciples did live with Jesus did not mean they recognised Him, this too can often be the experience we have in our daily lives. Do we recognise Jesus when He comes to us? 

But Mary is different, she must have been so in tune with God’s reality as she accepted it for what it was. She accepted to become the Mother of God. Without any apparent proof she accepted the message of the Angel. The only difficulty she had was the fact that she was a virgin, and that it seemed unconceivable to her that she was to be pregnant at that moment. But even this doubt is erased by a single word from the angel. Mary believes and says: “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let what you have said be done to me”!

So when it seems normal to miss what God is really doing in our lives we can identify with the disciples who were so slow to understand that He was risen from the dead and really present to them as now He is to us. This is a great consolation, but this should not stop us trying to find Jesus. It is therefore a great consolation that Mary is always there to help us on the way to recognise Jesus. She is always in prayer with us to help us and encourage us to do the Lord’s will, to say “Yes” to Him as she did. Let us therefore pray to her, ask her help, and allow her to bring us to her Son. Then when she points Him out He can speak to us as He did to Mary Magdalene when “she did not recognise [Jesus]” but Jesus said “Mary!” and she knew Him then.

Let Mary teach us how to listen to the voice of His presence in our lives. She who said “Yes” invites us to say “Yes” in our turn.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Palm Sunday

Today is Palm Sunday. It is a real marker at the beginning of our journey through Holy Week.

It is striking how the disciples coming with Jesus are shouting for joy "Hosanna in the highest" today while in a few days they will shout "Crucify Him", a contrast we encounter too in the reading today during Mass today.

Of all weeks in the year, this is a week to try and make some time for reflection. To make our own what happened nearly two thousand years ago, but also what happens now in our lives.

Our faith is not a distant event barely touching our daily lives, it is supposed to be an integral part of it. If it is not, we can be like the people who shout one moment "Hosanna" and the next "Crucify", swaying like barley in the wind. Not merely in our opinion or expression, but also in how we are, how we feel, or what our disposition is.

Instead, if we engage with Jesus, walking with Him especially during this week, we will be surprised what depth we can find in knowing Him. It strikes me a bit like Veronica as portrayed in the film the Passion. She is standing there contemplating the events unfolding, and without as yet having seen it, she senses what is happening. A deep connection with Jesus, and a deep understanding who Jesus really is is at the core. The fire of a longing of which He is the source and only fulfilment burs within her.

And so also with us, there is the flame which can be fuelled to become a burning furnace! This week is a week especially to engage with Jesus. To make the connection between joy and sorrow in a new reality that opens up for us providing the answer and fulfilment of the desires deep in our heart!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Novena for Life

This week was my turn to speak at the Novena for Life. Please find the recording and the text below. For other talks recorded at the novena please check Dominicans Interactive or the iDoms Portal App!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Ordination of three Dominican deacons

Last Saturday Br. Colm Mannion OP, Br. Matthew Martinez OP and myself were ordained deacon by Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin. The ordination ordination is for us yet another step on the road to priesthood.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch

This Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 5:1-11) ends with Jesus saying to Peter “Do not be afraid; from now on it is men you will catch”. Subsequently Peter, but also Andrew, James and John left everything and followed our Lord.

But why did these ordinary fishermen suddenly leave everything behind and follow this man Jesus? The beginning of the Gospel narrates that they are working away washing their nets and don’t even seem to be part of the crowd pressing around Jesus.

It also seems clear that at least John and James, here mentioned as the Peter’s partners, were probably well off. In Saint Mark’s account we read that they left their father in his boat with the hired men: they had some kind of a fishing business going on. We also know that there was a thriving fishing business in Capernaum. And moreover on Jesus’ instruction they had caught so many fish that both the boats began to sink because of the size of the catch. But instead of securing this treasure, they left it all behind and followed Jesus...


The Irish Dominicans have a website called Dominicans Interactive with online resources. We also have an iPhone/iPad App, which can be found in the iTunes App Store.


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