THEHOOKOFFAITH.COM

Digitally proclaiming the Gospel in the diocese of Ferns and beyond

‘The Hook of Faith’ is brought to you by ‘FERNS C.A.F.É’ (Catholic Adult Formation and Education) – a group in the diocese of Ferns, Ireland who are committed to the work of evangelisation and adult faith formation. It seeks to bring the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bear on all sectors of society in a way that offers life and meaning to everyone. We recognise the challenge of this task at a time in the Church that needs healing and hope. The mission of ‘The Hook of Faith’ is to ‘Digitally proclaim the Gospel in the Diocese of Ferns and beyond’. Our hope is that the light that comes from our faith will reach a wide audience through this new age of digital media and will help transform lives through the joy of the Gospel.

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THE LIGHT FROM WITHIN

The first Pentecost was an amazing event that found its way into the secular history books of the time because it signified the beginning of the phenomenon we call Christianity. How could a small group of people with little or no education and even less influence, transform the then known world in the space of a few short years? When the flame of Christianity took hold it just spread like wildfire and it all started with the tongues of fire that rested on the apostles that first Pentecost. Something extraordinary happened in that upper room where the disciples had gathered. It was a place where initially there was more fear than courage. They were petrified that the same fate was going to be

MASS FOR PENTECOST SUNDAY (A)

Dear friends. There was a book published recently whose title speaks volumes about the importance of this feast day of Pentecost. It’s called ‘Forgotten God: Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit’. It’s true. We do not think enough about God as the Holy Spirit or appreciate the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our individual lives and life of the community of the Church. What difference does the Holy Spirit make? Here’s how someone summed it up: ‘Without the Holy Spirit, God is distant, Christ is merely a historical figure, the Gospel is a dead letter, the Church is just an organization, authority is domination, mission is propaganda, liturgy is only nostalgia, and the work of Christ

MARKING THE CENTENARY OF ST OLIVER PLUNKETT’S BEATIFICATION

On 23rd May 1920, Pope Benedict XV beatified Oliver Plunkett, the Archbishop of Armagh who was martyred in London on 1st July 1681, the last Catholic martyr to be put to death in England. Later that century, Oliver was canonised a saint of the Church by Pope Paul VI on 12th October 1975, the last Irish person to be canonised (In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI canonised Blessed Charles of Mount Argus who had strong links to Ireland but was Dutch in nationality). Why is Oliver Plunkett’s beatification worth recalling? Because I believe there are features of his fruitful ministry that can inspire us today when the normal structures, ways of doing things and possibilities have changed due to the corona

WORRY

One of the greatest enemies of faith is worry as this is really a sin against trust. Worry projects us into a future that may never happen and it also cuts us off from the providence that is always available in the present. Its first cousin is fear and this acts as a magnifying glass that will allow us to see only the worst possible scenario arising out of every situation. Worry never robs tomorrow of its trouble but it does rob today of its strength; it drains our energy and saps our spirit. Overcoming the tendency to be a worrier is a major step on the road to becoming faith-full. When examined deeply in its stark reality it is really a prayer for the worst possible result and because it i

MASS READINGS FOR SATURDAY 30TH MAY 2020

Friends, on this last day before Pentecost, we come to the end of both the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of John. At the end of Acts, Paul finds himself in Rome, the centre of the Empire and the centre of secular power at the time. Rome was the place where Paul would eventually be martyred for his faith in Christ. We might ask ourselves why God ordained that both Peter and Paul would both give their lives for Christ at the very heart of the world. Perhaps it was that the Gospel they brought was to arrive at the heart of the world would be brought, like blood from the heart, to every cell of the body, to the uttermost parts of the world. This was the understanding of our own St Patrick

RELIGIOUS PRACTISE REDUCES 'DEATHS FROM DESPAIR'

A new study from Harvard University (click here for link): https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2765488 has found that the frequent attendance of religious services dramatically reduces so-called ‘deaths from despair’, such as suicide, and drug or alcohol abuse. This finding seems more relevant than ever given the current pandemic that has resulted in untold job losses and a very uncertain future for many people. Economic slumps are always associated with a rise in ‘deaths from despair’, so if religion acts as a protective against this, then we need to pay attention. The study followed a large cohort of more than 100,000 health care professionals in the US, over a long

THE WAY WE PRAY

Following on from yesterday’s reflection that whenever we pray we do so from our own limited perspective and it is from within that very limited viewpoint that we expect our prayers to be answered or to put it another way for our faith to materialise. Holding on to this rigid view leads to frustration especially when the answer seems delayed or when the situation is not unfolding as we believe it should. We then get annoyed with God for not acting in full agreement with our agenda. There is always a bigger picture when we pray, and faith needs to trust that within that bigger picture our smaller needs will also find their place. This is where faith and surrender always go hand in hand. Our f

A SPIRITUAL MEDITATION ON SOCIAL DISTANCE - BY MIKE DRENNAN SJ

In this brief video, Jesuit priest Fr Mike Drennan who is based at Manresa Retreat Centre in Dublin, reflects on the new norm of social distancing and how it has impacted on our relationships with God and one another. Well worth the watch. CLICK HERE TO WATCH:

THE WONDER OF THE HUMAN CELL

It is important to engage rational thought in the way we interpret the world. The modern tendency towards relativism which dismisses truth as a social construct flies in the face of science and faith. Science, like religion, explores the boundaries between the known and the unknown. Christians working in Biology see evolution by natural selection as a creative set of mechanisms by which biodiversity has been and continues to be created. Discovering the details of how living things work helps us to appreciate God’s wonderful creation. When we learn about the intricacies of the cell as the basic unit of life, we open our hearts to awe and wonder. Each one of us has trillions of cells in our bo

MASS READINGS FOR FRIDAY 29TH MAY 2020

Friends, in today's Gospel, Jesus offers his love and mercy to a humble Peter. The Apostle had denied Jesus three times and so on three occasions did Jesus offer him healing in atonement for his sin. We notice how in this beautiful exchange, the Lord does not begin with a command but with love. Only after Peter could express his love for the Lord was he commissioned again to 'feed my lambs, feed my sheep'. Love comes first. It always does. God's first words to us are not of a command but of love. Let's keep that in our hearts today. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: https://soundcloud.com/user-163044907/mass-readings-for-friday-29-may-2020

HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF PENTECOST

FROM……… DISCIPLES……..TO……...APOSTLES On Ascension Day, Jesus gathered His close friends on a mountain and spectacularly departed from them, leaving them in a state of shock. Some of them still harboured the hope that He would at last lead the country into political freedom from the power of the Roman Empire. Instead He informed them that He was leaving to go back to His Father. He was telling then that their apprenticehip was over. Up to this point they had been His DISCIPLES – novices, students, listening and learning and absorbing His message and way of life. So in a word He was saying to them - ‘OVER TO YOU NOW’ - continue my work in my name. From this point on they were to be His APOS

THE GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT - COUNSEL

The third gift of the Holy Spirit is the gift of Counsel. As the word suggests, the Holy Spirit is the one who doesn’t leave us on our own but advises us and directs us towards correct choices and decisions. Counsel helps us discern between good and evil, right and wrong and helps us distinguish between what is temporary and everlasting. In the first reading at the vigil Mass at Christmas night, the prophet Isaiah refers to God as the ‘Wonder Counsellor, Mighty God and prince of peace’ (Is. 9:6). Then in the New Testament, Jesus’ life, words and actions are portrayed, especially by St Luke, as being under the direction of the Holy Spirit. He was ‘led by the Spirit’ into the desert after his

THE BIGGER PICTURE

The piece of sculpture depicted is of two circles that are so connected as to form an endless circle. Going with the flow in the smaller circle, even when it appears to be going backwards, always brings us back into the greater. When we pray we are limited to the smaller picture of how we see things and how we think they should work out. There is always a bigger picture and this is where faith is called for. For Faith to develop, it will of necessity be tested, sometimes like gold in a furnace. The response to our initial prayer of faith may well take a trajectory in the opposite direction to that which we think it should be going; in other words the situation gets worse rather than better.

MASS READINGS FOR THURSDAY 28TH MAY 2020

Friends, in the Gospel today, Jesus makes clear his dying wish that his disciples be united. This is his wish today and will be until the end of time. No Church community can possible fulfill its mission to gather people into it, if it is divided. When we hear of Church unity, very often we think of ecumenism and dialogue between different Christians denominations. And when we do, we might be tempted to think that Church unity has little to do with us. But the Lord's desire for us to be united is all our responsibility. We are Church together and the unity we witness to is stronger or weaker because of our commitment to it. Today, let us commit ourselves to the gift of unity among us all - n

OUR FAITH FOUNDATION

In one of his films, the actor and comedian Neil Tobin played the role of a parish priest. His curate gives a blessing to someone that is associated with healing and Neil, when he hears of it, takes him aside and says, ‘listen here my good man, this is the church of the 21st century and we are not into miracles’. It was a little bit of religious satire that carried a lot of truth. How did we ever get to the place where miracles or any form of religious experience was viewed with deep suspicion by church authorities and generally regarded as a bit of hocus pocus. If faith can move mountains then it surely must be able to work miracles. At grass roots level there is a huge thirst for any form

MASS READINGS FOR WEDNESDAY 27TH MAY 2020

In his farewell discourse at the Last Supper, Jesus asks the Father to 'consecrate in the truth' his disciples for 'your Word is truth'. Jesus whole life and mission was founded on the bedrock of truth. He stood for the truth and against any form of falsehood, deceit or lies - even if it cost him immense suffering and even his life. Loving the truth is loving Christ for he identified himself with the truth as 'the Way, the Truth and the Life'. Let us make a renewed effort to be truthful in all things. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: https://soundcloud.com/user-163044907/mass-readings-for-wednesday-27-may-2020

CRISIS OF FAITH

The Catholic Church along with most others is going through a time of unprecedented crisis. So we hear of a vocation crisis where already so many parishes are without priests and few are in training. Then there is the crisis of falling attendances with the average age of parishioners being in the sixty plus bracket with the present church holding very little appeal for a younger generation. Could the real crisis be one of faith? Has the church that we have known been more hopeful than faithful. The quality of our prayer tended to be future orientated that God will answer our petitions and things would get better. However it is clear from the scriptures that it is not the prayer of hope that

MASS READINGS FOR TUESDAY 26TH MAY 2020

In the Gospel today, we continue to overhear the sacred conversation and prayer of Jesus to the Father on the night before he died. In that conversation, Jesus talked about how his whole life was one of giving glory to the Father. His whole mission was not about himself but about re-directing all things and all people to right relationship to the Father. For us this is a timely lesson in our faith. It is so easy to think our lives and our mission are just about ourselves. But it isn't. Our lives are meant to be a sign that points to God and his glory and our witness that gives God glory in all things. Not to us but to your name be the glory, forever and ever. Amen. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: http

BELIEVING IS SEEING

We have heard so often that seeing is believing, but in the realm of faith believing is also seeing; in the words of Jesus to doubting Thomas, Blessed are those who have not seen (physically) and yet believe. Believing is seeing with the eyes of faith. This is where hope looks forward to what we would like to see, whereas faith rests on the assurance that the answer is already given and so can pray, with confidence; Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. Faith sees the answer as already a given fact in that other dimension. Here we might use the analogy of working on a big project that needs a lot of funding and having an influential friend at the level of Cabinet. When I make my need

MASS READINGS FOR MONDAY 25TH MAY 2020

In the first reading today, we see the difference between the baptism of John and baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus. The baptism of John was one of repentance whereas the baptism in the name of Jesus comes with the laying on of hands and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Here is an invitation for us to be baptised in the Spirit once again as we approach the great feast of Pentecost. If our baptismal calling has weakened or become dry then it's time to pray for renewal of the Spirit in every aspect of our lives. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: https://soundcloud.com/user-163044907/mass-readings-for-monday-25-may-2020

 
 

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