28Feb 28th February. Saturday of the 1st Week of Lent

Perfect, but not Perfectionist.
If we hear that someone is a perfectionist, it can conjure up in our minds someone who is very demanding and rather fussy about getting everything right down to the last detail. When Jesus says at the end of today's gospel, "Be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect," that is not what he means

27Feb Big Tobacco Flexes its Muscles

Sean McDonagh comments on the current conflict between Dr. James Reilly, the Children’s Minister, and Japan Tobacco International over the issue of plain packaging of cigarettes.
Sean challengingly reminds us that "Religious people do comment on alcohol miss-use, but not on cigarettes. I wonder why, because every time you use tobacco products as described by the producer you harm yourself and those around you."

27Feb 27th February. Friday of the 1st Week of Lent

Autonomy and Responsibility.
Ezekiel calls us to persevere in doing good across a lifetime. In Matthew's gospel Jesus roots the discernment of good and evil in the depths of the human heart. We must do more than keep a set of rules, stopping short of murdering others; we must aim to be at peace with them and not harbour anger or resentment. Jesus names the objects of our patience and kindness: they are our brother and our sister.

26Feb Widen the circle at the 2015 Family Synod

Deborah Rose-Milavec, Executive Director of FutureChurch, brings to our attention a campaign to 'widen the circle' of those who can contribute at the Synod about family.
She argues that 'The synod would benefit from listening to Catholic representatives from diverse constituencies and from engaging in the dialogue Pope Francis has promoted throughout his papacy. We believe widening the circle will create greater understanding among the synod fathers whose final recommendations to Pope Francis may impact our Church's pastoral practice for years to come.'

26Feb 26th February. Thursday of the 1st Week of Lent

Taking risks.
Esther risked going to the Persian king on behalf of her people. She knew the initiative could cost her life, yet if she just hid in her ivory tower while her people were destroyed, she would be haunted with guilt. How often in life people prefer to turn a blind eye when a risky action is called for.

25Feb God in Winter

As winter lingers in many parts of the country, and with Moygownagh being no exception, Brendan Hoban offers this reflection on God in Winter by Pádraig Daly.

"Daly’s poems penetrate to the core of reality, dissecting the human condition, finding rumours of the divine in everyday experiences and mining a seam that echoes the experience of priests and people in parishes in Ireland today."

25Feb 25th February. Wednesday of Week 1 of Lent

Exemplary Ninive.
How marvellous that the once pagan city of Nineveh can come to believe in God, proclaim a fast, pray for forgiveness, to become a model of goodness for all the rest of us! Hope can come from unsuspected quarters! Jonah adds that when God saw the repentance of Nineveh, he "repented of the evil he had threatened to do to them." If God can change his mind, how can we be rigid in condemning others?

24Feb Outsiders and Insiders

As he continues his recovery from recent illness Seamus Ahearne finds himself musing on a comparison between church and the gentry of old. The gentry who once 'lorded' it over others are now the outsiders. Seamus concludes that "as (Gospel ministers) we are now very much outsiders; so we can be more aware of how so many felt 'outsiders' in the world of Church in our past. We now feel in present day Ireland as we made so many feel in the past . The empathy of understanding can help us along."

24Feb 24th February. Tuesday of the 1st Week of Lent

Jesus on prayer.
The gospels often portray Jesus at prayer, sometimes even suggesting the content of his prayer. But only once is Jesus presented as teaching his disciples a prayer for them to pray, and that prayer has become known to us as the Lord's Prayer. It has had a privileged place within the Christian tradition because it is the only prayer Jesus explicitly taught us to pray...

24Feb Justice in the World: Justice in the Church

Tony Flannery quotes from Donal Dorr's Option for the Poor and for the Earth.
"While the Church is bound to give witness to justice, she recognises that anyone who ventures to speak to people about justice must first be just in their eyes."
Tony in reflecting on his own situation suggests that this principle presents a strong challenge to the prevailing practices and views in the Vatican