From the Parish House

When we hear the words ‘love’ and ‘love one another’ in our culture, our minds and hearts are often taken to a romantic type of love. So many of our popular films, television series and popular songs talk about a romantic love or lament the loss of that perfect romantic love.

We hear the word love used between parents and children: children hear how much their parents love them and parents are given the joy of being loved by their own. But outside of those contexts it can be hard for us to hear the words of the gospel today – love one another as I have loved you. It is strange isn’t it?  We too often reserve love for the intimate relationship between a couple who are ‘in love’ or for domestic family love. You don’t hear politicians saying vote for me and I will love you. You don’t hear football coaches telling their teams – this afternoon I want you to get out there and love one another. I don’t think in board rooms you will hear executives sitting around a table discussing how we can love our clients and staff more.  And yet that is what the gospel calls us to do and that is what the Eucharist calls us to do.

The Eucharist calls us to action, to justice, and to works of charity. It is not simply for my own nourishment – food for my body and soul. It is not even for those with whom I am in love or only for my family. The bread we eat is the bread that we will become. The bread we share is blessed and eaten by us all. It is broken and given out. It is bread for the life of the world. That is what we claim to do when we say “Amen” to the words of the minister, the body of Christ.  We become what we eat.

The Eucharist is the most profound, intimate and explicit way in which we experience this love that Jesus has for us – the way he loved us.  And the Eucharist is the meal from which we are called to shape the way we interact with the whole of creation and all the people of the world. In this Eucharistic meal we share in the body of Christ. We take and eat, we take and drink and we are brought into even closer relationship with the God who travels with us and teaches us love.

As we eat this bread and drink this cup we grow in likeness to the one who loved us first and walks with us throughout our lives. As we eat we learn to be those who live for others. As we eat we learn to be those who live in deep appreciation for the world around us. As we eat we know what it is like to be fed, to be nourished and we are moved to feed and nourish others. As we eat we are drawn into deeper communion with one another here and now and in solidarity with the whole of humanity – giving way to selfishness; turning violence in to peace; turning from despair to hope and from grief to joy.

Each time we celebrate the Eucharist we are being drawn into a journey of life in which we are accompanied by the God of life as revealed in Jesus Christ who taught us what love looks like.

And each time we celebrate the Eucharist we keep discovering the meaning of this wonderful gift and grow in greater awareness of what it means to be loved and to be called to love one another in all aspects of life and in every realm of human activity.

The gospel for this Sunday sums all of this up very succinctly:

I give you a new commandment:

Love on another;

just as I have loved you,

you also must love one another.

By this love you have for one another,

everyone will know that you are my disciples


Fr Brendan

Parish Priest


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