Macnamh: Fourth Sunday of Easter 7th May 2006
I see these heady days between Easter and Ascension as a butterfly time of year. Jesus the butterfly flits from flower to flower, unbound, unconstrained, unconfined, risen, glorified. The cocoon has cracked, the egg shelled, the tomb emptied, the grave opened. Death has been defied, deified, dignified, its sting unstung, its gates unswung. Where he has gone we hope to follow.
The Good Shepherd grounds us after such flights of fancy have us joy-leaping like little lambs. Jesus is on the hillside in wellingtons, with or without quad or sheepdog to ease the work. Responsibility is still his/hers (We have women shepherds too in Tourmakeady), to watch for fox and for frost. They knows their own and their own them. See the sheep and lambs come running when the car stops. The symbolism, the imagery still works in the country or the imagination. Caring lives all around us, at home, at school, in hospital, in church. Giving is still living on earth as it is in Heaven.
Flowers of May: I’ve nothing against cultivated flowers, but give me wild every time. In May we have a feast of furze (whins in this part of the country) We have the primrose, the huneysuckle, the rhodadendron, the hawthorn bloom, the fuchsia and many more to look forward to. Feasts for eye and nose.
Prayer: “May the primroses strewn at Mary’s feet during this her month get up our noses with heavenly scent.”
Fifth Sunday of Easter: 14th May 2006
I have mangled the true vine every year for the past thirtyfive. I have been unable to pronounce “Mise an fhiniún fhíor” ( I am the true vine) without turning it into a true onion (oiniún) I hope my mangled onion brings tears of laughter to the eyes of the Lord. Many of us have never seen a vine, so the actual plant in question is not very important. Any plant, shrub or tree can basically show us what Jesus meant. The message is more important than the image or symbol.
St. John condenses the commandments in Jesus fashion, personalising “love of God” into “belief in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ” and asking that “we love one another.” Enough said.
Flowers of May prayer: “May the gold of the whin remind us that there are fields of gold in which there are no thorns.”
Sixth Sunday of Easter: 21st May 2006
We are love-bombed by St. John in the second reading, the Alleluia and the gospel. There is an old tradition that the saint in his old age just kept telling people to “love.”
It was not so much that he had no more to say as that he said it all. Wasn’t it he who boldly declared that “God is love?” What is more important than that?
St. Peter in the Acts eats a little humble pie, admitting it had taken him a while to realise that “God has no favourites.” It was not easy for him to accept that Gentile was equal to Jew, but he swallowed his prejudice with his pride and admitted St. Paul was right. Takes someone big to do that.
Flowers of May prayer: “May the hanging scent of the honeysuckle in the hedges raise our noses to smells of Heaven.
Seventh Sunday of Easter: 28th May 2006
Jesus’ words quoted in the Alleluia “I will not leave you orphans” sums up not just today’s readings but prepares us for the feasts we celebrate for the next four Sundays, Ascension, Pentecost, the Holy Trinity and Corpus Christi, the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. All are different ways in which Jesus sees to it that we will not be left as orphans, but that he will be “with us always, yes to the end of time.” He will be with us through his (Holy) Spirit, and in the eucharistic breaking of bread.
St. John in the second reading layers on the love as usual, while the first reading tells us of the election of Judas’ replacement, Matthias as the twelfth apostle. The young church was beginning to move on. Many of us have a soft spot for the same Judas, as we realise our own vulnerability.
Flowers of May (lighthearted) prayer: “Thank you Lord for letting us have the colours of Roscommon, Galway and Mayo in the whin, the rhodadendron, the whitethorn and the fuchsia.”