26th Sunday of the Year C


Every day, countless times without even giving it a second thought, we come across the letters WWW or world wide web. We see it on advertising, hear it on the radio, see it on trucks and lorries and license plates in traffic, and it has become an indispensable aspect of communications, finance, networking with friends and how we do business.

Today’s Gospel is also about WWW, but of a different kind altogether. The parable of the rich man and Lazarus provides us with a startling unjust situation and one that provokes our consciences. The three W words being referred to are Wealth, Waste and Want. These 3 W words are always with us.

It may be hard to believe but we are a wealthy country – overall. We have a ranking of 15th at least in world rank, but I am not really sure how the system works. We have our share of billionaires and millionaires. The question is what we do with our wealth, how to invest it properly and provide for loved ones. The danger for all of us is how we readily rationalize our spending on luxuries and comforts without distinguishing needs from wants.

The second W word is waste, and this is a sin of wealthy countries. But we all need to watch out for this one as individuals too – reckless, extravagant spending without moral reference has got our country into a heap of trouble. But even on a domestic scale we are told that 25% of our perishables end up in the bin. We can remedy that by better management in the kitchen. In fairness many businesses admirably do provide for the poor with their leftover food.
Waste has led to the third W of want.

The parable is an indictment of global proportions – of the wealthy First World’s crazy spiral of waste on arms and saving financial institutions and the spectacle of the poverty of millions searching through bins in alleyways. The parable reminds us that there is a final reckoning. We are to pay for the measure of our neglect, indifference and carelessness.

When making my tax return what % goes to charities – can I increase it?
Have I made my will and if so have I consulted someone close to me to ensure it is equitable?

There is accountability for our stewardship of the world’s resources and our property which we can’t take with us anyway.

Finally, we can counter the three Ws with the 3 As – or Triple A, in the spirit of the Serenity Prayer.

Lord, grant me a sense of Appreciation for the things of this world that I have,
A sense of Awareness of the things of the world that others lack
And a real spirit of Almsgiving to help make up the difference.

24th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C

The lost coin, the lost sheep, the lost son

We have had this parable in Lent is it may be familiar to us that we have heard it recently.

We all have family secrets that we are slow to tell outside of the family. A child born out of wedlock, abuse of one kind or another, a difficult marriage, a mental breakdown, mental illness, a child gone astray in the big city, in trouble, an addiction, a gambling problem, bankruptcy. If you have ever used expressions like ‘don’t let the neighbours know; ‘ don’t let the word get out around the parish’; ‘we’ll be disgraced’ you know what I mean. Up to recently at least as a society we did not do well in coping with a member of a family who got into trouble. We exported the trouble, found an institution at home or a discrete relative abroad, pretending it didn’t exist, or put another slant on it why a family member wasn’t coming home for Christmas. These are the skeletons in the closet.

A wise old priest once said to me ‘you never really know what’s going behind closed curtains.’

When we think of the fictional family in the parable – a father and two sons – we don’t know what the neighbours knew, but we do know that word got about so that the older brother got wind of how the brother was carrying on with women abroad.
There is no mention of a mother and so the family seems a bit incomplete and you can only speculate what things would have been like had a mother’s influence been included in the story.

It was an insult to a father for a son to ask his share of the will before the father’s death – as the younger son he was entitled to a 1/3 share, which he then squandered.

The older son would be entitled to a 2/3 share – the lion’s share – and yet he was resentful.

Resentment – literally means ‘to feel again’. I recently heard it defined as ‘poison you drink in the hope someone else dies from it’.

The resentful angry older brother who never put a foot wrong feels hard done by at the soft treatment the idle son is getting. If you are an older brother or sister you feel aggrieved at lenient treatment of a younger sibling. You think ‘I never got away with that’ or that ‘they are getting off lightly!’It seems unfair, and yet the Father says effectively – ‘let us count our blessings’. It does not seem a fair or satisfactory answer and we are puzzled.

Do we identify therefore with the joy of God’s forgiveness or with the older son’s hardness at the spoilt younger brother’s ‘getting away with it’ as a seeming double standard?

The lesson for each of us is realising how much we all are in need of God’s forgiveness. We have all been forgiven, many times. Let us rejoice that God wants to forgive wrong-doers and that he gives everyone the chance to turn back to him in good time to be home for dinner - the banquet of heaven - which awaits.

We are called to model ourselves on the father in the story and whole-heartedly forgive injuries and wrongs.LET US REALISE THAT WE WILL BE FORGIVEN IN THE MEASURE THAT WE ARE FORGIVING.

23rd Sunday of the Year

23rd Sunday of the Year

We have all heard the expression ‘terms and conditions apply’. What seems like a fantastic offer has hidden charges and costs, but we are drawn by large loud lettering. I am always on the look-out for bargains and offers, but am afraid that I can be sucked occasionally into buying what I don’t really need after all. I console myself with the thought ‘At least I saved money.’

Whenever we made a purchase growing up, our parents would always ask whether, and expect us to tell them, that there was an offer, a discount, a deal, a sale. ‘How much did you save?’ The thought of paying full price was foreign to us.
Every January Mum and Dad would head up to Dublin for the annual outing – where and why? The January sales! You can get a lot of 75% off deals in January for the following Christmas. And yes, I have loyalty cards, fobs and vouchers. I am enticed by sale signs, buy one get one free – things I hadn’t planned on buying at all!
When the first grandchild was born we wondered who or which side she would take after. To our relief the first full word she could read unassisted at 4 was a sign in a shop as they were out driving. She shouted out, look Mom, that sign says ‘FREE’. Yes, she’s a McCarthy.


Jesus offers us something today. There are no hidden costs, extras, surcharges, taxes, or penalties or interest for late payments. To all, it not an exclusive offer, it is open to everyone – the possibility of being a follower which will take us to eternal life. The cost is clearly laid out – carrying the cross.
Jesus uses very challenging and seemingly offensive language. To follow him means to hate? That can’t be right! Hate my family?

The term to hate is really about 'preference’. We must prefer to follow Jesus, especially if there is a conflict of interest. It means family ties, ties of flesh and blood, commitments must all be seen in the light of Jesus. It means proper planning and priorities. Jesus uses the examples of a foolish person who builds without proper planning, or a wise king who sues for peace when he knows he is outnumbered. We might have heard of the expression ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’!

There was once a man who went to a psychiatrist. His life was a mess, his business, his finances, his marriage were coming apart at the seams. There did not seem to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything he planned and keep everything afloat, and nobody was happy with him, and he was deeply unhappy himself. The psychiatrist told him to make a list of all the things that were to be done, and then re-write the list in the order of priority - from the essential and the immediate e.g., his married life, his children, his job, money – to put them in the right order of importance – to things that could wait. The psychiatrist would not take money right then but told the man send me a check to the value of how much this advice is worth to you. The man’s life had totally changed and he sent a check for $25,000 six months later!

I must put my life in order – God’s will first in all things that I plan in my life in my family life, married life, career, finances, spending, relations in the community, my time.

Finally to sum up, the great offer, the great bargain as it were is the offer of eternal life in exchange for the Cross. Christ says, carry the cross, and ‘Come after me’. Jesus uses the word ‘COME’ which can mean ‘Christ offers me everything’ or ‘Christ offers me eternity!’