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Welcome to the website of Saint John the Baptist Catholic parish in Clontarf. John the Baptist understood his role as bringing people to Jesus. The local church is now called to bring people to Jesus and to reveal him by how we live, serve one another and worship. As a parish community we are called to support one another in our call to bear witness to Jesus as the Light of the World, as the Way, the Truth and the Life. We hope that our parish website helps you to feel a sense of belonging to our parish community.

Fr Martin

Reflection on Today's Gospel Reading

Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Olympic Games finished last Sunday. Those who achieved success were honoured accordingly. The giving of medals is the traditional way of honouring achievement in the field of sport. When an athlete trains hard and wins a medal they will be proud of their medal, their badge of honour. There is a sense in which the seeking of honour is very commendable, and it is only right to honour people who are deserving of honour. Most athletes would hold that the honour of getting a medal, especially in the setting of the Olympic Games, was a goal of their lives, a very important one. However, they probably would not consider it the ultimate goal of their lives. They would have bigger goals that would be more defining of their lives as a whole.

In the gospels Jesus is often critical of those whose primary goal in life seems to have been seeking honour for themselves from others. He was especially critical of those religious leaders for whom gaining honour from others was a matter of great significance. On one occasion he refers to those who ‘love to have the places of honour at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplace and to have people call they rabbi’. In today’s gospel reading Jesus notices an example of this kind of honour seeking behaviour. He was present at a meal hosted by a leading Pharisee at which all of the guests, apart from himself, would have been Pharisees. These were people who took their Jewish faith very seriously. They were looked up to by many as religious guides and leaders. However, Jesus notices how many of his fellow guests went out of their way to pick places of honour at table. This pursuit of honour was not confined to Pharisees. Jesus found it among his own disciples. On one occasion James and John asked Jesus for the places of greatest honour in Jesus’ kingdom, one at his right and the other at his left. In this morning’s gospel reading Jesus conveys to his host and fellow guests that what ultimately matters is not the honour that we receive from others but the honour we receive from God. Who is it whom God will honour? Jesus declares that it not those who exalt themselves, who look for honour from others, whom God honours or exalts, but those who humble themselves, ‘The one who humbles himself will be exalted (by God)’. In a similar way, the author of the first reading declares, it is those who behave humbly who will find favour with the Lord.

It is probably true to say that humility is a virtue that is not greatly in vogue in these times. It has a bad reputation. That may be because the word ‘humility’ can easily be misunderstood as always having to sell ourselves short and put ourselves down. Yet, that would be a caricature of this virtue. The word ’humility’ comes from the Latin word humilis, which means literally ‘on the ground’. The Latin word humus means ‘earth’ in English. When Jesus calls on us to humble ourselves, it is an invitation to be grounded, to be aware of our connectedness with the earth, and with every person and every creature upon the earth, and to acknowledge our dependence on God the Creator of the earth and of every creature on the earth. Humility gives us a proper sense of our place in relation to God. Humility has been described as the virtue of being honest and real. Humility is about truth. To live our lives with humility is to live without pretence, without either inflating or deflating our achievements. We don’t pretend to be less than we are or more than we are. We recognize the truth of our own reality, including our gifts and talents and, and we acknowledge our dependence on God for all. I often think that the person who demonstrates such humility in the gospel story is Mary, the mother of Jesus. In her great prayer, the Magnificat, she doesn’t sell herself short. She recognizes that great things have happened to her and that all future generations will call her blessed. However, in so doing she does not exalt herself. Rather, she exalts God, she praises the greatness of God and she acknowledges that it is the Almighty who has done great things for her. She recognized the truth of her own reality while acknowledging her dependence on God for all.

The humble person not only acknowledges their dependence on God for all, but looks to God for all. We look to God, not to others, to exalt us. As Jesus says in the gospel reading, ‘repayment will be made to you when the virtuous rise again’. This frees us to serve others without expecting anything in return. In the gospel reading Jesus is critical of his host because he only invites to his table those who can return the complement, those who can honour him in return. The humble person gives without any expectation of getting something back in return, such as honour or recognition. They are content to leave that to God. There is a beatitude hidden in that gospel reading that has been described as the forgotten beatitude, ‘Blessed are you if they cannot repay you’.

Saint John the Baptist Parish, Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland

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Mass Times

Weekend Masses:  

Saturday: 6pm

Sunday: 10am, 11:15am, 12:30pm

Weekday Masses:

Monday to Saturday: 10am

Sacrament of Baptism:

Second Sunday of the month: 12.30pm Mass.

Third Saturday of the month: 12.00pm

Sacrament of Reconciliation:

Thursday before first Friday after 10.00 am Mass

Saturday, after 10.00 am and 6.00 pm Mass

Holy Hour:

3rd Sunday of the month 7.30pm

Parish Events

Pilgrimage to Knock

The National Grandparents Association and The Navan Road Parish will run a bus to Knock on Sunday 11th September. Cost €25 – if we have 32 bookings – Departing at 7:45am from Our Lady Help of Christians Church, Navan Road with stop on way for Coffee Break. Booking Forms available in Parish office and the Church – Payment due […]

Clontarf and the Olympic Games

Our parishioner, Michael Clohisey, is running in the Marathon at the Olympic Games this Sunday. We wish him every success and we ask the Lord to bless him in this great endeavour. Even to have qualified for the Olympic Games is a wonderful achievement. I often meet Michael and his dad after the Vigil Mass […]

World Youth Day

The six young pilgrims from the parish have returned safely from World Youth Day. My initial contact with them suggests they had a wonderful faith-filled experience. They have promised to share some of their experiences with parishioners some Sunday in the near future. We look forward to hearing from them very much.  

Mass arrangements for the Summer

There will be no 10.00 am Mass this Sunday. It will resume again on next Sunday, August 28.

Loss of a priest in Saint Gabriel’s

Fr Dermot Mansfield SJ is leaving Saint Gabriel’s parish and is moving to Gardiner Street Parish. Fr Dermot was a very important presence in Saint Gabriel’s parish. As he is not being replaced, Fr Patrick McManus will be more or less on his own in Saint Gabriel’s. Fr Gareth Byrne is parish chaplain there but […]