Welcome to our website
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.
Reflection on Today's Gospel Reading
The Assumption of Our Lady
Today, we celebrate one of the great feasts of our Lady. Even though the Assumption of Mary into heaven was only proclaimed as a solemn teaching of the church in 1950 by Pope Pius XII, the tradition of Mary’s Assumption into heaven had been part of the church’s living faith from the earliest centuries. Today’s feast celebrates the good news that because Mary belonged to Jesus in a special way throughout her earthly life, she now shares in a special way in his risen life. This feast does not celebrate a privilege of Mary alone, because where Mary now is, God wants all of us to be. We are all destined to share fully in the Lord’s risen and glorious life. In the words of Saint Paul in today’s second reading, ‘all will be brought to life in Christ’. The opening words of today’s first reading from the Book of Revelation has been understood as an imaginative depiction of Mary’s glorious life, ‘a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head for a crown’. Yet, at the same time, that first reading also brings home to us that Mary’s glorious destiny belongs to us all.
Whereas the woman in that reading has been heard as referring to Mary, the woman can also be understood as an image of the church. The reading depicts a conflict between the woman and the dragon. The dragon is a symbol of the Roman Empire. The dragon’s seven heads would have suggested the seven hills of Rome. At the time this book of Revelation was written, the church was under great pressure from the Roman society to worship the Roman emperor as the agent of the Roman gods. Because the members of the church refused to do so, they were always at risk of persecution. The woman, the church, is trying to give birth to Christ in that Roman world, but the dragon, the evil power that is behind the Roman Empire, stands ready to devour this child, this Christ who claims to be the ruler of the nations. It is an image of the church confronted by forces that are opposed to God’s purpose for the world. The woman signifies both Mary, who gave birth to Jesus, and the church who continues to give birth to Jesus in every age through the lives of its members.
Mary, in that sense, is an image of the church and, so, when we look to Mary, we can learn a lot about ourselves as church, as disciples of the Lord. In Luke’s gospel, from which our gospel reading is taken, Mary is portrayed as the ideal disciple. She embodies what we, as church, as disciples of the Lord, are called to become. Mary now only shows us our ultimate destiny, but also what it means to be a disciple of the risen Lord now. In the gospel reading, Elizabeth addresses Mary as ‘the mother of my Lord’. In that regard, Mary is unique. However, Elizabeth then goes on to declare Mary blessed because she believed the promise made to her by the Lord. In that regard, we can be like her. She was a woman of faith; she entrusted herself to the Lord’s word, ‘let it be to me according to your word’. We are all called to entrust ourselves to the Lord’s word so that it shapes our lives, as it shaped the life of Mary. In that gospel reading, Mary shows us what a life shaped by God’s word looks like. She went as quickly as she could to her older cousin Elizabeth, whose need was greater than Mary’s. It was a journey of love. Her was Mary’s faith expressing itself in the loving service of someone more vulnerable than herself. Saint Paul speaks about ‘faith working through love’ or ‘faith expressing itself in love’. This is what defines us as disciples of the Lord, a faith that finds expression in the love of others.
The second half of the gospel reading shows us that Mary’s faith also found expression in prayer. It reached out to others in love and it reached out to God in prayer. Her great prayer, the Magnificat, has become part of the Evening Prayer of the church. If our faith finds expression in love, it will also find expression in prayer. In her prayer, Mary comes before the Lord in her poverty, as his lowly servant, ready to receive from God all the great things that God wants to give. Mary teaches us that when we pray we always come before God in our need, with open hearts ready to receive all God has to offer us. Mary’s prayer also shows another side of her faith. It is a faith that hungers for justice for all, that wants God’s justice to become a reality on earth. She sings of a God who pulls down oppressive princes from their thrones and lifts us the lowly, the downtrodden, of a God who works to fill the hungry with good things at the expense of the self-satisfied rich. Pope Francis is constantly reminding that our faith must be one that works for justice for all. Today’s feast celebrates Mary as one who not only shows us the glorious destiny that awaits us at the end of our life’s journey but also how we are to travel that journey as disciples of the Lord.
Saint John the Baptist Parish, Clontarf, Dublin, Ireland
Parish Website: www.stjohnsclontarf.ie Join us via our webcam
Sunday: 10.00 am, 12:00 pm
Monday to Saturday: 10am
6.00 pm Vigil Mass and 10.00am Mass.
Sacrament of Baptism:
Second Sunday of the month: 11.00am
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
3rd Sunday of the month 7.30pm
In advance of this month’s papal visit to Ireland, Wim Wenders’ new documentary on the current Bishop of Rome receives a cinema release. ‘Pope Francis: A Man of His Word’ is intended to be a personal journey with Pope Francis, rather than a biographical documentary about him. It can be viewed at the Irish Film Centre […]
To mark the World Meeting of Families event, we have obtained special commemorative candles. They are available in the front porch of the church this weekend. We would ask that one candle would only be taken per family. Otherwise, we will run short! You might like to place this candle in a prominent place in […]
Ten tickets are being made available to every parish for the Festival of Families in Croke Park at which Pope Francis will preside. The tickets are intended for family groups. In our own parish we plan to divide the ten tickets between three families, a group of four family members and two groups of three […]
On Saturday afternoon, 25th August, Pope Francis will meet with couples who were recently married or soon to be married, from all over Ireland, in Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral. Eighty-eight places were assigned to the Diocese of Dublin. I left a sheet to be filled in over one weekend a few weeks ago and phoned all the […]
In preparation for the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland, Fr Gerry O’Hanlon S.J. will preach at the 10.00 am and 12.00 pm Masses next Sunday, August 19. Fr Gerry is a highly regarded Irish theologian and a former provincial of the Jesuits in Ireland. He has just published a book entitled, The Quiet Revolution […]