Service Times

St George’s, Tubbercurry: 11.30am Sundays

Killoran (Rathbarron): 10.00am Sundays

 

Priest-in-Charge

 

Revd Peter Norman
Hawkswell farm
Banada
Tourlestrane
Co. Sligo
00353 71 9181685

 

 

 

 

From: The Revd. Peter Norman

Sunday 25 th October 2020 – 5 th before Advent

Matthew 22:34-46

Jesus said, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your
mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour
as yourself.” On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’
I’m not one for starting a sermon with a biblical quote but today’s Gospel hangs on those words of Jesus
and it will save you looking up the reference! You might also consider that the second part of the quote is
particularly relevant at the moment, though of course it is always relevant.
Amongst the advertisements between television programmes there is one which encourages the use of
face coverings, hand washing and social distancing. It shows people at work, at home, even catching the
‘bus; just ordinary everyday situations but each of the people featured tells you why they are doing what
they do. They do it to protect not only themselves but other people – their neighbours. Here is a very
practical demonstration of what Jesus was talking about. When I was at theological college we gave this
the rather grand name of ‘theological reflection’. But all that means is simply looking at the Gospels and
seeing how it works in our everyday lives.
On a Church notice board, I forget where, is another meeting of the Gospels and practical living. The notice
board reads ‘Wash your hands and say your prayers ‘cos Jesus and germs are everywhere.’ Very true,
though we need not follow the obsession with ‘killing 99.9% of all germs’, not all so called ‘germs’ do us
harm.
Again, love God (by saying your prayers) and love your neighbour (by washing your hands).
The bit that sometimes we forget is that we love our neighbours as ourselves. A man suffering depression,
made worse by the current restrictions tweeted a message on his ‘phone to say that he was not OK and at
rock bottom and would anyone reading his message just say ‘hello’. Thousands of people did and not just
‘hello’ but messages of support which hopefully reassured him that he was loved and maybe helped him
love himself. Neighbours (and not just those who literally live next door) are not always easy to love but
perhaps we find it harder to love ourselves. Perhaps to do so feels a little self-centred though it’s not
meant to. The point of what Jesus is saying is that we are loved by God, so not to love ourselves is not to
love what God has created. It doesn’t have to turn into the sort of self love and self obsession that denies
the feelings and rights of others. ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ says Jesus. Not one or the other but
both equally.
Both equally means that we work together under God for the good of one another. Which is what we are
trying to do at the moment in order to protect one another from Covid-19. We are, as is often said, in this
together though the ‘together’ seems a little more strained than it was back in April. There is a good deal
of impatience, often understandable, but there is not much we can do about it. The more we work together
the stronger we will be in getting through this pandemic. As my wife said the other day, ‘it’s easy enough
to get impatient when trying to cross the road but you still wouldn’t step out in front of a ‘bus! ‘ Taking
risks with a virus that we can’t see is a dangerous game for us and for those around us.
Our Son, commenting on our efforts to keep safe described something we did as an act of paranoia!
Someone else on hearing this replied that it was the paranoid who would survive! Loving our neighbour as

ourselves does it seems involve a little paranoia at the present time. We are encouraged to see others as a
potential source of infection; keep our distance and avoid social contact. All very strange and much against
the grain and yet loving our neighbour is exactly what we are trying to do. And loving ourselves too.
Jesus says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your
mind.” In other words with the whole of your being and in everything you do or say. We can love God by
saying our prayers; through worship (in Church when we can); through reading and pondering the
scriptures. But we also love God through acts of kindness and generosity towards others. Which is why
those two commandments are inextricably linked. Lots of people show kindness to their neighbours
because it is an instinctive thing to do. For us that instinct comes from our love of God. We show our love
for God by loving God who is present in our neighbour (and in us). Just as we love both our neighbour and
ourself (not one or the other) so we love God by loving our neighbour.
These two commandments or summary of the law are simple and memorable but they are also very
practical and down to earth. If anyone wants to see what a difference faith makes to everyday life this is
where to look. Our Faith is not up in the clouds, nor is it a private affair but real and active in our daily life,
or at least that’s how it’s meant to be – as Jesus Himself taught us and more importantly showed us in His
own life.

These are the prayers that I shall use each Sunday when celebrating the Eucharist at home at 11.00 a.m.
They will remain on the website with maybe a short addition to reflect the nature of a particular Sunday.
They can be used at any time.
After these prayers you’ll find a prayer taken from the Diocesan website and a prayer for a Spiritual
Communion.

Father, you have called us to be one family with our brothers and sisters throughout the world. May we
and all your Church show our love and compassion to all your children in their suffering and need at this
time through prayer and acts of kindness.
Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Father, you are the source of all authority and wisdom. Give a share of that wisdom and integrity to those
who govern us that they may make the right decisions as they seek to keep safe those entrusted to their
care. For the Chief Medical Officer and those working with him as they work to keep us safe and well.
Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Father we pray for the people of this Diocese, for Patrick our Bishop, and for those in our parishes. For the
lonely and the anxious, for all who live alone and feel isolated; for those separated from their family and
friends and for those facing financial hardship and an uncertain future.
Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayer

 

Father, your Son suffered pain and agony for our sake and cared so much for those who were sick. And so
we pray for those who are sick at this time especially those who suffer as a result of the Coronavirus. We
pray for their families and friends – especially those separated because of this disease; those prevented
from caring for their loved ones in distress and at the point of death. We pray for those who are bereaved;
for those unable to properly mourn and to bury their dead. We pray too for those who are anxious,
depressed or afraid.
Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Father, you gave so much for our sakes. Be close to those who risk their own lives and well being for the
sake of us all. We pray for Doctors and Nurses, for all healthcare staff; for those who continue to supply us
with food and medicine; those helping the most vulnerable; for those involved in medical research and the
supply of medical equipment. For shop workers, the Garda, Postal workers, Pharmacists, Carers,
volunteers and all providing essential services.
Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Father, you shared our life and shared a death like ours. Be near to those who are dying especially those
who will die feeling alone. We pray too for those who have died that you will welcome them into your
kingdom where they may find rest and peace in your presence and that of the angels and saints.
Lord in your mercy,
hear our prayer

Rejoicing in the fellowship and prayers of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Patrick, and all the saints we commend ourselves and all people to your unfailing love.
Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

A Prayer from the Diocesan Website

Almighty and All–loving God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
we pray to you through Christ the Healer
for those who suffer from the Coronavirus
in Ireland and across the world.
We pray too for all who reach out to those who mourn the loss
of each and every person who has died as a result of contracting the disease.
Give wisdom to policymakers,
skill to healthcare professionals and researchers,
comfort to everyone in distress
and a sense of calm to us all in these days of uncertainty and distress.
This we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord
who showed compassion to the outcast,
acceptance to the rejected
and love to those to whom no love was shown. Amen.

Prayer for a Spiritual Communion for those unable to physically take Communion.

Spiritual Communion Prayer
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally,
Come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace you as if you were already there
And unite myself wholly to you.
Never permit me to be separated from you.
Amen.

If you wish to contact me then please do so by ‘phone 071-9181685 or by email peternorman1959@gmail.com

Take care and keep safe
With every Blessing
Revd. Peter.