Fr. John’s Letter – 9th May 2020

Dear Parishioners of St Jerome’s and St Anne’s

‘Do not let your hearts be troubled’

Foreseeing his death and all the terrible events surrounding it, Jesus invited his disciples to trust him; specifically, Jesus looks into the hearts of all those who belong to him. Do not let these hearts of yours be troubled. It is clear, when we read the Gospels carefully, that Jesus understands human nature so well. He is the great expert. All those things that pass through our hearts; joys, sorrows, anxieties, hopes and dreams, make us who we are. Do we want to see what our greatest treasure is? Look into the heart. This is where we treasure, guard and nurture our most precious possessions, our loves, our memories, our dearest dreams.

When the heart is troubled, when it is disturbed and anxious, the joy of these great treasures of ours is overshadowed and eclipsed. Fear, irrational thoughts and negativity grip us. Where is the light now, the joy?  For this reason, Jesus instructs us; do not allow these disturbances to take root in your hearts. They will come, but do not permit them to stay.

The opposite of a troubled heart, that to which Jesus invites us, is a heart at peace. Certainly not always immune to the arrows of difficulty and struggle, but a heart anchored in peace and the love of God. Let us think about this for a moment. This is no pious sentiment, some unattainable ideal for ‘holy’ people who are removed from the real world of flesh and blood. No, this promise of a heart at peace is made by one who underwent an unimaginable death and who lived a life of complete self giving and more than a little hardship.

A life of complete self giving. I remember the serene smile that was often on the face of Mother Teresa. Is there a better example in our times? What did she have to smile about? She lived in the midst of the most unimaginable poverty, sickness and death. Yet, her heart was radiant with peace and love. She struggled with much darkness in her life. But her heart contained the most welcome of guests; Jesus, bringer of peace and joy. Jesus, the greatest servant, the most selfless human being who ever lived.

The first reading of today’s Mass records the selection and ordination of the first seven deacons by the Apostles, headed by St Stephen. They were to serve and care for the neediest. I want to mention here my profound gratitude to our own deacon, Joe Moreland, who has served our parish community of St Jerome’s for over 20 years. Much of his work is carried out quietly. He is a wonderful help to me and never more so than in these days of the pandemic. I record my gratitude and that of all of us in these words.

It is also a moment to pray for John Mc Carthy our parish administrator, who has now completed his formation for the Diaconate and now awaits news of when his ordination will be. He has been a most faithful helper these past three years. He and his family now need our prayers as he approaches this new ministry of service in the Church.

To all of you in both our parish communities, who selflessly serve, nurture and care for others, who serve our parishes in any way, quietly and away from the public eye, you have my profound thanks and admiration.

May the blessing which is Jesus, who promises peace and joy for the hearts of all of us, dwell in our hearts and keep us safe.

God bless you all.

Fr John.

 

Also, please pray for John Goulbourne , a parishioner of Our Lady’s , and his family. John is now coming to the end of his life with us here on earth after a struggle with cancer. We ask that Our Lord eases his path  and welcomes him with open arms.