Agnes Beirne

Reflection – O Happy Fault

It was daunting when I realized my turn to write came on Easter Sunday.  I read and studied all seven Readings from the Easter Vigil, the Exultat, the Baptismal Ceremony, the Epistles and Gospels.  The “Exultat” sings in triumph, “O happy fault!” referring to the story in the Garden of Eden and the eating of the fruit of knowledge.  The great Creation hymn that comprises the first reading  (p. 349) is a prayerful reflection upon the knowledge given to Adam ...

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Reflection – Star of Wonder

Epiphany (from Greek for “appearance”) used to be one of the Great Feasts of the Liturgical calendar, along with Easter and Pentecost.  The weeks following January 6th were called the Sundays “after Epiphany” and the season extended to Ash Wednesday.  This is my excuse for still writing about Epiphany, the feast that traditionally celebrated St. Paul’s mission to the Gentiles.  Paul’s mission was fiercely opposed by some of the other apostles who wanted to cling to the rites and traditions ...

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Reflection – A New Beginning

The first Sunday of Advent is also the first day of a new Liturgical year.  Since the 2021 Sunday missal was not yet available, I opened the New Testament and read the beginning:  “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Mt 1.1)  My mother-in-law once told me that in her lifetime she read the Bible, all the way through, three times.  “Except,” she admitted, “for the begats.  I skipped over them.”  ...

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Reflection – R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

……in humility regard others as better than yourselves.” 
(from today’s second reading)

It is hard to be humble when you are entitled.  If one learns that the Creator has chosen one group over all others and has also learned from the best science of that time that one half of the Chosen are meant to rule over the other half, then to be humble is even more difficult.  In the Bible these are familiar ideas.  The prayer of the Pharisee thanking God for his gifts was sincere, ...

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Reflection – The Mystery of Faith

James Cameron’s movie, “Aliens” is a good metaphor for many of the world’s great religions.  Near the beginning of the movie when the astronauts go into a cave to find the alien being their ship’s instruments had indicated while they were in orbit, they cannot find it.  We, the audience watching the movie, know they cannot see the monster because they are inside of it.  We cannot see our own Faith objectively because we are “inside” of it.  At least, we are inside of a community of ...

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Reflection – Inheritance

In the name of the Father

The first reading on this Trinity Sunday tells us about Moses on Mt. Sinai when he broke the cuneiform laws carved into tablets and transcribed, transformed and translated them onto papyrus.  In that same reading Moses gives a new name for God, the first “Lord”. ‘Lord’ in the reading, stands for the traditionally unspoken “I Am”.  Moses is stating a new First Commandment–“I Am Lord and God Almighty”.  

Those cuneiform tablets came with Abraham when he left his traditional home between the Tigris and Euphrates ...

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Reflection – Imagine

Imagine what it must have felt like for the apostles to follow behind Jesus entering Jerusalem as King David did, to the shouts and cheers of the crowds.  Finally He (and they) were being awarded the recognition and praise that the Christ deserved. HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST!  What was their understanding of the Christ?  I imagine that the picture most people had, and have, was much like this:  a triumphant conqueror who will put everything in the world to right.  He will get rid of the Romans.  ...

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This Little Light of Mine…

When we were children, we trooped up to kneel at the communion rail on the Feast of St. Blais for the priest to bless our throats with two crossed candles.  In Luke’s gospel reading we learn of a ritual that is no longer practiced.  Today is also Ground Hog Day, recalling what was once the Candlemas bear.  These things led me to reflect on rituals and the rules surrounding them.

Some years ago, I was looking after two children, a boy 10 and a girl 12, who were ...

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A New Beginning

When the Babylonians gathered the intellectual, spiritual and political leaders from various areas of Israel and settled them in Babylon, there was an unexpected result. Those descendants of the 12 sons of Jacob, thrown together by tragedy, shared with one another the various strands of the traditions, laws and histories since their ancestors left Egypt. The result of their collaboration is our Bible.

Biblical scholars call one of them “the Priestly Writer” and credit him for the great Creation Hymn, ...

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What is ordinary after Pentecost?

There are two version of the giving of the Holy Spirit to the Church. In one, (Acts 2:1-12) a roar of wind is heard outside the room and tongues of fire appear on the heads of the apostles. After, they go outside and preach to people of many nations and languages. In another version, (Jn 20:22-23) the Risen Christ appears to the apostles and breathes on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you shall forgive, ...

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