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Catholic Faith Communities of Skibbereen, Rath and the Islands


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THE DEEP END: My words will not pass away

This chapter from Mark is part of a farewell speech from Jesus to his followers in the last days of his earthly life. It sounds almost apocalyptic because we are nearing the end of the Church’s liturgical year and so the texts we read take this tone. Jesus is revealing to his disciples something about the new order which is coming. He talks about the ‘end times’ and this can appear frightening at first. However, if we enter into a meditation on this Gospel we might bring to mind something of those moments in our own lives when we felt like our world was ending. Perhaps it was the end of a relationship, the death of a loved one, the end of one stage of your life. Things which seemed so familiar and helped keep us secure suddenly changed. These can be extremely difficult periods of one’s life. It is during those times that someone comes to us offering prophecy of better times to come, of words that ‘will not pass away’. Jesus is preparing the disciples for what is about to happen to him and with assurance that God’s kingdom is far greater than any evil that is about to occur. The passage is often interpreted as referring to the seconding coming of Christ or his resurrection. Whenever we experience trauma we keep going with the assurance that resurrection is all around us and a new way of being is on the horizon.

Jane Mellett Email


The Christian tradition speaks of a moment of judgment in which we become who we are once and for all. In death we are thrust out into God. Some find themselves at home with God. That is where they belong – in heaven. Others are not yet ready for God and they experience the purification that we call purgatory. Others still find that they do not belong with God at all but that have nowhere else to go and so they are stuck – as stuck in death as they were in life. Yes, that much at least no one will want to dispute: You don’t have to wait for death to experience hell. Hell is the reality of a great many people’s lives here and now: cut off from God, cut off from their true selves, cut off from those around them in the isolation of compulsion and fantasy.

Fr James O’Kane, Shortish Homilies for 2017/18 (Year B)