Thirty First Sunday in Ordinary Time A

Fr. Willie Doyle,   (3 March 1873 – 16 August 1917) was an  Catholic priest who was while serving as a  militiary chaplain to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers during the First World War. He is a candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church. Fr. William Doyle was born in Dalkey, Ireland, the youngest of seven children. He was educated at Ratcliffe College, Leicester. After reading St. Alphonsus‘ book Instructions and Consideration on the Religious State he was inspired to enter the priesthood. He was ordained a Jesuit priest in 1907. From 1909 until 1915 he served on the Jesuit mission team, travelling around Ireland and Britain preaching parish missions and conducting retreats. In 1914 he was involved in the foundation of the Poor Clares monastery in Cork. He was an early member of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association and had been considered a future leader of the organization by its founder, Fr James Cullen. Fr. Doyle served in the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department of the British Army during the First World War, and was appointed as a chaplain to the 48th Brigade of the 16th Irish Division. While he was with the soldiers, he accepted no priviles, he marched with them, he just wanted to be one of the.  During the Battle of Loos in France, Fr. Doyle was caught in a German gas attack and for his conduct was mentioned in dispatches. A recommendation for a Military Cross was rejected as “he had not been long enough at the front”. Fr. Doyle was presented with the “parchment of merit” of the 49th (Irish) Brigade instead. He was killed in the Battle of Langemarck in Belgium, on 16 August 1917. General William Hickie, the commander-in-chief of the 16th (Irish) Division, described Father Doyle as “one of the bravest men who fought or served out here.” Father Doyle’s body was never recovered. He is a candidate for sainthood in the Catholic Church. In the gospel today we read that when Jeus came into this world, he found a culture of ambition and pride; powerful people abused the less powerful and looked for privileges for themselves.  One of these groups was the Pharisees;  they preached a religion without love,  and so they clashed with Jesus.  Jesus was the son of God,  but he sought no priviliges,  he was happiest just being one of us.  Even at the moment of his death he sought no priviliges,  he chose to die between two thieves.  From the beginning to the end of his life on earth, he was always one of us.  In our lives we sometimes feel the temptation to vanity and power, which is a normal feeling.  when we feel the temptation to vanity,  it’s a normal feeling,  but we should not let it rule our lives.  Cardinal George from Chicago speaking to priests: Never drop the truth upon people and walk away, walk with them. Pope Francis says: Convey the truth in love.  So let us pray,  for the grace to understand that our greatest honour is to serve,  just as it was for Jesus. In the light of this gospel let us ask ourselves,  who do I want to serve today,  and how am I going to serve them? ? I’d like to finish with a little story about Pope John XXIII, Angelo Roncalli; when he became Bishop he was given beautiful vestments, back then they were – he had a little meditation: May the splendour of these garments always remind me of the splendour of the souls that I am called to serve.