St. Flannan’s Day – December 2020

Homily for St. Flannan’s Day – Ennis Cathedral – Friday 18th of December 2020 – Limited Congregation due to Global Pandemic of Corona Virus

Advent Season
Today marks:
• Day 20 of our Advent Preparations,
• Week 3 of the Season,
• the 2nd day of the celebration of the series of “O-Antiphons” in our liturgy.

It is also of course the feast of St. Flannan our patron, here in the diocese of Killaloe.

Messianic Figure
These days of Advent in the readings at Mass we have been immersed in the Scriptures focusing on the Messianic texts from the prophet Isaiah. Various titles are given for the Messiah who is to come and these titles are celebrated in the Magnificat Antiphons during Vespers or evening prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours. This evening is day 2 of that sequence of “O-Antiphons”.

One of the titles is given in the prophet Isaiah in the reading at Mass today as the King who is to come and his lineage is of the Branch of David.

“See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks –
when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David,
who will reign as true king and be wise,
practising honesty and integrity in the land.”

St. Brendan of Birr
St. Brendan of Birr is quoted as making a similar link with St. Flannan with the 7th century words:

“There shall arise a star from Jacob, a person of royal blood, on the banks of the river Shannon, who shall put to flight and defeat the rulers of darkness.”

As human beings we have a great need for strong characters, kingly type personalities, leaders from our lineage (so to speak) that we can appeal to for inspiration and guidance. St. Flannan is our model in Killaloe.

St. Flannan
Flannan of Killaloe, a 7th century saint, son of Turlough, the King of Thomond, outstanding pupil of Molua, man of prayer, holiness, penance, steeped in scriptures, leader in faith. We celebrate and honour him today. We pray through his intercession that for his inspiration and guidance as we follow in his steps in this Church of Jesus Christ in Killaloe diocese.

Pope Francis – the Year of St. Joseph
Pope Francis is aware of our need to have strong role models to guide us and with that on mind since the 8th of December last week we are in the year of St. Joseph. The Matthean nativity Gospel today has Joseph as one of the main protagonists of the Christmas story. Along with Mary, John the Baptist and the prophet Isaiah, they lead us on our Advent pilgrimage. St. Joseph, a fatherly figure of todays, Gospel, a man of justice, or courage and strength, unafraid to stand up for the truth. St. Flannan our father in faith.

In the sanctuary here we are flanked with our Cathedral Patrons, Peter and Paul and our local Saints, Senan and Flannan. We thank God for their shining example and pray that we might do our best to imitate them on our pilgrim route on this Advent day and always. St. Flannan, pray for us on your feast day! Amen