Can a job define you?
By Fr. Brendan Duggan

Can a job define you?

There is a lot of wisdom in the Gospel of last Sunday, the 25th in Ordinary Time. You remember the great boxer Mohammad Ali who used to ask: "Who is the greatest?” and the answer he used to give was: "I am".

In today's Gospel we find the apostles arguing about the same question, and Jesus was not pleased with them. He did not want to see jealousy and false ambition among them. He wanted only peace and harmony. So the moral of the story is that we should not put ourselves first, as we can antagonize others and hurt them, causing unrest among those we live with.

Let me give you a couple of examples of people. We will call them John M. and Patrick O'C. John M. is a doctor. The dream of many parents is to have a son or daughter become a doctor. John is a medical doctor, we also have many other types of doctors but all are highly qualified people. Look at what it takes to become a medical doctor, years of study, at least four years of college, followed by another five or six years either in medical school, or in hospitals learning the craft of medicine. John M. is a man of status, a respected man, a leader in the local community and parish. He is no longer just John M., he is Doctor John. He is financially secure, with a nice house and car and many people are dependent on him. He need not fear being made redundant, as people have a habit of getting sick.

Patrick O'C. is a poor man with six children. At present he is very worried about one of them. She has something wrong with her heart. He lives in an apartment, not very glamorous but very clean and neat. Immediately you enter his home you can sense you are in a real home. You can sense togetherness, a sharing of concern for one another. Bring a box of candy to this house and the children from old to young, immediately, all share the chocolates. From where did the kids learn this? From Patrick and his wife of course. There is no car parked outside their apartment. Patrick commutes to work by bus and train.

Patrick is a generous man. He will always lend a hand or help you when he can, even when not asked. He is always in good humor and good for a song or joke at a party. He is happy to be himself with no pretensions. Yet he has no great education. He may have finished high school, but certainly he did not attend college. But he knows how to be a good husband and a good father. He is an excellent friend and true friends are rare.

In the case of Dr. John we have defined him in terms of his job and the perks which go with it. We have learnt little about Dr. John the man, the human being. In the case of Patrick, he is a humble worker but a great human being, father, husband and friend.

You see we often put the job before the man. We tend to put the car before the horse. Which is more important: the job or the person?

In today's Gospel we see the apostles making the same mistake. For them it was the job, the position and status which mattered. But Jesus put them right on that. His kingdom is not about seeking honor and glory for oneself. It is about serving others. As a Christian it is not what I do (what rank or status I hold), but what I am, is of most importance. We can judge the kind of people we are by one thing -- our readiness to put the needs of others before our own. Christ himself gave us the example, when he gave his very life for others. No one can go higher than that. It is good to muse on this Gospel.

Limerick Society of New York

Over the past few months I have been attending committee meetings with other Limerick people with a view to revive the Limerick Society of New York. The Society featured prominently in the recent and very well received Exhibition by the United Counties Association of New York and New York University Gluckman Ireland House: "The Fifth Province: County Societies In Irish America". (

I have been asked by Maurice Landers and other good people, to tell all our Limerick friends about an event to be held in late October in Manhattan. All are encouraged to attend. There are many Limerick people living in New York and surrounding areas and it would be good if we could all unite to form a strong county organization.

The Limerick Society of New York invites you to its "Fall Social Afternoon" Sunday, October 28, 2012 from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, on the first floor private room at The Irish Rogue at 356 West 44th St, NY, NY.

Admission is $35.00. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon with friends and family, with music and an assortment of Irish food plates with a cash bar.

For reservations, please contact Maurice Landers 347 827 8717 or
Perhaps people may have ideas on how we can develop the organization and help revitalize it. It would be nice if we could have events such as regular meetings and an "Annual Dinner Dance" like so many other county organizations. We also have many prominent Limerick people in the New York community and it would be nice if we could all gather together now and again to renew old friendships and events. At present there are a sizeable number of Limerick people who march in the big parade each St. Patrick’s Day. If you are interested you may also contact me either by phone or email at or 917-226-8237.