11/09/09 Closing Mass Lourdes 2009

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Homily Notes of
Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin
Archbishop of Dublin, Primate of Ireland
September 2009

The Gospel reading at our opening Mass was the Gospel of the first message of the Angel to Mary.  It was a message which she did not fully understand but one which she accepted and which she followed day by day as she pondered the life and message of her Son.
Today we see how Mary at the final moments of the earthly life of her Son, again not fully understanding how the promise and the dreams which she must have had at the moment of the announcement of her Virginal Motherhood could have come to this dramatic moment, the moment in which her son goes to face the death of a criminal.
Mary pondered the teaching of her son at every moment of his life and ministry; in the midst of questions and uncertainty she always remained faithful and close to him.  When almost everyone else had fled or abandoned him, Mary is there at the end, close to the Cross of her son.
Mary is the faithful one.  Mary is the Mother of the Church and the model of discipleship for each of us.  Mary shows us how at every stage in our lives we too should ponder how the action of God’s love is working through us and speaking to us.
The life of a Christian must always be a life which reflects on the word and action of God. The Christian life is not pre-programmed.  It must be deepened in prayer, in meditation on the Word of God and through participation in the sacraments and the Eucharist.  Authentic Christian life can never just drift along with the superficial.  It cannot simply follow the empty fashions of the day.  It is different from a life which becomes frustrated and trapped in anxiety, selfishness, self-centredness.
Amid the pressures which come at us from so many sides we as Christians must discern what is good and truthful and loving.  I would especially hope that in our Year of Evangelisation we would take up in a more vigorous way the reading of the scriptures.  The Word of God has a power in itself to help us understand God’s plan.  We learn that plan from the inspired words of scripture and from the word and deeds of the Lord himself, as read the scriptures in the light of the tradition and teaching of the Church.
Our faith should lead us to seek and live the deep meaning that each individual life has.  Pope Benedict in his very first address as Pope reminded us that “each of us is the fruit of a thought of God”.  There is something special in each of us which is not just the fruit of random evolution or of our genetic make up or of a series of events and relationships which emerge along the path of our lives.  Each of is the fruit of a thought of God.  Each of us is called to develop that thought and the special image of God that is in each of us.
I hope that these days in Lourdes have brought new rays of God’s love into each of our hearts.  I hope that each of us will have experienced something of the light of God wherever there is darkness in our hearts, darkness of loneliness and doubt, darkness of sin, darkness of frustration and fear.
My prayer is that we will go way from this experience knowing that the mysterious presence and assistance of Mary which each of us has experienced in our hearts in these days will continue in the weeks and months to come.   Mary takes us into her love as Mother and the Church and of each Christian.
We thank God for the gift of this pilgrimage.   We thank God for the gifts each of us has received.  May the Lord continue to bless us and protect us.  May he be with us, whether we are in our youth, or as ours days of life grow shorter; may we be united with each other in prayer.
May the Lord bless the Archdiocese of Dublin, in its priests, religious and lay persons, just as he has blessed the Archdiocese in a special way over the past sixty years as we gather for our Annual Dublin Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes.

Homily Notes ofArchbishop of Dublin, Primate of Ireland—————-September 2009