BLESSING OF NEW CHAPEL AT NAZARETH HOUSE, DUBLIN
Homily Notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin
Nazareth House, Malahide Road, 4th November 2019
“It is a great joy for me to bless this new Chapel. It will be a focal point in the life of the Nazareth House community and in its mission.
Where do look to understand the roots of the mission of Nazareth House. Let us look for a moment at the Gospel reading we have just heard. The reading is set at a moment in which Jesus is preparing his disciples for his return to his Father. The disciples are puzzled by what Jesus means when he speaks of his no longer being with them.
They had never fully understood what Jesus was telling them. They had looked on his humble and caring presence among them as just a prelude. They hoped that something different and for them important was yet to come. Their hope was that Jesus’ glorification would mean that he would become a Messiah-King and that they would attain positions of power.
Jesus is telling them that they had misunderstood his message. His glorification will not lead them to political power but neither will he abandon them and leave them orphans. After his return to the Father, a new relationship will exist. The world will no longer see Jesus but the Spirit will create a new relationship with Jesus and that relationship is one of love, which in its turn will engender hope.
We do not always understand the Christian message. There are many in our times who are frightened and feel insecure in their faith. The Gospel reminds us that, “If you love me you will keep my commandments”. There many who get so caught up in observance of the external rules of being a believer that they seem to lose the capacity to be loving and hope-filled people and lapse into anxiety or fear or even bitterness.
The law of Christ is the law of love, not that of servitude or anxiety. Through opening ourselves to that love we become God’s friends. This is a remarkable affirmation. In the pagan religions, God appeared most often as a God of fear, a distant God, isolated from his people, demanding, revealing his nature above all in the powerful and awe-inspiring forces of nature, in volcanoes and inaccessible mountain peaks.
The God revealed in Jesus Christ is different. He is not a distant fear petitioning God. In Jesus Christ, we are admitted to friendship with God, with all that involves. How do we feel when we are with friends? We feel secure, comfortable and well in their presence, they offer us support, by simply knowing that they are there for us.
When we realise that in Jesus we are chosen to enter into friendship with God, then we must realise that Christianity cannot but be a religion of confidence, even in the most difficult times. God wants to be close to us.
There is a beautiful phrase of Pope Benedict’s in this sense: “When no one listens to me anymore, God still listens to me. When I can no longer talk to anyone or call upon anyone, I can always talk to God. When there is no longer anyone to help me deal with a need or expectation that goes beyond the human capacity for hope, he can help me. When I have been plunged into complete solitude …; if I pray I am never totally alone”.
This is part of the mission of Nazareth House, a community where people care and people are cared for. Nazareth House is not just a place where services are provided for clients. It is a Christian community where the love of God is present and experienced as true community.
This new Chapel is a place where the members of this community can come to pray and to be with Jesus. Here they will be nourished on the word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ. This chapel is the place from which a loving community will be built up each day and from where the love of God will radiate making this home unmistakeably a caring and loving community.
We all need to be loved. We all need to be loving people. Nazareth House must be a place where no-one is forgotten, where the sick are cared for with dignity and the old in security, recognition and gratitude, where the anxious are given confidence and hope.
This house is characterised by the core values of the Sisters of Nazareth: love, compassion, patience, respect, justice and hospitality. These are small virtues which go up to make concrete the great commandment of love.
When we celebrate the Eucharist, we celebrate the sacrifice of Christ for all. The Eucharist compels us then to become “bread that is broken” for others, and to work for the building of a more caring and compassionate world.
My God’s caring blessing be always present here in the years to come in this special community.” ENDS