Homily of Archbishop Dermot Farrell for the 6th Sunday of the Year
Church of the Holy Trinity, Donaghmede,
13th February 2022
The Beatitudes are often described as the Christian’s identity card. They identify us as disciples of Jesus. The Beatitudes are a self-portrait of Jesus. We know him exactly as the Beatitudes describe him—compassionate, merciful, solidarity and common cause with the poor, eager for justice and a welcome for everyone with no exceptions. The Beatitudes are not mere words about poverty or riches, hunger or satisfaction, grieving or laughter, oppression or respect, being thought well of or being a social outcast – they represent the key to understanding Jesus’ entire life. The Beatitudes are for us who have bound our destiny to Jesus. They are about choices that will deepen the spiritual image and likeness that binds our destiny to that of Jesus. By highlighting the evils of poverty, injustice, hunger, hatred and oppression, Jesus links his ministry to justice. If we are committed to him, our faith demands that we directly address and respond to the problems of the world.
Our Gospel this morning challenges us to resist selfish instincts, to recognise that the path to happiness is not found through the accumulation of possessions. It calls us to put the needs of others before our own selfish interests. That applies to the way in which we organise ourselves as a society, as well as to how we live our own lives.
The current challenge of the steep rise in inflation, especially in energy prices, is a case in point. It is right that public policy should support families and prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable. Targeting resources on those who need them most is fair and sensible. When targeting is difficult to achieve, there is an onus on those who don’t need support to take their own responsibility for acting fairly and in consideration of the needs of others.
Those who will receive the energy rebate over coming weeks, but don’t actually need it to cover their expenses, have the opportunity to direct it to those in greater need. I urge those who can to donate some, or all of that rebate, to the Society of St Vincent de Paul, or other charities, who are supporting the many who are not so fortunate.
We can be attached to many different things that seem to be important, yet at critical moments we gain a better perspective. Prayer and reflection make us more aware of our limits, those of life and the treasure that holds our hearts; we can grow in freedom and honesty in our response.
Let the message of Jesus speak to us and give us the courage to be more like him. It is an invitation to move from the choices we would imagine or would like to make to the ones we will make under the guidance of the Spirit. Imaging our future is done and lived more truly when Jesus is the direction and the reason for the decisions; it is with his help that we can live them. May our trust and hope be only in God; may we rejoice and leap for joy at the blessings bestowed on us by God. May we indeed be “of good heart.”