Fifth Sunday of Easter 2019
MINISTRY SUNDAY 2019
Homily notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin
St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Dublin 19th May 2019
“The Gospel reading we have just heard speaks to us about the glorification of Jesus. Jesus attains his glory through his passion, death and resurrection. You might ask: how is this? To our way of thinking, suffering and death are looked on as signs of failure. Suffering and death would seem to our thinking more like a tragic end to all that Jesus had set out to attain, rather than his glorification.
We only begin to understand the mystery of Jesus when we realise that Jesus, in enduring suffering and death, shows us something deeper. He endures suffering and death out of love for us. His glorification comes from love.
Attaining glory in that way reveals to us who Jesus is and who God is. Through his death Jesus us shows us what loving right until the end means and it is this love that is recognised in his resurrection. Jesus through his death out of love for us reveals that he has conquered our death finally.
In today’s Gospel then Jesus gives his disciples a new commandment that is the essence of our faith. We are called to love. We are called to love God and to love all of God’s creation and all of human kind.
If we look back to the moment in which Judas set out to arrange the arrest of Jesus, Jesus himself does not lift a finger to defend himself. In the Garden as he agonises about what he is about to endure, Jesus cries out not a message of defeat but he cries out that the son of man is to be glorified. This moment which seemed to indicate that darkness was about to defeat the light and that hatred and self-interest were about to overcome love, Jesus overturns our way of thinking.
Jesus’ glory is not decided by the betrayal of Judas or by the viciousness of his enemies or by the forces of evil, but by the love that Jesus shows. Hatred and betrayal and violence are never the last word. Love alone conquers.
Being a Christian is not simply about rules and norms but about mirroring in the way we live that same self-giving love of Jesus Christ. Jesus tell us that his commandment of is new. It is new because it is a call to live a more radical love, a love without human conditioning.
Love conquers. It helps us to understand all the commandments. It reminds is that violence and deceitfulness are blind alleys that lead us only to greater hatred and violence and to lives that are ruined. Once again, I am shocked and saddened to see further incidents of senseless stabbings and knife crimes – especially among young people – in our city and in our country and in other countries. They take away an innocent life, they shatter a future full of hope, and they destroy the tranquillity of families. The lives of young perpetrators and their families are also ruined. Knife violence among young people is truly a disastrous blind alley.
Christians are called to foster a culture of life and of love. We are called to be a presence in our society of such a culture, a culture of life from conception to death. No life is second-class.
The religious culture of Ireland is changing. We are called to become more evidently a Church that not just teaches but practices a culture of love and life.
Every one of us called to be believers in Jesus Christ, called to deepen day by day what that message of love means and what it demands of us. Learning what the commandment of love means is a lifelong challenge. What we learn in school is important but it will not be sufficient to live faith fully in the challenging environment of our times.
Today in the Archdiocese of Dublin, we launch a new annual collection that we are calling the Ministry Sunday Collection. It is about sustaining new forms of lay ministry in the Church. It is not a question of playing down the role of the priest. The vocation to priesthood is an essential one and a vital one. Without priests, we would have no Eucharist. We have urgent need to pray for and foster priestly vocations especially in Dublin.
At the same time, we must remember that priestly vocations spring from within vibrant Christian families and communities. We need a radically renewed method of accompanying Christians, young and old, to understand who Jesus is and how faith in Jesus, lived out authentically, brings an invaluable contribution to society. If we want faith to be taken seriously in the Ireland of tomorrow, we have to witness to the new commandment of love through the way we live. However, to witness to Christ we have to know Jesus.
The purpose of the Ministry Sunday Collection is to enhance – I would say revolutionise – the way in which we pass on the message of faith. We need to enhance the capacity of more and more lay men and women to bring the message of Jesus into the lives of young and old. Most of these will be volunteers, but volunteers need training and formation and this requires forming qualified men and women who can educate in the faith. We need to train catechists who will prepare our young people for the sacraments alongside what is being done in schools. The Ministry Sunday Collection will provide funding for this training. I appeal to all in the diocese to respond generously to this appeal.
We should have no fear in presenting the authentic message of Jesus within our secularised world. Our entire society will be enriched when we as Christians live out fully that great new commandment of love.” ENDS