5th Sunday of Easter 2020
St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh
“Do not let your hearts be troubled”
It was interesting to see that the Leaving Certificate has been cancelled in the form that it was usually taken – namely sitting and answering the questions posed on the papers. Now they will use various other methods to award a result.
Doing it this way is seen as much better especially because it will eliminate the stress levels of students. Students will be very pleased that they now have certainty and they know what they are dealing with. But that is no guarantee that they will not experience stress and anxiety over the new method that will be put in place.
These thoughts come to mind in the light of the opening lines of the Gospel to-day.
Trust in God still and trust in me”
These consoling and calming words are often heard at funeral Masses as a word of reassurance to the bereaved as they face the loss of a loved one. The reassurance is twofold for the bereaved – that there are many rooms in the Father’s house – that there is a welcome for each one who has died. But alsofor those who remain and seek to continue to live with purpose – the Lord will be with us on life’s journey that we too will one day know that love and welcome.
In the meantime, life goes on according to our stage in life. One constant reality is that every life stage brings its own stress and worry. No one is insulated from it. It is part and parcel of living so we must/need to manage it.
This weekend there is a strong focus on another mental health issue through the ‘Darkness into Light’ theme promoted by Pieta House. The need for support is without question – to have available decent mental health services that people who are struggling to cope with life’s pressures may turn to.
The numbers of those who have died by suicide in the last 30 years is truly shocking and tragic. The legacy of pain and grief suffered by the bereaved is immense even immeasurable.
When we seek to address the question ‘round mental health we need a properly holistic approach, which takes in all the dimensions of the person – mind yes, but body and spirit too. Among those who work to-day in the areas of psychiatry,psychology and counselling there is a new appreciation of the importance of the spiritual dimension in life.
This does not mean that everyone will be involved in religious practice but that they attend to some religious and spiritual reflection in life. In doing so they nurture a sense of the transcendent/divine which gives a more wholesome vision of things beyond our own individual self.
For the Christian believer/disciple “the Lord is the living stone” (1Pet 2:4). If Jesus speaks of the rooms in the Father’s house Peter uses the image of building a “spiritual house” with the Lord Jesus as the cornerstone. He invites us to
“Set yourselves close to him so that you too … may be living stones making a spiritual house”.
Which for believers is precious and so we “sing the praises of God who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light”
This period of restriction due to COVID-19 has left a lot of people disoriented, shocked and confused. Apart from not being able to go about as we would like, it is a huge wallop that has thrown so much of life off track. We are still trying to get our heads round what it will mean not just for the Leaving Certificate but all of education and indeed for life in general.
It has been well flagged that the effects on employment and the economy will be drastic. So we face enormous challenges in our families, in society and individually. This is the new reality into which Jesus invites us
“Do not let your hearts be troubled
Trust in God still and trust in me”
Our trust in the Lord is not a magic wand that frees us from pain, anxiety, illness or death rather our trust empowers us body, soul and spirit to address the difficulties with resilience and commitment.
“May your love be upon us, O Lord,
As we place all our hope in you”