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Homily of Bishop William Crean – 4th Sunday B – 28th January 2024

4th Sunday B

St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh

28th January 2024

“His teaching made a deep impression on them”

My friends,

For those who are interested in things political, one trend which is being observed and noticed is the emergence of a voice or voices from “the Right” or even “the Far Right”. These voices are strong even aggressive and are the source of alarm for some commentators. One of the reasons these voices upset people is that they question the way things are so are seen as disruptors. They are seen as a threat to our freedom and the kind of society we have become.

This is not just an Irish phenomenon – it is a pattern being played out right across Europe and beyond too.

“Oh that to-day you would listen to his voice. Harden not your hearts” (Response)

The Readings to-day invite us to reflect on the voice or voices we ought to be attentive to. The fact is that great efforts are made to grab our attention and so often the loudest one wins out rather than the voice of truth, honesty and humility. The voice of the prophet is so often a voice crying in the wilderness – in a time dictated so much by political correctness – it is often a lone voice. One of the ways that society seeks to shut out a voice it finds uncomfortable or unacceptable is to brand it as extreme, unreasonable, judgemental, i.e. scapegoats it. There is a lot of evidence that this pattern is what is in play in Ireland to-day. We have a very pliable political consensus at the centre which smothers and chokes off analysis and reflection of the impact on individuals, families and communities of our model of economic development. Not all voices from the right or left are “extreme” – they too need to be listened to.

The result is that we are gradually becoming an entirely “nanny State” whereby every new issue is patched up with a new allocation of money. The state has its role but when the state becomes master all of us are its slaves.

“Oh that to-day you would listen to his voice. Harden not your hearts”.

Its important that we seek out the voices that do not go with the flow – their conviction and resilience can resist the lure of popularity to speak with integrity and a sense of reality.

“And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority” Mark 1:22

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