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Homily of Bishop William Crean – 6th Sunday of Easter – 5th May 2024

6th Sunday Easter 2024

St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh

5th May 2024

“You did not choose me. No, I chose you”

My friends,

“Exhausted, dominated by technology and broke”. That was the stark heading over an account of the results of a recent survey of life in Ireland undertaken in the 1st quarter of 2024. It’s a headline that suggests a lot of stress and tension in people’s lives. It’s all the more surprising because we’re also being told how progressive and well off we are as a nation.

Contrast that with the good news of these Easter days – it is reflected in the readings today. Peter’s admission is a real boost to anyone who’s inclined to doubt Gods love for them.

“The truth I’ve now come to realise is that God has no favourites, but that anyone, of any nationality who fears God and does what is right is acceptable to him.” Acts 10:34

One hears an echo of the same insight in our Gospel from St. John.

“If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love

Just as I have kept my father’s commandments and remain in his love.” John 15:10

And then he adds the most uplifting verse in the gospels “I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete”

Again contrast the promised joy of the gospel with the stress, sadness and anxiety of so many. There is clearly a great void in the hearts of many good and well intentional people. A great strain is felt when your expectations seem beyond reach and achievement. The lure of marketing and social messaging is/can be very manipulative and controlling especially for young people. All the growing expectations becomes a mental tyranny/control which can so easily close the hearts to the joy and blessing of the essential and simpler things in life like faith, family and friendship.

If, as a society, we continue to nurture an entirely secular, atheistic culture we unwittingly are creating a void in our midst whereby the life of the Spirit is choked to death. There is a populist rhetoric which views our Catholic past as totally negative, ignorant and worthy of destruction. Were this to happen we would be greatly impoverished.

What would be beneficial is a sincere dialogue whereby we can together find a path whereby people of faith are respected rather than demonised as relics of backwardness. The Catholic Church has set itself on a new path. It has acknowledged its sinful past – it seeks to continue to do so, to work constructively with the state to secure the best outcomes for those they serve in education and social services.

The church and dedicated disciples are inspired by a spirituality of service to all in their care. Because of our human frailty we fail sometimes for which we ask forgiveness. The church

continues to hope to be a place of welcome for all, whereby people can celebrate their experience of the love and mercy of God – God has no favourites.

“You did not choose me, no I chose you; and commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last; And then the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.”

John 15:16 – 17

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