Top menu

Homily of Bishop William Crean – Mass of Hope – Shanballymore – 24th May 2024

Mass of Hope


24th May 2024

“Exhausted, dominated by technology and broke”. This is the 3rd time in as many weeks that I have began my homily with these words. I quote them from the headline of an account of the results of a recent survey of people’s life experience in Ireland. The survey was done between January and March this year. It shows clearly that a lot of people are finding life difficult – there is a lot of anxiety and restlessness in our midst. This fact is surprising because we are told that we are well off as a nation and very progressive as a society.

My friends, I appreciate greatly your invitation to lead you in this celebration of hope – it is timely and providential that we do so to highlight the myriad of mental health issues that impact on all of us at this time – be it a personal individual challenge or living with a family member who has an issue or someone near that you seek to support. The truly positive fact of our gathering in faith is that we are talking more openly ‘round a dimension of our lives that we sought in the past to keep private and hidden because of levels of shame or embarrassment.

We have a new sense that sharing the difficulty and darkness goes a long way to healing its pain as well as the support we can be to one another through our respectful listening. We are using new language to speak of mental health. “Well being” is very much in vogue in schools and society but it is somewhat vague and unclear as to what it entails. I find it helpful to reverse the words to speak of “being well”. Keeping well, staying well.

Because we are all unique and special we remain a mystery to ourselves and one another. It is hard to put a finger on ‘what makes us tick’ as an individual. That’s why mental health is not easy to pin down. All of us are a combination of mind, body and spirit and all three need positive nourishment – as junk food is not good for the body neither are junk thoughts and intentions good for mind and spirit.

We are fortunate to have good doctors and therapists to guide and care for us when we need them. However, over recent times we realise we together need support to live a balanced and serene life.

For tonight’s Liturgy of Hope you have chosen beautiful and apt readings from St. Paul when writing both to the Ephesians and Romans. These are truly powerful words of encouragement and hope.

“Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his spirit for your hidden self to grow strong…

With God on our side who can be against us…?

If we are troubled or worried, being persecuted or being threatened. These are the trials through which we triumph by the power of him who loves us”.

No one alive is without some trial, suffering or worry and our faith in Gods love is a sure hope that his grace and strength will be a sufficient for us to persevere.

Pope Francis in his message for 2025 Jubilee of Hope – Hope does not disappoint. Rom 5:5

Few have written so eloquently of hope as the poet Emily Dickenson.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers

Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –

That perches in the soul –

And sings the tune without the words –

And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –

And sore must be the storm –

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –

And on the strangest Sea –

Yet – never – in Extremity,

It asked a crumb – of me.

For one who believes and loves

“Hope springs eternal”

    Upcoming Events

Website by Web Design Cork by Egg.