Pentecost 4th June
Benemerenti Medals Presentation
to Sheila Healy and Andrew Joseph Bourke
On the Feast of all the Saints of Ireland – the 1st Reading is taken from the Book of Ecclesiasticus Chapter 44 – from which I quote verses as a reminder of those who have gone before and on whose accomplishments we are called to build in our time and circumstances…..
“Let us praise illustrious men,
our ancestors in their successive generations.
Some wielded authority as kings
and were renowned for their strength;
others were intelligent advisers
and uttered prophetic oracles.
All these were honoured by their contemporaries,
and were the glory of their day.
Some of them left a name behind them,
While others have left no memory,
Here is a list of generous men
whose good works have not been forgotten.
In their descendants there remains
a rich inheritance born of them.
The people will proclaim their wisdom,
the assembly will celebrate their praises”.
It is fitting that I recall these words this evening as we bestow the Benemerenti medal on Sheila Healy and Andrew J. Bourke both have made an immense contribution to this community over many years in their different roles as members of different committees.
We gather in faith on the Vigil of Pentecost when we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit as animator and guide in Church and in life. St. Paul explains that while there are a variety of gifts, it is always the same Holy Spirit at work in each person but in different ways in different people. This evening we celebrate, acknowledge and give thanks for the generosity with which Sheila and Andrew have given of their gifts to all of us in the “community of faith”. It may be even a little embarrassing for them because in their eyes it was a fulfilment of a desire rooted in faith to nurture the life of the parish. We thank them for their witness and their generosity of spirit.
It is said that we stand on the shoulders of giants – the strong of mind, heart and will, who exercised leadership of various kinds according to their gifts. In our day we continue to need good, honourable and noble people women and men of Christian vision to ensure that the light of Christ continues to serve as our guiding light and inspiration – in our personal life, in family, in work and recreation.
When we speak of a new Pentecost in the life of the Church, we dream of hearts aflame with a genuine joy and hope, meaning and purpose. We are all called by life to communion, connection and solidarity with one another. Sheila and Andrew have given great witness in their lives, as have so many others in the parish, and in your families. Now the call is there for a new generation to step up to leadership – to recognise your particular gifts and seek with others to give expression to the goodness in you.
A final word on the inner life/spiritual life. If your life is too cluttered and chaotic its hard to have time for others. That’s why some daily time of quiet, silence, meditation or prayer is necessary. Over time it becomes like drawing fresh water from the well every day, you’ll start feeling thirsty if you don’t do so!