Top menu

Homily of Bishop William Crean – Sunday 12th May – Ascension B

Ascension B,

St. Colman’s Cathedral, Cobh

12th May 2024

Knock Pilgrimage

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 continually how progressive and well off we are as a nation.

This is Ascension Day in the life of the church when we mark Jesus’ return to the Father. As he leaves he entrusts a mission to all believers. “Go out to the whole world: proclaim the good news of creation.” Its simplicity is disarming – believers, by the witness of their daily living, will transform the world.

Those first disciples did go forth and shared the good news and indeed it has reached the ends of the earth in every direction. It wasn’t without its trials – no less than the Lord Jesus many obstacles were encountered. Yet they prevailed, many came to believe by the signs that accompanied their words.

In our own context in Ireland we have embraced the essence of the good news and it’s reflected positively in so many ways in society – there is so much good being accomplished through the compassion and generosity of individuals and groups who have gathered ‘round people in their time of need and that continues. No greater example than “Light out of Darkness”.

Then contrast that ongoing goodness and generosity with the stress, sadness and anxiety of so many generated by exhaustion, overwhelmed by technology and the strain of managing finances. There is clearly a great void in the hearts of many good and well intentioned people. A great strain is generated within when after all the striving many expectations and aspirations seem beyond reach or achievement. This reality is both disturbing and deeply destructive not just of the individual but of the whole of society. A black hole in our midst is not being acknowledged and we are skirting ‘round it. Not enough attention is being paid to this reality by leadership in academia and politics.

Today Ascension Day is also World Communication Day and Pope Francis in his message points us to be alert to the evolving reality of the potential role of AI (artificial intelligence) in society. It is both an opportunity and a threat, it can be both exciting and disorienting. We need to be open to AI but sensitive to everything that is destructive and inhumane. The risk is that we become rich in technology and poor in humanity.

Only by adopting a spiritual way of viewing reality, only by recovering a ‘wisdom of the heart’ can we confront and interpret the newness of our time and rediscover the path of a fully human communication.

Technology for all its benefits has a tendency to depersonalize when all of us are called to grow together in humanity and as humanity. Information cannot be separated from human relationships.

Lest our humanity lose its bearings, let us seek the wisdom that was present before all things (cf. Sir 1:4).

Another way of viewing our reality is that for a generation or so now we have been pulling away pieces of scaffolding and structures that have been in place for a very long time and slowly tore the main beams of society that supported individuals and family, schools and organisations are cracking and unravelling – not unlike the effect of ‘mica’ has had on the homes of so many unfortunate families – their home crumbles ‘round them.

We have a ‘social mica’ problem.

While we never had so much we are not at all content.

Part of the problem is that we expect the state/government to meet every need we have. That’s unrealistic and mistaken. We have a great need to recover a sense of personal responsibility and a more refined moral compass whereby we can be inspired and guided by the abiding spiritual vision that comes to us individually and commonly through the Lord Jesus who walked amongst us and who has returned to the Father with his invitation still echoing across the centuries “Go out to the whole world: Proclaim the good news to all creation”. MK: 15:16

    Upcoming Events

Website by Web Design Cork by Egg.