A Thought for Easter
THE RESURRECTION of Jesus from the dead on Easter Sunday confirmed God’s enduring promise to us of our eternal heavenly calling: it was an abiding expression of assurance and hope for all.
But the resurrection was only made possible by the events of Holy Week which were in stark contrast to the glory of Christ’s rising from the dead. Each time we look at a crucifix we are reminded of the physical agony and torment endured by Jesus in his last days on earth: from the Old Testament scriptures it is clear that Jesus, as man,[i] was fully aware of their age-old predictions on what lay ahead for him.[ii] We are less conscious, however, of the parallel mental anguish, loneliness and abandonment which he suffered, as man, particularly when he was most in need of the support of his disciples and followers.
Holy week began with Jesus entering Jerusalem in triumph on Palm Sunday: ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. (Psalm 118:26, Matthew 11:3)’. On Monday, he went to the Temple and cleared out the corrupt money changers: ‘My temple will be a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a den of thieves’ (Luke 19:45). The following day, on the Mount of Olives, while in the company of some of his disciples, Jesus truly revealed his dual human/divine nature as he reflected on the price he had to pay for our redemption. His human side prayed ardently to God the Father to ‘take the cup away’, but with absolute obedience to His will, added, ‘not my will but thy will be done. (Luke 22:42)’. Aware that that his disciples would also be sorely tempted by the devil, he urged them to ‘pray that you will not fall into temptation’.
As the Last Supper approached on Holy Thursday, Peter and John were sent ahead to prepare the Upper Room in Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. It was during this last supper that Jesus transformed bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ with the instruction ‘do this in remembrance of me (Luke 22:19)’, thereby establishing the continuous link, or Communion, between him and all believing generations to come through the sacrifice of the mass. Jesus then taught a lesson in humility and Christian virtue when he washed the feet of his disciples before proceeding with them to the Garden of Gethsemane. There, he again prayed, in agony, to the Father:‘His sweat became like drops of blood falling down to the ground. (Luke 22:44)’.
Jesus’s need for the prayerful support of his disciples at these, the most agonising times for him, was paramount: but the disciples were found wanting. This was all the more evident when Jesus was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, paradoxically with a kiss, and after he was taken to the home of Caiaphas for trial where he was subjected to false accusation, humiliation and condemnation without a voice being raised in his support. He was scourged and led away by the soldiers who spat upon him, indulging in added derision by placing a crown of thorns on his head ‘to cause further pain and mock his claim of authority as King of the Jews’. (Matthew 27-29, John 19:2,5). In another venue, his beloved Peter was to deny him three times.
While carrying his cross to Calvary, he witnessed his mother’s grief and pain, and only on two occasions did he receive help on that last journey; first, from Simon of Cyrene who, albeit unwillingly, helped Jesus carry his cross, and, second, from Veronica who wiped his face: both were strangers. While nailed to the cross, he was flanked by two thieves and, at the foot of the cross, there was John the apostle and a small group of women which included his mother Mary and Mary Magdalene. Where were all his other disciples and followers?
Jesus’s last words on the cross included those to his Father, ‘Forgive them for they do not know what they do (Luke 23:24); and, again, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’, that is,‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?’ which, again, revealed the human nature of God the Son, and which fulfilled the Old Testament prophesy in the opening words of Prophet David’s Psalm 22. When he knew that he was close to the end, again to fulfil the Scriptures, he said, ‘I am thirsty’ (John 19:28) but refused the initial, stupefying drink of vinegar, gall and myrrh (Matthew 27:34, Mark 15:23). And, finally, in his last words, those of Psalm 31:5, Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit’ (Luke 23-46)’.
Holy Week embraced all the emotions and drama of our Christian faith. It embodied the core essence of our Christianity in the New Testament while playing out many of the puzzling predictions of the Old Testament. It reaffirmed the dual nature of Jesus as God and man, fulfilling God the Father’s mission for Jesus to secure our redemption, once and for all, through death on the cross. The week also highlighted the human frailties of even the staunchest of followers of Jesus and the compassion of others from whom you would have least expected it.
We can learn four obvious lessons from the events of Holy Week: first, a reminder to those who sometimes lose sight of the sanctity of the Temple of God as a place of prayer and worship; second, the implicit power of communal prayer as sought by Jesus on several occasions; third, the virtue of humility; and, fourth, an appreciation of the mental anguish and despair that accompanies loneliness and isolation at times of critical need. We do not need to look too far to see myriad examples of such need in modern life today.
Peace Mass in Clarendon Street Dublin (Homily)
Peace Mass in Clarendon Street Dublin
Extract from archbishop Martin's homily.
Nonviolence: A Style of Politics for Peace is the title of Pope Francis’ Message. A politics for peace belongs not just on the global level. We need a politics for peace in every country and in every locality. There is no part of the world which is not marked by brokenness. Here in Ireland there is the brokenness caused by homelessness but there is also the brokenness caused by hopelessness in so many forms. A situation of brokenness will not be resolved by a politics of brokenness. Certainly politics must involve a plurality of approaches and cherish difference, but there must also be an overarching culture of national purpose.
Our homes and schools must become the real seedbeds for nonviolence. Young people must learn the call to service from an early age and learn that divisions can be overcome and that tolerance and respect, but also patient understanding and mercy, are the strong weapons for relationships that endure, in the personal as well as in the social and political sphere.
But behind the doors of families there is also often physical violence and sexual violence. Some act as if human sexuality is just about personal satisfaction, whereas it is about a love, tenderness and a mutual respect which enriches human relations, and indeed can reflect the lovingkindness of our God. The upcoming World Meeting of Families which will be held in Dublin in 2018 must place at its centre a renewal of the power of families to be places where love and sharing, peaceful relations and reconciliation can be practiced and learnt.
The Church herself must witness to the fact that the God revealed in Jesus Christ at this Christmas season is a God of mercy who reaches out to all and from whose love and care no one is excluded. The Church must rediscover a language which reaches out to those who fail not through the violence of humiliation and condemnation but through the tender embrace of mercy and forgiveness.
Finally the Church must learn to announce Jesus Christ as the source of hope, for those to whom hope does not come easy. The Church celebrates this morning also the Feast of Mary, Holy Mother of God. It recalls the Motherhood of Mary, the attitude in which Mary accepted the call to be mother to the one who would bring lasting peace and challenge all of us to be men and women of peace in our times and for our tomorrow. Peace is fundamentally a gift of the God of Peace to whom we raise our prayer today for all victims of violence and for all who work for the promotion of peace.
Homily – AGM 30 April 2016
It has been a week of horrific violence in Dublin, Syria and in many parts of the world. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin spoke out strongly on Wednesday saying “everyone has a responsibility. Those who cultivate violence thrive on silence. We have to unite to undermine them and their business and not close our eyes to what we know. “
What is happening on the streets of Dublin makes a mockery of the Year of Mercy. In our culture today, the practice of mercy is receding and is replaced by an attitude of violence,vindictiveness and revenge.
A Personal Reflection
The Sign of the Cross In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
The Papal Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Pope Benedict XVI, 2009), continued the sequence of pontifical interpretations of the relevance of the Christian message to the times we live in, beginning with that most prescient of encyclicals, Rerum Novarum (Pope Leo XIII, 1891). They reflect an ever-increasing depth of understanding and enrichment of the Christian message which itself remains timeless and unchanging. The publication of encyclicals prompts us to pause and reflect upon the enduring and seamless nature of the Christian message which can, on occasion, be relegated through complacency in the routine of daily prayer and by the formidable and unsettling challenges facing the Church in these times of social and economic chaos and turbulence. It is rather paradoxical to realize, upon reflection, that the most used prayer of all, the Sign of the Cross, is the simplest and yet the most profound.
Homily - Mass for World Day of Peace
Church of the Three Patrons Rathgar
01 January 2015
Homily from Mgr. Eoin Thynne, Head Chaplain to the Defence Forces
"I wonder how many people here this morning think that the future will be better than the past, and all problems can be solved if we put our minds to it. I wonder how many people not here, those on the streets, in hostels or suffering an addiction think the same way. Let us begin the New Year with optimism and confidence; equipped for action, dressed for battle, filled with hope and realism, not fear or cynicism.
Each year we become more and more aware how much our world cries out for peace and justice. The poor and the oppressed cannot understand or cannot accept a situation where the great nations of the world oppose and condemn them as they do all in their power to defend their basic rights and human dignity.
Homily at the Annual General Meeting of the Association of Papal Orders
St Joseph’s Oratory, St Patrick’s College Maynooth,
Msgr Eoin Thynne, HCF and Chaplain
24th May 2014
There is something radical about faith in Jesus Christ. This is stressed in this morning’s Gospel. The words of Jesus are strong. He speaks of hating father and mother and even one’s self.
The way of faith is the way of the cross, not the way of the comfort zone we can easily create around ourselves. The Gospel is telling us, you cannot be a half-baked believer. I think we all know this in our own hearts.
Homily of Archbishop Neary at Mass for the Association of Papal Orders in Ireland
Archbishop Michael Neary is Archbishop of Tuam
This homily was delivered on Friday 7 November 2014 in McKee Barracks, Dublin.
You will have heard the backhanded tribute to astuteness: 'He would mind mice at the crossroads in the dark". The compliment intrigues by its very Irish mingling of admiration with mild contempt. In the hands of a greater storyteller we have just met a character who would have no trouble managing any number of mice. The dishonest steward in today's Gospel parable is, to say the least, a quick study. The prospect of imminent ruin would shake most people. Not so this deft, shady, calculating man who does not waste time either in begging or mourning. He has known for years how he would handle just such a crisis and, more to the point, he knows his master. Quick thinking and a series of rapid, possibly unscrupulous deals conspire to win him friends and, against all odds, the admiration of his previously exasperated employer. Obedient mice and a very well-managed crossroads!