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.
We know our own weaknesses, temptations and compromises. We all know how we are attached to the things of this world. We know how hard it is to be detached from the luxuries that deep down we do not really need. There is a global industry and a pattern of life based on tempting us to believe that we need certain products and that somehow life will be happier if we have them.
How is the Christian to live in this consumer driven world? I wonder is the challenge set before us in the Gospel really possible at all?
Faith does not necessarily provide magic answers to the challenges of life. Having faith does not change the realities of our hearts. The way of faith is the way of the cross and the way of the cross is the way of self-giving, rather than the way of placing ourselves and our possessions and our comforts first. There is something fundamental about the attitude we must have towards possessions if we want to be followers of Jesus Christ.
Being in the presence of people who are much worse off than we are remind us of the deeper meaning of our lives. I was in Lourdes during the week and certainly moved by the sick and those who care for them. They present a challenge that self-affirmation alone can lead to arrogance and that real self-fulfilment comes from giving and sharing. True self-fulfilment comes when we move beyond ourselves towards mercy and compassion, towards understanding and embracing others, towards helping and carrying those less fortunate than ourselves.
Maybe this morning as we gather to celebrate our liturgy, we should think of those who cannot be with us because of illness. Let us think of our colleagues, our own families and friends; may we share in prayer and caring for each other.
We pray also this morning for ourselves. As Papal Knights, may your experience and enthusiasm continue to enrich the lives of those with whom you come in contact.
Gathered here in Maynooth, in these beautiful surroundings, we pray for priests and vocations. We turn to Mary our Mother, the model of evangelical simplicity. She is the one who put aside any trust in worldly possessions and entrusted her life entirely to fulfilling the will of the Lord. Through that selfless simplicity Mary unlocked for us a power which changes our lives, and the life of the Church and the life of the world.
We pray this morning, we will always take time to reflect, to remember the less fortunate, to show our appreciation for what we have, to acknowledge the goodness of others and most of all to express our gratitude to a God who loves us.