Fr. Kevin's Excellent Homily

Mass today, my oldest son, William is Thurifer, and Michael kneels to his left.

Just back from a beautiful Mass. Great Scripture this week wasn't it? And I don't know about you, but for me, knowing some of the key facts in the readings meant that I got a lot more out of the liturgy of the Word!

I love my parish and we are blessed with a wonderful Parish Priest, Father Kevin Hale. I wouldn't be at all surprised if someone made him a bishop at some point, in fact, I think they would be wise to do so! He always delivers a great homily, but this week's I thought outstanding, so I asked him for a copy to share with you all here.


Whenever a statesman or politician dies there follows the inevitable outpouring of opinion about the good or ill they have achieved in their life and if they have been a person of strong conviction and action, then those expressions will often been even more polarised. We have heard quite a lot in this regard during this last week! After the death and Resurrection of Our Lord something similar happened. There was on the one hand the great and fearless proclamations of the disciples in those first decades, but also the fiercest persecutions by those who wanted to make sure that their message was never disseminated.

Whatever the claims of the political parties nowadays, the Christian agenda is of a different order, and our concerns for the world and the well-being of life and society may often run counter to what they believe and would impose on us, even by the process of democratic government. The Acts of the Apostles read throughout Eastertide, gives us some insights as to the problems they experienced in the beginning. This is because form the start Christians were difficult to pigeon-hole, since our beliefs are so radically different from anything else the world has seen, a way of life so unique. One early writer and observer in the second century known as Diognetus describes how Christians could be distinguished from others by their manner of life:

Christians live in their native land but as though they were not really at home there. They follow the local customs of the way of life, yet the character of the culture they reveal is marvellous and, it must be admitted, unusual. They marry like the rest of men and beget children; they share a common table, but not a common bed. They love all men but are dishonoured, yet glory in their dishonour. They do good, yet are punished with the wicked. In a word, what the soul is to the body, Christians are to the world.

What made those first Christians so different? Why they stand out from the rest of society? It was because they met frequently for prayer, fellowship and the Mass. It was by this action Jesus Himself has been recognised by the Apostles after the Resurrection. It is also the act which today continues to define the followers of Jesus: those who meet each week to pray, hear the Scriptures read, and offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice. This singled out the first disciples from the Jews and Pagan, and it singles us out today no less clearly, from the people in our street, our town, our country.

In this, we are all literally, in the same boat. St John, who has a lovely way of painting pictures, creating icons of the Faith, tells us that in the boat of Jesus there were seven. Seven is a symbolic number, it’s a perfect number scripturally; its stand for the completed cycle of time, the seven days of the week. This is a symbol of the Church as it goes about its work over the centuries, through completed cycle of all of space and time. The task of the Church is therefore to go fishing and bring everyone into the boat Christ, into the Ark of Salvation. And we do this above all y the living testimony of lives lived in accordance with the teaching of the Apostles.

At the start, they had none of the means we posses, none of the means of social communication by which to network. Yet their results were amazing. They had nothing of this world to aid them. The only thing they did have was their unconditional faith in Jesus Christ, which is what impresses us. And when they were brought before the Courts, accused of spreading the heresy of Christ, one old and wise Pharisee had the insight to defend them: If this movement of theirs is of human origin it will break up of its own accord; but if it does in fact come from God, you will not only be unable to destroy them, but you might find yourself fighting against God.

After over twenty centuries we have the benefit and help of hindsight, of knowing how it would pan-out, despite the persecutions and trials. And also knowing that we stand like them, as a sign of contradiction to the world, counter-cultural to what those who govern us might impose. But more importantly knowing that the uniqueness of following Christ sets us apart with all the privileges and responsibilities that accompany being a witness to the Resurrection as were Mary and the Apostles.

John's second week in the choir loft. "Another great Sunday eh Dad?" He noted at the end of Mass.

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