Visit of Relics of St. Anthony

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Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua

 

RECEPTION OF THE RELICS OF SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA

 

Homily notes of  Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin

 

 

Pro-Cathedral, 13th June 2016

 

 

In our Gospel reading we heard Saint Luke tells the story of a sort of “advance mission” of a group of 72 disciples.  They were sent out in pairs to every place where Jesus himself intended to go.  And Jesus gives them very clear instructions.

 

Let us look at some of the details.  He tells them that they are going to be “like sheep among the wolves” and yet they are to take with only the bare essentials of ordinary needs.  They are told not to salute the people they met on their way and they are not to be moving from one house to another.

 

What does this message say to us in our time?  I am very struck by a description by Emeritus Pope Benedict of the situation in which our mission to bring the Good News of the Kingdom takes place.  He said that we are called “to witness to God in a world that has problems finding Him…”

 

There is a sense then that we also are called today to carry out an “advance mission”, as Jesus did, to prepare the way for him to come.  We have to pave the way, prepare hearts and attitudes so that people can carve out an openness in their hearts to allow the Good News enter.

 

Many today find it difficult to find God because they are trapped in other alternatives, whether of their own making or because of a broader a culture which finds no need for God.

 

Our Gospel reading is telling us that we may well find ourselves like sheep among the wolves, in a situation of hostility to the word of God and what it requires of us.  If our society comes to believe that we can create a satisfactory world without God, how do we begin find the way of entry into the hearts of those who share such a mentality.

 

Again the Gospel reading gives us some help:  we will never break into a culture of worldliness and possession and celebrity, if we approach people with many of the same attitudes of worldliness.

 

A worldly Church will never reflect the radical newness of the Gospel.  We will only at best lead people to a sort of external relationship with Jesus, which tries to allow contradictory mentalities to somehow cohabit with other attitudes.

 

The Church will only be able to carry out this “advance mission” of pre-evangelization, this preparing the way for the Lord, by appearing as a Church which is in no way compromised with the mentality of the world and the superficialities of the day

 

There are many people today who feel that they can live without any reference to God and they have no need for salvation.  But there can be another attitude among those who believe:  we too can come to feel we have all we need for salvation and are happy to live in our lives and in our Church in a self-satisfied way.

 

In many ways we have lost our missionary zeal and we are happy when people come to Jesus only in superficial way.   If we have no sense of there being something missing in our lives, then we will never set out on the path of trying to find out what we have really lost.

 

The popular devotion to Saint Anthony looks on him as the Saint who helps us to find lost things.  And I can tell you that at least in my case he is regularly called to work overtime.

 

But there are so many other forms of loss in people’s lives.  There is the genuine sense of human loss of someone who is bereaved or who lose confidence in themselves or in their willingness to live.  There is the total loss of respect for life where unscrupulous people begin to feel that their financial supremacy can authorise them to take life through violence and exploitation.  There is a sense of loss of hope caused by the harshness of our society either through the consequences of the economic crisis or simply the lack of a sense of solidarity and care.  People who have lost even the essentials in life like home or employment can then feel even more lost and abandoned by society.

 

We have to ask ourselves as individuals and as a Church community where do we stand in responding to those who find themselves lost in our culture?  We have to ask ourselves if we have crafted our Church life as a space where people who suffer loss really feel that they may find welcome. Do our Church communities reach out adequately to those who are on the various peripheries of society?  Have we ourselves come to realise that it is precisely on the peripheries that we actually encounter God.  It is in the poverty and suffering and precariousness of those living on the peripheries that we will come to understand that God will not be found in a culture of celebrity and possession or in the rat-race of worldly success.

 

Let me come back to our Gospel reading.  There are some biblical scholars who would say that the reference to “not greeting people on the way” was due to the fact that greetings in the oriental tradition could become rather lengthy affairs.  Jesus is telling us that the challenge is too urgent to allow us waist time in pointless internal debates.  In the same way, flitting about from house to house may also be a warning to us in our task of evangelization we have to avoid moving just from one experiment or new initiative to the next, never really getting down to forming a true home in our hearts for Jesus and the mission he has entrusted to us.

 

In all of this we have to note that this Gospel was written at a time when the early Church was beginning to be active within a new and varied range of cultures and that this required new forms of evangelization and a rejection of any sort of laziness in missionary tradition or a feeling of self-sufficiency among the more settled Christian community.

 

Saint Anthony was a man of missionary zeal who worked to defend the integrity of the message of Jesus against heresies and distortions.  His zeal during a short life of only thirty-six years is a challenge and encouragement to us to help renew authentic faith in Jesus among those who find it hard to find God.  It is a calling for us to renew our own faith, as many today find God hard to find because perhaps we are not his best witnesses and ambassadors.

 

 

Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua

 

RECEPTION OF THE RELICS OF SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA

 

Homily notes of  Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin

 

 

Pro-Cathedral, 13th June 2016

 

 

In our Gospel reading we heard Saint Luke tells the story of a sort of “advance mission” of a group of 72 disciples.  They were sent out in pairs to every place where Jesus himself intended to go.  And Jesus gives them very clear instructions.

 

Let us look at some of the details.  He tells them that they are going to be “like sheep among the wolves” and yet they are to take with only the bare essentials of ordinary needs.  They are told not to salute the people they met on their way and they are not to be moving from one house to another.

 

What does this message say to us in our time?  I am very struck by a description by Emeritus Pope Benedict of the situation in which our mission to bring the Good News of the Kingdom takes place.  He said that we are called “to witness to God in a world that has problems finding Him…”

 

There is a sense then that we also are called today to carry out an “advance mission”, as Jesus did, to prepare the way for him to come.  We have to pave the way, prepare hearts and attitudes so that people can carve out an openness in their hearts to allow the Good News enter.

 

Many today find it difficult to find God because they are trapped in other alternatives, whether of their own making or because of a broader a culture which finds no need for God.

 

Our Gospel reading is telling us that we may well find ourselves like sheep among the wolves, in a situation of hostility to the word of God and what it requires of us.  If our society comes to believe that we can create a satisfactory world without God, how do we begin find the way of entry into the hearts of those who share such a mentality.

 

Again the Gospel reading gives us some help:  we will never break into a culture of worldliness and possession and celebrity, if we approach people with many of the same attitudes of worldliness.

 

A worldly Church will never reflect the radical newness of the Gospel.  We will only at best lead people to a sort of external relationship with Jesus, which tries to allow contradictory mentalities to somehow cohabit with other attitudes.

 

The Church will only be able to carry out this “advance mission” of pre-evangelization, this preparing the way for the Lord, by appearing as a Church which is in no way compromised with the mentality of the world and the superficialities of the day

 

There are many people today who feel that they can live without any reference to God and they have no need for salvation.  But there can be another attitude among those who believe:  we too can come to feel we have all we need for salvation and are happy to live in our lives and in our Church in a self-satisfied way.

 

In many ways we have lost our missionary zeal and we are happy when people come to Jesus only in superficial way.   If we have no sense of there being something missing in our lives, then we will never set out on the path of trying to find out what we have really lost.

 

The popular devotion to Saint Anthony looks on him as the Saint who helps us to find lost things.  And I can tell you that at least in my case he is regularly called to work overtime.

 

But there are so many other forms of loss in people’s lives.  There is the genuine sense of human loss of someone who is bereaved or who lose confidence in themselves or in their willingness to live.  There is the total loss of respect for life where unscrupulous people begin to feel that their financial supremacy can authorise them to take life through violence and exploitation.  There is a sense of loss of hope caused by the harshness of our society either through the consequences of the economic crisis or simply the lack of a sense of solidarity and care.  People who have lost even the essentials in life like home or employment can then feel even more lost and abandoned by society.

 

We have to ask ourselves as individuals and as a Church community where do we stand in responding to those who find themselves lost in our culture?  We have to ask ourselves if we have crafted our Church life as a space where people who suffer loss really feel that they may find welcome. Do our Church communities reach out adequately to those who are on the various peripheries of society?  Have we ourselves come to realise that it is precisely on the peripheries that we actually encounter God.  It is in the poverty and suffering and precariousness of those living on the peripheries that we will come to understand that God will not be found in a culture of celebrity and possession or in the rat-race of worldly success.

 

Let me come back to our Gospel reading.  There are some biblical scholars who would say that the reference to “not greeting people on the way” was due to the fact that greetings in the oriental tradition could become rather lengthy affairs.  Jesus is telling us that the challenge is too urgent to allow us waist time in pointless internal debates.  In the same way, flitting about from house to house may also be a warning to us in our task of evangelization we have to avoid moving just from one experiment or new initiative to the next, never really getting down to forming a true home in our hearts for Jesus and the mission he has entrusted to us.

 

In all of this we have to note that this Gospel was written at a time when the early Church was beginning to be active within a new and varied range of cultures and that this required new forms of evangelization and a rejection of any sort of laziness in missionary tradition or a feeling of self-sufficiency among the more settled Christian community.

 

Saint Anthony was a man of missionary zeal who worked to defend the integrity of the message of Jesus against heresies and distortions.  His zeal during a short life of only thirty-six years is a challenge and encouragement to us to help renew authentic faith in Jesus among those who find it hard to find God.  It is a calling for us to renew our own faith, as many today find God hard to find because perhaps we are not his best witnesses and ambassadors.

 

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