Feast of Saints Peter and Paul 2014
LAUNCH OF DIVINE MERCY FOOD ACTION
Homily Notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin Archbishop of Dublin
Parish of Divine Mercy, Lucan South, 29th June 2014
“We celebrate the Feast of Saints, remarkable Apostles and pillars of the expansion of the early Church, who announced the name and the teaching of Jesus as they journeyed throughout Europe and Asia Minor and who then brought the Good News of Jesus Christ to Rome, the centre of the imperial world. Both Peter and Paul were called finally to the ultimate witness to Jesus through their martyrdom.
When you read about the journeys of Peter and Paul and when you read Paul’s letters, you come to see that the early Church was built on communities. The Apostles spent some time with these communities and then moved on to bring the faith to others, leaving the community to develop on its own. At times this worked out well; at times, as we read in Paul’s letters, disputes arose and people drifted away from the teaching of Jesus. Paul wrote on numerous occasions recalling these communities to the essence of their faith.
What were these communities like? Earlier, in the Acts of the Apostles we have description of the very early Christian community in Jerusalem. It was a community which gathered for prayer, for reflection on the word of God and for the Eucharist. Their gathering in that way gave rise to a new style in their lives in which they began to share everything that they possessed and no one was left without being cared for.
One can only imagine that the small communities which sprung up through the apostolic activity of Peter and Paul were similar. They were communities of believers in Jesus Christ called to live in a world very often hostile to them, but in a spirit of faith and love.
Faith is never individualistic. Faith thrives within communities. Community is a fundamental attribute of the Church and every local Church must understand itself as a living faith community. Every form of ministry in the Church is also fundamentally communitarian in its nature, reflecting not a managerial model, but the nature of God himself who is revealed in the Blessed Trinity,
Just as in the days of Saints Peter and Paul there can still well be disagreement in our communities and our faith communities can drift from enthusiastically proclaiming and living the Joy of the Gospel. Faith is never individualistic, but we can so often be captured in a broad culture of individualism. Renewal of the Church involves true renewal of our faith communities.
Today we celebrate an important initiative of this community of the Parish of Divine Mercy: the Divine Mercy Food Action. You are striving in the complex realties of the world we life in, to rediscover the dynamism of the early Christians. You wish to ensure that this community is one of faith in which the word of God is proclaimed and lived, in which you are united in prayer and in which the Eucharist is the focus and the highpoint of your Christian life. But you also wish to be a true Eucharistic community through sharing with others the love and mercy of Jesus which is celebrated in the Eucharist and you do so though sharing food.
It is a sad fact that today we live with the paradox of too much food and of too little food. It is shameful how much food is wasted and thrown away, when there are so many who do not have the necessary food to keep going. I have heard on many occasions from teachers that in our wealthy society children come to school so hungry that even their learning ability is compromised.
Your initiative is not just another initiative to help the hungry. It is something deeper for you and for those who you will encounter. You wish become a Eucharistic community which expresses a different life style. It is easy to give away a few tins of food and then continue to live a life style of waste and extravagance. The Divine Mercy Food Action is an initiative which aims to help all of us to reflect on how we live as disciples of Jesus who manifest in our lives the mercy of God. Mercy is not something which can be tinned and packaged and given to others. We can only bring divine mercy to others when mercy affects and touches and changes both our lives and the way we interact in society.
The Christian community in Ireland today has no ambitions of domination. Its only ambition is that of witnessing to Jesus through service. We have ourselves to learn what that means. We have to help our young people to grow up not seeking the empty comforts of consumerism as the be-all and the end-all of life. We need to help our young people develop a sense of living with others, sharing as brothers and sisters, and thus come to understand the mercy and generosity of God which challenges all self-centredness.
I congratulate all those in the parish who have come together to make this Food Action a reality. I congratulate the Saint Vincent de Paul Society for their untiring work. I pray that this Food Action will change the hearts of all of us and will bring not just assistance to those who are disadvantaged, but will help them to regain a sense of their own dignity and self-worth.
None of us would be where we are today were it not for the support of others who showed us mercy and generosity. None of us can truly and worthily celebrate the Eucharist if our hearts are closed. May the mercy of God, revealed in Jesus Christ, help each of us to live as true witness to the love of God and form a true community of believers in Jesus Christ, as brother and sisters in the Lord.” ENDS