75th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Parish of Mourne Road
Homily notes of Most Rev. Diarmuid Martin Archbishop of Dublin
Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel, Mourne Road, 9 June 2018
“We are gathered to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of this Parish of Our Lady of Good Council in Drimnagh.
There is a sense that we celebrate much more than the juridical act of establishing a new parish. We look back also at an important moment in the history of the city of Dublin. Drimnagh was to mark a major extension of the city of Dublin and a major attempt to enhance the living conditions of the people of Dublin.
The Dublin that we look back on was one where many people experienced very poor and at times even squalid housing and living conditions. Drimnagh was an experiment of new forms of social housing. It was not to be just a place of emergency social housing. It was to be a real breakthrough in the life of families
There is then a further dimension for our celebration. We celebrate in a special the people who first came to Drimnagh and who quickly turned new housing estates into true communities. I am thinking of the Residents Association, the schools, the priests and religious. But I am thinking above all of the ordinary hard-working people who build up the foundations of this community.
For this anniversary, Canon Flaherty had the genial idea of celebrating the anniversary by recognising the contribution of many people to the building up of this community. It is a recognition of those whose names may never have been mentioned in the media but who day after day made and continue to make a special contribution to ensuring that Drimnagh remains a place of which its inhabitants could be rightly proud.
The Gospel reading we have just heard is a complex one. It belongs in a chapter of Saint Mark’s Gospel where Jesus begins to face growing misunderstanding and rejection. Saint Mark speaks of how even some members of his own family felt that “he was out of his mind” and that they wanted to come “to take charge of him”.
Next the religious leaders claim that Jesus was actually working for Satan and that it was “through the prince of devils that he was casting out devils”. Misunderstanding of his message comes from those who were outwardly close to him and from those who were religious leaders.
At this moment then, we are told that his mother and his brothers arrived “standing outside” and the disciples tell Jesus, “your mother and his brothers are waiting to speak to you”.
The response of Jesus is not quite what we might have expected. Saint Mark uses a phrase that Jesus must have used in other occasions also. Jesus asks, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” and he gives the reply himself, “Anyone who does the will of God, that person is my brother and my sister and my mother”.
What is Jesus saying? Jesus is making it clear that he is establishing a new family that goes beyond blood relationship. Being a blood relation of Jesus or being an expert in religious law do not give an automatic entry into this new family. Boasting of personal titles can even have the opposite effect and leave us “on the outside”. Those close to Jesus are those who seek to do the will of God and not those who boast any title of their own.
Being a disciple of Jesus means that we must rise beyond the conformity of the everyday world around us, not to flee from the world but to enrich that world. The mission of the Christian is to help others to rise above superficiality by living that new law of love, which is the law of Jesus Christ. Believers in Jesus Christ should never allow themselves to slide into conformity or compromise regarding fundamental values.
At the beginning of this 75th anniversary we remember and honour those in our parish community who showed that they could make Drimnagh a better place not through dramatic gestures or expensive publicity campaigns but through ordinary care and good neighbourliness.
Mary is the physical mother of Jesus but she is also the true model of discipleship and the woman who teaches us more than any other what it means to form a close bond with Jesus. Mary is the Mother of the new family of Jesus, the Church. Mary is the mother of those who quietly seek to do what is good.”