Many thanks for your comments about our new Newsletter, and my sincere thanks to Tony Flynn and the team at Liturgical Publications of Ireland for all the hard work in bringing it to the parish.
It seems to me that there is no time like the present, for me to proclaim my desire for a new revolution. After all we are commemorating that key and beautiful moment in our history when we courageously embraced our freedom.
In the past week in our schools I have been inspired by the work done by our pupils and all the staff who work so hard for them. In Mary Queen of Angels our hearts swelled with pride as the boys did a wonderful re-enactment of the signing of the Proclamation, raised our flag and sang the National Anthem. In Caritas College, the girls very movingly brought to our attention the thirty-six children who died in the Rising, aged from two to fifteen, and then gave us a powerful reminder of the centrality of the Women of the Rising. Why did these children, these women, and the men of 1916, that we know so well, why did they die?
They died for Liberty. They died to end supremacy and domination. They died for us, that we might live in a free, democratic, modern Republic. Yet, my friends, here am I, as Parish Priest here in St. Matthew’s, calling for another Rising, another Rebellion, and another Easter Rising at that. As well as recalling the Easter Rising, it is after all Easter. However before I formally call for this New Rising, let me first name the enemy. The enemy, my friends, is very dangerous, and is more powerful than any occupier that set foot on Irish soil. This enemy is wreaking havoc in Irish Society.
Soon Ireland will be a very dangerous place to live, especially for the unborn and the elderly. Very wide and loose abortion laws are proposed as are new laws on euthanasia. More about these another day. Catholic schools and hospitals are continually threatened with regard to their ethos. Sometimes this is because of the crises in Religious Life and Priesthood, or the pressures of political correctness or sometimes it is simply that we are flooded by the tsunami of secularism that is battering this country. There is a huge divide between our religious practice, if we practice at all, and how we live. Our young people are sexualised much too early. There is an addiction epidemic. Hopelessness gnaws at many young and not so young people.
We are very noisy. Silence is awkward and to be avoided. We rarely see silence as healing balm for the soul. We are very distracted. We hop from Facebook to Twitter. We have five hundred friends on Facebook but struggle to have a handful to have coffee with. How many of our Facebook friends can we confide in? There is a loss of the sacred. Mystery is something we associate with Jessica Fletcher rather than wonder and awe in God’s presence. We our becoming a Godless nation. Even on the basics, such as a place called home, meaningful work, and accessible healthcare we fail thousands of our people. And so to revolution!!
I want to formally proclaim the New Easter Rising 2016 – a Spiritual Rebellion, a return to the Sacred: a return to the Jesus of the Gospels. Close half our schools. Close half our churches. Suspend some sacraments, starting with Confirmation, until a revamp has been done. Pull the plug on the sacramental conveyor belt. As a church, pull into a spiritual lay-by. Rest in contemplative silence. Be humble enough to seek forgiveness. Pray again. Gird ourselves for battle. Come out of this apologetic shuffling on the back foot, and burn. Appoint Bishops for six years. Insist on regular in-service courses for all in ministry. Set up a Liturgical Watchdog, to monitor the quality of liturgy. Be afire in the Spirit. Ungag the powerful prophetic liberating voice of the Church. My friends let’s look honestly at the mess we are in. When we preach the Empty Tomb, when we preach the Risen Jesus do we believe that it’s for us? Do we believe that we are Resurrection People, or do we slink around in the shadow of the cross, vaguely hoping in something, but not quite sure what. My friends think more, and pray about this call for the new Spiritual Revolution 2016. ‘ “They cut me down and I leapt up high, I am the life that will never never die, I’ll live in you if you’ll live in me, I am the Lord of the Dance, said he….”
A very Happy Easter to each one of you, your family and friends. JMCD 21.3.16