Text of homily preached at Mass in St James’ Church, Charlestown to launch recently trained Diocesan Team to oversee and develop Eucharistic Adoration in the Diocese of Achonry.
“The rulers, elders and scribes were astonished at the assurance shown by Peter and John, considering they were uneducated laymen”, the first Reading today tells us.
After that, in the Gospel, we find that when Mary of Magdala told the disciples that Jesus had appeared to her, “they did not believe her when they heard her say that he was alive and that she had seen him”.
Neither did the rest of the apostles believe their two companions who said they had met Jesus on the road.
“Incredulity and obstinacy” the Gospel today tells us, is what Jesus himself encountered in the eleven. And yet – to these doubting, unbelieving and obstinate men he entrusted his entire mission:
“Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News to all creation!”
People who were considered “uneducated laymen”!
There is a depth and a mystery here that is worth pondering. And particularly in the light of what we are doing here today, what we are beginning: the commissioning of a Diocesan Eucharistic Adoration Committee, made up entirely of laymen and women.
Pope Francis never ceases to emphasise that the mission of the Church is not, and never has been that of Clergy and Religious only. It is entrusted to ALL believers.
Declaring one person ‘better’ or more ‘elevated’ than another is not in Jesus’ way of seeing things. We don’t all have the same mission. But we all have THE mission and we are ALL missionaries. Like Mary of Magdala, we are called to share the Good News, our own experience of faith, what we have heard and seen.
You are people who have come to a deep appreciation of the Holy Eucharist. You’ve come to love silence and adoration, spending time before the Blessed Sacrament. You are now assuming responsibility for this practice throughout our parishes with the blessing of the diocese and the Bishop. What you love is your gift and is now your mission. ‘How much children and young people long to be led into reverence, and to stillness’, a secondary school teacher said to me recently. And it is so critical that we do lead people to stillness and reverence, to adoration: it will redress the balance in a world where there is far too much careless exploitation of people and of mother earth. All that the church stands for and that Jesus stands for has much to do with reverence and respect: looking at, marveling and enjoying, never just using or consuming. The utilitarian attitude is destroying people and our world. Everything we stand for as Christians and as Church particularly in the matter of caring for the sick and disabled, and in the teaching we propose on sexuality, human relationships, and fidelity – all of these are entirely connected to the attitude of reverence and respect which Jesus proposes. This is the attitude Eucharistic Adoration nurtures. It was never so badly needed in the world.
The Holy Eucharist is foundational and central to the Christian scheme of things. It is the summit and the source of all Christian life, as the Second Vatican Council pointed out. You are people who have come to appreciate this. And so you are men and women of prayer, contemplation and adoration. As members of this committee, committed to Eucharistic Adoration, you do yourselves what you show to others and will now lead them to, please God, all over our diocese. Eucharistic Adoration has the power to transform our diocese, our parishes and our homes, too, and all our relationships.
And as you adore, please pray for vocations. We need the priesthood, if we are to have the Eucharist and if the deep longing for Eucharist which lives in the hearts of all true believers is to be satisfied.