Tired of all the bad news

While we can't deny the difficulites for so many people at home and overseas, it's important to take account of the positives, and to spread the Good News. I don't know who said this but; "No-one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side." Blessings..

Sunday, 25 August 2019

Let us begin again...

I sit here looking out a window that I haven’t looked out since 2010. I have lived in this place before on two occasions. I have also ministered here as Deacon from 1996 to 1997. It was here that I had my first baptisms before I went to London for summer pastoral work, the summer before Tony Blair became Prime Minister there. These babies are all young adults now. This morning at Mass in the parish, I recalled the name of the first child I baptized, a baby girl. I have been appointed to the Capuchin Friary, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Priorswood, on Dublin’s northside near the Airport and while I have arrived here towards the end of last week, I officially take up the pastoral care of this parish on September 1st

I am happy to be here although I am not without some small fears. Someone once said you are only as good as your last gig. So, no matter what happened in the past, today it’s a new day. We move forward in hope and like nine years ago, I begin with no agenda – let’s see.

Everyone changes as the years pass, and indeed as the days go by, we change and grow. The albums that bands and singers put out in the early days are not the same as their later work, and song writing and music moves on and shifts shape. So here I am in Priorswood, nine years older and a few kilogrammes lighter and looking out a window I haven’t looked out since 2010. When I was here last, I was a hospital chaplain and someone else was parish priest. Now, I’m the parish priest and I hope to learn the ropes.

I write this a year to the day that Pope Francis came to Dublin for the World Meeting of Families 2018. I was in an RTE Studio in Montrose early on that day as part of a panel talking about the atmosphere around the papal trip and anticipating the arrival of the Alitalia jet carrying the Holy Father and the Vatican Officials. I got back to the city in time to gather with the friars in the Capuchin Day Centre, security cleared and scanned, and to sneak a peek up Bow Street in Dublin 7 to see the Pope Mobile drive towards us. Here I heard echoes of Pope John Paul II on Thomas Street in 1979. And then to be introduced to Pope Francis personally was something I will never forget. 

Pope Francis took the name of St. Francis of Assisi. This was no accident in that he has always identified with the Little Poor Man of Assisi and how he answered the call of Jesus from the Cross of San Damiano to ‘Repair my Church.’ This is the perennial call to all Franciscans. Here in the Dublin parish named after and dedicated to Francis of Assisi, I hope to do my part together with the team, the Pastoral Council, and the people of Priorswood. We hope to reach out to all, but especially young people and young families where they’re at and take it from there. In the words of St. Francis; “Let us begin again…”

Sunday, 11 August 2019

St. Clare of Assisi

When we look at some drawings or images of medieval saints, we could be fooled into thinking that perhaps because he was a monk or she was a nun that they are pious or gentle or easily fooled. In many cases that couldn’t be further from the truth. They were recognised for holiness but they were tough and were no push-overs. Many of them suffered, denied themselves food and sleep, others still lived in solitude, and still others were martyred. They were looked up to and relied upon by many people from far and wide and they had a wise word and a prayer for most people. They were also well able to be honest and some could shoot from the hip at the risk of being unpopular. St Clare of Assisi was one such woman. By the end of her life, bishops and even a Pope came around to her way of thinking.

Chiara Offreduccio was born into a noble family in Assisi on July 16th 1194. Her father was Favarone Sciffi, Count of Sasso-Rosso, and her mother was Ortolana. From a young age it was assumed that Clare was to marry in line with family tradition but at 18 years old she heard Francis of Assisi preaching and asked him could she follow him and live after the manner of the gospel. In March 1212 Francis received her into the order and placed her into the care of the Benedictine nuns of San Paolo. Her father made great efforts to get her out of the cloister and leave the order. Later she moved into a small church at San Damiano where she and her sisters stayed.  They soon became known as the Poor Ladies of San Damiano and they lived a life of poverty and enclosure according to a rule given them by St. Francis of Assisi. This vow of poverty was something that was for Clare non-negotiable. It was called the ‘Privilegium Pauperitatis’ which meant that for the Poor Ladies, they guarded this grace to live in absolute poverty and not having to take possessions.

As a way of guarding the life they had chosen, a Roman Cardinal, Hugolino, was appointed ‘protector’ of the order. He later became Pope Gregory IX. As pope, he visited the Poor Ladies and was concerned about living such a hard and austere life and suggested relaxing the vow to live this privilege of poverty. Clare was a tough lady and was having none of it. For her and her sisters, poverty was just that, a privilege, which well lived, freed them from distractions in order to focus on following Jesus Christ.

Francis of Assisi guided the order until he died in 1226 and after his death, Clare became Abbess of San Damiano. She took Francis’ spirit as a good benchmark for the living of the religious life with her sisters in poverty and enclosure, and she fought off any attempt by church leaders to dispense her and the sisters from it. In 1224 the army of Frederick II came to plunder Assisi and the story goes that Clare came out of the enclosure and faced the Emperor down by holding the Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in her hands. The sight of this tenacious woman standing up to the Emperor was enough to scare him so much that the army fled, terrified,  without harming anyone in the city.

On August 9th 1253, Pope Innocent IV, in a papal Bull, a document given to Clare called ‘Solet Annuere’ confirmed that her rule would serve as the governing rule for the Poor Ladies way of life. Never would anyone in the future be in danger of watering down the rule of the Poor Clares. Clare died two days later on August 11th, she was 59 years old. She was canonized Saint on September 26th 1255. In 1958 Pope Pius XII named St. Clare patron saint of television. 

Saturday, 20 July 2019

The Eagle has landed...

In the last book, I wrote a piece entitled ‘I was unborn during the Moon landings’ It was a pro-life reflection on the fact that my mother was expecting me at the time. I was born on October 17th 1969. During those famous days, she had been advised by her doctor that it would be better if she rested and avoided staying up late to see the Astronauts landing on the Moon early on July 21st 1969. However, like most of the people on planet Earth, she stayed up to witness, in black-and-white, Commander Neil Armstrong and Colonel ‘Buzz’ Aldrin step off the ladder and on to the surface of the Sea of Tranquility. In that reflection, while obviously I have no memory of it, it is important for me that while I hadn’t been born, I existed. I was on the way, and I was growing towards my birth-day.

As I write, on July 17th 2019, the world is remembering those historic days. Right now, 50 years ago, Armstrong, Buzz, and Collins are flying on there way to the Moon. During the launch, the Saturn V Rocket would climb out from Kennedy Space Centre at 7 miles per second and it would take four days to get there flying at a speed of up to 25 thousand miles per hour. Over this coming weekend not just the United States of America, but the whole world, will remember the Astronauts who were the first human beings to set foot on the Moon. They will remember the huge team of experts who worked hard on the ground to support the Astronauts as they travelled to the Moon.

These days once again, the world also commemorates the history of flight and indeed the times when the human person looked up from the earth and into the heavens where only birds and winged creatures lived. They have looked out using telescopes to see the stars and the planets which we know have been named for generations. This weekend we are grateful for inventors who helped people to defy gravity and fly, like Wilbur and Orville Wright, and others like Bleriot, Alcock and Brown, Erhart, and Chares Lindbergh. The development of the Jet Engine in the 1940’s and the inventions of the Boeing 707, 747, and the Concorde, to name a few also contributed to the story of flight and space flight. In 1961, Russian, Yuri Gagarin was the first man to orbit the earth in Space. In 1962, John Glenn became the first American to fly in Space. American, Alan Shepherd flew to a height of 116 miles before Gagarin in 1961, but he didn’t orbit the earth. 

After the Apollo programme finished in the early 1970’s, NASA was working on the Space Shuttle (Space Transportation System or STS) project to develop a spacecraft that could be launched into low earth orbit from a rocket and land on a runway afterwards to be reused again. One of the big tasks of the Shuttle programme was to ferry personnel and material to build the International Space Station, now in permanent orbit around the earth. Sadly, two of the Shuttles; Challenger in 1986, and Columbia, in 2003, met with accidents during what was over all a highly successful programme. The Space Shuttle was retired after the final flight of Atlantis in July 2011.

Since then, Astronauts, and Cosmonauts have been travelling to the International Space Station (ISS) via the Russian Soyuz spacecraft and we regularly see posts to social media from Astronauts living and working high above the earth as they send stunning pictures and films as they orbit the globe.

The future is bright for space exploration and probes have sent back pictures of the other planets in our solar system; thirty, forty, and fifty years after their launch. Voyager I and II, an American programme launched in 1977, reached Interstellar Space, outside our Solar System in 2012 and 2018 respectively. This is only the tiniest distance in the bigger picture which is awesome.  The plan is to send people to Mars. Space X and Blue Origin to name two private companies are working with NASA and others to further space exploration into the future. Nasa have said they intend to go back to the Moon by 2024, build a base there, and from there, who knows?

When we lived in Rialto growing up (late 1970’s) myself and my brother, Kevin, used to pal around with the two lads next door and we would often play space-games. Star Wars was in the Cinema and Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, was on the television. We used to fly the Millennium Falcon from the gate-pillars of our houses manoeuvring between planets and stars. We also hung our Snorkel Jackets around our shoulders because we each wanted to be Superman. We were big fans of Steve Austin, the Astronaut who was almost killed in an accident during a test flight. The U.S. Government rebuilt him with Bionic components for six million dollars. He could leap forty feet in the air, run at sixty miles per hour thanks to his bionic legs, and break tree trunks, and lift cars with his bionic right arm. He could also see for miles with his bionic telescopic eye. I got a Steve Austin action man from Santa Claus in 1977. Kevin got the Johnny Jackson (Action Jackson) one.  Perhaps the ultimate space programme was Star Trek. I had a Mister Spock replica swear shirt as a kid. However, I think I was a little bit too young for Star Trek when it was on television. In emulating the technology of Gene Roddenberry, I wonder will they ever be able to develop a space craft like the NCC 1701 Starship ‘Enterprise’ with teleporters, Photon Torpedoes, and Warp Factor 9 speed?

In those forty years or so since we were going out to play on Uppercross Road, sitting into our spaceships and flying a million miles into deep space only to be back in for our dinner, real space flight progressed from Skylab, to the Space Shuttle, to the construction of the I.S.S. Un-manned probes have travelled around our solar system, and visited the planets and is going to the Sun. There have been several probes sent to Mars and are these sending back fascinating pictures from the Red Planet. The Hubble space telescope has let us look into the deepest parts of space and is allowing us to study the origins of the Universe and lately even Black Holes. Yet we are barely scratching the surface. By the time we get to send people to Mars, my generation will be elderly and those who are selected to fly as Astronauts are children, and young people now, and maybe some haven’t been born yet.

Growing up in the city, and especially growing up in Ireland, it was difficult to see the starry nights. The ambient lights of the neighbourhood make it hard to look into the night sky. With Irish weather and the clouds that often roll in from the Atlantic, I have often been disappointed when it became impossible to see celestial shows or partial eclipses of the moon or the sun. However, when its clear out in the countryside, I have been spell bound by the billions of stars and even the caster-sugary Milky Way in the night sky. We have been treated to shooting stars during these deep-dark clear nights. In early 1997, we saw Comet Hale-Bopp crossing the heavens over a short period of time both in the night sky and in the daytime. It was great sight as certainly I missed seeing Halley’s Comet in 1986 and it won’t return till 2061. I also missed Comet Hyakutake for some reason in early 1996. Hale-Bopp was the best example of a Comet I’ve seen as I remember a run of clear days and nights in the Spring of 1997. They tell us that Hale-Bopp won’t come into Earth’s orbit again till the year 4380. Maybe I’ll see it somewhere while the then interplanetary residents of planet Earth take weekend breaks on low cost flights to theme parks on Venus.

The Canticle of Brother Sun written by Saint Francis of Assisi in praise of creation, the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, and the Earth, is poignant for me as we come up to the Fiftieth Anniversary of the First Men on the Moon.

Most High, all powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honour,
and all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention Your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendour!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars, in heaven you formed them
clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene,
and every kind of weather through which
You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Water,
which is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night and he is beautiful
and playful and robust and strong.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains us and governs us and who produces
varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by You, Most High, they shall be crowned.
Praised be You, my Lord,
through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will
find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord,
and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Philomena Lynott

This is the Homily I gave today at the Funeral Mass for Philomena Lynott in St. Fintan's Church, Sutton, Co. Dublin. 

I first met Philomena Lynott in Cork around 2005 although of course I had known of her for a long time. She was staying with Edel in Connolly Road and Edel rang me one Saturday evening and said “Her Maj” is here and would love to meet you. I was based in our Capuchin Friary in Rochestown, Cork at the time. When I arrived, I was dressed in my Franciscan habit and Philomena was introduced to me as ‘Father Bryan’ She didn’t know what to make of me. There are no airs and graces with Edel and I made myself at home. Edel told me the kettle is boiled go out and make yourself a cup of tea. When I went into the kitchen, I could hear Philomena say to Edel “Is he really a priest?” “When he came in the door, I thought he was in fancy dress!”

In 2007, I was transferred to work as Chaplain in Beaumont Hospital. One evening on duty I recognised Philomena coming down the corridor. She was visiting her beloved Denis who was a patient there at the time. She greeted me “Oh, how are you? You’re Edel’s friend!” And later she phoned Edel to say she had met her friend and he really is a priest! She often reminded me of this when I met her again.

In the context of this funeral Mass this morning, some images come to mind when I think of Philomena. She was a mother who genuinely put people first. She lived her life at the service of others despite the difficulties and struggles that came along.

Certainly, we all know of her devotion to her beloved Philip. In the last 33 years, she made sure that his legacy as an artist, a musician, and a poet was firmly passed on. All across the world so many people loved his music and he was like a bridge between genres; Rock, Pop, Folk, Punk and the New Wave. Philip Lynott was a pioneer to many that came after him. His mam helped in passing on the message.

She always had time for the fans and so many felt comfortable coming up the drive way of White Horses and all were welcome. In fact, Philip and Lizzy were slow to refer to their legions of fans as fans. They were their ‘supporters’ and Philomena made sure to honour them.

I am reminded of the U2 song, Iris (Hold me close) from the album Innocence + Experience. Bono speaks eloquently of his mother who died before her time. He sings “I’ve got your life inside of me.” When a child is born, the mother passes on the light to them. We grow up carrying their love and light inside and it shows every time we reach out to one another.  Philip died before his mother and it was as if she guarded that light again for him and passed it on.

When Philip died, Philomena was heartbroken. I see the image of Mary the mother of Jesus here in a sense. Mary who told us to do what her son tells us and then we see the miracles happen. Mary who suffered as Jesus did. Philomena devoted herself to visiting his grave and tending the flowers there. Now, of course Irish mammies are best placed to administer tough love. They want the best for their kids. Philomena wasn’t afraid to tell us that she was crushed and hurt when Philip died a young man. She made it her life’s work to be that mammy to so many others and to high light the dangers and the mirage that sometimes the entertainment industry can be for some. She talked of giving Phil’s gravestone a “good kick” for what he did to her…But it was always because she loved him so much. I believe I heard the rumble of thunder last Wednesday when she passed. Chatting with my brother Kevin about Philip and Philomena he said I'm sure when Philomena got to the gates of heaven, Jesus called Philip over, put his arm around him and said; “Guess who just got back today…?” When Philomena saw Philo, I’m sure sparks flew up there. She was a force of nature.

So, we bring her to her place of rest today. She will keep a good eye on him now. But she will keep an eye on all of us and make sure we pass on the light going forward. In the song Philomena which he wrote for his mammy. He says; “If you see my mother, please give her all my love. For she has a heart of gold there. As good as God above…” He has seen her over the years as she spread that love. Now, she sees him again and what a reunion it must be.

Philomena, may the angels lead you into paradise,
May the saints take you by the hand,
And walk with you into the presence of God. Amen.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

The Driving Force - Religious Life in the twenty-first century

I sometimes look back to that September 1987 when I joined the Capuchins. Like most young people I loved music then and to this day, I associate some songs with the time I joined the order.  “Where the Streets have No Name,” by U2 would be one for example. Other artists charting that year would have been MAARS, George Michael and Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mel and Kim, and even actor Bruce Willis had a hit.  I’ve just done a Google search and I note that in the UK, Rick Astley was No.1 in the U.K. charts with “Never gonna give you up” in the week I joined the Order. Around the same time in the U.S. Michael Jackson had released his single “I just can’t stop loving you.”

Now, almost 50, it is almost impossible to get into the head of that 18-year-old Bryan Shortall. I heard the ads on the radio, “Dear 30-year-old me…” And I wonder what I’d say to that lad if I could go back and talk to him.  But he wasn’t for talking to. He was full of it, and full of the habit, and full of the sandals, and the friary, and the sense of community even though he didn’t really know what it meant.  

He was scared and emotional the day he joined. He missed his family, and his friends, and his girlfriends, and his breakdancing, and his dee-jaying. He didn’t miss school though, that was one good thing. He hadn’t a clue. He was going from sharing a room with his two brothers in suburban Dublin, with posters of the Beastie Boys on the wall, to sharing a religious house in the country with other men and pictures of the Pope and the General Minister of the Order.  The question he and the others who joined got asked a lot was “Have you settled in?” He used to hate being asked that question. What does ‘settled in’ feel like? And what’s the time line for settling in? He brought a selection of his LP records and it didn’t feel the same playing them in the sitting room of the Friary. The older lads didn’t wear white socks and they liked Dylan, and Jim Croce, and Neil Young, One of them couldn’t even say L.L. Cool J’s name properly.  Things were never going to be the same. Not bad though, just different.

Over the years, I went back to the books but it wasn’t like school. This time I had a choice in what I learned and I enjoyed this. I began to grow up and learn what it is to be in religious life and I began to learn about the vows I had taken temporarily and would one day take for life. I learned more and more about St. Francis of Assisi and his influence on the world of his time and how his powerful message is still relevant in our world today. So relevant that our present Pope has taken his name.

Most importantly, I found myself growing in my relationship with Jesus Christ. Not in an over-the-top holy-joe way. There were never apparitions or claps of thunder and even though I kind of knew that this vocation was from Jesus Christ at the beginning, it is only as I go on I know it is. I know it deep down – it’s the driving force. Like a couple who fall in love, it’s a vocation. They work on their relationship; they have their highs, and lows, and their joys and sorrows. For a religious, it’s a similar dynamic, but perhaps our way of life is little understood in today’s world I would argue.

How does our society make sense of the vocation to religious life today? What language is there to explain why I still want to be a religious? I believe it is in me, and I can’t walk away. At the beginning and over the years, there weren’t any guns put to my head and I wasn’t forced to join. And I’m not being forced to stay. As the friars used to say to us, the friary is not a prison. The only reason why I’m still here is that I can’t go. I’m trying to find English language to explain it and I struggle, It’s like I had no choice and I still have no choice.

And how do we as religious put language on why we still want to be in this religious life? Or quite frankly how do we make the religious life attractive to people who may be discerning a way of life? I look around at meetings with other religious, and especially where there are younger religious and I don’t need to be convinced they believe, I can see it in their eyes, and the eyes are the mirror of the soul. This advice was attributed to St. Francis of Assisi; “Preach the Gospel, and if necessary, use words.” we religious will help people to know who we are and witness to Jesus Christ by our example primarily.

Did you ever wonder what it might be like to be a religious brother, a sister, or a priest in a world, and at a time when there are many other choices for people?

Monday, 6 May 2019

Going back in time

After Jesus rose from the dead, different people encountered him along the way. Whether it was at the empty tomb, or when the disciples were gathered together in the upper room, or along the road to Emmaus. The gospel for last Sunday (Third Sunday of Easter, year C) from John 21:1-18, tells us of another encounter of the risen Jesus but this time it is by the Sea of Tiberias. A few of the disciples of Jesus are together and Peter decides he’s going fishing. The others said they would go with him. They went fishing just like they did before they met Jesus. Jesus himself stands on the lake shore but they don’t recognise him.

When I was small, my dad brought myself and my brother, Kevin, to see Star Wars in the Classic Cinema up from Harold’s Cross when it was released in 1977. I still remember we queued up to get in to the ‘Pictures’ as we called it. In 1985, we queued up for another movie; Back to the Future. This was a story a California high-school student, Marty McFly, who loved his rock music, and his guitar, and his girlfriend, Jennifer. His friend, eccentric scientist Doc Emmet Brown invents a time machine made out of a De Lorean motorcar and with the aid of a ‘Flux Capacitor’, a device powered by Plutonium which is inserted into the car, they are able to travel in time back to 1955.

Where would you go if you were able to travel through time? Would you go to meet one of the major figures of world history? Maybe attend the scenes of history being made? Would you perhaps go and be around for the first gigs of your favourite recording artists? Or would you go back to straighten out a quarrel with someone which has lasted to this day? Since it is possible to travel through time, then we can go forward and see future winning horses in Cheltenham and Aintree and even see the winning Lottery Numbers!

However, it is not possible to travel through time like that. For one, the future doesn’t exist and the only place we all live in is the now. But we can go back in time and through different experiences, it is possible to be instantly taken back to childhood memories or place we’ve been.

I was over with the family the other evening and one of my sisters was up with her two children. The younger one, a baby boy, is four months old. My mother was trying to get him to sleep after a feed and she was walking him up and down as she sang to him. All the while she was saying; “Sshhh…” as the little guy settled. The conversation in the house quietened down. It took me back forty years to when my younger siblings (one who is now the mother of these two) came along and there we were playing quietly while the baby was getting to sleep. The sound of the television was down low, the fire was lighting, the dinner was cooking, and there was steam on the kitchen windows.

I can’t imagine going back to a time in my life and not having met the people I know and love now. How could we manage now if we had not developed the skills or learned all we have over the years? A musician would miss out on having learned the rudiments of the skill they now know and love.

The disciples who gathered on the shore of the Sea of Tiberias that day were lost and confused. By going fishing it was like they were going back in time to a place before they knew Jesus. Was it as if they never knew him? Then Jesus himself stands on the sea shore and calls out to them. Even after the years they spent with him, the things they all experienced, and the times they had together, they didn’t recognise him. They need to be reminded. So, he asks they have they caught anything? No. He invites them to throw their nets out to starboard. Straightaway, they net a huge catch. The penny drops. Immediately John, the beloved disciple, recognises Jesus. Peter reacts quickly and soon; they all begin to remember what it is like being with Jesus. It is Jesus himself, the one who died and rose again at Easter, who reminds us of the difference he makes when we walk with him on our journey through life.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

We do death well here. As Irish people, as Dubliners, and as people of this parish. We do death well. Paddy tells me I’ve said this before. It’s true, I’m like a broken record. And for those of you that don’t know what a record is, or what a broken record sounds like, Google it!

But we do death well. And when we come to funeral Masses, you all turn up and you all sit in the same places. This is because the one who has died is one of your own. You may not be blood relatives, but you are family in a sense.

Jesus died a horrible death. I used to think modern generations didn’t know much about the barbarity of Roman crucifixion. However, we see violence all too often in our society now, and we hear of senseless and evil murders like what is played out close to our communities and like Lyra McKee in Derry the other night.

But Jesus death wasn’t in vain. All through the gospels, Jesus reminded the disciples that the Christ would have to suffer. He called them to faith in him. Death would not be the end. In the gospels he calls Martha to faith when he says “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) He tells Thomas; “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:5)

Those who witnessed the crucifixion were horrified and traumatised. All the disciples went into hiding. They played the awful scenes over and over in their minds. They talked about it and confused, they thought it was the end. Until the third day.

Early on Sunday morning, the women who were going to anoint the body saw the stone had been rolled back. They went in and they saw that Jesus wasn’t there. They saw a vision of Angels who told then that Jesus is risen. They rushed away to tell the disciples.

Peter and John rushed to the tomb and found it empty. They all began to come to faith in the risen Christ. Dark tombs and old walls can’t contain the risen Jesus. The tomb is open, the disciples see the place where Jesus was laid and they remember what Jesus said that the Christ would have to suffer, to be crucified, but on the third day rise again.

Every day I witness your simple but powerful faith here in the parish especially at times of death and bereavement. Most of the time your doors are open. You all have a ministry of welcome and hospitality. Like the stone which was rolled away from the tomb, the front door to your homes is open and you welcome people in. But you also go out to reach out to the friends and neighbours.

This is the way we fight back against the evil and violence we witness in our society and our word. We do it with love and light. We crowd it out by expelling it from the darkness of the tomb out into the light of Christ in the world. We spread the love.

Thanks to all of you who spread that love on Social Media. It is truly good news. This is how Jesus is alive in our families, our parish, our city, our country, and our world.

Lyra’s partner Sara Canning spoke of her legacy living on in the light she’s left behind.

The many Parisians singing the Hail Mary as Notre Dame burned was another example of the light of the resurrection.

And we give thanks to our parents who passed on the light of faith to us. Faith that Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life.