May 1st Sixth Sunday of Easter C

Introduction
In the first reading the apostles resolve disputes in the early church and John has a vision of its final mystical holiness based on the apostles as its foundation stones. Christ in the gospel sends the spirit to be with the church forever. Lets confess any ways we fail to be true to this holy apostolic church…

Homily
“A peace the world cannot give is my gift to you”, Christ says. He is with us always helping us overcome problems we face in this world. He is most close to us in suffering. One suffering many face today is addiction. At this time Confirmation children are taking the pledge and we might all reflect with them on the dangers of drink and drugs. There’s a joke about the man who went to the doctor. “What’s the matter”, the doctor said. “Its my throat”, he replied. The doctor looked down his throat: “I can see nothing wrong”, he said. “Ah, you should see something”, the man said. “for two farms and a house have gone down that throat”. Joking apart, many a person’s life has been ruined by alcohol, giving them no peace until the grave. Many a business or farm or house has been lost, many a marriage broken, many a bright young future destroyed by the “demon drink”. Yet there are no warnings on whiskey or gin bottles like we have on tobacco packets. Indeed drink and even heavy boozing can be seen as part of our culture. I asked a young person once what they did on nights out. He said, “the fashion now is binge drinking”. A survey done recently said that many teenagers, especially in towns and cities, begin drinking at the age of 14. At least a fifth of those will be alcoholics before 25, the survey concluded.
Its a sad prospect. I myself have often gone to squalid flats and seen youngish people dead on the floor, victims of continuous heavy drinking or drug-taking. George Best is a good example, he had a liver transplant yet died at the age of 56. And how many marriages made in heaven have been ruined by drink?
But addiction is not only bad for relationships and businesses but also a major threat to health and life. So its good that our children at confirmation promise to abstain from drink at least until they’re 18. We hope they may keep that pledge for life. And parents if you love your children, and Christ asks us to love in action as well as word, you’ll watch over them and not let them fall into this trap. If they do drink stress that it should be in moderation. For of course drinks not evil in itself. Its a good if used well for social and recreational purposes; Christ drank; he was accused by the Pharisees of being a wine drinker. It was the common drink in his land and he turned the water into wine at Cana to help the young couple. Moderation is the key, being able to take or leave it, not letting drink enslave us.
An even greater menace today is drugs. Confirmation children also promise to abstain from drugs for life. For once people start taking drugs at all, they can quickly become addicted. The middle road is almost impossible. I remember, when I was in a large town parish, going to a squalid flat one night and seeing a young girl, barely in her 20s, dead on the bed from drugs. The sight haunted me for months. When visiting Mountjoy prison as part of my training for the priesthood I visited a young man about 27 who described how his life was ruined by drugs. He abandoned his wife and child and resorted to robbing tourists wallets in the streets. When arrested he was only seven stone weight. He begged me to ask the warden to get him on the drugs program. So as confirmation children make their promises, we might all examine our lives and see if drink or drugs are too prominent. “Peace I leave you”, Christ says. He loves us and weeps for any of his children enslaved in this way. AA says that one of the first steps for recovering addicts is invocation of God. So lets invoke his help for all addicts. And as the people of God practicing moderation in drink and other things that can destroy us in body and soul, lets profess our faith..

Prayers of the Faithful
As the people of God lets pray now for the things that we need.

For our Holy Father the Pope and all the leaders of the church that they may bring the peace and freedom of God and his Christ to all those enslaved or oppressed in any way..

For civil leaders that they may provide proper facilities to help rehabilitate those suffering from addictions..

For our youth, may they be safe from excessive drinking, drug-taking and whatever ruins their future; through our care may they may grow in age and grace before God and men as Christ did..

For the sick, the aged and those who need special care, that through our care they may know the love of God and his Christ…

For the dead whose faith is known to God alone, the all merciful judge, that through our prayers they may come safely to the fullness of light, happiness and peace in heaven..

And we ask all these prayers through Christ from whom all good things come amen

Reflection
There’s a joke about a man who entered a pub and ordered an array of drinks. The bartender set them and the man drank them fast. “Why’re you drinking so quick”, the barman said. “You’d drink fast too”, the man said, “if you’d no money”. The barman was angry but then laughed saying, “we can take a joke here, if pulled that trick in the pub across the road they’d break your back”. “Well”, said the drinker, “why do you think I’m bent over like this”. The joke has a lesson. Many a person’s back and very soul has been broken by addiction. Lets pray for and reach out to heal as best we can all those around us who suffer from addictive diseases, which are becoming all too common today..Hail Mary

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