Hospitality is something we’re famed for. Lets not let that tradition lapse for as Christ says, even a cup of cold water given in his name will have its reward. Conscious of that lets confess any ways we fail to have open heart and homes..
There’s a fine scene in Alice Taylor’s “The Woman of the House”. Kate comes home from England to attend her parent’s funeral. Coming to the house where she was reared she finds the door bolted. When she was young that door was always open; people came freely to drink tea, chat and mix. But now a new woman of the house has taken over. Her door is closed, the door of her heart. Kate longs for a time when love will suffuse that house again.
And That’s what the gospel is about today, loving hearts. Christ says giving even a cup of water to a neighbor in need will win untold reward. Irish hospitality is famous. Mats in front of our houses proclaim, “cead mile failte”. Are our homes still as open? Do we still value our neighbor in increasingly, secular materialist Ireland? Recently, on a sick call I asked directions to the person’s house. “Its the other side of town”, the person I asked said. I drove round and came back to find that the sick man lived next door to the one who’d given me directions. She didn’t know her neighbor, let alone that he was in need. That’s hard to believe but not uncommon now. Not long ago we’d the case of an Irishwoman who was seven days dead before she was found.
This life Sunday we’re asked not to let such things happen. To care for our neighbor in Christian love, and to nurture and support especially the weak and vulnerable among us. To guard the innocent child in the womb, to cherish those with disabilities, to let the aged live out their life to the end. For all people, of whatever age or state, are infinity valuable to God and are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Lets think in such Christian terms not cold worldly ones of people’s usefulness or otherwise.
Obviously by gathering here to pray you show you’re not like that. You value being together at the ultimate celebration of life, the mass. Indeed without your presence Christ couldn’t be here to bless our community. And in Christ we are real sisters and brothers to each others. Our ancestors knew this; their doors were always open to faith and neighbor and everyone turned up at funerals, to console neighbors with their presence. They knew that faith and the Eucharist especially were not optional extras but should issue in real Christian charity in everyday life.
Can we really replace all that with the empty values of the world? I’m shocked at how people, well off people today, harden their hearts against God and their needy neighbor, even seeing the innocent life in the womb as expendable. I notice this seems to happen most with those who’ve risen in life. In highly-paid jobs, having everything, they think they no longer need God or their neighbor, the old the vulnerable or the needy are shut out of their starched condominiums. How sad and how misguided for the things of the world pass away and at last our souls is what will be required of us. So I ask you to pray for those who make wealth their God, who have every luxury but neglect what really matters life, people, love, God justice and their immortal souls. For the hard values of the world of which Satan is lord fade to dust at last and leave us empty before eternity but Christ is lord of grace, love, truth, beauty and life both for this world and forever and ever amen. As God’s own, called to real neighborliness, faith and respect for life at every stage as sacred to God, lets profess our faith..
Prayers of the faithful
For the Pope, the bishops and all pastors of the church, that their overflowing generosity of spirit and infinite respect for life in all its forms may light up our world and turn it to God..
For civic leaders, that they may respect life from the cradle to the grave and serve the people selflessly, especially the needy
For our young people that they may not be so caught up in the values of the godless world as to neglect the values that endure forever and are from God..
For ourselves that we may be dedicated witnesses in our homes and in our communities to all that is from God, all that is good, true, just and life affirming especially with our children..
For the sick, the old, the lonely and the impoverished that through our care for them they may know the love and care of God
For the dead that they may come quickly to their heavenly inheritance through our powerful personal and communal prayers..we pray especially for those who have died recently in the parish these whose anniversaries occur at this time..
And we ask all these our prayers through our all generous and loving Lord who constantly intercedes for us before his father, amen
There’s a story told about Mother Theresa of Calcutta. People were saying to her, “why all these unwanted babies, support abortion”. No she said, “if you don’t want these babies give them to me and I’ll look after them with love as God’s children”. Sometimes were persuaded in the modern world and the ads that only the young, sleek ones who wear costly makeup count. Lets affirm like Theresa that people of whatever state in life are God’s precious children, lets affirm all life in love..Hail Mary