July 12th, Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B.

Our readings focus on mission. In the first reading the prophet is commissioned to go out and proclaim God’s word. And Christ in the Gospel tells the apostles to be fishers, to gather all into the saving nets of the Lord. Lets confess ways we fail to be the missionaries for Christ we promised at baptism and confirmation..

Reflecting on mission I always think of John Paul 11. He carried the gospel to over 100 countries and ministered to billions by his preaching and writing. His books outsold the best authors of our day. He made the Papacy a powerful moral and spiritual force in an increasingly hard secular world, constantly challenging it with God’s deeper values. Family planning, abortion, euthanasia, divorce; the break-up of the family, the death penalty, war, the unequal distribution of wealth. Even those who disagreed with him recognised the power of his dialogue with the world on such pressing issues. His stress on the sacred nature of each human life still resonates in a world where economics are god and human life, from conception to the grave, is disposable. Yet even when criticising a culture of death in consumerist society his kind Christ-like nature shone through. As did his courage in championing human rights under Fascist and Communist systems. Psychologists say good parents are loving yet just. With John Paul everything was reasoned and explained.
Above all he helped Christians hold their nerve amid present spiritual chaos. We must hold our heads high and keep the faith in the same way today. For we’ve the message of eternal life and the world is not enough for our children. That why Christianity has survived 1000s of worldly social and political systems over 20000 years. It’ll see off present-day attacks too in the power of the risen Lord which cannot be defeated in the long run. John Paul defeated tyrannical Fascism and communism in Poland. He constantly challenged the emptiness of the world, calling it to follow Christ, “the way, the truth and the life”. So must we. For all else leaves us empty and lost on a cruel meaningless earth.
This highlights the urgency of Mission, the crucial struggle today is for the salvation of our children’s souls. As Christ sent out the apostles, we’re sent out at baptism and confirmation and never was our Christian witness more needed. Today the harvest is indeed great and the labourers few. We must gather that harvest now for people’s happiness both in the next world and in this one. I read an interview with Seamus Heaney, the great poet, recently diceased. He said we should keep the faith we’ve received for happiness on this earth even if, like many today, the next world seems remote. He’s right, we must must live our faith heritage of truth and goodness for our welfare at all levels. For our children’s earthly happiness, inner mental peace and final eternal life. As we live so shall we die and many give up on life now because they’ve no deep hope or truth to enrich their existence. Faith is necessary for us in every way. Here we come to another key point John Paul stressed that that the only real happiness is to be found in the church’s deep scriptural wisdom and eucharistic sharing. Our mission is to bring that to all in its full richness, for happiness here too, for Christ said. “I came that you may have life and have to the full”. Lets bring to our chidren and those we influence at work or communally fullness of life in Christ and his church. For godless worldly values fade leaving us empty before eternity but Christ is lord of truth, goodness and happiness for this earth and forever, amen
So as God’s people, living faith and mission against all attack and like John Paul proclaiming it to the world for its enrichment in every way, lets profess our faith proudly..

Prayers of the faithful
For church leaders now that like John Paul they may work tirelessly to bring all to the arms of Christ & what’s right..

For civic leaders that they may leave the church free for its vital mission to bring the saving life of Christ to all..

For our youth that they may not drift away from the church & back into the darkness from which he delivered us, but stay with the lord of life as active members of & witnesses for his holy church

For ourselves in our homes that we may pass on to our children the gift of faith we received & so help continue the church’s saving mission until all achieve final happiness in God..

For the sick that offering up their sufferings for the salvation of the world they may turn those suffferings into gold & know God’s love through our care for them..

For the dead that having finished their work in this world & kept the faith, they may enjoy the rest of the Blessed with their Father in heaven

& we ask all this or the Father through Christ who is lord of truth & life & salvation for this world & forever & ever amen.

Ancient Irish monks were great missionaries. St. Brendan sailed from Ardfert to seek foreign lands for Christ in a boat of canvas and pitch. In the old manuscript the “Voyages of St.Brendan” we see him braving endless icy seas in such a craft. It may even have carried him to America via Iceland. The voyages mention mountains of crystal, icebergs, and sheep big as cattle, polar bears. The explorer Hyderdayl traced his probable route to Canada using a similar boat. We face dark icy seas of societal & even goverment irreligion today in living and spreading the faith. Lets do so with hearts as wise and brave and generous as our great ancestors..Hail Mary