2nd Sunday of Easter – [Divine Mercy Sunday] Sunday Readings: Year B; Weekday Readings Year II.
Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Please note: the view of the above alone.
When I was a child, I loved my parents and siblings. We all got on well and we knew that we were loved. Of course, we had rows from time to time. Being called in to go to bed on a summer’s night did not please me a lot! But overall, I took it that this was how all families were. I knew that other families had some things better than we had. But that was life then.
As I got a bit older, I heard stories of other families from friends at school. Many had more money that our family. They had a car – we didn’t: they had a T.V. – we didn’t. They went away each summer for a holiday – we didn’t. That I could understand and accept. All of these, I would love to have been part of our family. Never did I feel that any of this was the fault of my parents. My father went out to work on the trains at all times of the day and in all weathers. His wages were low and when he retired, his pension was lower still.
All families, rich and poor, have a treasure that no amount of money can buy – ‘united heart and soul…everything owned was held in common.’ [Acts 4:32] A family can survive a lot if they are held together by love. Faith is another factor that can have a great influence.
We prayed as a family. We went to Mass, not so much as an obligation, but as a gift to be celebrated with joy. When any of us children received Holy Communion for the first time, the whole family was filled with happiness. The same applied for Confirmation and other special events.
Looking back is good and makes me grateful for the gift of family. The danger can be that I may remember the past in a way that makes the present look less attractive. Many of us know of talk about, “the good old days”! Truthfully, not all of those days were as good as I remember.
The parish is not a family as you and I know our own family and cannot be compared directly to it. Firstly, there are not ‘Parish Parents’ to the ‘children’ – I have written before about the difficulty around calling me, ‘Father’. We have only one Father of the parish, and that is God. We have a Mother of the parish who holds the title, Mother of the Church. She is Mary. We have a patron in our parish who is St Joseph. We are surrounded by a whole host of saints and angels who daily intercede for us before the Throne of God. Then there are those of us who assemble in the name of Jesus to live and love God and each other.
As parish we are called like the first community of believers to be:
- UNITED, HEART & SOUL Even the first community of the church had its moments of division, but this does not take from the ideal of reaching for the unity of heart and soul wished for by the Risen Jesus.
- NO ONE CLAIMED FOR HIS OWN ANYTHING THAT HE HAD: by this we are called to share our faith, our love, our prayer, our affection, our concern and when possible to offer assistance to anyone in need. There will always be people in need who are desperate to have enough to eat and to survive. These are part of our parish and gifts among us.
There are also some among us who have less obvious needs of the heart and soul. All we own, not just money, needs to be held in common. Without mutual love and concern for all who cross our paths, we are not the parish that Jesus calls us to be. Soon, we will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of St Joseph’s – let us rejoice and give thanks.