Let us reflect on how our own harvest ....
When I was growing up in Navan Road parish, there were four full time priests who were kept busy with all kinds of different parish work and sacramental duties. I think we can safely say that these times are very unlikely to return in the foreseeable future. Parish Partnerships are the new reality as we try to collaborate in order to share the gospel message more effectively.
You may think that you need to be a bishop or a priest to make a difference to the church. But history shows us that this is not always the case. Of the three great patron saints of Europe, who renewed the church at different times of crisis, St Benedict, St Francis of Assisi and St Catherine of Siena, none of them were ordained as bishops or priests. St Benedict was a monk, St Francis of Assisi was a Deacon and St Catherine of Siena was a layperson and a member of the third order of the Dominicans.
Faith can often be found in unexpected places and amongst people who might surprise us. In the Gospel reading, Jesus was astonished at the faith of the Roman centurion who had asked for healing for his servant. We are told that Jesus was amazed by his faith and said, 'Not even in Israel have I found faith like this.' We too can be amazed by the faith of others especially when we come across it out of the blue and where it might be least expected.
Pope Francis has said that it is in the peripheries that we encounter Jesus. We will never encounter Jesus if we live isolated in our own security and comfort. The more we reach out to other people in need, the more we realise that Jesus is there.
As we enjoy the beautiful, vibrant colours of the Autumn leaves, let us reflect on how our own harvest of faith can be more fruitful as we share our gifts and talents with our parish community and especially with those who are most in need.
Deacon Gerard Reilly
Gerard is a Permanent Deacon of the Diocese working in the Malahide-Portmarnock grouping of parishes.