By Sarah Mac Donald - 09 February, 2015
In his homily at Corpus Christi parish in Moyross, the Bishop of Limerick said the people of the diocese had to be “open to the new ways that God wants for us today”.
Referring to the First Reading from the Book of Job, Dr Leahy told the congregation that “Because there are many people like Job who are weary in life, many people who are searching for meaning, many who are sick – our synod is a chance for us to be fit for purpose so that we can offer good news that we have received,” he said.
Explaining what a synod is, he said it was a gathering – not just for three days next year – but “a spiritual experience of journeying together to renew and deepen our own commitment to our faith and to redefine our gospel mission for today in order to serve humanity around us”.
He said there was already a great sense of excitement and maybe a little nervousness but also a sense of anticipation.
“We realise that it is important at this time for our Church here in Limerick and in Ireland to do our part to make sure the gospel reaches the next generations.”
He told the parishioners of Moyross, including the parish’s delegates who will attend the synod, that a synod is ultimately about conversion to God and to love of our neighbour so that “we can be the Good News to others – that you are not on your own, God is with you”.
Bishop Leahy also addressed the recent controversy over remarks by the actor Stephen Fry over God and suffering.
Pondering what Christian faith has to say about suffering, he underlined that it doesn’t offer a quick or simple answer to the mystery of suffering.
“God doesn’t will suffering as such but he is with us in our suffering.”
He said that while some philosophers had highlighted how it is possible to grow through suffering that is not the main answer that Christianity offers. “Our response is a person: Jesus Christ – the son of God.”
He said that the main statement that Christians want to offer about suffering is that no matter what you are going through – God is with you. And since Jesus rose from the dead, we believe that God can draw good out of every suffering.
He referred to the young Italian Chiara Luce Badano who died of painful bone cancer at 19 years of age in 1990 and was beatified by the church in 2000 because of how well she lived, especially the last year and a half of her life.
“Not many of us would have her courage but the point is that she and many many others have shown us that God can bring good even out of suffering. Suffering never has the last word – Jesus can triumph in us even in our darkness and pain. This is the good news that Christians want to bring to the world,” the Bishop stressed.
The recorded Mass can be viewed at – http://www.churchservices.tv/moyrossparish/recorded/ygqYzpW