By Sarah Mac Donald - 31 August, 2015
The Bishop of Elphin has warned that unfaithfulness, filing a false tax return, or ending a human life may seem on the surface to be “solving a problem” but they are not an authentic response to the love of God.
In a homily addressed to the pilgrims and assistants taking part in the annual Diocese of Elphin pilgrimage to Lourdes, Bishop Kevin Doran spoke about how the Pharisees focused on externals while ignoring the much more serious issues, namely the “evil intentions” that can “emerge” from a person’s heart.
Speaking on Sunday at the Grotto of the renowned Marian shrine in France, Dr Doran said “evil intentions” don’t always seem evil to us, because we often fail to recognise that the human heart operates at different levels.
But he emphasised that attitudes lead to actions.
“Attitudes such as honesty and justice, fidelity and truthfulness are prompted by God’s Spirit and they give rise to a way of life that leads to happiness.”
Elsewhere, he said the act of pilgrimage can bring people who are complete strangers together, and the Bishop recalled a recent conversation among the pilgrims in Lourdes.
“One of the younger people remarked, ‘even in rural Ireland nowadays, you can be living just down the road from people, without ever really knowing them’. Many of you who are assisted pilgrims don’t venture out too often, because of the difficulty of getting around, but here you are, miles away from home, surrounded by other people who are delighted to meet you and to help you get from place to place.”
“Whoever we are, young or old, being on a journey together allows us to meet one another in a different way.”
Dr Doran said this has to do with our shared humanity, but it also has something to do with the faith we share.
He referred to the Latin words ‘Unum Corpus in Christo’ on the back of the uniform shirts of some of the young people helping out in Lourdes.
“These words are taken from St Paul and they remind us that we are ‘one body in Christ’. It is because of Jesus Christ that we are on this journey; not just the journey to Lourdes, but the journey of life itself. He makes us one, even when, on the surface, we might not seem to have a lot in common,” he said.