Reflections 6th July 2014

A Reflection for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reflections 6th July 2014
MT 11: 25– 30 (

A few weeks ago I was attacked in my home. Foolishly, I had let two men in as they seemed upset and were looking for help. It was clear to me that one of the men was “high” on drugs. They demanded money. I gave them what I had in my pocket. They demanded more but I made a sudden dash for the front door and I was able to escape and raise the alarm. 

Perhaps I was a bit naïve but I have worked for over 11 years in prison ministry in Taiwan and this was the first time that I was attacked. The attack was shocking, unexpected and very traumatic. The Chinese for “trauma,” is made up of  Chuang, meaning the core of one’s being and  Shang ie. to be wounded. So trauma is to be wounded at the core of one’s being.

Being attacked wounded me at my very core, and it was within my core that I also found healing.  I experienced in a very real way the invitation of Jesus in the Gospels today “Come to me all you who are weary and overburdened and I will give you rest.” In the days that followed, it was through encountering the Risen Lord through prayer, through his Word, through the Eucharist and through the care and compassion of “the body of Christ” in the community, that I found healing, strength, courage and renewal.

The Risen Lord’s presence can be found in the most unexpected of places. Jesus says “come to me” and I think it is worthwhile to think about this “me”. Where is this “me” to be found?

The love of Christ was present for me in His Word and Eucharist and in the praying community who were so caring and who put “new heart” into my life and mission in St. Ronan’s Parish, in west Dublin. But many of the local people - even some of the local young people, who are themselves struggling with addiction - who are not active members of our parish community also came to me and were so supportive and encouraging.

So the Risen Christ, who says “come to me”, revealed himself within the Christian faith community but also revealed himself among those on the margins and periphery of that faith community.  This incident highlighted for me, the presence of Christ within the Church and the community of faith and the presence of Christ in the hearts of all people. “God is Love,” St. John tells us “and whoever lives in Love lives in God and God lives in them”.

The love of God is as much present in my attackers as in any other person. Unfortunately, their life of darkness and addiction has enslaved their true nature. I pray that these young men’s own traumatic existence can find healing and new life. In our world where there is so much suffering, despair and violence and where so many people are under constant pressure, the invitation and challenge of Jesus is so important: “Learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart”.  The world is crying out for this spirit of gentleness and humility.

Sean OLearySeán O’Leary C.S.Sp. – Fr. Seán’s first appointment was to Taiwan in 1998. He returned to Ireland in 2007 to be Mission Counsellor in the Provincial Administration. Currently he is Parish Administrator of St. Ronan’s, Deansrath, Clondalkin, Dublin 22.