HOMILY FOR THE OPENING OF THE 33 HOURS ADORATION
19 MAY 2018.
You are all most welcome as we gather again to celebrate the annual 33 Hours Adoration honouring the 33 years which Jesus spent on earth. Adoration is a time to reflect and relate to Jesus Christ. Central to the ministry of Jesus Christ was a compassionate love that reached out to people who found themselves alienated, hurt and disregarded. His approach was one of sensitivity and support, never nailing them to their sinfulness or their brokenness but always endeavouring to build them up and enable them to be their best selves. You have so many examples of that in the scriptures – the woman who was taken in the act of committing adultery – the woman who met Jesus at the well who had five husbands, the publican who just asked for mercy (as opposed to the Pharisee who prided himself on his own virtues). There are countless others examples that one could take.
Today Jesus Christ is with us in a very special way as we celebrate the Eucharist and come to tune in to him in adoration. He has given us himself so that by relating to him we could become our best selves. We are on the eve of Pentecost. As Jesus was about to leave his disciples in the Gospel of John he emphasises that he will be there with them through the Holy Spirit whom he will send from the Father.
Today we are very conscious of the beauty and goodness of the world and the sheer generosity of people who make so many sacrifices for others and the way they give themselves to their families and communities. The new life of Spring all around us, a world teaming with life. Pentecost makes us conscious of new life created by the spirit of God.
On Mother’s Day, 11th March, I wrote a Pastoral Letter to the people of our Archdiocese. The priests brought that letter to your attention and distributed it. I encouraged priests to address the situation in a sensitive but courageous fashion. In my Pastoral Letter I alerted people to the way in which arguments would be used to support abortion, confuse the issue and distract from the main point by redefining pro-life so that it actually makes provision for the destruction of life. That approach is frequently paraded under the banner of compassion. Compassion can never be equated with the deliberate taking of innocent human life. As followers of Jesus Christ we endeavour not only to support those who may be contemplating an abortion but also women who may have had an abortion. We believe that every human life is created in the image and likeness of God. In the face of new life we see a promise, not a threat. It is very encouraging to see the numbers of people who have given their time voluntarily to canvassing for the support of unborn human life, those who attended rallies and all those who have generously supported pro-life cause by their prayers and many other ways.
As we celebrate this 33 Hours of Adoration on the eve of Pentecost I ask you to invoke the Holy Spirit to direct the people of Ireland to be pro-life in defending the baby in the womb. I will be voting No next Friday and I pray that you will recognise the challenge facing us to protect unborn human life by voting NO in the forthcoming Referendum and encourage your family and friends to do likewise.