Mission Report – September 5, 2019

September 4, 2019

A nightclub opened next door to a church and immediately the relationship was tense. The churchgoers were unhappy with the noise on Saturday nights as they were gathering for a prayer group. They did not like the cars that were left by patrons on Sunday mornings when they tried to get a parking space near the Church. Finally, they did not appreciate the stacks of empty bottles that were left on the street for collection. They decided to do something about it. On Wednesday night they gathered for prayer and asked God to intercede for them. That very night a storm passed by and lightning struck the nightclub and burnt it down. The owner of the nightclub heard about the intercessions and decided to sue for damages. The churchgoers replied that it had nothing to do with them: it was a freak accident. When their day in court arrived, the judge read the submissions that repeated the claims of each party. The judge decided to make an opening statement: -Before I hear this case, I wish to express one conclusion I have already made. The nightclub owner appears to believe in God and the power of prayer, whilst the churchgoers do not-. –

St Augustine said that -Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe-. Pope Benedict XVI remarked that Christianity

“is not a new philosophy or a new form of morality. We are only Christians if we encounter Christ, even if He does not reveal Himself to us as clearly and irresistibly as he did to Paul in making him the Apostle of the Gentiles. We can also encounter Christ in reading Holy Scripture, in prayer, and in the liturgical life of the Church – touch Christ’s heart and feel that Christ touches ours. And it is only in this personal relationship with Christ, in this meeting with the Risen One, that we are truly Christian.”

Our Catholic faith is not the logical evolution of our physical, chemical, biological, psychological, social and moral reality as human persons. Faith in Jesus is a radically new standpoint that give meaning and value to our reality. It is our mistake to try and fit Jesus into our existing horizons by removing all the difficult bits that might put as odds with the world. This is no clearer than on the question of the protection of the unborn and the terminally ill. Let us to continue to pray that St Patrick’s College is a place where Jesus is personally encountered, and that this encounter changes hearts with the brightness and power of lightning. And let us not be surprised when God answers our prayers and the lightning hits.

Finally, I first heard the story recounted above from a priest of our diocese. I thank him for that. – –