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Donnybrook Parish

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Donnybrook Parish

InOurHandsThe Parish Gathering prayed and then considered two questions, (a) ‘What do you want to celebrate about your parish/ what are we doing well?’ (b) ‘What can we do better/ what else can we do?’ The Parish Pastoral Council are processing your responses to the questions under five core areas of parish pastoral life, Community, Care, Prayer, Formation and Celebration.

The story in the Gospel according to Mark (Chp. 10, vv 46 -52) provides a context and a strategy for action. The Gospel is a story of encounter with Jesus. The purpose of the Church, and the Church in Donnybrook which is our parish, is to enable people to encounter Jesus Christ and to follow him as their personal Lord and Saviour. A culturally Catholic upbringing is not sufficient anymore. Only those who are passionate disciples of Jesus can initiate that desire in others.

Discipleship begins, as it began for Bartimaeus, with our need, our own darkness and our own cry for help. In the world there is a darkness that we all feel in our hearts, an absence of vision, purpose and hope, evident both in individuals and society. This emptiness manifests itself in narcissism, consumerism, drug taking, suicide and, at a social level, individualism, loneliness, populism and a nasty media, the social media in particular.

The next step, is to have the courage to name our need and to do so even in the face of opposition, like Bartimaeus who was scolded and told to stay quiet. Catholic Christians are constantly being told that our time is over, our day is past. The message is ‘Off you go and practice your religion quietly but do not intrude on the public space’. Notice that Jesus insists on Bartimaeus naming his need when asks him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Bartimaeus’ response is a passionate prayer and an act of faith. Faith is an act of trust, putting myself in relation to and being able to receive from God whatever it is I need. This is the faith that brings healing and wholeness, like the first step in recovery from addiction.

Then there is a personal encounter with Jesus who hears our cry for help for guidance and for healing. This encounter will require that we abandon our comfort zones, like Bartimaeus , who threw off his cloak and engaged with Jesus. This engagement with Jesus opens our eyes and offers us a way, a truth and a life that enables live lives of joy and enthusiasm as we follow Jesus. Pope Francis identifies joy and a sense of humour as one of the signs of holiness today in his recent Apostolic Exhortation  ‘Gaudate et Laudate’.

Finally, Bartimaeus’ encounter with Jesus was mediated. It was those who were following Jesus who, at the Lord’s command, brought him to Jesus. We are those people. Bartimaeus cried out ‘Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me’. Jesus asked Bartimaeus, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Our Parish Gathering was a process of discernment to answer that question. The Lord will hear the prayer and respond for all who put their faith and trust in Him.