BALALLY PARISH CHRISTMAS REFLECTION (December 2014)
Fr. Dermot A. Lane
Christmas means different things to different people.
For some, it is a gathering-in of the scattered family;
for others, it is a sad and lonely time because of the loss of a loved one.
For most people, Christmas is a time for looking back over the last year
and looking forward in a spirit of hope.
When we look back, we think of the rise of the so-called lslamic State
and its attempt to establish a supra-state in the Middle East.
We also remember the ongoing war in Syria, and the thousands
of innocent children desperatety seeking refuge.
There is the ongoing conflict between the Ukraine and Russia.
Nearer home, we are reminded, uncomfortably, about the increase of
the number of homeless people on our streets at a time when it is said
that the economy is recovering.
On the local front, 2014 has been the year in which Archbishop Martin formally
invited Balally and Sandyford Parishes to become a single cluster,
working together in the service of the people of both parishes.
This creation of a new reality will be served by a team of four priests:
Frs. Peter Byrne, Dermot Lane, Gerry Moore and Andrew O’Sullivan, who will
now have responsibility for Balally, St. Mary’s, Sandyford, St. Patrick’s, Glencullen
and Our Lady of the Wayside, Kilternan.
This development will require a change of mind-set for people and priests alike.
ln the midst of all these changes, Pope Francis continues to attract attention
from the world’s media and to win the respect of believers and un-believers
alike. His handling of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, in October 2014, was
an outstanding success. During that Synod he promoted, for the first time, a
free, open debate among the bishops. By all accounts, he intends to extend this
approach through the bishops, to the entire church, inviting people and priests
to participate in a global discussion about Marriage and the Family in preparation
for Part 2 of the Synod of Bishops in October 2015. lt is now abundantly clear
that Pope Francis wishes to create an inclusive church in which there is room
for everybody, with no-one left out.
A new Solidarity
ln looking back over the past year, we get a sense of how much our world is in need
of repair, how fragile human relationships are, and how darkness continues to
pervade our world. This was the kind of context in which the first Christmas took
place two thousand years ago: the gap between heaven and earth was bridged, a
light flickered in the darkness, and a new solidarity between the rich and the poor
within the human family was established.
When God decided to come among us on the first Christmas Day, He came not
as a king, not as a celebrity, not as a TV personality. lnstead, God came among
us surprisingly as one of us, as a member of the human race. Since then, God
continues to come among us in surprising ways and in unexpected places.
The lncarnation which we celebrate at Christmas is not something that took
place two thousand years ago. lnstead, the lncarnation is an ongoing reality, the
Word of God continues to take flesh all around us, for those who have eyes to see.
ln brief, God continues to dwell among us, if only we would open our eyes.
This message of Christmas is captured by the medieval mystic, Meister Eckhart, OP,
(1260-1327), when he points out:
What good is it to me
For the creator to give birth to the Son
lf I do not also give birth to him
ln my time
And my culture.
ls the fullness of time:
When the Son of God is begotten in us.
(that is, today in the twenty-first century in the Balally-Sandyford areas)
On behalf of all in the Balally-Sandyford community, I wish to offer all the readers
of Panorama a happy Christmas and a prosperous NewYear.