• on 29th August, 2020

Father Andrew Bodes ‘Farewell’

A beautiful little ‘coda’ from Father Andrew, up in the far away hills of Sandyford, on the nature of human ‘suffering’. May God Bless him on the new path his vocation has led him to;
“Dear Parishioners, I hope you are all keeping well as our young people return to School and please God it will work out well for all. I have some news, which is bitter-sweet.
The Archbishop has appointed me Parish Priest of Rathmines and I will take up my duties in early October. I am looking forward to a new chapter and no doubt new challenges, but as I am saddened to move on, I am also very grateful for the last nine years for the privilege of serving and getting to know the people of Sandyford.Fr John Delany has been appointed Moderator of Sandyford & Balally, and he will take up his duties in early October. I would like to welcome Fr John and wish him every success in his ministry here, which I hope he will find as fulfilling as I did. Regrettably, in these uncertain times, it is not possible for us to come together and celebrate in the way we would like. We hope to have some small celebrations towards the end of September, further details of this will be announced later.
Meanwhile I keep you all in my prayers especially during this time of transition and wish Fr John and Fr Paul every blessing as they journey with you in the years ahead. Father Andrew.
If you were looking for a few lines of Scripture to make Christianity sound like a dangerous business then you can’t go too far wrong with today’s readings. The Prophet Jeremiah with a voice as cutting as any in Scripture calls the people to stop “hiding from reality” with their comfortable lives – to face up to their failings – their sin, and do something about it – become again: the People of God.
The Gospel too has much of that same demanding quality to it. Here Christ begins to introduce to his apostles the idea of his death. But Peter objected. To his mind at least, It was not going to be that way. Christ reacts very sharply to Peter: A swift and necessary rebuttal to the temptation to forego the suffering which was so intrinsic to his mission!
Peter, perhaps more than any of the others, had to understand what was happening, had to see the point to it, the value. “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it – whoever loses his life for me will save it! “ If anyone wants to follow me, he can do so only by carrying the cross that I carry.
So again there seems to be almost that sense of harshness to the practice of God’s values. That sense that Christianity; if you do it right, has to hurt.
I believe nothing could be further from the truth. God call us, not to suffering and pain.. We are called to happiness … .
The glory of God, according to St Irenaeus, is the Human Person fully alive But if the promise is absolute it is by no means unconditioned.
Nowhere does God promise us “You will be happy and satisfied, no matter what you do, no matter how you live” The promise is given to those who accept no standard other than Christ’s, who do not compromise the truth, even if that means a cross of one kind or another.
And that is the point. Purposefulness.
The fact is that a very great deal of the burdens that mark our lives have nothing at all to do with the cross. We make them ourselves, by centring our lives on something less than the truth, something less than real value.
But suffering doesn’t always connote “sin” as the Gospel tells us elsewhere, it can be a random happening on the innocent, and very often, the result of love itself.
A burden, a hardship in our lives is a cross, if it has a purpose, if it leads somewhere, if it leads to a resurrection. That after all, is what most clearly marks the cross of Christ!”
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