News archive 2015

Homily of Bishop Kevin Doran for the Fleadh Cheoil Mass

Please see below in English and Irish the homily of Bishop Kevin Doran for the Fleadh Cheoil Mass, which was celebrated on Sunday 16 August at 10.30am in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Sligo.

A Great Week for Food, for Music and for Friendship

This has been a great week in Sligo for music, for food and for the renewal of friendships. The imagery of food is at the heart of our Scripture readings this Sunday as we continue the series of Gospel readings from the teaching of Jesus about the Bread of Life.

There is a preoccupation these days with having healthy food. Parents want their children to eat what is good for them, food that will nourish them and make them strong and healthy. So there is a focus on yoghurts, porridge, whole-grain bread, meat that we can trace back to source and so on. It is not enough, of course, for food to be nourishing. We also want our food to taste good. Children, especially, are not easy to convince if they don’t like the taste of what is put on the table.

Our eating habits have changed quite a lot in recent years. Families probably don’t sit together at the table as much as they used to do. Perhaps when you come away for a few days for the Fleadh Cheoil, the pace of life is a bit slower and there is an opportunity to take time for the more important things, including sitting together over a good meal. Eating is far more than a biological function. Sharing food, like sharing music, nourishes intimacy and builds relationship. When we share food, we share something of ourselves as well.

Jesus – Bread of Life

All of this may help us to understand what Jesus means when he says, the bread that I shall give you is my flesh, for the life of the world. Think of some of the occasions when he gathers the people for food

  • bread and fish in the wilderness,
  • the passover meal the night before he died

He uses these moments of gathering, as an occasion for giving himself, for building a bond of intimacy and communion. In this sense he doesn’t just give them bread. He also becomes bread for them; a source of life and nourishment.

Jesus is bread for us in different ways:

  • through his word which we hear, not just with our ears but also in our hearts
  • through our bond of communion with those who share our faith, in the community of the Church which is also his body.

In a unique way, however, he nourishes us with the Eucharist, which is food for our life’s journey. As he says himself, it is “my flesh for the life of the world.” It sounds like an unusual diet, but he assures us that it is a healthy, balanced one; bread which gives life, not just for a few years, but for all eternity.

How can we say that the Eucharist gives us eternal life? Well, they say “you are what you eat.” It comes back to the bond of intimacy. When we receive the body and blood of Christ, we become one with Him. Since the life he lives is the new life of the Resurrection, that is the life he shares with us too.

The Jews asked: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” If we take the Eucharist seriously, it would be very difficult for us not to ask the same question. Jesus is not inviting us to engage in some kind of cannibalism. The Church does not ask us to believe that, in the Eucharist, we are eating the physical body of Jesus. At the same time, we are asked to believe that this is more than just a symbol. What happens in the Eucharist is like what happens in a marriage ceremony. The bride and groom give themselves to one another. It is not just a ritual; there is a real giving, though not a physical giving. That same giving is expressed in other ways in the daily life of the couple. In much the same way, when we do what Jesus did at the Last Supper, he gives himself to us, just as he once gave himself to his disciples. The same gift was given in a more physical and visible way in the laying down of his life on Good Friday.

Many of you here are musicians or, if you don’t play music, you enjoy being together with other people where music is being played. You understand what it means to say that the music becomes a part of you. You understand too, how music shared, generation after generation, creates a culture. It becomes a way of life. You want to share it.

For us who believe in Jesus, faith should be like that too. Eucharist is a way of life. It is not just what we receive. It is what we become. In the Eucharistic Prayer, right after the Consecration, we pray “that we who are nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ and filled with His Holy Spirit, may become one body, one spirit in Christ.  We ourselves become living effective signs of God’s presence. The experience of the gift develops in us a culture of self-giving.

As Liam Lawton said in an on-line interview some months back, “Faith has many expressions”. For some of us, our relationship with God is expressed through music. Beautiful music opens us up to mystery. To sing or to play an instrument engages us more fully than simply being present. Personally, I would love to see much greater participation in the music at Mass because music forms us into one body.

In a letter to artists, written in 1999, Pope John Paul II said: “The artist has a special relationship to beauty. In a very true sense it can be said that beauty is the vocation bestowed on him by the Creator in the gift of ‘artistic talent’”. The Pope was not just talking about the visual arts. He included in his comments poets, musicians and actors. He suggests that, like every gift that we have received, art is also a vocation. The artist, who experiences in himself or herself the “divine spark” is called to develop his or her talent and to place it at the service of their neighbour and of humanity as a whole.

I know that many of you share your talent very generously and, in the process, you bring great joy into the lives of others. For a person of faith, this is one very real way of giving thanks to God for the gift you have received and, in that sense, your sharing of your gift is Eucharistic. In particular today I would encourage you to think of two possibilities. The first, and I suppose it is obvious, is that you might find a way of using your gift of music to enrich the liturgy in your parish. Don’t wait to be asked; it might never happen! Another way of responding to the gift of music, is to share it with those who are alone. Many older people live alone in their own homes in rural communities. Others who live in nursing homes still experience some sense of isolation from the community. The gift of music, especially the gift of music shared, would greatly enrich their lives.

 

Seachtain iontach don Bhia, don Cheol agus don Chairdeas

Seachtain iontach a bhí ann i Sligeach don cheol, don bhia agus d’athnuachan cairdis. Tá bia mar íomhá lárnach sna sleachta ón Scrioptúr ar an Domhnach seo, agus sinn ag leanúint sraith sleachta Soiscéil ó theagasc Íosa mar gheall ar Arán na Beatha.

Tá daoine an-ghafa na laethanta seo le bia sláintiúil a ithe. Is mian le tuismitheoirí go mbeadh a gcuid páistí ag ithe bia atá go maith dóibh, bia a chothóidh iad agus a chabhróidh leo a bheith láidir agus sláintiúil. Mar sin, tá fócas ar iógart, leite, arán uile-ghráin, feoil gur féidir linn rianú ar ais go dtí an fhoinse agus mar sin de. Ní leor, ar ndóigh, bia a bheith follán. Is mian linn freisin go mbeidh sé blasta. Níl sé éasca cur ina luí ar pháistí, ach go háirithe, go bhfuil bia go maith dóibh muna dtaitníonn an blas leo.

Tá ár nósanna maidir le bia a ithe athraithe go mór le blianta beaga anuas. Is dócha nach suíonn teaghlaigh chun boird le chéile an oiread agus a rinne siad fadó. Seans nuair a bhíonn tú as baile ar feadh cúpla lá ag an bhFleadh Cheoil, go mbíonn luas an tsaoil beagán níos moille agus go mbíonn deis agat am a ghlacadh le haghaidh na rudaí is tábhachtaí, ina measc suí le chéile ag béile maith. Tá i bhfad níos mó i gceist le bheith ag ithe ná feidhm bitheolaíochta. Nuair a roinnimid bia, cosúil le ceol a roinnt, cothaímid dlúthchaidreamh agus gaol eadrainn. Nuair a roinnimid bia, roinnimid cuid dúinn féin chomh maith.

Íosa – Arán na Beatha

Is féidir leis seo ar fad cabhrú linn tuiscint a fháil ar cad atá i gceist ag Íosa nuair a deir sé, “an t-arán a thabharfaidh mé uaim, is é m’fheoil é a thabharfar ar son bheatha an domhain.”

Smaoinigh ar chuid de na hócáidí a bhailíonn sé daoine le chéile chun iad a bheathú:

  • arán agus éisc san fhásach
  • béile Cháisc na nGiúdach an oíche sula bhfuair sé bás

Úsáideann sé na tionóil seo mar ócáidí ​​len é féin a bhronnadh orthu, chun dlúthchaidreamh agus comaoineach a bhunú leo. Sa chiall seo ní arán amháin a thugann sé dóibh. Is é féin a bhíonn mar arán dóibh; foinse na beatha agus an chothaithe.

Tá Íosa mar arán dúinn ar bhealaí éagsúla:

  • ina chuid focal a chloiseann muid, ní hamháin lenár gcluasa ach freisin inár gcroíthe
  • tríd an nasc atá againn leo siúd lena roinnimid ár gcreideamh, i bpobal na hEaglaise atá freisin mar a chorp.

Ar bhealach faoi leith, áfach, cothaíonn sé sinn leis an Eocairist, bia dár turas ar an saol seo. Mar a deir sé féin, is é “m’fheoil é a thabharfar ar son bheatha an domhain.” Tá an cuma air gur aiste bia neamhghnách ata ann, ach deimhníonn sé go bhfuil sé sláintiúil agus cothrom; arán a thugann beatha, ní hamháin ar feadh cúpla bliain, ach go síoraí.

Conas is féidir linn a rá go dtugann an Eocairist beatha shíoraí dúinn? Bhuel, mar a deirtear, “is mar a itear a bhítear.” Baineann seo le nasc an dhlúthchaidrimh. Nuair a glacaimid le corp agus fuil Chríost, bímid inár n-aon leis. Ós rud é go bhfuil a bheatha mar bheatha nua an Aiséirí, is í sin an bheatha a roinneann sé linn chomh maith.

Cheistigh na Giúdaigh: “Conas is féidir leis an bhfear seo a fheol a thabhairt dúinn le nithe?” Má glacaimid leis an Eocairist dáiríre, bheadh sé an-deacairorainn gan an cheist chéanna a chur. Níl Íosa ag tabhairt cuireadh dúinn dul i mbun canablacht de shaghas éigin. Ní iarrann an Eaglais orainn a chreidiúint go bhfuilimid, san Eocairist, ag ithe coirp fisiciúil Íosa. Ag an am céanna, iarrtar orainn a chreidiúint go bhfuil níos mó ná siombail i gceist.

Tá an méid a tharlaíonn san Eocairist cosúil leis an méid a tharlaíonn i searmanas pósta.  Tugann an bhrídeog agus a céile iad féin dá chéile. Ní deasghnáth amháin ata ann. Tá fíor-thabhairt i gceist, gan é a bheith fisiciúil.  Tá an tabhairt céanna curtha in iúl ar bhealaí eile i saol laethúil an lánúin. Ar an gcaoi chéanna, nuair a dhéanaimid mar a rinne Íosa ag an Suipéar Déanach, tugann sé é féin dúinn, díreach mar a thug sé é féin dá dheisceabail. Tugadh an bronntanas céanna ar bhealach níos fisiciúla  agus níos feiceálaí nuair a thug sé a anam ar Aoine an Chéasta.

Is ceoltóirí go leor agaibh atá anseo, nó más rud é nach seinneann tú ceol, is breá leat a bheith i gcomhluadar daoine eile in áit a mbíonn ceol á sheinm. Tuigeann tú cad is brí leis an ráiteas go mbíonn an ceol mar chuid díot. Tuigeann tú freisin conas a cruthaítear cultúr tríd an ceol a roinnt, glúin i ndiaidh glúine. Tá sé mar chuid den saol. Is mian leat é a roinnt.

Dúinne a chreideann in Íosa, ba chóir don chreideamh a bheith mar sin chomh maith. Tá Eocairist mar mhodh maireachtála. Ní hé an rud a fhaighimid amháin atá i gceist ach cad a dhéantar dínn chomh maith.

San Urnaí Eocairisteach, díreach tar éis an choisreacan, guímid “go líonfar den Spiorad Naomh sinne atá dár gcothu le Corp agus le Fuil do Mhic, agus go ndéanfar dínn aon chorp amháin agus aon spiorad amháin i gCríost.”

Bímid anois mar chomharthaí éifeachtacha láithreacht Dé. Forbraíonn an bronntanas seo cultúr an fhéin-tabhairt ionainn.

Mar a dúirt Liam Lawton in agallamh ar líne cúpla mí ó shin, “Is iomaí léiriú atá ag an gcreideamh.”  Cuid againn, bíonn ár gcaidreamh le Dia curtha in iúl trí cheol. Osclaítear rúndiamhar dúinn trí cheol álainn.  Bímid gafa nios iomláine agus sinn ag canadh nó ag seinm uirlise ná mar a bhímid díreach i láthair. Go pearsanta, ba bhreá liom dá mbeadh níos mó rannpháirtíocht sa cheol ag an Aifreann toisc go múnlaíonn an ceol sinn mar aon chorp amháin.

I litir chuig ealaíontóirí, scríofa i 1999, dúirt an Pápa Eoin Pól II: “Tá caidreamh speisialta le háilleacht ag an ealaíontóir. Go fírinneach is féidir a rá go bhfuil an áilleacht mar ghairm bheatha atá bronnta orthu ag an gCruthaitheoir i dtabhartas an ‘tallann ealaíonta’.” Ní raibh an Pápa ag labhairt faoi na hamharcealaíona amháin. San áireamh freisin bhí filí, ceoltóirí agus aisteoirí. Tugann sin le tuiscint dúinn go bhfuil an ealaín mar ghairm bheatha chomh maith, cosúil le gach bronntanas atá faighte againn. Iarrtar ar an ealaíontóir, a bhraitheann an “splanc dhiaga” ann nó inti féin, an talann sin a fhorbairt agus é a chur ar fáil dá gcomharsa agus don daonnacht ina iomláine.

Tá a fhios agam go roinneann go leor agaibh bhur dtallann go fial agus mar sin go gcuireann sibh áthas ar dhaoine eile.  Don duine le creideamh, seo bealach amháin chun buíochas a ghabháil le Dia don tabhartas atá bronnta ort, agus, sa chiall sin, tá an roinnt talainne seo Eocairisteach. Inniu, ach go háirithe, is mian liom sibh a spreagadh chun smaoineamh ar dhá fhéidearthacht. An chéad cheann, agus is dócha go bhfuil sé soiléir, ná go dtiocfadh leat teacht ar bhealach leis an liotúirge i do pharóiste a shaibhriú. Ná fan go n-iarrfar ort; seans nach dtarlóidh sé! Bealach eile le freagra a thabhairt ar thabhartas an cheoil ná é a roinnt leo siúd atá ina n-aonar. Tá mórán daoine aosta ina gcónaí ina n-aonar ina dtithe féin i bpobail tuaithe. Tá daoine eile ann a bhfuil cónaí orthu i dtithe altranais agus a mhothaíonn scoilte ón bpobal. Chuirfeadh tabhartas an cheoil, ach go háirithe tabhartas an cheoil roinnte, go mór lena gcuid saolta a shaibhriú.

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