Homily Notes of Archbishop Diarmuid Martin at Commemorative Mass for the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings, Pro-Cathedral, Thursday 17 May 2012
It is often said that time heals. Certain pain, however, remains forever. Even the regular challenge of day-to-day life over thirty eight years does not heal the sense of loss that many of you feel. On a day like today, the sense of loss is even greater.
The shock of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings has been part of your lives for 38 years now, whether as survivors, as those who lost loved ones or perhaps simply as passers-by who live with the trauma of what you witnessed that terrible day. The pain is still with you. The pain has affected and still affects other dear ones also. I can only imagine what is going on in each of your hearts here today as you remember.
I was living abroad at that time and I remember my own shock at something which my native Dublin had not experienced for so many years before. I can only imagine the horror and the panic that struck both Dublin and Monaghan and the fear that was engendered by those events.
We remember in our prayers those who died. We know that the God of love and of peace will have welcomed them into their heavenly reward. We remember their families and friends who are still with us.
Jesus is the risen Lord, as we hear in all the readings of this Easter season. This morning’s first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, continues to recall for us the history of the life of the early Church. It is part of the story of the growth of the early Christian communities, the growth of the Church.
The Acts of the Apostles spell out for us in very simple terms the characteristics of that early Christian community The early Christians gathered to hear the word of God and for the prayers and for the breaking of bread, in the Eucharist. But through that gathering they formed a distinctive community which others in Jerusalem and elsewhere noted and they held those Christians in great esteem.
As we gather this afternoon in prayer we are also formed in into a communion, a community linked with the risen Christ. As disciples of the risen Lord we become a community called to witness to life, even when confronted with the stark reality of violence which led to violent and untimely death.
There is probably no greater tribute to your loved ones who are now with the Lord than the fact that you still come together each year in peace and prayerfulness. Evil is only conquered by the good. The brutality of those who take lives is overcome and healing begins when those who survive react in love, as you do when you come together in loving support of each other. Each of you have your own memories, but you also come together to bear each others burden.
You come together to remember in horror a uniquely brutal act. But you also come together to remember each of those who died. Later, in the prayers of the faithful, we will read a list of names. But what you remember is not a list. You remember concrete, loving, good people who brought much happiness and hope and goodness into your lives. You recall faces and words of men and women whose lives were full of hope and whose lives were brutally cut short. You still ask those two questions: “why did this happen?” and “what would our loved ones be like if they were still with us today?”
Love is based on trust and fidelity and truth. Those who lives were taken from you were linked to you with such bonds. Sadly you remain with the burden of not knowing the full truth of what happened on that day. Hurt and pain remain in your hearts.
Our prayer today as we look to the future is that the hearts of the future generations of Dublin and Monaghan young men and women will be hearts which will always remember the horror we remember today. Our prayer is that they will have young hearts which wish to build our future not on violence but on trust and fidelity and truth. Our nation and its people – and indeed our Church – will always need men and women of integrity who feel themselves called to build a society which respects lives in all its dimensions; a society in which as a community we build together a future not based on taking lives or impoverishing lives in any way, but on enhancing lives and offering a vision of hope for the future.
Evil will only ever be overcome by good. Those who have experienced in their depths of their own being the effects of violence have a special responsibility to help us all remember and to recall. That does not mean just looking back, but challenging us all to work for the good, so that our future will be a place where all can hope and dream and reach fulfilment. Jesus, the Risen Lord, opens up for us that possibility of hope. May he grant rest to the dead, strength and healing to those who remain, and hope and truth, goodness and integrity, to those who come after us to shape a better future for us all.
Communications Office, Archdiocese of Dublin 01 -8360723