Eucharist and Reconciliation

For the sake of Jesus and the Gospel

Priests, and indeed the ordained ministers of all the Churches, are, more than others, entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation. We are responsible together for the unity in Christ of each congregation of the Church and for the communion in Christ of all the local congregations. Our mission calls us to name and, by God's grace, overcome

"whatever indifference towards one another, or mutual distrust,or even enmity lie hidden within us ".

Through the Eucharist we become "pilgrims pioneering new ways for the Church". Adoration leads us "to live for God alone", for the sake of Jesus and the Gospel in the unfolding drama of human history.

Some years ago the Irish bishops, in a letter to all the Catholic people, said: Our ideas about Christ are not big enough.

Without doubt, in all our divided Churches our ideas about Christ are not big enough. We tend to circumscribe him in the formulations of our belief and build excluding walls one against the other. We need to remember that formulations only take us to the threshold of the mystery. And sometimes they may even block the door!

Shortly before his death, Bishop Guy Riobe one of the founders of the Priests' Fraternity wrote:

"What I long to see in all of us is the freedom to celebrate, as one, in total faith, that love we have for Jesus Christ. It far surpasses all our arguments ".
I share that longing.

In Northern Ireland a deep-rooted enmity and a separation of cultures going back centuries have kept us unaware of the presence of the Lord of history "on the other side". If we know him only "on our own side", do we really know him at all? "Among you stands one you do not know. (John 1.26).

What John the Baptist affirmed to his contemporaries has stayed with me as a judgment on our whole situation since the Fraternity Christmas Recollection in Benburb Priory, Co Armagh early in January 1980. There is no doubt that in our lives: "He must grow greater; we must grow less (John 3.30).