• St Teresa's Parish

Monday of Holy Week: Christine Doherty (Parish of Randalstown)

Updated: Mar 30

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From Living Church Down and Connor

After the excitement of Palm Sunday we know that Jesus left Jerusalem and spent Sunday night in Bethany. The next day, Monday, it's recorded that He returned to the city and went to the Temple with his disciples where he upturned tables, shouted at people, and chased off the money lenders. I have never been comfortable with the account of what happened there. It seemed to be totally uncharacteristic of Jesus that he would fly into such a temper and basically 'wreck all around him'. After all, he was a perfect human being...... the role model for the perfect Christian. I can remember at the time of my Confirmation being told that the sacrament would make me a strong and perfect Christian and although that never came to pass I thought that I knew what kind of person that would be. A Perfect Christian would, of course, be ....very religious, very Church centered, would pray a lot, be careful to keep all the commandments and I believed, would not act in the way Jesus did when cleansing the Temple. But maybe I was wrong with that description. The German Jesuit Theologian, Karl Rahner, gave me food for thought in talking about 'anonymous Christians' and my own Parish Priest often quotes Pope Francis in referring to 'the saints next door' These are the people who don't feel the need to pray unceasingly or consult the rules or be seen at Church gatherings. They don't need ongoing instruction on how to live a life of loving, giving and forgiving because it comes naturally to them. It's just how they are. Often they have stopped attending Church and may not ever have been part of a Faith Community yet you can be sure they would be the first to challenge injustice and give support to the downtrodden. These people don't fit my original image of a perfect Christian and would certainly not think of themselves as such but I recognise Christ just as clearly in them as in many of the witnessing Faithful. Why are these people not part of the worshipping community? Many identify as Catholic but feel that The Church is no longer relevant in their lives Our priests want to minister to them but there is a barrier of some kind. We need to listen to their concerns to understand why they feel 'left out'. When my husband, Danny and I, used to discuss future family plans, our children would listen attentively and if they thought they were being left out to any degree the inevitable question would follow “but what about us?" When the Church family comes together Post Covid and makes future plans for the 'new norm' I wonder will there be voices left saying “but what about us”. Or could there be a new unity where all feel welcome, a unity incorporating more diversity, less exclusivity, and a rich partnership of different lifestyles? And I also wonder......Is synodality the name for that?

During this pandemic who have been ‘the saints next door’ for you? How can we create welcome in our Church?