Diocesan News

Rite of Election

Homily of Bishop Patrick McKinney and Photographs

Sunday, February 18, 2024
Office of the Bishop
Right Reverend Patrick McKinney

Bishop Patrick's Homily for the Rite of Election 2024

During this year of prayer Pope Francis is encouraging us to examine our lives on prayer as Christ’s disciples, and so I’d like to share  with you a few simple thoughts. The first essential element of Christian discipleship is, of course, time spent in quiet prayer, with a listening heart, so as to discover ever more deeply both Christ’s love for each one of us and his desire that we keep on growing in our personal relationship with him. It is as a consequence of time spent with Jesus in personal prayer, in Eucharistic Adoration or in reading the scriptures, that we each come to discover more and more, who Christ Jesus is: Our Lord and Saviour, one who gave his life on a cross, out of love for us and for all humanity; who loves us utterly and completely. It is in prayer also that we discover more and more the truth of who we each are, our true identity when God looks upon us; it is in our baptism, in our sharing in the life of Christ, that we receive our true identity: we are God’s beloved sons and daughters. It is also in prayer, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that we come to discover what God has in mind for us; what Christ Jesus, his Son, is asking of each of us. As we open our hearts to God in prayer, we discover that Christ Jesus is inviting us to be his disciples, his co-workers, in and through the ordinary daily circumstances of our lives; in our home, our school, our university and parish, in our place of work, and in our wider neighbourhood. St Teresa of Avila is said to have expressed it in this way, ‘Christ has no body on earth now but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours; yours are the eyes through which he looks with compassion on the world; yours are the feet with which he walks to do good; yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.’

So a disciple is someone who wishes not only to grow in their relationship with Christ, but also to become, more and more, a channel for Christ, his co-worker; a way in which his love, compassion, healing, blessing and forgiveness can be shared with many others. The disciple is someone who is trying each day to move from a ‘me-centred’ relationship with Christ, to one that seeks to hear and respond to what Christ may be asking of them: ‘The mind of the disciple is very simply expressed in Psalm 40: ‘Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will’. I know some young people, very committed to the idea of being a disciple, a co-worker with Christ who, ever since they received the Sacrament of Confirmation, begin each day with this simple prayer: ‘Lord, what today are you and I going to do together’. (repeat) They then ask the Holy Spirit to help them to look upon that day, with the eyes of Christ; to see little opportunities throughout the day when they can put their discipleship into action, with little acts of kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity. This Lent, it might be helpful for all of us to try and begin each day in that way; asking Christ to help us to see little opportunities, throughout the day, when, as his disciples, we can be his eyes, his hands, his feet, in our response to those around us.

A disciple of Christ  is also someone who, through prayer, knows that that they often fall short of what Christ wants for them. This Season of Lent is a grace-filled time of renewal. We began on Ash Wednesday with the invitation to ‘Repent and believe the Gospel’ and today, the 1st Sunday in Lent, we hear Jesus in the gospel reading encouraging the people of Galilee to do the same. Throughout Lent let’s acknowledge that there are things in all of our lives that we need to let go off, because they prevent us from being the disciple that Christ is calling each of us to be. Disciples of Christ are always grateful recipients of God’s merciful forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, of Confession, so that they in turn may become channels of that mercy and forgiveness to others. It is, after all, the sacrament of God’s merciful love, and it brings us much healing and spiritual strength. Fasting and almsgiving are also good ways to grow in discipleship; to put what we have into God’s service by offering it up for the benefit of others. Then in the baptismal promises we will each make at Easter, either for the first time as you are baptised, or as an act of renewing them, we are all given the opportunity to commit, or recommit, ourselves as Christ’s disciples.

May the Lord continue to bless each of you, as candidates and catechumens throughout this Season of Lent. I’d like to express my thanks to your families, catechists, sponsors, and to the clergy and parishioners where you live, for their prayerful support of you on this very special spiritual journey that you are making. May you always feel that support. You will be very much in my prayers this Lent as you prepare for Easter.

Read more about the day here: https://nottinghamcathedral.co.uk/what-s-on/latest-news/rite-of-election-2024/

Rite of Election 2024

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