ROME – The Lay Centre welcomed Father John Keating, O.Carm, who presided a Mass of Thanksgiving with the student community for the end of the academic year.
He said The Lay Centre offers a place in the modern world to meet people and to live in community. It is a place that puts into practice a “world open doors” reality, welcoming each kind of deed, living the inclusion, not exclusion.
We are pleased to share his homily with you.
“On receiving the Charlemagne prize last week, 6th May, Pope Francis made reference to the young people of Europe, using these words: ‘Our young people have a critical role. They are not the future of our peoples; they are the present. Even now, with their dreams and their lives they are forging the spirit of Europe…. We cannot envision Europe without letting them be participants and protagonists in this dream.’
This is my language – they are not the future… they are the present – participants and protagonists in the dream. We are living this wonderful time and there is always the difficulty of settling for fixed, secure, well-established and trusted ways of doing things, instead of seeing the world anew with the wisdom of God.
I remember in the 1960s, the great fear of the liberty of the older generation about the new generation, searching for a dream. ‘I have a dream’ (M. L. King). It is a special gift of young people to dream, as one of our young friars, speaking about our Carmelite youth ministry, said: a dream that is only a dream remains a dream, but a dream shared can become a reality.
In the Gospel of Mark this evening, the ‘official’ apostles and disciples are disturbed by the ‘un-official’ use of Jesus’ name. Jesus’ response is so rooted in common sense. It is rooted in the freedom that comes from that eternal wisdom with it there is no fear or threat from the world around us and, as St. James points out, it rejects arrogance, pretence and the hoarding that gives temporary security.
The age we live in is wonderful, for it challenges us to work out of the eternal wisdom of the Gospel, day by day. Touch the wounds of the world with love. You have here a special place, as I had in my day, of encounter together with (the) Gregorian University bar, or the common room, or at table together – to dream, to explore, to dialogue, to grow in wisdom.
We (community of faith) have a place in the contemporary world of our day, it was one of the gifts that the Council gave us some fifty years ago. Last week, reading a new journal, I found an article by Massimo Faggioli, where he wrote: ‘It is thus evident that the epoch-making changes wrought by Vatican II have had an impact far beyond the Church’s life. They established the Church as a community in the modern world.’ I can remember the closed Church of the ’50s and early ’60s, where strong – triumphal, were weak – ghettoized.
The words of Jesus at the end of the Gospel today, open the doors to a new reality of dialogue and openness in the modern world, no room for exclusivism or cliquishness, a challenge to look outwards: ‘Anyone who is not against us is for us’ (Lk 9:50).
I began with the words of Pope Francis, let me end with them also:
‘If there is one word that we should never tire of repeating, it is this: dialogue. We are called to promote a culture of dialogue by every possible means and thus to rebuild the fabric of society. The culture of dialogue entails a true apprenticeship and a discipline that enable us to view others as valid dialogue partners, to respect the foreigner, the immigrant and people from different cultures as worthy of being listened to. (…) In this way, we will bequeath to (our children), them a culture capable of devising strategies of life, not death, and of inclusion, not exclusion.’ (Conferral of the Charlemagne Prize, 6 May).
Remember these days, because they will be the foundation of your future!”