Fr Sean Melody - First Homily 15th July 2001


My name is Sean Melody and I’ delighted to be her in the Sacred Heart parish this morning. When Bishop Lee asked Fr Gerry Chestnutt and Myself to come to your parish, we knew of the wonderful reputation of the parish for its community spirit and aliveness and we are both thrilled to be priests travelling with you on your life journey and your faith journey in years ahead.

We were both keenly aware of the tremendous work of the two men we are following- Fr Jim Griffin who has retired and Fr Jerry Condon, who has gone as parish priest to Ardfinnan. They have made a wonderful contribution to the life of the Sacred Heart Parish and will always be remembered with great affection and love.

When I saw the church building last week, I was hugely impressed and know that its beauty as your place of prayer and worship is a good reflection on your anxiousness to give God a special place in your life journey.

This tells me that what is at the heart of today’s readings has taken a solid root in you – an awareness that in living the two commandments of Jesus, we can never separate our love of neighbour from our love of God- they are inseparably linked. As we journey through life, we must love both God and neighbour- it is not enough to choose one or the other. Jesus is uncompromising on this point and says that it has to be both.

Tom cox writing about today’s Gospel story says that in life we have users avoiders and lovers. The wounded man is seen as someone to be used and exploited; the priest and the Levite in the story saw the man’s problem but avoided him; the Good Samaritan reached out to the wounded man and, by helping him showed real and practical love.

You and I need to ask ourselves today whether we are users, avoiders or lovers. If the truth be known, there is probably a bit of all three in each of us and the challenge or invitation of today’s gospel is to UP the love part and reduce or eliminate the part of us that is prone to either using and avoiding people

The Christian life is about caring, sharing, loving, praying and forgiving. As you and I journey through life now that our paths have come together, I hope that Fr Gerry, Fr Conor and I will prove to be good priests for the community here at The Sacred Heart.

Over the weeks and months ahead, I hope that we will get to know each other personally – I will be anxious to hear yours views and ideas about how we can best support you on your life and faith journey. Fr Gerry, Fr Conor and I are anxious to be available to you as much as we possibly can be so, please feel free to approach us and if we cannot be of direct help, we will try to make a link with you with somebody who can.

Please pray for Fr Gerry and Myself as we begin our ministry among you and let’s remember that caring, sharing, loving, praying and forgiving we Are not focused on something far away out of the ordinary but on daily life. Remember the word of today’s first reading

“For the law that I place before you today is not beyond your strength or your reach. It is not in heaven so that you need to wonder: Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it down to us, so that we may hear it and keep it? Nor is it beyond the seas so that you may wonder: Who will cross the seas for us and bring it back to us so that we may hear it and keep it? No, The Word is very near to you - it is in your mouth and in your heart

May that Word be in your mouth and mins in your heart and mine and make us every day Good Samaritans