On the 21st September 2012 of feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist, the Bishop of Hamilton Diocese, Bishop Denis Browne celebrated his 75th birthday with a special Mass, at the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Hamilton.
The Gospel for the Mass was the ‘call’ of St Matthew. Jesus says ‘Follow me’ and St Matthew got up and followed Jesus straight away. St Bede the Venerable said that ‘“Follow’ meant ‘imitate – not by the movement of his feet, but rather by a change of life. For whoever says he is following Christ ought himself to walk as Christ walked.” The Divine Office III page 278*
St Matthew was so prepared to change his life and follow Jesus that he celebrated his conversion by having a dinner in his home. We understand that tax collectors were wealthy people, so he gave up a great deal to follow Our Lord. Many would not have been impressed by St Matthew. Tax Collectors collected taxes for the state hence they were often hated by many of the Jews.
It reminds us that there are many obstacles and fears to be overcome before we are free to follow Jesus and become his disciples. If we decided to follow Jesus tomorrow it may never happen. It takes courage to leave one’s life behind and begin the journey of discerning a call towards the priesthood and not allow obstacles to get in the way.
We pray for Bishop Denis as he prepares to retire and we pray especially for his successor, that he will be a man of courage, prayer and faith.
Kind regards and God bless
Father Eamon Kennedy
The feast of St Vincent de Paul
27th September 2012