The Capacity to Change the World
Archbishop Eamon Martin has urged students at Trinity College Dublin to make a difference and use their talents to get “stuck in” to solve the problems of the world.
The archbishop preached the homily on 29 April at the Trinity Monday Service of Thanksgiving and Commemoration in the Trinity College Dublin chapel, where he was joined by staff, students and members of the public.
Archbishop Eamon told the congregation, “The young people who study here at Trinity have the gifts and the capacity to change the world. This is how you must seek to be remembered – that you made a difference, that you discovered you could weep before the tragedies and harsh realities of life, but you did not stand back; you used your talents and “got stuck in” to the problems of the world, tackling at the same time any inconsistencies in your own values and behaviour. Seek to be remembered because you saved lives – even one life – by your empathy, your words, your actions; leave your mark as a leader who inspired others, pointing them “to the truth”; and, because you made a personal, merciful impact on someone else which helped to change that person’s life for the better.”
Referring to Trinity Week, the archbishop said it began with acknowledgement and celebration, commemoration and thanksgiving. He said, “Friends, on a day like this we rightly celebrate the wealth of talents, scholarship and opportunity that this College represents.”
Archbishop Eamon also recalled those who had died, especially over the last year, saying, “By honouring the distinguished figures of the present and past, we hope to inspire new generations of Trinity scholars. We point them to models of scholarship, loyalty and generosity.”
He recalled Pope Francis’ announcement four years ago of a Year of Mercy, when the Pope said it was obvious that today’s world is in need of mercy and compassion, or rather of the capacity for empathy.
Archbishop Eamon said, “We are accustomed to bad news, cruel news and the worst atrocities that offend the name and the life of God. The world needs to discover that God is the Father, that there is mercy, that cruelty is not the way … I believe that this is the time for mercy”.
The archbishop went on to speak about recent tragic events in Derry and in Sr Lanka. He said “I witnessed people weeping on the streets after the violent death of the young journalist, Lyra McKee. Their tears gave way to a call for action, to an outright rejection of violence and to a hopeful renewal of all-party talks.
“Tears have also been flowing in abundance this past week in Sri Lanka following the horrific slaughter of innocent worshippers and tourists, including many children, on Easter Sunday morning.
“These tears must move all of us to value the freedom of worship and religion and to work to combat the hatred and extremism that gives rise to such attacks.”
Concluding his homily, Archbishop Eamon said, “Might that be the way we are remembered- as “godly” people who pointed others to the mercy of God? Be alert for that moment of grace and conversion in your own life when someone might point your heart to the Lamb of God, moving you firstly, perhaps, to weep for the way you are and the way the world is, and then to go and do things differently. Your witness can then bring others to come and see the truth and the new way of living that you have found. Together you can use your gifts to make a difference, realising that all the earthly honours and achievements that you once thought important are really as of nothing, because you have become completely reliant on the Father’s mercy, and you yourself have become “merciful like the Father”.