Eamon Martin: week’s events make us want to turn back time

Buncrana tragedy and ‘terrorists plotting to destroy life’ mentioned in Easter homily

Archibishop Eamon Martin: “Each second has so much potential for good, for love, for peace, and for joy”. Photograph: David Sleator

Archibishop Eamon Martin: “Each second has so much potential for good, for love, for peace, and for joy”. Photograph: David Sleator

 

The “harrowing” accident in which five members of one family died in Buncrana and the bomb attacks in Brussels have been recalled by Archbishop Eamon Martin in his Easter message.

Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland Dr Martin was delivering his homily at the Easter vigil in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh on Saturday.

He said the Easter message of hope needed to be heard “more than ever in today’s world, where some people plot to fill every moment of our lives with fear and foreboding, where families are wrenched apart by war and persecution, where homes are destroyed and human life itself is cheapened and taken away without a moment’s notice”.

Archbishop Martin said that in his work as a priest he had often come across people who wished time would go faster.

“But I have also met people who dearly wish they could turn back time. I imagine the heartbroken relatives and friends of those who died at Buncrana pier must wish they could turn the clocks back to before last Sunday; or think, if only there had been a few more minutes to save them; or, what does the future now hold? I think also of the innocent victims of Tuesday’s bombings in Brussels - there they were, so anxious to ‘check in on time’, oblivious to the terrorists who were mercilessly plotting to destroy precious human life.”

He told the congregation people had said to him during the week that awful and tragic events such as these made them “more conscious of the importance of their family and loved ones, and of approaching every day and hour as a gift, every moment as an opportunity not to be wasted”.

“Our faith encourages us to lift our minds and hearts to encounter God in every moment – yet, in the harrowing aftermath of tragic accidents like at Buncrana, or the violent attacks in Brussels, or natural disasters around the world, it is very human instinct to call out: “Where are you, God?”

Archbishop Martin said when he was a young boy he had been “fascinated by the concept of time”.

“As a fan of programmes like Doctor Who and Star Trek, I was amazed at the notion of ‘time-lords’ who could zoom forward into the future, or travel back in time to see life as it was, decades or centuries ago.

“Now, as a ‘boring adult’, I have learned to be content with those days every spring and autumn when we put the clocks forward or back and become ‘time-travellers’ - if only for one hour.”

“Our challenge, as an Easter people, is to enter into the hours and minutes of every day, aware that they pass so quickly, but realising that, with faith and trust, each second has so much potential for good, for love, for peace, and for joy.”