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‘Together in apostolic tradition’ – Student Readers commissioned in CITI

“We are all together in this apostolic tradition,” Archbishop Michael Jackson told Ordinands in the Church of Ireland Theological Institute on Wednesday evening (October 5). He commissioned seven first year students as Student Readers during the Community Eucharist.

Scott Elliott (Clogher), Matthew Gaw (Down and Dromore), Ryan Hawk (Down and Dromore), Michael Kenning (Cork, Cloyne and Ross), Sean Murphy (Cashel, Ferns and Ossory), James Sheils (Armagh), and Siobhan Wheeler (Limerick, Killaloe and Ardfert) were all licensed as Readers. They were presented by the Revd Dr Patrick McGlinchey, who coordinates student placements.

Archbishop Michael Jackson with the newly commissioned Student Readers and the Revd Dr Paddy McGlinchey.
Archbishop Michael Jackson with the newly commissioned Student Readers and the Revd Dr Paddy McGlinchey.

The Archbishop’s sermon was based on the Gospel reading [Luke 10: 17–24]. It speaks of the 72 disciples returning to Jesus from what he suggested those in CITI might call a placement. He described it as a positive tale of achievement by the 72 disciples and a cause of jubilation.

“They had been sent out to do the work of healing that Jesus did. This was a practical preparation for the time when he would be gone and when they would have to do it themselves in terms of both the motivation and the delivery. They had returned to tell him that their mission was successful. This gives a picture of disciples as apprentices even more than of disciples as pupils. And it is a happy occasion,”he said.

Jesus encouraged them to slow the pace, to take the longer view and to keep going as there was no point on resting on their laurels, Archbishop Jackson observed. Their achievement was a signpost on the road to full responsibility as apostles and more importantly was their rejoicing in the recognition that their names were enrolled in heaven.

“Their discipleship is developing fast from one of being called to one of moving and being moved through occasional apprenticeship to sustainable apostleship. This pathway is something in which fully to rejoice. The process has started and they have made a great go of it. What we learn from all of this is that there is a further horizon, a vocational yardstick beyond individual and successive attainments,for followers of Jesus now as then. This needs to be the frame in which all of our contemporary efforts are to be placed. The horizon within which the seventy–two live and work is that their names are enrolled in heaven. This is not an individual prize; this is a shared inspiration and gift from God,” he said.

The Archbishop said that the scripture was an invitation to take stock of ministry but also to engage afresh with baptism. Baptism, he stated, is the basis of the church as a response to the presence of Christ in the presence of people. It gives responsibility and capacity. “That day [of baptism] is the day of incorporation in the body of Christ through incorporation in the death and resurrection of Christ, being plunged into the waters of death and being raised to a new life. This is the definitive thread of connection between lay and ordained members of the church and their shared apostleship into the world that is never shattered by the bindweed of clericalism but is embraced and empowered by God the Holy Trinity,” he explained.

One thing in particular that emerged from Luke’s version of the life of Jesus and of evolving discipleship, he added: “It is this: we need to take confidence from carrying out what we are asked to do; we need to keep before us the perspective of the big picture in our hearts and before our eyes; and we need constantly to practise moving from learning to doing in our vocational response to the gift of God in his Son Jesus Christ … We are all together in this apostolic tradition. Hierarchical life is static. Discipleship challenges static belonging by transforming it into dynamic being and witness.”

You can read the Archbishop’s sermon in full here.

Report and photo by Lynn Glanville (Communications Officer, Dublin & Glendalough)

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