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Short reflection for Eid at Croke Park, Dublin, by the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson

The Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, was among the Abrahamic Faith leaders and Government officials attending Eid Al Adha 2020 at Croke Park this morning, Friday July 31. The text of a short reflection he delivered is as follows:

"Before I say any more, I should like to thank the Islamic Community, Shayk Umar al-Qadri, Croke Park and the GAA for inviting me to participate in Eid al Adha today. This is a truly historic occasion. I wish all Muslims: Eid Mubarak. I echo the call to peace and harmony that is the lifeblood of faith itself and the calling of all Faiths worldwide.

"One day earlier this month, the electricity went off suddenly in my house. It was a short power outage in the locality. In the silence, I heard only the silence. And then suddenly I heard the humming of the fridge, the first sound of a revived electrical life. Our world today is rather like this: looking and listening for signs of life revived in challenging and challenged circumstances day in, day out.

"We continue to live in a global pandemic that has affected us all and some much more tragically than others. For Faith traditions, as for everyone else in Ireland, The Lockdown left us in a position where we could not gather. In specific instances, this meant a virtual Ramadan, a virtual Passover and a virtual Easter. This was the sound of silence. It had many spin-offs for communities and for individuals who are still in the process of working through the consequences and coming to terms with the old and the new expectations that now rub uneasily alongside each other in counterpoint more than in harmony.

"What, we might rightly ask, were the sounds of life that crept into this silence? The greatest was undoubtedly neighbourliness. The unknown person next door became a neighbour. Care quickly began to go both ways. While many of us had been taught from our youth that it is more blessed to give than to receive, we all learned the positive lesson of humility and of Otherness to the effect that it is just as blessed to receive as to give.

Presentations to faith leaders during Eid Al Ahda at Croke Park. (Photo from RTE News Now).
Presentations to faith leaders during Eid Al Ahda at Croke Park. (Photo from RTE News Now).

"The great word that the Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, put on the national kitchen table in the early days of the coronavirus was: kindness. This is, for us today, a fresh way to connect the future with the past. Kindness is a truth of every Faith. Kindness is an act of every faithful person. The hospitality of humanity encompasses the person acknowledged, the goodness offered, the listening ear and the intuitive look. Many have died tragically, horribly and alone. Many have had no option but to let their home become a combination of office and school where privacy is eroded and boundaries dismantled. And yet many have learned that kindness is a boomerang of love and of hope. We have all learned that our religious faith and our civic duty work together and need one another to make social sense. We have all learned that the phrase: ‘Catch you later …’ is not in fact a greeting. Time is in our hands. And now is the time of our faith if we are to build together a society where all are different and yet all are equal."