Today, the 3rd of June marks the fourteen hundreth anniversary of the death of Kevin who died in Glendalough in 618. He was a hermit who lived all his life on the shore of the upper lake deep within the valley. His search in solitude there for purpose and meaning in his life became the foundation of a great monastery which flourished in the lower valley for over a thousand years.
Today’s picture captures a moment this morning on the lakeshore where he found himself a home. The scene was constantly changing as the early morning sunshine gradually dispelled the darkness of the night. Kevin lived in the darker side of the lake which is particularly harsh and uninviting during the long winter months. The heart of this hermitage space is a small cave hewn into the rock cliffs by people in the Bronze Age as a last resting place for the bones of their dead. Stories about Kevin that have been handed down tell us that he often spent whole nights there praying for protection against the dark and destructive forces that constantly distort and damage the human experience. After a long night in the dark cave, we can only imagine what it must have been like on a summer morning to emerge and see the sunrise from the cave opening lighting up the landscape all around. It must have been a moment of illumination that lifted his heart with a surge of new energy making him aware of all the wonderful possibilities that the new day was offering.
Kevin was sustained in his difficult life experience by his faith in Jesus Christ. That was rooted in the example of the life on earth of a man called Jesus who lived in Galilee a few hundred years before Kevin was born and who constantly engaged with the pain and suffering of humanity. He followed this way through his own suffering and death to a new life in the spirit that opens up an eternal road to all possibilities and a reign of the heart inspired by love that creates an experience of unity, goodness, justice and peace
Today the people of God in the Catholic church celebrated the communion of believers throughout the world in the Body and Blood and Spirit of the Risen Christ. In this communion believers become a family of brothers and sisters bound together in a bond of Spirit which is stronger than the bond that joins a family in body and blood relations. The most memorable moments for a family often remain from sitting around the kitchen table sharing stories and eating together. Jesus experienced this every day in his human experience. As He sat at table with his disciples for the last time on the night before he died, to took bread, blessed and broke it and gave it to them saying: This my body given for you. As he handed them the cup to share he said: This is the cup of the new covenant of love between the human and God which is for all. As often as you drink it, you will remember me and be reminded that everything is possible because I am always with you. That same table of Eucarhist is what makes us one today in the memory and spirit of Kevin and all those people who have handed on the Christian faith to us down through the centuries. All are welcome to the table of the Risen Christ.