..in every family, religious community & parish there is always complaint..justifiable complaint..& the making & reshaping of family life is dependent on the quality of listening & response to the cause of the complaint..
..in 1st rdg the disciples rightly needing to concentrate on the hub of community, the sacramental work of prayer & organisation in the bakery..
so they appointed empowered 7 deacons whose role was to distribute food to the distant & hungry..the soured & disillusioned..7 deacons 7 servants..the logistics corp..looked down on by the front line soldier but crucially important if front line was to be fed & watered & its ammunition replenished..
..a day to give thanks for our loyal unassuming logistics corp, who do so much to enable us to practice our faith in here, & its outreach out there..
..for times we hesitate before volunteering for some share in the service of this spiritual infantry battalion, let us ask for Our Lords mercy & forgiveness..
“..select from yourselves those of good reputation..” ; Lord have mercy
“..filled with the Holy Spirit & with wisdom..” ; Christ have mercy
“..we will hand over this duty to them..” ; Lord have mercy
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life.
..an often chosen gospel for funerals, as it touches sensitively to the need to let go, to trust & to persevere in faith & in relationship with our beloved loved one..Jesus & they knew time was running out & he spoke what they were all feeling..Thomas, ever the doubter
comes in like a spoilt sheep..poor me “we don’t know the way”..the cry & the complaint of one unhealthily dependent..Jesus puts it unambiguously “I am the Way, the Truth & the Life” ..having been shown the way & reminded daily..having been promised the life, the ultimate reward for the journey in faith..eternal life..vital conviction which ensures the way is woven, wedded to our life in God is truth..Gk Alitheia “that which cannot be forgotten”..in 2010 I gave talks at Easter Retreat at Abbey & was available for folk in between talks..on Good Friday a lady came to see me to ask general question on Church teaching on abortion..we talked for 15mins & she left..Holy Sat asked to see me again.. she now explained at depth her own situation..recently become a Catholic & now realised how important to us is the protection of human life from conception..from first moment a human being with potential..some years earlier she’d gone through an abortion & was struggling now with the consequences in faith..in her story & tears I gained a sense she’d not let go of her baby, so I asked if she had thought of giving her a name..her face lit up, a sense of relief that the Church could think of offering her baby a welcome a place & a name in its family..a look of excitement & joy, lightening the Cross she’d carried for some years..I suggested she take time to pray ponder & think of a name & when she’d chosen, to let me know so I could continue to pray for her & her baby & now by name.. few wks later an email from her..full of gratitude, she’d decided to call her little girl Alitheia; truth “that which cannot be forgotten”. now “she who cannot be forgotten”..”I am the Way the Truth & the Life”..she’d remembered in my Good Friday talk I had explained the word truth Alitheia..8wks ago I lead retreat for 20 Confirmation candidates from Leeds..we talked of importance of choosing a Confirmation name..so that when they felt troubled afraid at risk they could call on their Confirmation saint for help..I told them of an earlier group & how one lad had chosen Michael & I’d asked why ? ”because my grandad is called Michael & I’d like to grow up to be as good a person as he is” game set & match to the truth..I shared with Leeds group my story of Alitheia & just last week had word on grapevine that two of the girls had decided to take Alitheia as their Confirmation name..imagine Bishop Markus innocently asking one of girls as he Confirms her why she chose name Alitheia & hearing her truth..little baby Alitheia lives on, as does her proud mother..her Christmas card each year is always signed Zous & Alitheia..” Lord let us see the Father & then we will be satisfied”..Philip ever the wasp, ever dissatisfied; how do you read & translate his challenge to Our Lord?..affirming or undermining?..ever alert to want more than a fair share, & if he feels he’s being short changed or being discriminated against, he is the first to gripe & complain..a Jesus who will always go the extra mile for him, & for you & I , but it’s never enough, ever demanding of yet another half mile..a glass & a relationship ever destined to be half empty..poor me..perhaps someone we know very well..or is our Philip a glass half full individual?..always with a healthy appetite for more in family, in relationship & in faith..a good place to be & a positive disposition to live with..to be a healthy doubter, ever seeking the truth, & to be a wasp, disturbing the comfortable & the complacent..when I was in Bamber Bridge 18yrs ago as parish priest I suggested if we’d a flag flying from steeple of Church which proclaimed our parish mission statement it would say.. “we’ve always done it this way”..the ground zero for our ongoing journey into discipleship is held identified empowered in one word, which would speak loudly & truthfully from a notice board out there, & from those of us here & now with hungry healthy & cheerful hearts..”believe”.. ”believe it on the evidence of this work, if for no other reason”..the evidence of Zous, Michael, three Alitheia’s, & a Bishop..& now some of us..some of us. [5thSunEasterYrA;Jn14; 1-12]