Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3 ..which Tier as you in ? ..in Covid or in your faith? ..do you know or do you plead ignorance or confusion?
Tier 1 Church militant Tier 2 Church suffering Tier 3 Church triumphant
today is the Feast of All Saints those in Tier 3 ..the tier in Covid the world dreads ; called total lockdown/death in faith we see differently ; as resurrection, where we pray for those of our families, friends & parishioners who have made it to Heaven.. not because of an exemplary life, keeping to the rules & being religiously squeaky clean, ..but, having struggled through bouts of spiritual covid in their lifetime, & with the help of divine grace & fellow disciples, have survived & become front line disciples ..challenging us to realise what is expected of us in their footsteps in our Tier 1 for times we fail to take Covid restrictions & Catholicisms restrictions seriously as life-saving precautions, let us ask for Our Lord’s forgiveness.. “..my dear people, we are already children of God” ; Lord have mercy “what we are in the future has not yet been revealed” ; Christ have mercy “we shall be like him” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
in Covid, most critical tier is Tier 3; very high alert level, Tier 2 less restrictions, & Tier 1 least restrictions. In our spirituality, can I suggest we as the Church militant in Tier 1 are very much alive well & kicking; out on front line, spreading our spirituality by word & example, at risk to ourselves, yet potentially converting others to be followers of Jesus Christ “see how they love one another” see how disciples of St Benedict in OL&SB & OL&HA Churches love, not just one another, in our faithfamily & in our homes, in our Covid & spiritual bubbles, but others in need..in greater need than us..with our gentle “be-attitudes”..the positive “be-attitudes” of “anything is possible” with the presence & grace of God..rather like rich young man who genuinely approached Jesus to ask “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” to earn my passage from Tier 1 to Tier 3..& whereas Jesus went through 10 commandments with him, for us as insiders already, in gospel he gives us the beatitudes..& as Jesus spoke them, rather like he did with rich young man, you could sense disciples then, & you & I just now, ticking them off with “yes certainly” or” yes usually” & none to which we self-refer as “no”; we too think we fit the criteria, we qualify for top table in Tier 3, but very rarely is there a fast-track progression from Tier 1 to Tier 3; for most of us, there is a rich young man question which cautions us to hesitate “one thing you lack, go sell all you own, then come follow me” & the self doubt/caution/face mask finds us referred into Tier 2 for further attention fine tuning or, for some of us, a major overhaul. If we die with excess baggage, or questions about our passage through a lifetime of track & trace, when in spite of Our Lords ever present love care & protection for each of us, we at times, cleared off like prodigal son with hesitation, bravado or an inappropriate agenda, where the Father’s track & trace is always on, & attuned to our heartbeat & conscience..he doesn’t come to sniff us out, frighten us away from risk & danger, he waits..allows us to decide for ourselves, in Tier 2, how long we feel it is necessary for us to address that which needs be evaluated before we are ready to approach Our Lord for entry to Tier 3; he is there, ready expectant waiting until we feel the real moment, not the right moment, is there. How long was rich young man away in his sadness? before, like prodigal son, he returns to tell Jesus he wants now to commit in love to Him, not for a lifetime but for an eternal lifetime; Tiers 1 2 & 3; How has your week been in Tier 1 this week? how up to date & accredited is your own spiritual track & trace record? when was last time you prayed through & thanked your loved ones, now safely in Tier 3, for their example, their “be-attitudes” in life & faith when they were among us in Tier 1? Ultimate gift our Tier 3 family friends & parishioners received as they entered Heaven, was when Christ took off his face mask, “looked steadily at them” as he did to the rich young man, remember? & loved them; the loving look of understanding & compassion which welcomes them, & eventually us, across the threshold & into Heaven. “Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” you know the answer, you are the answer “Jesus remember them when they come into your kingdom” “indeed I promise you, today they will be with me in paradise” Tier 2 to Tier 3, when he rolls the stone away & releases them into everlasting life..could we hope expect pray imagine anything better for them? Leave you with some words of John O’Donohue “he emphasises that the good news is already within, & rises from, the true well at the centre of all life. This is the news that life itself is the primal sacrament; that life is the home of the eternal, albeit in veiled form [with face mask]; that the life of each person is a sacrament, wherein the eternal seeks to become visible & active; that each individual is chosen for a creative destiny in his world ..that each one incarnates a different dimension of God; that at death, life is not ended, but elevated & transfigured into another form; that we are not outside, but within, God” how is that for a definition of All Saints day & for an explanation of our spiritual Tier 3; “that they are not outside, but within, God” [All Saints; 1 Nov ; Mt 5;1-12]