..half way out from slavery of Egypt, on journey to land of milk & honey in the promised land, the chosen people lost heart, patience & confidence.. ..& like us they needed a scapegoat to blame, to shoulder responsibility for setbacks in desert, lack of comfort & the poor diet.. & Moses, God’s agent, got the blame then..& who pray gets it now?..who is your current scapegoat?..the one in your family or my community who has to field our gripes our complaint on our exodus journey from our baptism to our resurrection.. & when the going gets tough among us, the tough get going “marching on together” whilst the whingers complain in self pity “poor me”.. ..the good news, very good news, for the whingers is that when [ not if ] we get to heaven the rest of us will be refused entry by Jesus without the whingers “marching on together” ..for times we walk away from this parish tribe to go it alone, or to walk & pray with a neighbouring tribe in Catholicism, let us think again..
“..why did we not die in the land of Egypt?..” ; Lord have mercy “..where we were able to sit down to pans of meat..” ; Christ have mercy “..& eat bread to our hearts content..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..the people were hungry dependent & demanding; realising Jesus had moved on they panicked, crossed sea/divide in search of him..migrants on a journey..how long was the crossing? how many in boat & how many lifejackets between them? any provisions water ..a day or a night crossing? did they take it in turns to row?..why have we never thought of such circumstances before?..for so many years been led to sanitise gospels, safe secure stories with happy family endings..& when they disembarked they called Jesus to account “when did you come here?” polite deferrence..”why didn’t you tell us you were leaving? & why did you leave us behind?” gently & poetically for Johns gospel Jesus explains his real purpose; you’ve become dependent, sadly not on me as a person in relationship but me as a provider of a meal on a plate..you want a meal on the table in OL&HA Gilling 9am Sun or ARH 715pm Sun, not a cookery book & a list of ingredients to get cracking in his kitchen of your home Parish..”marching on together..baking on together”..true?.. “work for the food that endures to eternal life” it says on the tin..& their response was typically distant & headcentred, academic theology rather than live spirituality..”what must we do if we are to do the works than God wants?”..if they’d had an ounce of savvy about them they wouldn’t have risked such a costly question from their prayer mat /pew.. & John’s Jesus put it starkly simply in 8 words “you must believe in the one he has sent” ..& bless them they couldn’t hear it & they persist in debate & wordplay..“what sign will you give to show us that we should believe in you?” timid followers, low on self esteem, high dependency patients..& sadly rest of gospel degenerates into religious table tennis.. rather like BBC Question Time where each speaker bombards other with emotively charged loaded questions which are rarely heard & never convincingly answered..fine tv poor debate..the signs you seek are already there for you to taste & see in the eucharistic elements of bread & wine, awaiting your contribution your yeast your willingness to mix the dough, to heat the oven to time the meal to match quality of ingredients & the bakers, & never to forget the sprinkling of salt that makes all the difference..do you believe it becomes the real presence of Our Lord in bread & wine here & now in OL&SB..the meal of a lifetime here each weekend & daily..do you believe it is?..will you give eye contact to me & your children/grandchildren & tell them & me convincingly?..to such an extent that the waverers doubters seekers out there will pull you on the sleeve, knowing you are coming here & will say “we want to come with you”..the signs in here & out there daily, if only you would put on your divine spectacles & taste the manna in the desert, with a risk & openness to really taste it, encounter it, perhaps for first time in a lifetime..seeing Yvonne Foster struggle to take the tiniest sip of the Blood of Christ through a straw, in final hours of her exodus journey into promised land, & wondering what she was feeling thinking, offering to Our Lord in return for His real presence alongside her, truly a shared Gethsemane & Good Friday..& how often I receive Christ’s Body & Blood unworthily, the ultimate sign in bread & wine “you must believe in the one he has sent”..as with every gospel story, it has to be as alive & lifegiving today as was the original 2000yrs ago if it is to be believed seen & tasted..4/5 Aug 2018..”the Word was made flesh & lives among us”..realised eschatology..the last times here & now..for John’s Jesus there is no final day of judgement sheep/ goats wheat/ chaff..each day we grow towards eternal life; some days /weeks inevitable setbacks yet year on year closer to Our Lord in relationship, in bread & wine, & in washing of feet..have you realised in Johns gospel there is no Last Supper?..why?..he replaces it with Jesus washing feet of his disciples..how many pairs of feet have you washed this last week?..eucharist in this bakery kitchen & out there in the quality of foot care/heart care for those who can’t or won’t join us in here..all our fellow migrants..& when our crossing is finished together & we meet Jesus on shore, he won’t ask to see a Sat/Sun Mass attendance record but will smile warmly, thanking you for washing his feet endlessly caringly brokenheartedly & tearfully.. [18thSunYrB;Jn6;24-35]