(From Pope Francis’s Mass for World Youth Day in Campo San Juan Pablo 11, 27th Feb 2019.) “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Lk4:20&21) Jesus reveals the now of God, who comes to meet us & call us to take part in this now of God. It becomes present with Jesus: it has a face & it is flesh. It is a merciful love that does not wait for ideal or perfect situations, nor does it accept excuses for its appearance. It is God’s time, that makes every situation & place both right & proper. In Jesus, the promise future begins & comes to life. When? Now. Not everyone who was listening felt invited or called. Not everyone in Nazareth was prepared to believe in someone they knew & had seen grow up, & was now inviting them to realise a long awaited dream. The same thing can happen with us. We do not always believe that God can be that concrete & commonplace, that close & real, & much less that he can become so present & at work in somebody like a neighbour, a friend, a relative. We do not always believe that the Lord invites us to work & soil our hands with him in his Kingdom in that simple & blunt a way. Often we too behave like the neighbours in Nazareth: we prefer a distant God: nice, good, generous, well depicted, yet far off, & above all a God who does not inconvenience us, a “domesticated” God. Because a close & everyday God, a God who is friend & brother, demands that we be concerned with our surroundings, everyday affairs & above all fraternity. God chose to reveal himself with a face that is fraternal & friendly, concrete & familiar. God is real because love is real; God is concrete because love is concrete. We can also run the same risks as the neighbours at Nazareth. We begin to say “But these young people, are they not the children of Mary & Joseph, aren’t they the brothers & sisters of ……?.......related to? Are these not the youngsters we saw grow up? They should keep quiet: How can we believe them? That one over there, wasn’t he the one who kept breaking windows with his ball? What was born as prophecy & proclamation of the Kingdom of God gets domesticated & impoverished. Wanting to domesticate the word of God is a daily temptation. (Pope Francis’s powerful message to our young people, & through them to us, will be continued next week….be ready!)
We will begin preparing our 9 young disciples at St Benedict’s Primary School for their First Holy Communion which, following our meeting with parents last Monday, has been rearranged for Sun 2nd June 2019. Our first session will be next Saturday at 8.45am. Please keep the children, their parents & catechists in your prayers. Any other parents with a child of similar age being educated elsewhere who would like to join the preparations, please make contact with me.
Some developing thoughts for Lent 2019. A weekly Lenten Pause, a half hour for silent prayer & recollection in alternate Churches, with varying dates to try to include those with regular weekly commitments. Fri 8th March OL&SB: Tues 12th March St Hilda’s: Fri 22nd March OL&SB: Tues 26th March St Hilda’s: Mon 1st April OL&SB: Tues 9th April St Hilda’s. All at 5.15pm until 5.45pm. Sun 14th April (Palm Sunday) Stations of the Cross & Palm Procession at Byland Abbey (provisional) Caroline Dollard has generously agreed to lead a Lent Course based on her new book “Seeking God Together”. It will help us to look at how we accompany families of all shapes, sizes & make up, at every stage of their existence as part of our belonging together & our community responsibility. An introductory session & 5 “seasons” to explore. Each session will include refreshments, reflection & prayer. Wednesdays 13th, 20th, & 27th March: 3rd, 10th, &17th April 2019, 7.30pm to 9pm. If you would like to participate, a list for names is at the back of Church & the Parish will provide each individual with a copy of the book. with love & my prayers. Fr Bede