Racial Justice Sunday ..DSP for those of us who suffer discrimination because of our race & colour, causing social economic & religious hardship.. ..we condemn racism we see on televised football matches , & hypocritically practice it in our everyday lives & encounters.. “..the consultant oncologist who saw me Fr Bede was such a nice man & he was Indian..” ..why tell me he is from India when you wouldn’t tell me if he was from Batley?.. the first step in a journey of healing is to admit to the prejudice in our society, in our faith & most damagingly in our minds if not in our hearts.. “..share your bread with the hungry” ..those dying from a hunger for equality.. ; Lord have mercy “..shelter the homeless poor “ ..those who come to this Church each week & still [& always will ] feel an outsider.. ; Christ have mercy “..turn not from your own kin” ..when you ignore them you ignore me.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen..
..my home city of Leeds boasts greatest areas of open space per head of population in the UK..room to roam/walk called recreation grounds; posh ones became parks with wrought iron fencing neat floral borders & bowling greens; ordinary ones remained open fields, space for freedom & adventure..& now? barriers earth mounds locked steel gates, to keep the travelling community off; & then the evidence in self defensive justification which would take 3 sermons to list, & at end of day in this Year of Word it can be summarised in one word “prejudice”; as you come off A1/A19 link road outside Thirsk, if if you look down [look down] to your left is the official travellers encampment; would we ever think of diverting a months donations of food destined for MFB to the camp ?..just one month? ..or a delivery of clothes blankets household goods destined for MAP on Teeside to the camp? just one..have we ever thought of it?..& as Joan Mulcahy a legend at College for many years would say “if not why not?”..& having heard the extraordinary suggestion, how does it feel? welcoming achievable adventurous or cautiously questionable perhaps even threatening?..”we will need time to think about it & then get back to you”, & the sacrament of the present moment & the dove of Holy Spirit with a fresh twig in its beak seeking an Ark open enough to welcome it in flies on elsewhere..so what of gift we give to MSB & MAP, how will they feel if short changed ?..if we explain why & at what cost just this once, & they are convinced by what you say face to face [not in a safe three line email], & see the sparkle in your eye that believes what you say, they may well buy into it as their contribution/ sacrifice to their fellow victims in Thirsk..outsiders outside Thirsk ..the Body of Christ at its best..their ingredients & your salt, together a meal of a lifetime ; MSF doctors without borders ; PSF parishioners without borders..”you are the salt of the earth” you are that vital ingredient that brings out real flavour of a meal ; have you ever tried to eat fish & chips without salt ?..our meals are taken in silence in monastery; we use sign language to ask next monk for help..rub thumb/forefinger together if you need salt..it could be a lovely sign for you to explain to your closest loved one, so that, when life is tough & tasteless between you, & you can’t put it into words, you can signal your need of the vital extra ingredient..the secret intimate ingredient. Our Lord loves you that much to identify you [you] as his salt; each of us mined chiselled off the rock himself.. rock salt..a pinch powerful transformative..you..however, when we lose our essence, the belief faith conviction about that which we were born for..chiselled away from God for.. for the time being..when we become attracted distracted into judgementalism superiority prejudice we lose our divine ability to flavour others through “connectivity” a word in the Year of Word which gives a homily street cred..as with “northern spiritual powerhouse” last weekend did you hear it?..when we lose our connectivity we become tasteless “good for nothing” unfit for travelling like northern rail..”you are the light of the world” spoke last month of light bulb in lighthouse at Flambrough Head; an ordinary 100w bulb shines through series of prisms & beams 26miles out to sea, to warn or to welcome the lost the tasteless & the migrant into this safe harbour; you & divine grace together drawing the shipwrecked & the disowned home..drawing the travellers in their squalid or state of art caravans home to your heart if not onto your lawn..grounds for recreation re-creation & reconciliation for an enjoyable playtime on a journey to heaven “together”..shine, let your shine be seen, & let us together give praise to Our Father..Our Father..in 2018 Pope Francis spoke to the young people of the Church; our beloved travellers are they not? as you salt their recreation times with your taxi service & your struggles to avoid prejudice towards their lifestyle & faithstyle?..& his words to them then could well be addressed to the travellers gypsies migrants who live, who try to live, among us now; “may the Holy Spirit urge you on as you run this race. The Church needs your momentum, your intuitions, your faith. We need them! & when you arrive where we have not yet reached, have the patience to wait for us.” [5thSunYrA Mt5;13-16]