. “..Rejoice, heart & soul, daughter of Zion! Shout with gladness, daughter of Jerusalem!” .. a cry in 1st rdg as the Messiah enters his holy city..the Son of God welcomed by the daughters of the city of peace..a day when Christ was finally definitively recognised for who he is.. ..so too for us this morning..a day a moment of profound joy as the Messiah comes to us in person..in person & faith journey of Liz & Johannes Depnering..they have been with us among us each Sunday for last 2yrs & now we welcome them fully as they & we celebrate their entry into our Catholic faith.. ..rejoice indeed!.. for them & with them.. ..for the times we underestimate just what a profound effect, for better or for worse, we can have on those who may well be searching timidly yet persistently to join us in this faith family, let us recall our own moment of entry & belonging into Our Lady & St Benedict’s Ampleforth.. “the bow of war shall be banished” the disputes the gossip the heresay..;Lord have mercy “..humble & riding on a donkey” coming quietly & below the radar.. ; Christ have mercy “..he will proclaim peace for the nations” a welcome for all nations for allcomers..for incomers & migrants..& thereby for Christ.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“I bless you Father for hiding these things from the learned & the clever & revealing them to mere children” Jesus’ own prayer of thanksgiving, at end of a series of difficult fraught episodes in his ministry, for inspiring empowering the mission of evangelisation in & through the faithful few..the peasant & working classes, ordinary GI Christians like Liz & Johannes..gifted & talented in their professional lives, yet faithful in gentle way they have approached & welcomed the good news of our Catholicism..a meekness in discovering a spirituality of authenticity not a catholicity of dogged gritted compliance ..”yes Father, for this is what it pleased you to do” their entry into our faith activated & granted by God the Father..the ultimate seal of inclusion..there was a growing sense in Jewish wisdom & learning that knowledge of the Law was a genuine obstacle to the understanding of the message of Jesus..fast forward 2000yrs there is a sense that Catholic wisdom & teaching, with its emphasis on the penny catechism & our Sunday & Friday obligations, was & is, a genuine obstacle to the understanding of the message of Jesus..as out of our catechism evolves organically catechesis..it is no longer what you know but who you know..to know the Messiah & now Liz & Johannes who come in under the radar..quietly humbly peacefully feeding this faith community this parish of peace..& how fit for purpose are we?..the intimacy of the Father & Son is the model of intimacy of relationship between each of us, & now each of us to Liz & Johannes..humble authentic enough to recognise in ourselves the look mood & self pity of the weary & overburdened ..& the challenge as ever comes through the young & eager..a young lass to her parish priest..“where is your passion?”..where is the energy you gave your life for all those years ago?” a passion & energy Liz & Johannes bring to us..an appetite & a hunger for a full share in our story & in our meal..diviners, seekers, not of ordinary water from ordinary diviners but seekers of the water of life from our spring, our reservoir..us & now them, not doctors of divinity but diviners of divinity..our story is one of Palm Sundays, Good Fridays, & as today Easter mornings..Christ has Risen! he emerges from this tomb full of new life joy passion & energy..we have seen him, He is alive in person, in Liz & Johannes Alleluia!..take on willingly self sacrificially the full consequences of being a follower of Christ first & a practising Roman Catholic second..believe..eat it & live it, & then tell it with energy & passion which convinces..a burden, a cross, lightened because it is shared vicariously between us..to live under the influence of the divine invitation to shoulder the cross..a yoke..a cross shaped frame into which two oxen are strapped, as they hold together & pull along the plough..turning over the heavy soil & its potential in readiness for feeding warming & reseeding..the work is lighter more enjoyable & fertile because two do it together..Liz & Johannes..Liz & Christ..Johannes & Christ..an intimacy a yoke now easy , a cross now light..”see now he comes to you”..to you & I..on a foal a young donkey..& here now our two young beasts of burden..Christ bearers..carrying him to this our stable & into our hearts..”the Eucharist, the Last Supper, Jesus giving his life for us..it doesn’t come any better”..fiery passionate words of one young disciple..& pray as Liz & Johannes share their passion with us, now & into the future, “where is your passion?”..who will pull you on the sleeve in next few weeks, inspired by the way you carry the cross & your burdens, & say “we want to come with you “..I read fine article recently describing the 4th century desert fathers & mothers who wanted to set themselves apart to live out gospel more intently..what they fled wasn’t a secular society but the new totally Christian empire being created by Constantine..so why leave & why opt out? .. because they wanted to create communities where faith was chosen not inherited”..Liz & Johannes, thank you for choosing to sail some distance, & through choppy waters & headwinds, to berth here among us..we hope we will live up to the expecations you & Christ have of us..bless you for blessing us.. [ 14thSunYrA ; Mt 11;25-30]