. “whether they listen or not, this set of rebels will know there is a prophet among them..” ..you can smell the venom, the appetite for revenge, for teaching the rebels the lesson of a lifetime..very OT & sadly very RC for some of us still.. ..however, maybe the question should be “why does it seem they are not listening? ..& who has fuelled their last resort to rock the boat & to rebel?”..
for times we judge, & judge inappropriately, those who have walked away from us as & labelled rebels, rather than passionate yet disillusioned seekers, let us ask for Our Lords mercy & forgiveness..
“our eyes are on the Lord our God” ..true or false?.. ; Lord have mercy “till he show us his mercy” ..not until he softens to us first .. ; Christ have mercy “too full is our soul with the scorn of the rich” ..writing off the affluent & the different.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..his home town, his local synagogue; familiar safe & sacred ground, or it should have been..place where he could let his hair down, take down his self defences & speak the whole truth which would betray his own struggles, so early in his ministry his own fragile faith, his self doubts anger frustration at the indifference complacency of those who should know better, much better, but instead he was caged, contstrained & labelled a rebel..little did they realise how true the insult was..he was a huge let down, a religious disappointment, someone you may know & have labelled..”most of them” thankfully not all, were astonished when they heard him “where did this man get all this?” if you read & listen to it carefully they are not writing him off, as you may have been led to believe thus far..”what is this wisdom that has been granted him, these miracles that are worked through him?” they recognise both his wisdom & the authenticity of the miracles..their complaint, their angry enquiry, is “where on earth does it come from?” the answer is simple, one word, grace ”my grace is enough for you, my power is at its best in weakness” as St Paul came to realise, & realise the hard way, is that it isn’t what we do, or try to do on our own that brings out the best in us, & through us the miracle for others, it is what we allow grace, the Holy Spirit, the power of God to do through us that brings relationships to life, to divine life. The tragedy was that “they would not accept him” neither the man nor the message..he was too radically different & they didn’t want to be radicalised.. ..he was a threat to the status quo, to all that was familiar safe dependable in religion & in family life..they were timid needy people, held contained constrained in a cosy bubble of dependency..addicted to normality & prescription in a form of an asylum in a religious institution; asylum seekers of a different kind..& Jesus from heart spoke sadly mournfully for those suffering from confinement, be it solitary or collective, in a state of lifelessness sameness routine & mediocrity ..“& he could work no miracles there, he was amazed at their lack of faith”.. a lack of openness to risk & to change, to allow the entry of grace & begin a journey of conversion, like Paul himself & the rebels of the OT, to step out of shadows & conformity, & to become a Zacchaeus..shunned cold shouldered by religious stakeholders, yet keen eager hungry to see Jesus, so he went ahead, climbed a tree & waited to see Jesus pass by..but Jesus didn’t, he called Zacchaeus down & asked to be invited into his home & into his heart..“blessed are the distant” the doubters rebels & seekers..to distance ourselves from the centre “the religion of the elite” & begin to engage with those on the margins..to weave together our willingness to step forward trustfully self sacrificially & let grace enter our heart soul & life like never before; “my power it at its best in weakness, for it is when I am weak that I am strong”..dare I say we need a set of rebels, a skein of geese, willing to take off from this runway of a parish & fly out & away, dependent on one another & on the inevitable headwind, through which the skein makes progress in the chosen direction..when we begin to recognise no longer the mere carpenter or a son /daughter, sister/brother, or a fellow monk, but Christ himself, the miracle of all miracles..Christ among us, Christ within us.. a phrase in Tomas Halik book “Patience with God” “it is truly sad to observe how those who ought to be prophets are transformed into embarrassing clowns” ; last week I read in Daily Telegraph Business Section a challenging article as taxpayers are facing 20yrs of hard choices..“this was a conversation no one seems willing to have”..for the good of our Church & its /our future prospects, if we are not to find ourselves spiritually bankrupt, we have to be willing to face some hard conversations & choices..to sit & comply or to get up & rebel?..tame compliance or adventurous radicalisation?..we know in our heart what the only real decision has to be..& it isn’t a religious Brexit.. [14thSun Yr B Mk 6;1-6]