Laetare Sunday; mid Lent Sunday..Laetare “rejoice!” ..half way through Lent ; time out from rigours of Lent to give thanks for good works & prayer in progress..flowers, sweets & pink vestments.. ..also importantly, this is Mothers Day when we give thanks for all we have received from them in life & in faith..
four words from 1st rdg come off page for me..destruction, deportation, exile & restoration..so therefore humanity & divinity, East Ghouta & the heavenly Jerusalem, are they opposites or companions?.. when you listen to 1st rdg recognise life & faith of deportees 3500yrs ago & now in Syria March 2018, & tell me I am unfair unjustified in making connection & companionship.. ..if there is a weave, a thread of connection, we & the victims of the atrocity, have hope.. if not then we, they & us, are a lost cause..
“..adding infidelity to infidelity “ ..not I Lord, surely? ; Lord have mercy “..defiling the Temple” & our Catholicism ..not I Lord, surely? ; Christ have mercy “..ridiculing the messengers of God, laughing at his prophets” ..not I Lord, surely? ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..last Sun John evangelist gave us a fire & brimstone gospel of a furious Jesus wrecking the furniture & frightening out ministers of religion..& now we have a meditative Jesus preaching a sermon..poetic & spiritual maybe but long & boring..human person of Jesus deepened divinised as the Logos Word of God..the Word made flesh..the spokesperson & much more..voice word of God..John takes 3pages to explain what a Yorkshireman can tell in 3lines, what to him is a spade we call a shovel, & with a smile. 3500yrs ago, when God saw his world going pearshaped instead of heartshaped, he sent Cyrus King of Persia a powerful unbeliever, a world leader to realign humanity & centre it back on due north, a benefactor to Gods chosen people a divine instrument; can would does God work through a non believer?..he does indeed, working through authenticity & truth in those labelled unbeliever, & through belief & faith in believer..Herod “liked to listen to John Baptist”.. Pilate in a1:1 with Jesus heard responded to truth in Jesus if tragically impotent in face of mob rule..”no one who believes in him will be condemned”..“sentence is pronounced” a death sentence, not pronounced by a judgemental God of reprisal, but self certificated by each hater of authenticity truth & faith..second greatest gift God gives after gift of life is choice/ free will; to choose light rather than dark, service rather than privilege..”the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light, so that it maybe plainly seen that what he does is done in God”..to “come out” out of hibernation snowdays, out from behind mask pretence which fools no one particularly God “he never needed evidence about any man; he could tell what a man had in him” remember last Sunday? a radical reinterpretation Lentchanging lifechanging& how’s your week been since?..to be the real self God made you in, to become the image & likeness of God. Last Friday week I caught few final moments on R2 of Simon Mayo’s drive time..an 8yr old lad Henry rang in to ask for a piece of music; Simon asked..”have you been at School today?” no “were you at School yesterday?” no, so Simon said “two snowdays & then a weekend, it doesn’t come much better!” Henry questioned joy by saying they were only allowed home at 130pm on first day..Simon said “I sense your disappointment” & moved on “how did you spend time at home?” not doing much said Henry, except some dot to dots & pounding my Mum with snowballs “did she get her own back?” she smashed me in face lots of times!..”so this weekend, what are you up to?”“catechism” said Henry..you could sense Simons gulp in second or two of silence “is that a computer game?” no said Henry, it helps you prepare for First Holy Communion “how many are doing it with you?” 70 or 80 said Henry..that doesn’t include those helping & teaching us..so Simon suggested a huge snowball fight with them “its not their style” said Henry..track he chose? Proud by Heather Small “to thank my Mum who introduced me to it”..an 8yr old disciple whose words lit up nation, as well as Simon Mayo, by his authenticity truth belief & faith bless him “no one who believes in him will be condemned..everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” will you, like King Cyrus & Simon Mayo, “find yourself” in being an instrument of divine change, & like Henry, the voice word made flesh, realigning 4m listeners to hear the truth & with a smile..at our catechism class last Sat feast of St Aelred of Rievaulx, I told our six little Henrys it was said of Aelred he could look at any of his 450 monks in monastery & see a friend..a challenge & opportunity for me this Lent among 60 monks.. will you try it in School Parish at work & vitally, in your family?..I listened to Henrys choice of music, the track Proud..this is some of text, poetic spiritual & a reflection of our journey through Lent so far..human & divine..wonderfully alive, lifechanging & familiar .. “I look into the window of my mind, reflections of the fears I know I’ve left behind. I step out of the ordinary. I can feel my soul ascending. I am on my way, can’t stop me now, & you can do the same. What have you done today to make you feel proud?”..a great question..you have come here, a witness to your faith & to meet Christ..like Henry proud to be a Catholic..a joyful Catholic.. [4thSunLentYr B; Jn3;14-21]