..succession planning..it happens in all best institutions, communities & families.. ..who will take on mantel once the patriarch matriarch or CEO steps aside?.. in 1st rdg Moses prepares people for his death & the need of a successor as leader & prophet.. three characteristics then [ & now as you & I are leaders & prophets ] characteristics to live out or to beware of.. “I will put my words into his mouth & he shall tell them all I command him” ..our voice but God’s message.. ; Lord have mercy “..the man who does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name. ..believe it then only then speak it.. ; Christ have mercy “..he who presumes to say in my name something I had not commanded that prophet shall die..” ..misleading words & being economical with the truth.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
I wonder if, as I read that gospel to you, you heard it as a spectator, listening in from the pew /sidelines, or did you feel yourself personally involved/ included?..feeling full force/ power of Jesus’ words of healing in story of inclusiveness 27/28Jan 2018..would you call yourself a follower of Christ?..would you be recognised, pointed out as a follower of Christ?..or a person struggling in a moment of crisis, possessed by situation or another person, losing your nerve, your very self, no longer in control but controlled?..this, in Marks gospel, is Jesus’ debut in temple..& immediately they noticed heard felt difference..fed & watered for so long on teaching of scribes & now a new kid on block, who taught with authority..Sr Dolores St Theresa’s PS Leeds taught with one form of authority as she put fear of God, of herself & her cane into me; Fr Francis Dobson taught with totally different authority, gentle in voice, weak on discipline, strong & convincing in message because you felt all he said he believed..all he asked of his listeners, he had already asked of himself..he lived it passionately authentically “he made deep impression on them”.. Jesus owned it, he didn’t say “my Father said” or “the Law said” he said “I tell you..” he told first hand what prophets had only told from a distance, he spoke from experience, still a rookie, but like Pope Francis in his plane journey last wk he was freshening things up, not dampening things down “we’ve always done it this way”..the possessed man confront Jesus with a sense of his own authority & from his own experience..he names Jesus “I know who you are..the Holy One of God”..the first to recognise him for who he is is a demon, an unclean spirit; some would read it from sidelines as cry of despair & rage, but why not re-read it from heart, as evidence of repressed belief?; faith currently overpowered, out of self &divine control, & for the time being, controlled manipulated by devil..”for time being” always hope that in time the lost son or daughter will, one of these days, walk back down road into arms of the ever waiting hopeful loving parent..are you still listening from pew, or by gum is it like best of gospels your story come to life?.. ”I know who you are”..I know..I was in deep relationship with you years ago & I lost it.. stolen away from me at a low moment of distraction temptation, & possessed by addicted to it, ever since, but “I know who you are” a profession of faith, as good as one we will voice in few moments time..Jesus setting the context for his ministry & ours..the telling of good news is to tell it how it is..no tinsel no cotton wool..it is beginning of the overt public struggle between Jesus & devil..to know full Jesus is to realise that the penny will only drop, for them & for us, when he is on the Cross..only then will we realise he is indeed “the Son of God”..”in truth this man was a son of God”..profession of faith of centurion, seeing Jesus die on Cross with authority..a 1st century equivalent to a UK border guard at Calais paid to repel migrants suddenly realising who he is crucifying..& us, accessories albeit from pew/sidelines by default..spectators, as our PM pays & plays for time this last week, paying over to French Govt not 30 silver pieces but £44m sterling ..take up the Cross & your journey to Good Friday & Calais begins..Jesus speaks with authority over devil “be quiet! Come out of him!”..who is this that “gives orders even to unclean spirits & they obey him?”..the observant Jews had come to synagogue to hear watch & pray..a moment to be fed..& for us to be fed at the altar as well as in book of gospels..real food a real story Jan 2018, & then commissioned “co-missioned” Jesus & us to go out & tell yes but vitally to do..to do things differently & “with authority” with the belief conviction passion of a Fr Francis Dobson..& who seeded that belief in him?..his Jesus true, & also his fellow disciples, his beloved neice, students he taught, colleagues & his monastic community..he taught us not to deny the Cross, refuse it or delay lifting it, but to shoulder it, to carry it in the direction Christ needs of you, at his pace, co-operators ..Jesus & Pope Francis, Jesus & our Fr Francis, & now Jesus & you.. “I know who you are..the Holy One of God..” how do you hear it?..is it you speaking of Jesus?..or Jesus speaking of you?..succession planning at its best.. [4thSunYrB Mk1;21-28]