“..this was the expectation of your people..the saving of the virtuous & the ruin of their enemies..” ..the great expectations of the chosen people of OT tragically still live on in minds of some of us..a theology of reward & punishment.. reward for the believer, notably for us practising Roman Catholics, & ruin for those who oppose our faith & our way of life.. in the light of the great expectations of Jesus Christ some of us are in for shock.. when [ not if ] we get to heaven & see our erstwhile enemies offering us a welcome home
“..this was [is] the expectation of your people..” ; Lord have mercy “..you made us [ all of us ] glorious by calling us to you..” ; Christ have mercy “..that the saints would share the same blessings & dangers alike..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“..sell your possessions & give alms” a week last Thursday met with Rev Catherine Reid here for our regular get-together, to pray to share & to discuss our own wellbeing & our pastoral care among you..a monthly highlight, a special form of eucharist/communion..later that day went to Leyburn to visit friend of mine, to walk his dog & have fish & chips & saw firsthand evidence of devastation caused by flash floods 48hrs earlier..that evening on Look North report from Reeth on Vicar..her vicarage had been badly flooded; she was cheerfully taking stock & courage as she began to clear mess, ruined furniture & carpets.. I thought of Rev Catherine & her/my fellow minister in Reeth & wondered what could we do? I could take £500 from our parish savings, destined to refettle our own buildings here, & send it to her with promise of our love & prayers, & having slept on it I didn’t..I wondered how you’d react to news I’d given away £500 from your parish purse without asking you..& would answer have been a resounding “yes” or “perhaps £250 instead Fr Bede” or lets take it to next Parish Council meeting..”get yourselves purses that do not wear out”..35yrs ago I was asked to help community of Poor Clares in Arkley London; their monastery needed new roof..with other expert help, we invited tenders & chose best roofing contractor; Abbess keen to sign contract & get on with work..I asked gently how much they might have in bank to pay towards cost of £250,000..huge sum all those years ago..she smiled & explained they’d been extra careful with spending in recent yrs & had accrued £50,000..I explained it wasn’t enough..a risk to sign contract if we didn’t have the money to pay monthly bills.. “God will provide” she said..but ”the Son of Man is coming at an hour you don’t expect” & so would the bills..”God will provide”; she signed contract & 18months later work was finished & every bill had been paid on time..their life & bank account moth proof / thief proof..empty & regularly emptied & refilled.. whilst we cautiously ruefully smile..God smiles differently..he, if not through us, will & does provide. “where is your passion?..the energy you gave your life for all those years ago?” words of young practising RC girl addressed to her Parish Priest..as our 9 young disciples return from their pilgrimage to Medugorje with empty purses & full passionate hearts..”see that you are dressed for action & have your lamps lit”..if I was approached tomorrow to be asked if we could adopt & house a family of asylum seekers for up to a year to live in the Parish House, could I muster a team from among you here listening, to work /pray with me to transform our dilapidated House into a beautiful home by Saturday week..could we do it? dressed for action/ lamps lit/ passionate..”& ready to open the door next Sat week as soon as he comes & knocks” Christ in disguise..“Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?” Peter bless him, always timid, always gets it wrong & betrays his own indecisiveness..”its not meant for us Lord surely, not on our own & not to such a tight timetable..we’d need others to help, others permission if we are to achieve the impossible, wouldn’t we? “..Jesus’ message to Peter & now to you & I is loud & clear..& loving..”get cracking..stop talking about it endlessly” “happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment” ..what is our current project within the Parish, our homework?..& what is our project externally from Parish, our outreach?.. “the servant who knows what his master wants but has not even started..” we know from our vision statement..your vision statement..what the master wants..”when a man has had a great deal given him & given him on trust” Jesus expects of me, & through me of you.. ”happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes” the longer we want, like Peter, to negotiate the terms /conditions, the more likely the migrants, & the master himself in disguise, will have moved on & “God will provide” elsewhere..”it was by faith that Abraham set out without knowing where he was going..by faith he arrived a migrant/ foreigner in the promised land..they lived there [ like our Joel ] in tents.” & Abraham & Fr Bede looked forward to a city/ a parish founded designed & built by God” where “God does provide” into passionate emptied & expectant hearts.. [19thSunYrC Lk 12;32-48]