..today feast of Christ the King..last Sunday of Church Year ..like your last rolo, it is always good to save the best until last, & some of our best our very best are our young people..& today is Youth Sunday..a DSP for our young disciples ..in thanksgiving for all they bring to us as a Parish in their presence, their prayer & their appetite..
last month, a Synod on Youth in Rome, which Pope Francis closed on 28 October by asking young people for forgiveness..he spoke then on our behalf, & again here & now..
“..forgive us as often we have not listened to you ; instead of opening our hearts, we have filled your ears..” ; Lord have mercy “..as Christ’s Church we want to listen to you with love; your lives are precious in God’s eyes, because God is young & loves young people, & your lives are precious in our eyes too..” ; Christ have mercy “..what do you want me to do for you?..not according to my own preconceived ideas, but for you, in your particular situation..” ..what do you want me to do for you?.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..in my retreat work with young for last 20yrs I’ve learned you have a friend for life if you look into their heart for Jesus, & if you tell them the truth..they spot pretence waffle & hypocrisy, & like prodigal son, if they smell it they will ask for their share of estate & walk out..a young person of great wealth in faith & potential, disillusioned by wordplay & mindgames..our gospel is but one example..why on earth edit out such a contextual sentence to begin & so moving a final sentence in a wonderfully mutually caring gospel?..why compromise the whole truth?..I share their passion appetite & demand for the full story for authenticity..for that which Jesus was to die for & Pilate to die with.. ”Truth?..what is that?” a dialogue of reconciliation Pilate with Jesus, where each had perhaps made assumptions about the other on basis of heresay, word on street, gossip & second hand evidence “I came into the world for this; to bear witness to the truth, & all who are on side of truth listen to my voice” a challenge to take sides, to stand up & be counted..to stand & speak out for truth..will you?..whose side are you on?..truthfully? reality/truth..Gk word “alitheia” “that which cannot be forgotten”..to be real, a reality which inevitably involves hurt & pain, truth sets us free.. Jesus & Pilate meet for first time, a day of judgement..prisoner & judge..youngster & parent..which is which?..the Jewish mob, fickle followers, & Caiphas high priest saw Jesus as threat to their own status quo “we’ve always done it this way Fr Bede” so Pilate sensitively takes Jesus into his own custody..when was last time you took your Jesus into safe custody, truthfully? so Pilate went back into the Praetorium & called Jesus to him”..the Praetorium Pilates own inner sanctum where any Jew wouldn’t be seen dead, a safe space away from unreality & lip gloss “are you the King of the Jews?” Pilate at his incisive best straight to point ; he’d make a fine Yorkshireman..”do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me?” are you really interested in discovering the truth or is it just an overture before the motions of a puppet trial?..truth meets truth & genuine dialogue begins, each listens open eared open hearted to other..youngster & parent, parishioner & priest, a level playing field where fellow playmates meet truthfully in love..dialogue ends & everlasting relationship begins with Pilate’s last throw of dice”surely you know I have the power to release you & I have the power to crucify you” & Jesus responds in kind, in mutual respect “you would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above” the power, real power & authority you hold, to be yourself real truthful & sincere, comes from same source as my reservoir of truth, from our Father, each of us are wrestling in different ways with our relationship with the truth..are we not?..the mob, then & now, persist, thirsty for a victim a scapegoat someone to blame as I’m held captive in my world of unreality & self deception..”you should not write “King of the Jews” but “this man said “I am King of the Jews” Pilates last recorded words were his own truth “what I have written I have written” & Jesus’ own final words echo same act of faith, of that fullness of relationship we call intimacy “it is accomplished” the reality of making love.. the truth will set you free..some years ago retreat to Conf candidates ;30 of them age 14/15; 25 wanted to be here 5 kicked against it & me..on Sat evg hearing confessions; steady stream of youngsters until suddenly in doorway was one of 5 most disruptive & disinterested..my heart sank..& I asked myself “why me?” he sauntered in & sat down. Furious inside I said gently “how do you feel?” & waited for abuse anger retort..he said “I’m glad I came” & I melted..how badly wrong I had been..judged him on attitude, his t shirt, unkempt appearance & suddenly, in what he perceived safe space, he removed his mask & spoke his truth..Christ in a t shirt, a servant priest & servant king to me..& can I ask you now in truth “are you glad you came?..truthfully..are you glad you came?.. [Christ theKingYrBJn18;33-37]