Pentecost..the feast of the birthday of the Church.. Jesus the Jew started a reform movement in Judaism, & eventually, as the status quo smelled a threat, closed ranks & scapegoated him to death, the process of reform & radicalisation lived on, giving birth to Christianity..& in turn to Catholicism.. ..this is the moment when you & I are fully empowered radicalised to become part of Gods reform movement, as we open our hearts to be penetrated by the presence & the person of the Holy Spirit..the power behind the throne, the fuel in our tank.. ..the day/ moment to risk, perhaps for first time in a lifetime, coming to life.. ..taking the risk & enjoying the consequences..happy birthday!..
..for the times of disbelief indifference & long faced un cooperation that has stunted the growth of the Church, & each & every one of us, let us ask for Our Lords forgiveness..
“..bend the stubborn heart & will..” my stubbornness ; Lord have mercy “..melt the frozen warm the chill..” my permafrost ; Christ have mercy “..heal our wounds, our strength renew..” my self inflicted wounds ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“..taking the risk & enjoying the consequences” ..a lovely mission statement for our Catholicism..official mission statement for Catholic Church is most closely guarded secret after secrets of Fatima “semper reformanda” [ always reforming] & yet tragically too often too many of us exist in a religion of melancholy instead of living a spirituality of new life in joy & love under inspiration of Holy Spirit “come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of your faithful, enkindle in us the fire of your love, & we [we] shall recreate the face of Ampleforth” todays feast gifts us breath of God, the Holy Spirit “breathe on me breath of God”..talking to teacher in SBPS last wk “the children in class don’t like the wind..it unsettles them” so now go back to gospel we’ve just shared & feel gap distance between whats just blown through your heart & conscience, & the dull boring uninspiring piece of written work recorded on paper from a distance; well clear of risk & opportunity, a safe few lines leaving hearer [ not listener ] comforted & self assured, as they have been led to believe all these years, where they sat & did as they were told, obedient spectators, never to become adventuorous disciples..Yvonne Foster could have cited her disability/disease, remained in pew & wheelchair, praying from sidelines..instead she took risk, went up in a glider & by gum enjoyed the consequences..a Holy Spirit moment for her, where she put her fears, her feet on ground & observance to one side, & got the wind beneath her wings ..real thermals, the breath support excitement of Holy Spirit, & made it her contribution towards renewing face of Ampleforth..& monies she raised yes valuable but low value currency compared to faith value she accumulated for us..her gospel adventure woven seamlessly to gospel incident just before our lifeless rendition I read to you..Mary Magdalen had gone to tomb to cry grieve & pray..found tomb empty & met gardener “tell me where you have put him” he said one word “Mary” & she knew..”go find the brothers & tell them” so what do imagine happened?..ran fast as she could to upper room; it took them 4mins to unlock padlocks mortice &yale locks on door..frightened rabbits afraid of Jews maybe, afraid of themselves is more like truth..she falls into room runs to Peter rock grabs him by scruff of tunic & with eyes like saucers tells him “we have seen Him, He is alive!”..& poor Peter a cold glazed look of disbelief..”it couldn’t be could it?..& surely to one of us not to a woman like the Magdalen?..”empty eyes cold heart..imagine & feel gap between Magdalen, chosen to be first to meet Risen Christ, & the loyal trusties locked away, afraid of the message the woman & the wind..”Come Holy Spirit; breathe on me breath of God”..Holy Spirit hokmah feminine dimension of God..intimate caring loving.. restoring life/ breath to breathless suffering from pneumonia..spiritual pneumonia..power to break open not just tarmac roads to mend broken water mains, but breaking open hard hearts to mend broken relationships..power/ breath of God breathed into our lungs & hearts to enable us to recreate face of Ampleforth..sleepily comfortable & complacent, reflective of self enclosed protectiveness of gospel; hostile to change, to risk of fracking or migrants or Windrush generation..one of my retreat students this wk telling me of her grandma, a Windrush victim..the name of a ship & a crime against migrancy on this day of a wind rush, as Holy Spirit comes into our lives to unsettle us..wind the Spirit blowing through our lives & faith, giving birth to the Church, semper reformanda, ever in process of coming to birth..”Peace be with you “..in a closed locked bolted room of a Church isn’t good enough “as the Father sent me so am I sending you” & not to retain sins please..as if the real Jesus full of compassion mercy & love would voice such divisory emotive tones.. ”for those who sins you forgive, they are forgiven”full stop..no exclusions, no Windrush of old, just windrush of new..perhaps no coincidence data protection legislation comes in next Friday, when all information held on us has to be recorded, & be disclosed if we ask for it..skeletons on my file..frightening..& yet our spiritual file, held on each of us in heaven, has but three words on it..imagine three words..the divine reference in God’s own handwriting, recorded for our eternal future; guilty redeemed & mine. [ Pentecost Jn 20;19-23]