“..& you will be called by a new name, one which the mouth of the Lord will confer” ..after Christmas & the birth of the infant Jesus in us, & after Jesus’ baptism into the community of faith, & our own renewal of our baptismal promises here last weekend, we return to Ordinary Time, as if any time or season could be ordinary.. ..it is always reforming growing deepening.. “..& you will be called by a new name..” no longer Roman Catholic but Christian..how does that sound & feel? We began our Week of Prayer for Christian Unity last Friday, so this is the appropriate moment to realise & celebrate our common unity, in name if not yet in practice & in place..
“..no longer are you to be named “forsaken/abandoned” departed & distant.. St Hilda’s & Our Lady & St Benedict’s.. ; Lord have mercy “..you shall be called “my delight”..them & us together.. ; Christ have mercy “..your land & buildings & your denominations “the wedded” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“you will be called by a new name”..on retreats for Confirmation candidates I ask them what name they have chosen to sit alongside & season/grow on their baptismal name..I asked one lad; he had chosen Michael so I asked why? “because my grandad’s called Michael & I would like to grow up to be as good a person as he is”..today is Peace Sunday DSP for World Peace.another new name for a Catholic..a peacemaker..some yrs ago Mother Teresa awarded Nobel Prize for Peace..all world leaders present & at end of ceremony, these experts in government diplomacy & statesmanship asked the frail elderly nun if she could offer them any advice in furthering world peace ; she said “go home & love your family” in this Wk Pryr Christian Unity how proficient are we at loving each other in family?; at home, in my community & in this parish family? & crucially how good are we at loving our brothers & sisters in Christ at St Hilda’s; a week of prayer for peace & common unity, different denominations different gifts making peace in different ways..”the Holy Spirit given to each person is for a good purpose” what do you think is particular gift strength divine characteristic given to each person in your family? & will you risk asking them to tell you what they believe to be the particular gift you bring into family?“..& you will be called by a new name” Michael; peacemaker; Christian; our delight; & in gospel we meet a still immature Jesus, a bull in a china shop when it comes to relating to his mother “woman why turn to me?” he no doubt rocked up to wedding feast with his young friends, & as with many such gatherings, golden oldies claimed safe familiar space to sit chatter & remember good old days, whilst youngsters out of sight if not out of criticism, did their own socialising..& Mary broke ranks & convention by invading youngsters sacred space..& then asked for his help; however, having been well & truly put in her place, she doesn’t take him on; she knows him better than he knows himself; he’ll come round & melt in few moments, all bark no bite..so she says calmly to servants “do whatever he asks”..be ready for the unexpected & for his different gifts & talents..he does warm, his better self, like ours, emerges & servants respond dutifully & trustfully ; 180 gallons of water..imagine carrying that from brook at bottom of Stn Rd up here..& no questioning, no gripe, no “why us?..& so tell me, what turned it into the best wine? there is no explicit prayer by Jesus..no finger dipping ..what was vital ingredient that turned the water into wine? one word; faith/belief..ultimate gift of Holy Spirit which consistently makes the impossible possible..”go home & love your family” “draw some out now” draw some out from the reservoir of goodness which collects in family..trickles in, drips in on bad days, & cascades in on good days..it sounds too simple too ordinary to be true; the best isn’t necessarily kept back until last..it /goodness waits as long as it takes for the steward/homemaker/peacemakers among you to hear & realise the simplicity of the instructions, the gentle advice..the one vital ingredient in this wedding banquet we share weekly, & some of us daily, is that extra pinch of goodness, like sprinkling of salt or one turn of pepper mill, that brings meal & its unity& love to full flavour..our Eucharist needs each of you, your sprinkling in of your particular offering/characteristic to make flavour of our meal tasty..& pray what do you think is needed to make our meal outstanding? the meal of a lifetime & for a lifetime?..its the salt pepper & ingredients & experiences of our fellow cooks at St Hilda’s..& once we all sit down at common table for a first one meal together, fellow Christians, no longer Catholics & Anglicans but now, & for a lifetime, believers, it will be a meal & experience where, every moment from then on, is peaceful “..& his disciples believed in him”..notice one word one gift had been realised; belief..water into wine; Catholics into Christians; 180 gallons..in few moments time will you be tasting sip of ordinary wine or will it be a taste of eternity to die for?.. will you step up to the plate & to the altar with Mary & risk that belief in her Son that, in spite of his macho dismissiveness & petulance, he can is & he will be a channel of peace, working praying alongside your belief in him that can, together, achieve the impossible.. ”my hour has not yet come” he convinced no one by his delaying tactics & so too with you & I..this is the moment to get cracking, sacrament of present moment, to risk putting your faith in him..to put your belief into practice as a peacemaker in family..to turn water, particularly choppy waters, into a calm safe harbour, where difference is welcomed, failure is redeemed, & our differences celebrated..”go home & love your family” [2ndSunYrC Jn 2;1-11]