As we began to celebrate Mass again in Our Lady & St Benedict’s a fortnight ago, I have been sharing a few lines with you from Sr Joan Chittisters book “the Time is Now” from a chapter entitled “risk” then last weekend “audacity” [bravery boldness courage ] & this weekend “authenticity”. “called traitors, called agitators, called bizarre, & most of all called to “be careful, be patient, be nice” while our most invisible sins fester in our midst. Despite the fact that scripture is painfully clear “if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle?” what antidote to social sin, to godlessness in government, to throwaway populations of forgotten people will ever be able to be heard if no one shouts their name?. To revolt against the status quo tastes of personal independence, but to be an agitator in a time of complacency-history is obvious-is a gift to the whole society. Religious communities, churches, & intentional groups for whom the very definition of commitment implies a prophetic stance in the face of moral deterioration of the society around it are prophetic by nature. They know that prayer & prophecy must be soulmates. Otherwise, either their prayer life will simply be formulaic or their ministries will shrivel for want of a living Spirit within them. Amos calls us to examine the roots of our security. He prods us to ask ourselves what we do to advocate for justice for the least of them. He calls us to acknowledge the underpaid we see around us, to share our own property & resources, our personnel & money, for their advancement. He insists that we begin to see. To be a follower of Jesus & ignore those who sit blind by the side of the road calling for help because, we say, we are too busy to do anything, unmasks our commitment to comfort. The question is not “what are we doing? the question is “what should we be doing in this time & on this day & in this particular situation? “ [1025am on Sunday 26 July 2020 in the Covid pandemic?] It is a moral moment again; every moment is a moral moment, because every moment involves a decision. The point is that we cannot now stop asking these questions & be authentically spiritual. Jesus goes on asking every generation unremittingly “and you, what will you do?” we cannot see injustice & say nothing, do nothing. Not if we are to be authentically spiritual rather than simply pious actors in the game called “church”. [Sr Joan Chittister OSB]
“and you, what will you do?” news from St Bede’s & St Joseph’s RC College Bradford from one of the staff who bring students to us on retreat “I’m so proud of the things they have been doing independently, deciding to raise money for care homes & food banks by running up & down a garden, or doing keepy ups with a toilet roll, sending letters to care homes..& they have just decided it’s a right thing to do, not us telling them. I feel put to shame at times.” Inner city Bradford with all its deprivations, its authentic discipleship is in good health.
Our three weekend Masses again drew encouraging numbers, given many of you are, understandably, still anxious to return to Mass this soon, albeit we are providing as safe an environment as possible. 50 parishioners in total, with an impressive number  of our young people who spoke with gratitude at being able to be back at Mass..spiritual authenticity.
Clare Jennings moved last week from Nazareth House in Hammersmith to Holy Cross Priory Care Home in Heathfield in Sussex, & her sister Jenifer Smith leaves us to move south in two weeks’ time. Please keep them both in your prayers; they have been stalwart servant disciples in the Parish & Clare at the College, & we owe them enormous gratitude.
As the economic situation worsens, & many who were being furloughed find that their work is in jeopardy, could I remind you of our Food Initiative in the Village, where it is possible to approach Ray & Deb in the Village Shop, & quietly ask for a bag of food essentials which will be delivered to your door. This has been working well since the lockdown began, & it could be more of us in the Village, particularly now the school holidays are beginning & there are no school lunches, will find the initiative helpful.
The St Vincent de Paul Society [SVP] both nationally & at our Parish Conference level are offering additional support to the elderly & disadvantaged during the Covid crisis, with a national emergency fund as well local help; they are gently doing great work; you can gain more information from the national website www.svp.org.uk from our Parish website or direct to Mary Borrett firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember in your prayers our parishioners in Our Lady & the Holy Angels in Gilling as our Church there remains closed. I hope they will feel warmly welcome to join us here, especially in this in-between time, which will be, for all of us, different, strange & somewhat difficult, feelings we will share together, cradled inspired & encouraged by our patrons, Our Lady, St Benedict & the Holy Angels.