“we only need to understand a little of Jesus’ message to know that all the old conflicts, eruptions, renewals, struggles & triumphs, anxieties & victories will return. It is like grasping a fish net with our hands & pulling it out of the water. No matter where we take hold, we will draw the whole net after us. It is just the same with Jesus’s message. No matter where your life comes into contact with him, you will be led into the whole truth. Something of his Spirit will be alive in you, & you will sense that he was from God to the extent that he acquires reality within you. There really is such a miracle; that one human being can be for another something like the living Christ, & embody a power that is stronger than death & transcends despair. If you ask how that can be, the answer is only this one impoverished word; love. We can turn it round & say “the one who keeps Jesus’s commandments is the one who really loves” but this must not be an external thing. It must come totally from within, just as a living form acquires its structure & emerges & declares itself in its own free development. There is no more compulsion & prescription; love makes its own order, & it is precisely the same as the one that existed in Jesus’ eyes. Remarkably enough, we Christians fear scarcely any energy more than the one that we call God. It seems that it is love itself that arouses the most fear within us, so that we circle around it, asking, how much are we allowed to touch each other, how much are we allowed to feel close to one another, in which parts of our bodies are we permitted to feel anything, when do we pass the limits of decency & morality? When will we have the courage, for once, to be nothing more than spirit & love? Then there would be no more contradictions between sensuality & morality, nature & culture, instinct & order, & we would simply be human beings. If Jesus had preached war on behalf of the oppressed, he would have been understood. If had preached the massing of capital on behalf of the rich, he would have been understood.. if he had revolted against exploitation, he would have had people behind him, & if he had been on the side of the exploiters, he would also have had a party of supporters. But to go forward in love alone, as if through walls, in all vulnerability, & to hope that there would be people who would prefer that above all, & that there is a language as soft as the wind, completely from the Spirit, that brings forth life; that is Jesus as the fourth evangelist paints him. He can have Jesus say “I am going to prepare a place for you” now he says the apparent opposite; “my Father & I will come & make our dwelling with you” & there is no heaven & earth, only people who are on their way to God because they already have God in themselves.” [the Empty Tomb ; Eugen Drewermann]
Last weekend, for the first time since the initial lockdown, our 10am Sunday Mass was full with 38 of you. Capacity varies depending on the mix of individuals couples & families; we have had up to 44 when a number of family groupings came. Sadly we had to suggest 4 or 5 who couldn’t get a place to consider 4pm Mass at Gilling where we had space. We welcomed back 5 of you who hadn’t been for over a year, who had now had their second vaccination & felt safe enough to return; it was tremendous to see them.
Could I please remind you of Pope Francis’ initiative in May to pray the Rosary each day of the month in the hope of an ending to the pandemic? I sent out with the Outreach last weekend the list showing which World Shrine to Our Lady is leading the prayer that particular day with a pandemic related intention for that day. This Monday it centres on the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock in Ireland, praying for all people with disabilities. Please do join in each day if you can, as we believe from personal experience in the power of prayer.
This Sunday 9 May 2021 is a World Day of Prayer for Eastern Christians, 26m Eastern Christians living in the Middle East & surrounding regions, who often find hostility from those of different faiths in the region. They remain a living testament to the roots of our Christianity, from whom our Gospel was brought & the Acts of the Apostles was lived & documented. Please pray for them; “Heavenly Father, we pray today for peace in the world, especially in the Middle East. By your heavenly grace, strengthen the faith & hope of Eastern Christians. May they be blessed with peace & prosperity in their lands. May we be inspired by their devotion & witness to the Gospel, by their love & compassion for all their communities, & by their courage, endurance & self-sacrifice in the face of oppression. Through their charity, tolerance & friendship, bring peace & reconciliation to those troubled lands, where our Christianity was born & first spread. We pray this through Christ our Lord. Amen.” [Fellowship & Aid to the Christians of the East; FACE]
In their recent meeting, the Bishops of England & Wales compiled a reflection on “the Day of the Lord” in which they pay tribute to all in the Catholic community who have shown courage, generosity & understanding in the face of the adversity this past year. They acknowledge the challenge ahead in bringing the practice of the faith to a still greater expression & strength as we begin to emerge from the pandemic. I enclose a copy of their reflection with its emphasis on our yearning for the Real Presence of the Lord in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament & in our celebration of the Eucharist, “restoring to its rightful centrality in our lives the Sunday Mass”, & the three-fold pattern to this challenge, which I will leave you to read & to reflect upon please.
Covid India records 382,000 cases each day, 3000 deaths each day, over 200,000 deaths so far, with numbers vastly understated. India is a global power in vaccine production & when its own cases were low, it exported over 60m doses. Less than 2% of population have been vaccinated. In contrast in the UK we now have 517m doses on order for a population of 68m. “we are committed to supporting the UK’s flourishing life-sciences industry & this announcement [5 May 2021] is yet another critical way we will “build back better” to protect the country in the coming months & years.” “build back better” “what am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops” our vaccines “this is what I will do; I will pull down my barns & build bigger ones” build back better? “& store all my grain & my goods in them, & I will say to my soul “my soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat drink & have a good time." [Lk 12v 17-19 ; parable of the rich fool]