..have you been let down by someone this last week? your trust in them compromised/ betrayed? will you offer them a fresh start a clean slate & a deepening relationship because of the let down/ breakdown/ infidelity ? ..have you let down the Lord this last week? his trust in you compromised / betrayed? & here & now he offers you , & me after my betrayal of him, a blessing.. our sole refuge, our ground zero, is God..& because of our extraordinary relationship with & in the divine, God’s sole refuge, his ground zero, I would like to suggest, is us.. so does God need us?..I’d like to say & I’d like to invite you to consider saying yes..he has a dependency on us..he has entrusted his life & his world to us..he needs to continue to rely on us, & therefore to maintain his trust in us..
“..a blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord..” ; Lord have mercy “..a blessing on the Lord who puts his trust in man..” ; Christ have mercy “..a blessing with the Lord & with man for being each others hope..”; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
Matthew the evangelist was a racist..”what did Fr Bede just say?” Matthew the evangelist was a racist..he was prejudiced, he was a Jew writing for Jews, practising discrimination.. in his account of gospel he sees Jesus drawing select group of disciples up onto mountain for “the Sermon on the Mount” whereas Luke, as you have just heard, sees Jesus coming down off mountain & meeting large group of disciples, of poor & of disabled, for what has been called “the Sermon on the Plain” a level playing field..inclusive..& no wonder our Catholicism has chosen today as Racial Justice Sunday; a DSP for equality, parity of esteem between all races & faiths..”a blessing on the man who puts his trust in the Lord” all mankind made in the image & likeness of the Lord & of each & every brother & sister in Christ.. I’ve always struggled with this gospel of the beatitudes, a dry & crusty text, seemingly bereft of a real life story of challenge & empowerment, love & reformation.. until young people of Youth Mission Team of our diocese hyphenated & empowered the one word into two..where “beatitude” becomes “be-attitude”..to be people of attitude grit conviction & faith that makes the impossible possible..the unmissable unmissable..to take passage from Pope Francis’ homily 3wks ago at World Youth Day in Panama “Jesus reveals the now of God, who comes to meet us & call us to take part in his now of proclaiming good news, bringing liberty to captives, recovering sight for blind, setting at liberty the oppressed, announcing a year of the Lord’s favour”..this is the now of God. It is God’s time, that makes every situation & place both right & proper; in Jesus the promised future begins & becomes life. when? asks Pope Francis..”now”..& pray what does Lukes’ Jesus in our gospel offer us in his “be-attitudes?” “happy you who are hungry now..happy you who weep now” “not tomorrow “ says Pope “ now..for wherever your treasure is now, there will your heart also be; whatever you fall in love with, it will win over not only your imagination, it will affect everything. It will be what makes you get up in the morning, what keeps you going at times of fatigue, what will break open your hearts & fill you with wonder joy & gratitude. Realise that you have a mission & fall in love; that will decide everything.” last weekend on retreat with staff of St Thomas More Academy North Shields we held biscuit tin moment towards end of retreat; an opportunity for each of them to write a question on any topic on piece of paper & put it in our biscuit tin anonymously..for fear their question could be used in evidence against them for rest of teaching career..little did one of them know what they were asking me when she /he wrote on piece of paper last Saturday morning “have you ever been in love?”..we had read night before phrase from Pope’s homily “we do not always believe that the Lord can invite us to work & soil our hands with him in his Kingdom in that simple & blunt a way” & then next morning a blunt question from a Geordie to a Yorkshireman..only day after did I read & reflect on another part of Pope Francis’s homily; “in a special way throughout these days, Mary’s fiat [yes] has been whispering like a kind of music in the background. She not only believed in God & in his promises as something possible, she believed God himself & dared to say “yes” to taking part in this now of the Lord. She felt she had a mission; she fell in love & that decided everything.” the Pope finishes, dare I suggest, in an act of faith & trust in our young, & in you & me..”a blessing on the man/woman who puts their trust in the Lord” in a year of the Lord’s favour to us, who, like Mary, have won God’s favour & trust, he says with a be-attitude to die for....a fine spiritual writer Fr Donal O’Leary died 2wks ago..he described season of Lent as “a time to fall in love again with God” Ash Wednesday 3wks time & our natural instinct is to park Fr Donal’s words until then.. however, Pope Francis says “when?..now” a be-attitude..a time to fall in love again with God”..or for the first time..now.. “May you have a mission, may you fall in love; the Lord will decide everything..” [ 6thSunYrC Lk6:17.20-26 ]