“We are all, at times, unconscious prophets. It is a lovely thought, an intriguing one, but, frankly, a little too loose to be a very demanding concept. The world cannot afford “unconscious prophets” much longer. On the contrary, we need to decide on which areas of change we ourselves want to concentrate. We are here to be messengers of God. We are here to be a rudder on the ship of life. We are meant to be heralds & watch guards, lovers & followers of the Jesus who called all of Israel to remember the poor, save the women, embrace the outliers, consort with the foreigners, & wrestle the Law to the ground of compassion. It is a most exalted, most demanding, most dangerous calling. But without it, we will never become the whole of ourselves. Unless & until we accept the prophet’s call, we may be great caretakers, good scholars, sincere seekers, fine people, but we will never be fully “spiritual”. We will be liked, admired, respected, & safe. But truly spiritual? Not completely. The question is “who’s respect would we risk to have?” would we want to be found on the side of the peacemakers, the single women, the discriminated against, the immigrants, the thinkers & the changers of a society who’s corporate directors get richer every day, while the middle class disappears, & the poor get more destitute by the hour. In fact, does anyone know anymore, just by looking at what we are doing, whose side we are on? & how would they prove it?” (The Time is Now: Joan Chittister OSB)
An important initiative in helping weave together our three Churches in the process of amalgamation, which began with the onset of Fr Matthews dementia early last year, & the subsequent meetings we held in Gilling, Oswaldkirk & Ampleforth, & the wise counsel which emerged from those who contributed, & which was then taken to Fr Prior & his Council for consideration, & their decision to bring together the three Churches with (ultimately) one Parish Priest, & the formation of a Coordinating Group to help us in the short term to take necessary & early decisions in advance of the formulation of a Parish Pastoral Council, is our Parish Lunch this Sunday, fittingly on the Feast of the Epiphany, with the showing of the Christ Child to all nations. Hearteningly over a 100 parishioners from the three Churches have signed up for the meal which will begin at 12 noon, a two course lunch with wine & soft drinks, which will finish with carol singing. It will provide a fine opportunity for us to circulate & to put names to faces as we gradually & gently get to know one another. We are grateful to the Coordinating Group, to Fran & Mathew Evans, who are catering for us, & to those from all three Churches who will be providing practical help for us on the day.
On Wednesday this week, St Benedict’s Primary School will celebrate an Epiphany Mass with us in Church at 9.30am. rather than “missing” the Feast, the School were keen to celebrate it together, & I hope some of you will take the opportunity to join us for this further & ongoing opportunity in weaving together the life & faith of our School & Parish. With my love & prayers Fr Bede.