“..now I know brothers, that neither you nor your leaders had any idea what you were really doing”..a statement of clemency towards the Jews ..& for us..as so often we like them get the big moments in life badly wrong.. Peter attempts to offer two vital stages in a journey of reconciliation for the mob who crucified Jesus.. first is to help them [us] to honestly face the truth..they & we full participants in handing him over to death..it is the Pilates’ Caiphas’ soldiers & centurions of this world that we attempt to make scapegoats, as we deceptively try to hide from the moment & the evidence..however, we are guilty / accessories to the fact.. then secondly, having pleaded guilty, having been found with our fingerprints all over the 30 silver pieces, & being genuinely remorseful, comes forgiveness.. “repent & turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out” & will you?..will you repent? will you voice your sorrow to Jesus heart to heart?..& to his parish family through the Sacrament of Reconciliation? ..could you in 5mins of explanation convince our six First Holy Communion candidates of the importance of this key moment in our emerging relationship with Jesus?..& to voice to them the benefits you enjoy from going to Confession? will they look into your eyes & hearts & be convinced that you are convinced? that we practice what we preach & expect of them.. ..a vital moment here & now for you to choose to begin again..your call your choice..
“..the Lord hears me whenever I call him..” ; Lord have mercy “..I will lie down in peace & sleep comes at once..” ; Christ have mercy “..it is the Lord who grants favours to those whom he loves..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..some months ago in retreat with Yr 11 boys who began 48hrs thinking they had come for a lazy easy time out of School, to relax & misbehave with their pals; they got, much to their surprise, an upper room experience, as they came to their senses & realised this was a moment like never before; one question of many “is there an unforgivable sin?”.. instead of giving them an easy answer we worked at it together, & a full hour later I put their question to them & they gave me the answer..so too in gospel, Our Lord the best of teachers doing what good teachers do best..inspire encourage & walk alongside student disciples as they begin to learn step by step what it’s all about..not Maths or English but life & faith skills..at his death they had all splintered & scattered, lost direction in their deeper selves & in their faith..two of them walking back to Emmaus got into step with stranger &discovered the Risen Christ..ran back to upper room to tell remnant/dross..it was to dross, & it was in dross, that the Risen Christ did & still does appear..in a state of alarm agitation & doubt, to look touch & see; & still “they could not believe” he began to explain, to help them towards understanding, enabling them, eventually, to evaluate then to witness to the reality of reconciliation “repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations”..some time now since I shared with you my story of James, long stay prisoner in Mountjoy Prison Dublin..relate it to you again..same words but he you & I have changed so much, you will relate to story far differently this time; real live lectio divina in Easter season..as part of my pastoral placement on my year in Dublin 2001, I visited Mountjoy Prison each Wed evg; to get to James’ cell I’d to go through 15 locked doors, a prison officer at each; as last one opened cell door he would tell me he’d come back for me at 9pm 90mins later..James maybe 40yrs old married three teenage children ..second day in prison his first letter from his wife..opened it frantically looking for three key words, instead found four words “I want a divorce” crucify him crucify him..on one visit, sitting on one chair James on edge of bed he asked for my chair; put it on top of bed got up on bed then chair, got hold of bars on tiny window high up in cell, pulled himself up & looked out..“Fr Bede do you know what I can see?..a bridge..one day I am going to walk across that bridge”..his dream & still waiting for his dream to come true..on another evg when I entered cell, on bedside locker paper plate & piece of apple pie..against rules to have food in cell..extra 3months on sentence if found..we talked, then suddenly he reached for paper plate & offered me pie..my initial reaction from head to refuse it..stolen from prison kitchen, gone through all sorts of hands, coughed sneezed over, & I didn’t want it..suddenly a coming to ones senses moment..I thought of priest at Mass..here was James priest offering me the body of Christ in a moth eaten piece of apple pie..”take this all of you & eat it; this is my body” one thing James had to show his love for me was his last piece of apple pie..his story is ours..to tell your nearest dearest 10times day three key words..to hold on to your dream..& at some stage someone in your life will be in need of your last piece of apple pie & the making of you will be moment when you sacrifice it & yourself..I saw ordinary piece of pie, the disciples saw ordinary piece of grilled fish, & to these basic ingredients add vital ingredient; presence life & influence of Holy Spirit & the miracle happens..eucharist..what will you see in 15mins time?.. pie fish bread & wine or Christ in disguise?..a gardener, a prisoner, a dross of a remorseful parishioner..you are witnesses to this, from a prison cell with a life sentence, or from a Church pew with a life sentence, & now an opportunity to reform..James or you? or both of you? the Body of Christ at its best..in remorse in remission..a moment & a season of opportunity if if you believe in him & in yourself..this is a weekend for inmates not visitors..disciples not parishioners..tents not lodges..& what pray is the unforgivable sin?..you have ingredients the key, cell door number, & enough faith experience to work & pray it off the plate you have become dependent on, & into your heart ..enjoy discovering it, then savour teaching your loved ones how to find it..the answer & in person.. [3rdSunEasterYrB Lk24;35-48]