“..what goes around, comes around..” old English proverb..for better or for worse you get what you deserve..where in 1st rdg warmth of welcome & generosity towards a stranger by a barren middle aged wife receives blessings a hundredfold.. ..a challenge a wake up call to you & I.. .in our Brexit..our Brexit..we seek to close doors.. & closer to home thousands of short term multi storey social housing refugees are left to the care of overstretched inexperienced councils.. ..& could we not, in our wisdom & expertise in faith, welcome a family of victims from Stockton into our Parish Hall for a month or two?.. ..in our barrenness, & for the times of crisis we judge a curse instead of an opportunity, let us ask for Our Lords forgiveness..
I am sure the families who keep appearing on our tv screens must be holy people of God.. ; Lord have mercy let us build them a small room ; whenever they come to us they can rest there.. ; Christ have mercy this time next year you will hold a son in your arms.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..a typical Matthew gospel..clinically black & white, no wriggle room no compromise.. me [ Jesus] first..anyone or anything else in your life second..the imperatives to take up the Cross, & follow in his footsteps, in the one right direction, at the one shown length of stride in my footstep, welcoming strangers prophets & little ones, because he/ she has that spiritual DNA that unique divine fingerprint & footprint that was gifted to us billions of years ago by our divine lover & creator, is authenticated revalidated time & time again.. mistake tragedy crisis afer mistake tragedy crisis, each day in each & every good work we do in Christs name with his thumbprint all over it..every cup of water, every 5p piece you put into our charity jar to help educate Christ in need & in person in a young girl of school age in Zimbabwe who can now go to school next year because of your 5p piece.. “he / she you will most certainly not lose your reward “..& when not if you get to heaven one of first people to come up to you to tap you on shoulder & offer you words of a lifetime will be the young girl “my name is Joy ;thank you for praying for me, for your love & for your 5p piece..welcome!” ..a story of another jar & a moment of ongoing spiritual education.. ..for some years I used to visit the Poor Clare nuns in Arkley just outside Barnet in North London..helped them practically when they needed advice on a new roof for their monastery..& spiritually as I heard their confessions..each time I went as a gesture of appreciation they gave me some jars of home made marmalade..clearly expected me to bring them back to Ampleforth to share with the Community..but I didn’t ..I kept them.. to give away to folk as a small gesture of appreciation or concern.. as Procurator I would celebrate Mass each weekday in Crypt of our Abbey Church & often would see our Church cleaner busily at work..one day I gave her a jar of marmalade & a card to thank her for her work..she wrote me a letter, part of which I would like to share with you.. “the Abbey is a beautiful place & I feel privileged to work in the heart of the Catholic surround..being in the Abbey is not work but a labour of love..many visitors walk through [ floor wet or dry ] & some stop to say how nice the Abbey is & how clean it all looks [feather in my cap]’ Someone said to me once that it was kind of me to clean a Catholic Church as I am Cof E religion but the Lord doesn’t mind does he? So why should his own followers? I am devoted to my work & I feel I am part of the Abbey. I know every nook & cranny in the inside of the Abbey & I feel also that the Lord knows me as much. Thank you again for your holy gift..& thank you for letting me work inside your heart.”
..& who is my neighbour?..& who really is the Christ-bearer?..& all that healing & love unlocked by a jar of marmalade..home made marmalade given away to a barren monk & then by a barren monk.. & Jesus says to me & now to us “go, & do the same yourself..” ..in Stockton Zimbabwe in your homes & in my monastery..the temporary homeless, the lifelong impoverished & the brokenhearted, closer to home than we’d like to admit, are hoping in you..hoping in Christ in you..Christ-bearers not social service volunteers..