“..you must not molest the stranger [ nor the migrant ] for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt” ..how do we molest them in this safe comfortable protected haven of North Yorkshire where we never see a stranger nor a migrant? you have just answered your own question with a self-indictment..you never see them, distant & distanced..difficult to hear & easy to ignore or deny “not I Lord, surely?” “you must not be harsh with the widow or the orphan” “not I Lord, surely?” ; Lord have mercy “if you lend money” when you lend money “you must not demand interest” “not I Lord, surely?” ; Christ have mercy “if he cries to me, I will listen, for I am full of pity” I [ God ], not you & I.. ; Lord have mercy
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us into everlasting life. Amen.
..last weekend the unholy alliance was Pharisees & Herodians to face the common threat, Jesus of Nazareth; I compared it to the alliance of labour & tory voters in last General Election when they..they & us perhaps..combined in face of common threat of migrancy, of the real presence of Jesus Christ in person of a migrant..this week it is the Pharisees & Sadducees; Pharisees, a lay sect, deeply devoted to national Jewish tradition, its laws & customs..& 2020yrs after Christ, they still await their Messiah..our Messiah..in their fanatical narrow mindedness Jesus was the bad apple..in contrast, Sadducees were priests slavishly conservative, addicted to the Law, unwilling to practice anything new or liberal, rejecting evolving beliefs in immortality & resurrection, always looking back to the good old days when “Moses said this or Moses said that” Pope Pius XII or Pope Paul VI followers, & with little time for the blue sky theology of Pope Francis..in today’s terms, alliance of these two groups is equivalent to the Latin Mass Society collaborating with charismatic movement, thereby constricting free movement of grace of Holy Spirit for whom there are no boundaries or battles; the alliance lacked what St Paul expounds in 2nd rdg as a code of spirituality-in-community then & now “it was with the joy of the Holy Spirit that you took to the gospel, in spite of the great opposition all round you” the full gospel not cherry picked sections that seek/demand compliance, but the awkward ground -breaking adventurous & costly sections involving love of neighbour..each & every neighbour..”Master, which is the greatest commandment ?” the loaded question “to disconcert him” as with new US Supreme Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett, her critics put to her loaded question, full length ball onto her middle stump, knowing she is a devout Catholic “what are your personal views on abortion?”..before we nominate her as candidate for canonisation, she is in favour of Trump’s hard line on immigration..she has expressed views in favour of gun rights; it’s thought she may vote against health insurance scheme Affordable Healthcare” brought in by President Obama “Obamacare” ..love of God, love of neighbour” no cosy decisions for a committed Catholic with a lively conscience is there?..is there?..if it comes easy, it may well be right but not
real..Jesus came to comfort the disturbed & to disturb the comfortable..a Jesus deeply in love with his beloved disciples & his so called faithful followers..his favourites were weakest ..strangers migrants widows orphans, victims of pay day lenders, those on pension credit, those who slept last night in M&S shop doorway in York, waiting patiently for our young revellers, expelled from pubs at 10pm, to finish their street parties at midnight & go home ..leaving Christ/them to clear lager cans discarded face masks & drug packets from shop doorway & position his sleeping bag..how else, where else, would Christ want to sleep? ..we gave a second collection 18 months ago to Arclight in York [ now called Changing Lives ] to help house the homeless..a clean sanitised paper cheque for £206, when we could have met Christ in person one Sunday night a month; a group of us, taking woolly blankets, hot soup in flasks, & £10 note for each discarded disguised Christ-in-person we found..”you were led to become imitators of us & the Lord” St Pauls gratitude to the Thessalonians; would we deserve similar gratitude for seeing loving & serving our Christ, pre-Covid & now in Covid? books placed on Paul Moore’s coffin were a fitting testament to his servant discipleship; Rule of St Benedict, the New Jerusalem Bible, his rosary beads, Martin Luther King Jr’s book “let my people go” & the Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church..”& became servants of the real living God..& how you are now waiting for Jesus”..our Paul ready willing well-able & waiting..”you were led to become imitators of us & of the Lord, & it was with the joy of the Holy Spirit that you took to the gospel [ New Jerusalem Bible & RSB ] in spite of the great opposition all round you” it could have been our Paul writing..love of God & love of every neighbour “on these hang the whole Law, & the Prophets also” our prophet, our whistleblower.. you are familiar with my disappointment with Matthew’s gospel full of insider dealing, a Jew writing for Jews, with conspicuous absence of Gentiles & migrants..yet some golden grains of yeast I discovered last week ; “his conception of law is diametrically opposed to a legalistic understanding of the practice that is inseparable from faith. The reprobate, rejected from the kingdom, & the just, introduced to it, are separated on the basis of what they have omitted to do or have done for their neighbours.” Martha has been chosen to enjoy the better part..Mary donates the tin of soup..so easily aggravates the deprivation if you don’t have a tin opener, or the gas or electric to heat it..their ingenuity now told with the joy of the Holy Spirit..their secret is..they leave the tin of beans on someone else’s radiator, even in a public library, & by teatime the contents are at best tepid..the treat of tepid Heinz beans..or the presence of Martha, with the glow warmth of piping hot mug of Christian discipleship, Heinz tomato flavoured, in Parliament Street of a Sunday night in November..”when you did this for the least of these brothers & sisters of mine, you did it for me..”