“..if you are harsh with the widow, stranger or orphan, my anger will flare, & I shall kill you with the sword..” ..the God of the Old Testament doesn’t suffer fools gladly.. ..difference between wise man & fool is that the wise man makes a mistake once & learns from it for the next time..fool keeps making same mistake over & over again.. & as we, albeit by default if not design, molest the stranger the migrant & those who live on universal credit, let us begin this Mass with a resolution to wise up & rise up..to offer Christ in need our prayer & our practical help from our position of privilege & plenty..
“..if you lend to any poor among you, you must not demand interest..” ; Lord have mercy “..if you take a pledge, you must give it back before sunset..” ; Christ have mercy “..you must not molest the stranger or migrant for you lived as strangers..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..the loaded question; Laura Kunsberg BBC political editor head to head with Teresa May trying to score points & unsettle an embattled Prime Minister..it all happened 2000yrs ago when two avowed hostile religious parties Pharisees & Sadducees formed an unholy alliance to undermine Jesus with loaded question “Master” as if they would ever utter that title with any sincerity or respect “Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?” & calmly he gives them first, & as a bonus, second..you know them well enough; love of God love of neighbour “on these hang the whole Law & the Prophets also” notice he includes, as St Benedict would centuries later, the extra word “whole” Law, not parts of it..no cherry picking of bits you like, or bits you like to throw at your neighbours greenhouse, but whole of it..Cardinal Kevin Farrell who leads Vatican Dicastry for Laity Family & Life, encouraged us at Faith & Life Convention in Belfast last month to read Amoris Laetitia [ the Joy of Love ] not just Chapter 8 but whole story..Ch 8 is juicy bit if you are looking for a loaded answer on issue of Communion for divorced & remarried.. have you read Amoris Laetitia yet?..when, not if, you do you are in for treat..whole truth & nothing but the truth..so often, too often, we hunger for gossip & soundbite rather than savouring full meal & whole truth “& the Prophets also“ Jesus encouraging the insiders, the observant Jews, to listen to the outsider, the radical wandering preacher who gave an alternative take on what was set in stone in Jewish Law..& our equivalent today?..a few courageous Bishops & theologians who are prepared to pray & work outside the box; alongside Pope Francis rather than stealthily against him..Ch 8 readers & complainants rather than the full unabridged Amoris Laetitia bridge builders..architects of a future not our own; custodians/ stewards not archivists, those romantics who re read nostaligically annals of so called “good old days”..listen to Archbishop Oscar Romero ; “nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us; we water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise; we are prophets of a future not our own.”..Romero, like Jesus, a radical prophet, a migrant to South America who paid ultimate price, murdered on behalf of the status quo..Jesus seems to offer two commandments for you & I to begin again to live by..however be careful of missing real lesson, the hidden gem..placed gently skilfully by Jesus between two commandments, waiting for the sharp eyed open minded full hearted to notice & to be affirmed by..he says “you must love your neighbour as yourself”..so there are three commandments on offer; to love God, love neighbour, & love oneself..& now put them in order of practice.. God neighbour & self as I was taught by Sr Dolores at St Teresa’s PS & then by Jesuits in Leeds, but surely a revision is worth contemplating..God first, then self second & neighbour third..we need to love ourself, before, in a loving contented relationship with our God, we can go out to tell & to convince others..the word body language & story of disciple will always encourage inspire others to sit up & take notice; email last wk from Peterborough Cath Nurses Guild..”we held a fundraiser for victims of Grenfell Tower disaster; we did a light lunch & raffle..up to now with donations added we’ve raised over £900. We’ve decided not to put it into the big pot..it seems not to have yet reached people who need it most; instead will give it to St Francis of Assisi Church who serve the area; we are going to visit the Church ourselves & have Mass with them.” value added of their gift is to take it, person to person, Christ to Christ..is it enough any longer for us to send food to MFB?..or could some of us, with time on our hands or not, with fire in our hearts, be prepared to go up 2/3 in a car once a fortnight to help in Food Bank, in loving word & presence, among victims of a Ch 8 only society; cherry pickers, us & them..us so far only providers, not yet companions..Jesus didn’t say “send it to the least”..YO62 to TS5..but “do it”..& will you? “..you observed the life we lived & you were led to become imitators of us & of the Lord..this made you the great example to all believers you became servants of the real living God”..providers & servant-companions..click.[30thSunYrA;Mt22;34-40]