“The world today is increasingly interdependent, meaning we all rely on other countries for our own well-being. Though we may live in different parts of the world, we are all part of one human family & therefore we seek a universal common good. This means that nations must also help humans who are not from their country. This is why the Church works towards assisting refugees & migrants who are displaced from their homes. Jesus taught the Golden Rule to his disciples “always treat others as you would like them to treat you; that is the meaning of the Law & Prophets.” (Mt 7:12) The Common Good is” the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully & more easily.” (Gaudium et Spes; Vat 2: Pope John XX111) To pursue the common good is to work towards the greatest good for all persons, not the greatest good for the greatest number, & certainly not the greatest good for only a specific group of people.”
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” (from an email from Suffolk last week)
In Confessions in SBPS this last week I shared Seiger Koder’s painting of the birth of Jesus with each pupil in turn. We celebrated Mary’s evident joy at the birth of the Christ child, & questioned Joseph’s look of sad puzzlement, perhaps indicative of his failure to provide a warm, safe home for the birth, together with his thought for a future which would see a tragic death on the Cross. Also his realisation that Jesus was Son of God & Son of Mary, with his own role as stepfather. We noticed a young girl, possibly our age, maybe a shepherdess praying alongside the manger. In the roof-space was a man clearly fast asleep, oblivious to the tremendous happenings below. We realised that, although Christmas for us will centre on the Christ child, for many more it will focus on presents, parties, decorations & Santa Claus, sadly leaving them unaware & asleep to the real meaning of Christmas & the real gift. On the side of the wooden manger, we noticed four letters had been inscribed: INRI. We looked ahead to the death of Jesus when, on the Cross above Jesus’ head was the coded inscription INRI (the King of the Jews). Looking again at the roof-beams, it was now possible to see the outline of a cross/crucifix directly above the manger. It is a tribute to the School staff, & to the parents & grandparents of the children who help to foster & encourage the faith of our students, that they are now able to read, to pray, & to translate such spiritual opportunities in so inspiring & challenging ways. (You can see copies of Sieger Koder’s painting at the back of Church on the School notice-board. Please offer a prayer there for each of us that we may regain that spiritual appetite to see, to question, & to discover again the true spirit of Advent & Christmas.) As a Parish, it would be wonderful if we could see & taste some of the spiritual appetite & energy of our young disciples on a regular basis, perhaps through a monthly Children’s Mass, where our exceptional School could be woven into the life of our Parish family.
We have our Parish Forum this Sunday at 11.15am in the Parish Hall, as we pray, listen & share with each other, under the gentle encouragement of the Vision Group, towards the emergence in Advent of a Vision Statement for the Parish. Please try to join us, as it is vital that what emerges under the guidance of the Holy Spirit is seasoned & inspired by the experience & wise counsel of each of you, as we pray, discern & work towards the common good. With love & prayers, Fr Bede.