“..the day is coming now, burning like a furnace; & all the arrogant & the evil doers will be like stubble..the day that is coming will burn them up” ..our monastic community in our present crisis is learning a new word..one we have known & professed for generations..first word of Rule of St Benedict “listen..” we are beginning in humility to listen to wise counsel as it is offered with love concern & compassion..they tell us gently that we gave the impression of being arrogant/ aloof.. & it hurts because it is true..in our heyday we gave the impression we were Gods gift to Catholicism & to Catholic education..”& all the arrogant will be like stubble” ..can I suggest we each pray for each other at this Mass, for a humble & remorseful return in heart & action to our first love..Christ himself..
“..for you who [now begin again] to fear [to love ] my name..” ; Lord have mercy “..the sun of righteousness will shine out..” [ & melt our self righteous arrogance ] ; Christ have mercy “..with healing in its rays “ [ that we may be well again ] ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..as young lad in Leeds I would sometimes of a Sat morning go into town on bus with my aunt..she’d go every week to the Leeds Permanent Building Society to draw out money for my grandparents, who she lived with & looked after..I can picture it now entering vast cathedral of a stone building with oak doors & a deep pile carpet you sank into..maybe 25 cashiers working behind deep mahogany counters you had to stretch across, seemingly polished 3 times a day..quietly spoken staff protecting confidentiality & polite formality ..once outside into Infirmary St whispers stopped & real conversation resumed..a secular temple adorned with fine stonework & workmens offerings..& where is its permanence now?..merged amalgamated with something called the Halifax..can anything good come out of Halifax into Leeds?..& our Catholic Church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in a poor district of Leeds, where my vocation was seeded, now closed/ demolished; “the time will come when not a single stone will be left on another” nothing is perpetual save for us..we are permanently perpetually children of God “you are precious in my eyes & I love you”.. ”Master when will all this happen, what sign will there be that this is about to take place? ..& when you hear of wars & revolutions “ of Brexit & the demise of Ampleforth “do not be frightened”..a time now when goodness & good people like you have the opportunity [notice “the” opportunity not “an”opportunity] to bear witness ..to tell them with sparkle in your eye & a passion in your heart, what keeps you fully fit alive faithful & convinced; “we have seen him..he is alive!”..not “have you ever seen God?” but “how many times so far today have you seen him?”..the insightfulness/ appetite for a special relationship with our divine companion, where the only question is “do I need God more than God needs me?” pray the question rather than think it..our everlasting future has little to do with buildings; instead it is grounded on relationships, me to my God, he to me & us both to you..some years ago Bishops of England & Wales went on their 5yr ad limina visit to Rome..each Bishop has 15mins with Pope..Bishop of Nottingham Malcolm McMahon was asked two questions “how is the Church in Leicester?” most ethnically diverse city in UK..& “how are your young people evangelising themselves?” & now, how are you & I with the question of immigration?..& how are you & I evangelising each other?..I can think of 30 people who used to come here to this spiritual food bank, a place of meeting & encounter, who brought real presence of Christ to us, who seemed happy & content to be loved & needed, & sadly no longer come; why did they walk? did I notice? did any of us go round or email them to ask how they are?; to tell them how much they are missed? or ask what they hoped for & needed to find among us..did we perhaps give them the impression we had most or all of answers & we didn’t need them nor their wisdom?.. maybe they seek value added that singles out a prophet & a prophetic faith community..& what is it?..what is our special ingredient?..it is this..thumb & forefinger rubbed together.. “what are we not doing now that the Tradition, the charism, the first call of Jesus to follow him really demands that we do? The prophet loves the Tradition, but now sees the demands of the Tradition in new & exacting ways, & as it did for the biblical prophets, the coming of the vision costs. Ironically & invariably, the institution the prophet loves enough to want it to go on living up to its own message, but differently now, rejects the call to new questions, the potential for greater vision. Nothing could be more painful, more likely to break the prophet’s heart, more likely to distort the prophecy itself than to be separated from the very clay that shaped her. How many broken hearted prophets have left us?..the loss of community, of somewhere to go, somewhere to call home, leaves the prophet adrift; it undermines certainty; it drains the heart of purpose. To find the place where someone knows who I am & what I am talking about, why I am saying what I say becomes paramount. To have to look for community outside what I have always known to be community is also a damming condition in itself.”you will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair on your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives.” “finally, it is important to reach out to those who see the same world vision as we do..for support of course, but for direction & information as well. It is a long journey to a new place of hope. It takes initiative, creativity, & persistence to go the whole way alone. Through it all, companions make the journey more an adventure than a mistake. To be on the way to a new land in the name of the God of Abraham & Moses, Mary & Joseph, gives new meaning to life.By all means go. Simply remember as you go, that you have already seen the Promised Land in your heart. Know that you too are led by the charism to find it. Realise then, that whatever the cost, the pain of the way is worth it.” [33rdSunYrC; Lk21;5-19]