..next Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King, last Sunday of the Church Year so it is no surprise todays readings look ahead to last times..the leap of faith from chronos [clockwork] time to kairos [divine] time.. “a time of great distress unparalleled since nations first came into existence” could there be anything worse than Yemen 2018 with 14 million people being starved to death, on our watch, whilst, when BBC news warns of distressing images, we look away..
“we will remember them” we professed with conviction last weekend ..however now a guarded hesitation in conscience for victims of atrocity unfolding during this Mass ..“will we remember them?..”
“..your own people will be spared..” will we?..& do we deserve it? ; Lord have mercy “..many will awake..” will we be among them? ; Christ have mercy “..some to everlasting life..” “what about us?” asks Peter for us ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“what will heaven be like?” question young folk often ask..3500yrs ago chosen people wrestled with same question & best fist they could make of it was to imagine the options & attempt to verbalise a likely scenario..1500yrs later Mark revisited earlier salvation history to see if could develop earlier thoughts, & hence our gospel tonight/ morning..not science fiction but religious fiction, one step removed from Harry Potter light years away & poorer from animation passion possibility eventual credibility of real McCoy..maybe you heard it as a stale storyless few lines after the powerfully simple story of widow & her two pennies last weekend..struggled all week to squeeze any passion life grace out of gospel until on Wed evg penny dropped..it has been a fantastic week for me, over 20hrs devoted to hearing Confessions in St Benedicts PS & with Sisters of St Augustine at Boarbank Hall..young & old, like widow, prepared to throw in their lot with Jesus, emptying brokenness selfishness mistakenness of their hearts into loving compassionate presence of the sacred heart of Jesus..heart to heart..life to life..to be a monk priest in midst of it all is pure gift..”what will heaven be like” like this week in our Parish ”for, you must know, the kingdom of God is among you” gospel for Mass here on Thursday when, with sun streaming in through windows of Church, I gently thanked the nine on gift & gratitude..gift of their presence & my gratitude for blessing of being among them.. “the kingdom of God is among you” indeed “what will heaven be like?” ask any of nine.. I struggled up to Wed to make spiritual sense of gospel for myself & thereby for you, until Wed evg & news of a possible exit agreement in our Brexit negotiations..our Brexit negotiations..our Catholicism fully immersed in social political economic life of our country..all for one, one for all..the Common Good as our Catholic Social Teaching calls it..”his chosen, from the four winds, from the ends of the world..” who would you seek to exclude limit or allow entry only under certain terms & conditions?..a hard border or a soft border?..soft entry for a box of cornflakes or your next new car..a hard border for a brother/sister of ours from Yemen?..a gradual realisation that gospel relates a story of the struggle with & for an exit agreement for chosen people of OT..pre Jesus Christ..a soft crossing into heaven for sheep & goats with minimal border checks & tariffs?..or a harder deal for sheep only..goats held back in purgatory [or Calais] indefinitely under sanction or whilst credentials & authenticity are checked by Border Control, seeking a definitive clause in an article of agreement on who is included in the term “his chosen”..is it selective discriminatory or universal?..Brexit then & Brexit now, an ongoing struggle through crisis setback & compromise towards a climate of authenticity & listening where each & every voice is respected/heard, & their wisdom yeasted into the breadmaking..one bread one cup, a common-union, a common market, “a Communion of life love & truth” it says on our Catholic tin..a Eucharist..”take this all of you” “from the four winds from the ends of world”..& if you think I am stretching the elasticity of connection between the gospel & life /faith today in OL&SB Nov 2018, I offer you an alternative description of gospel imagery from 3500yrs ago..albeit a struggle to put into words; nonetheless is it not a vision statement? “what will heaven be like?” & what have you & I been challenged inspired empowered to engage in these last 6 mths?.. in compiling yes a vision statement; not “what will heaven be like ? but “what will our Parish be like?”..& who pray will be welcomed & included as he sends you “angels [you angels] to gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of world”..35 angels in Class 3 & 4 who chose to ask to see me for Confession or a chat..& how many come here to Mass each weekend with parents for our breadmaking in this bakery..out of 35?..3 or 4..a School & its young disciples judged “Good with some outstanding features” I shared with them a picture by Sieger Koder of birth of Jesus..their spiritual insights/ adventurous speculation was heartwarming..their own vision statement..precious priceless gift..& what breaks my heart is that you miss it..a School of soft borders, warm hearts & full of remainers.. [33rdSunYrBMk13;24-32]