..this is first ever World Day of the Poor ..Pope Francis’ gospel imperative yet again put before us as a mandate“love has no alibi”..there is no excuse for refusing to love..
“..a perfect wife..who can find her?.she is far beyond the price of pearls..” ..as you listen to our 1st rdg you may be tempted to appraise your wife, mother even your mother in law against the criteria..not of perfection but of goodness [perfection in the making].. ..a word of caution..the OT as ever only gives you the overture..the real tune & its challenge is that you & I, each of us, are the bride of Christ.. ..we are the good wife he hopes & prays we will grow up to be..as He loves us to death.. ..every phrase for each of us a mission statement , a statement of his hope in us..& no alibi no hiding place from it..
“..advantage not hurt she brings him all the days of her life..” ; Lord have mercy “..she holds out her hand to the poor..opens her arms to the needy” ;Christ have mercy “..let her works tell her praises at the city gates..” at Church door.. ; Lord have mercy
May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..spent last Sun afternoon with my sister in Leeds & watched enthralling football match ; world cup qualifier play off between Switzerland & Northern Ireland..the Irish had lost first leg to a dubious penalty & were underdogs for the second leg in Switzerland..they played the Swiss off park; determined in defence, creative in attack; longer game went on more confidence they gained..even neutrals were shouting for Irish who gave everything they had, but in end they ran out of time & ended up with what they began with ; a 0-0 draw & lost out..if only they had played first leg with such passion, & faith in their ability ..our gospel tells a similar tragic story where the fear indifference lack of self confidence, an absence of passion, cost the one-talent servant his future..& with Church year ending next Sunday, feast of Christ the King, it is a wake up call to us, to wise up, get real & get cracking before day of reckoning comes, sooner than we think, & our expectant patient master finds us holding negative equity..the 0-0 draw we began with, & a sob story of how we were victim of a dodgy decision or two in earlier life which cost us dearly..like the Irish, we too could lose out in a final reckoning which occurs, not like world cup once every few years, but once, once & for all..the master in gospel showed care love & trust for his three servants..gave to each according to their ability, entrusting them to choose their own investment opportunity & giving ample time to produce a result worthy of the relationship..he eventually returned to call the three to account..first two, who’d grown on their borrowings with diligence & hard graft, were proudly joyful in announcing their results, & masters pleasure was akin to Lord Sugar “well done good & faithful servant, I will trust you with greater; come & enjoy your masters happiness” a seat in the divine boardroom, once an employee now a trustee..& then comes tragic episode of third, one talented..a “cup half empty” individual who’d never experienced joy passion risk nor excitement, just fear derision & condemnation..”I heard you were a hard man..” he’d never got close enough to master to appreciate the person, always living in fear of the reputation..in such low esteem, he was always led to believe in gossip & heresay..”so I hid your talent; here it is; it was yours, you have it back” I have a soft spot for him bless him..someone we know very well in our parish, your home & in my monastery..as Sr Dolores said to my Mum when she asked if I’d get through my 11+ exam..”.he’s a plodder..he’ll pass if he finishes”..& I scored in injury time to scrape through..sadly Matthew’s Jesus gives plodder short shrift “you wicked & lazy servant” dismissive for those of us who will always suffer in a performance related religion where the “haves” are rewarded & the “have nots” excluded or relegated to a secondary modern education.. with a week to go to year ending lets speculate adventurously with our talents & see what is possible with faith grace & passion..our Lendwithcare microfinancing initiative made flesh; where we lend £200 from our 100 club to a one talent mother in Malawi who wants to begin home business raising hens & selling their eggs..£200 with no time scale for repayment, just loving patience & trust; eventually proudly joyful mother pays us back, ready to lend out again & again..for an egg business in Malawi read this Parish family.. investing wisely generously in weak one-talent plodders among us, with no stipulations time limits or conditions for being here, weekly or annually at Christmas, loved trusted, single talented or multi talented..“Father, I hear Our Lady & St Benedict’s is a gentle community, reaping where you & them haven’t sown, gathering from where you’ve not scattered..welcoming all comers especially the slow dull weak & the darnel..& especially today the poor”..Pope Francis “the poor are not a problem; they are a resource [ a talent ] from which to draw, as we strive to accept & practice in our lives the essence of the gospel”..game set & match to the one-talented..& Pope Francis’s Jesus joyfully takes the five & the two extra talents earned by you..you, once servants now beloved trustees, & shares them out through a spiritual rather than financial lendwithcare..which may well perhaps form part of our Parish reformation..our egg business… [33rdSunYrA;Mt25;14-30]