..compromise or conviction ?..go with the flow or stand up for the truth? ..talk the talk or whistleblow?.. ..in 1st rdg a weak King caves in to his devious wheelers & dealers , seeing the prophet Jeremiah & his message as a threat to the comfortable status quo.. ..& bless him King had a change of heart..a “coming to his senses” moment, just in time & sent rescue team to save Jeremiah..& pray honestly where are you in the story?.. & is this our moment for a life changing change of heart? & to make a stand, at long last, for the truth?..
“..he/we are unquestionably disheartening the people by talking like this..” ; Lord have mercy “..he is in your hands since I am powerless against you..” ; Christ have mercy “..take three men with you & pull Jeremiah out of the well..” ..your Jeremiah .. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“God is dangerous” a prophet be it Jeremiah in 1st rdg, Jesus in gospel, or the wasp in your own family is always, in one way or another, a contradiction; in believing what they preach & living out what they teach, they risk the wrath & the rejection of their beloved loved ones..father divided from son; daughter against mother. The prophet Jeremiah was saved by an unlikely fellow prophet Ebed-melech a Cushite pagan Roman centurion, who put his head & career above battlements & spoke up for Jeremiah against the kings own slippery cabinet..imagine risk danger personal cost, & why did he do it?..he recognised goodness authenticity truth, & he wasn’t going to let goodness personified in Jeremiah be a victim of compromise; truth had to be spoken uncovered revealed through power fire & influence of Holy Spirit..can /does Holy Spirit work through pagans/ terrorists?..certainly ..& by baptism/full immersion..religion then /Catholicism now is populated by too many toe dippers & by the silenced; those of us who attempted to speak up & speak out & were put down & left now playing the game..”not I Lord surely?” “it seems that the prophets job is first to deconstruct current illusions, the status quo, & then reconstruct on a new & honest foundation. This is why the prophet, your wasp of a son, or our wasp of a gritty parishioner, is never popular with the comfortable or those in power..“do you suppose I am here to bring peace? No, I tell you, but rather division.” A family & a parish divided; listen to Franciscan Fr Richard Rohr “what we have most of the time is lots of priests but almost no prophets. We priests glibly talk about the great kingdom of God or the coming of Jesus at Christmas, but we don’t take the time to detach people from their smaller kingdoms & loyalties to make that coming possible. As a result very little new happens, & the day after Christmas is pretty much like the day before..the prophets instead are radical teachers in the truest sense of the word; they go to the root causes & root vices, & root them out! ; they expose & accuse with no holds barred. Ministers & religion in general concentrate on effects & symptoms, a mopping up exercise; we throw life jackets to those drowning in the swollen river, which is all well & good; but prophets work their way upstream to find out why the stream is swollen in the first place. After the great escape at Whalley Bridge, how many prophets, civil/structural engineers, are now examining every reservoir in the country, & challenging Boris to spend £6bn for urgent reconstruction in lieu of a fast rail link for the northern powerhouse?..my challenge to you last week asking if we could refettle the Parish House by next Sat to house family of asylum seekers..”Fr Bede you wouldn’t get the permissions through, & anyway we are off on holiday”..& there no doubt to toe dip..too old, or too unfit to swim, or to renew the face of the earth & our parish..folk perhaps once put down /silenced..”I idly chatter to you in the sauve tones of surface talk. I tell you everthing that’s really nothing, but nothing of what’s everything ..of what is crying out within me. So please, when I am going through my routine, don’t be fooled by what I am saying; please listen carefully & try to learn what I am not saying, what I’d love to be able to say, what for survival I need to say, but what I can’t say. I dislike hiding, the superficial game I am playing, the phoney game. I’d love to be genuine spontaneous & me, but you’ve got to help me.” some years ago vith form lad on retreat asked to see me..tall towering figure a respected leader..we sat down; a tear appeared in corner of his eye & he began to cry; sobbed & sobbed..suggested there was a story behind tears & would he like to share some of it..his grandfather in hospital with terminal cancer & he was afraid of living without him..did his parents know how he felt?; he frowned.. “no they have far too much to deal with already” I said far from being another burden to them it would be a blessing to know how deeply he loved his grandfather..his face shone & mood lifted so I took a risk “when you see your grandfather in hospital again later this week, would you think of sharing with him what you’ve shared with me?..if I know your grandfather as he faces up to death with everything he needs being done for him, he will roll up pyjama sleeves & start to prepare you in days he has left, for life with him on a deeper spiritual level..he left room 6” taller..to become a prophet a radical teacher..saying from heart what has needed saying for years but which until now he couldn’t..”the prophets task is modest & almost disappointing..not the recreating of a religious empire or Christendom but the creating of a usable quorum for God” [Rohr]..from now on not a household of five but four..a quorum..so now,the dangerous bit; will you take three with you from here & pull Fr Bede out of the well?..will you?.. [ 20thSunYrC ; Lk 12;49-53]