..a people hungry hopeless mournful & shameful..at rock bottom.. ..could you name 3 areas of our world [our world ] where the cap fits?..3 areas or 33 areas? & would one of them be our own Village & Parish? ..it is safe & convenient to notice the need in the spotlight of media coverage in Syria or Yemen, & forget or deny the urgent humanitarian & spiritual needs among us..our own hunger, hopelessness, mournfulness & shame.. “on this mountain[ & in this Church] the Lord will prepare for all people [ all people ] a banquet..”
in this Church “he will remove the mourning veil covering all people “ all of us.. ; Lord have mercy “the Lord will wipe away the tears from every cheek..” our cheeks.. ; Christ have mercy “..he will take away the peoples shame everywhere on earth “ our shame.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..another fire & brimstone gospel from Matthew..an understanding of religion many of us were schooled into..my primary school in Leeds closed some years ago for best of reason ..it was no longer large enough, bursting at the seams, so they took over an empty middle school on edge of Parish..we had a farewell Mass in old school..afterwards my cousin remarked on how thoughtfully special gifts were included in Offertory procession..School Register, a photograph of Sisters who taught there, & the School bell..one thing missing, said my cousin..the cane..50yrs on she still remembers the sound of cane hitting palm of miscreants hand so powerfully that its follow-through hit rosary beads hanging from Sr Vincent’s habit..two sounds, two modes of teaching..punishment & prayer..”the King was furious; he despatched his troops, destroyed those murderers & burnt their town” retaliation retribution & all over what?..an act of misbehaviour in classroom or absence from Sunday Mass & 50yrs later & wound still hurts..Pt 1 of gospel is Matthew at his best/worst, & then feel taste smell difference in Pt 2..the worthies, the invited, self certificated their absence, no doubt with polite apologies & understandably good reasons ..& it left a level playing field clear for some real guests..a crossroads indeed..”invite everyone you can find”..imagine coming to crossroads at top of Station Road & instead of coming on here, you go to West End or Fairfax Close; you knock on doors & invite folk to this wedding feast..imagine likes of my cousin, away from practice of faith 40yrs, she gets an invitation & she comes, wounded disowned for many a year, & now invited & included, not in spite of her baggage & flashbacks, but because of them..invited to this banquet, her mourning veil removed, her tears wiped away, her shame shredded, & she, restored redeemed, back in team photo our class of 2017..& no cane, just rosary beads especially in month of the Rosary..so what of wedding garment & its importance?.. among 200 guests King noticed a particular guest, one not wearing wedding garment; he came in his scruffies not his Sunday best..”how did you get in here my friend without a wedding garment?”..a gently warm enquiry but he “ was silent” no reason, no excuse, not even an apology..the sound of silence “hello darkness my old friend”.. remember song 50yrs ago?..his refusal to wear garment & his defiant silence resulted in his exclusion..at back of the wedding hall a cloakroom..& series of hanging rails each with different sized identical overgarments..overalls, religious & social..the convention was to arrive, pick out appropriate sized garment & put it on over ordinary clothing, enabling each guest to dress alike; an overall of equality, allowing a meal of full inclusion be it king, vagrant & all in between, avoiding distraction of wedding mannequin parade with its self pride or furious envy..he was invited to do the simplest act of community co operation & refused..a self certificated exclusion..we are not asked to walk on water but to cure the paralytic..for 3/4 of you to go to someone evidently paralysed, disabled, handicapped, addicted..bereft of healthy relationship, often due to something said or done, not said or not done 30yrs ago ..& in love, walk them here on stick, bring them in wheelchair or in your 4x4..& remind them their wedding garment is here for them; washed ironed ready & waiting 20/30yrs, for moment you & them arrive..yes, you; you having come here religiously dutifully for 20/30yrs & now suddenly realising offer of a lifetime, scruffies or Sunday best, sinful or sinless, the spirit of equality & inclusivity. I am listened to, valued for who I am in my addiction/disease, & I belong; I’m loved, needed, & not to be lived without.. “many are called; few are chosen” harshness of Matthew’s Jesus now read & retranslated, no longer from lips but from heart, beneath your wedding garment..40yrs a Catholic & no one until now has explained significance simplicity of my wedding garment..my equality/inclusion “many are called; every one chosen..” an overall fit..as a Benedictine parish what makes our wedding garment different?..what do you think makes us different?..can you convince the 30yr stayaway to trust us again?..no cane no shame..“enjoy the rest of your meal”.. [ 28thSunYrAMt22;1-14 ]