“..seek the Lord while he is still to be found..call to him while he is still near..” I don’t know if you have been to York Station in recent years to see anyone off.. for safety reasons lock train doors minute or two before train leaves, & you often see last minute commuter running up platform, take-away coffee & free copy of Daily Telegraph in hand, to find themselves locked out; train there but 45secs too late “..seek the Lord while he is still to be found..call to him while he is still near..” ..late for train, late for Mass, monk who arrives at monastic office 6 times a day always 35 secs late..is he a problem?..or is the problem my stop watch precision?
“..my thoughts are not your thoughts..” ; Lord have mercy “..my ways not your ways..” ; Christ have mercy “..let them turn back to the Lord, to our God who is rich in forgiving” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..a great gospel story of parity of esteem.. ..take my story of train to London..of poor lass who was locked out of 7am to Kings Cross, goes angrily or humbly to Station Manager to vent her frustrations or explain her foolishness at calling at WHS on station concourse for coffee & Daily Telegraph..when I used to organise our school travel 30yrs ago & a boy had missed his train, I would see Ernie Marshall, the then Station Supervisor..calmly he would say “put him on 730am to KX on platform 12; I’ll radio guard..it’s non-stop to KX & he will be in London 12mins before train he missed..parity of esteem “why be envious because I am generous?” happy ending for miscreant or latecomer..& as for early bird who got their allotted train & seat, & then see miscreant in taxi queue 15mins in front of them, they grumble at GNER ..”the one came late, who missed the train has been treated not just the same as us, but better than us”..we were the compliant well behaved obedient punctual travellers ”my friend, did we not agree on £120 peak time day return in coach B to KX? “..it happens in monastic life too..novice who comes straight from vith form in St Hugh’s House age 18, “hired at daybreak” compared to 30yr old who arrived from Leeds at ninth hour; the one who got 1st in Theology after 3yrs in Oxford compared to the one who got University Certificate in Theology after 2yrs..& still, 40yrs later a latecomer & never to be an Old Amplefordian..a supporter of Leeds Utd rather than Saracens or London Irish....& migrants arriving in overcrowded dinghy from Calais, reluctantly processed by UK Border Agency, bused to Leicester & housed in terraced house in a run-down district & given social credit..& with a four year old little girl with a warmth of smile to die for.. “they came last, have done no work, whilst we left school 40yrs ago paid £6 per week for a five & a half day working week, with no prospect of saving to enjoy a holiday or buy food at M&S..you treat them the same as us”..a true story, a little too close to home for comfort for some of us..however, the gospel imperative isn’t comfortable, it is challenging, life-changing, for the benefactor & the recipient..parity of esteem..Christ & Simon of Cyrene sharing every step & the full weight.... lest you think GNER & our Catholicism are too holy in being ever compassionate... ..6yrs ago on train from York to Peterborough; on other end of coach B [ seasoned travellers know why a monk travels in coach B ] group of men deep in loud conversation who’d got on in Aberdeen 5hrs earlier; 20mins after York, one asked another passenger when they were due to get to York..train manager [ticket collector] came down train & they took him on for not announcing York as the next station stop..he gently replied he had announced it..twice..they had tickets from Aberdeen to change at York, then on to Grimsby, where they were due to pick up a trawler..ticket collector explained next stop was Peterborough..they would have to get off at Peterborough & get another train all way back to York..then he took his life in his hands by explaining to them they were now on the train without a valid ticket, & he was to charge them £85 each, the single fare to Peterborough, & they would have to pay another £85 to come north again to York..& you might say politely that “they grumbled at the ticket collector” he stood his ground & by time they got out, he had got £85 out of each of them.. Our gospel was written by St Matthew, who, given his track record being a Jew writing for Jews, slick at insider-dealing, I would have fully expected to be the ticket collector, stating the precise pay & conditions for each worker in vineyard, their work meticulously monitored & dutifully paid, rather than like Jesus himself, & Ernie Marshall, the Station Supervisor at York.“I choose to pay the last-comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?”.. & as Rome, rather like Civil Service here, now starts to encourage us “to return to the Eucharist with joy..that no broadcast, streamed or televised Masses, is comparable to personal communication or can replace it, where these broadcasts alone risk distancing us from a personal & intimate encounter with the incarnate God who gave himself to us not in a virtual way but in the Eucharist..” for civil servants it is a return to the office, for us Catholics a return to Church & Mass..no longer just working/praying from home in safety & comfort, but to come to your spiritual home..you have a choice of departures..on 6pm Sat; 10am or 4pm Sundays, & like GNER for time being, you need to book a seat; some of us, so far over the last 10wks, have tested the track the signals the seating the timings & the experience, & we can guarantee to those still on home-prayers & live-streaming a warm welcome back, a safe & pleasant journey & en route, the meal of a lifetime.. [ 25thSunYrA; Mt 20;1-16 ]