Our 1st rdg is a classic MP’s expenses reading; we are denied v3 to v14 of Ch 24 of Book of Joshua..the best juicy bit edited out, & why on earth are we denied it? ..it is a most moving love story, of God’s love care & protection for his chosen people, through thick & thin.. & it finishes with a plea, an ask from God..a God who can do anything whatsoever but in loving humility prefers to give the choice & the grace to us his beloved servant people.. “so now fear Yahweh & serve him perfectly & sincerely; put away the gods your ancestors served beyond the River & in Egypt, & serve Yahweh..” no wonder chosen people gave such a vote of confidence in & gratitude to the divine presence.. ..so what of you & I ? ..the choice is ours.. ”choose this evg/morning whom you wish to serve”..
“..we have no intention of deserting the Lord our God” ..really?.. ; Lord have mercy “..who preserved us all along the way we travelled” ..what journey?..; Christ have mercy “..we too will serve the Lord for he is our God” ..easy words.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
“why go on? why continue?” for every one of us here there are five more out there who have walked away..from us? from Jesus? from us & Jesus?..”this is intolerable language, how could anyone accept it?” fickle followers, or genuine seekers, stuggling to weave together doctrine & live experience? & a third group “there are some of you who do not believe” three groups the fickle, genuine seekers & disbelievers..I read recently of distant & distanced, the five out there “they have lost not their faith but their illusions; for faith is not a conviction, it is its own proof, light & life; it gives the joy that lifts up life, only if it is risked in a living history..it is with faith as it is with love..to believe is to commit one’s whole life, not because one is sure of oneself but because one is sure of the other”. It is the loving totality of self sacrifice in 2nd rdg that conceives makes & grows a marriage “a man must leave father & mother & be joined to his wife & the two become one body” so like rich young man; he went away sad as he wouldn’t risk letting go in love of the other [God]; too sure of himself, too much to lose in committing his whole life to Jesus..John attempts to convince us that Jesus “knew from the outset those who did not believe & who it was who would betray him”..really?.it smacks of predestination where individuals & individuals actions/reactions could be predicted; if so, where does that leave our belief in choice/free will; in your decision to come here to this Mass?. “this is why I told you that no one could come to me unless the Father allows him” amen to that..“allows him” permission to choose, allowed or otherwise..a direction a framework & a time frame, for you & I, like first followers, to choose to believe or not, to betray Jesus or not “not I Lord surely?”..”after this many of his disciples left him..stopped going with him” getting cold feet, wet feet, at prospect of walking on water “if it is you Lord tell me to come to you across the water” & Jesus said then to Peter, & now to you & I “come” not because Jesus was sure of himself but because he is sure of you & I..”come” “does this upset you?” by gum it does, it rocks us out of our comfort zone, of this safe pew in this home church of ours, where we’ve always felt we belonged, & suddenly it’s a challenge, a different level & depth of belonging being offered “go sell all you own[ all that is familiar comforting & affordable] & come; “come” follow me”..in 25mins time will you walk out of here in the footprints of young man, sad, too afraid to risk that total self renunciation in marriage or in monastic life which we signed up to, which puts the other first?..he/we went home sad to negotiate a compromise agreement.. a pre nuptial agreement “just in case it all goes wrong & we have to split up Father” no wonder our Catholicism has gently to explain to prospective newlyweds that we’ve no time for such material insurance policies, negating risk, when the marriage or monastic vows challenge us to walk on water, risking an unconditional & everlasting loving relationship..”the absence of risk is a sure sign of mediocrity” lets be honest, our relationship with Jesus & our closest loved one in family & monastic life is at least at times, mediocre..in terms of health & safety documentation a risk assessment sheet with stark cold note which reads “not applicalble” no adventure.. “what about you? do you want to go away too?”& Peter, for all his indecisiveness his disowning of Jesus three times, his temper tantrums & his taking exception with Jesus as he talked of his impending crucifixion, comes out with an act of faith to die for..that for which every husband or wife, monk or religious sister, would weep at hearing in sheer undeserved unmerited love “Lord, who shall we go to? You have the message of eternal life, & we believe, we know that you are the Holy One of God”.. can there be a better tribute/ vote of confidence in your closest loved one than to see, to believe, & to love in them the person of God?..”why go on? why continue?” for every one of us & for the five more out there; fickle followers/genuine seekers/so called disbelievers, it doesn’t come any better..”they have not lost their faith..nor us ours..but their illusions” ..how long did it take rich young man then, & us now, to lose our illusions, & come home..to feed & to love?..to be fed & to be loved? “follow me”?..me to follow you.. [21stSunYrBJn6;60-69]