“..the Lord has been pleased to crush his servant with suffering..” how do you read it? I think of an orange..squeeze it crush it in a squeezer & what comes out? ..pure juice, the flavour of a lifetime..indescribable.. so too we servants squeezed by sufferings of all shapes & forms, inevitable in life & faith ..& it is then, only then, that our true essence..the juice called grace..emerges & offers the flavour of a lifetime..not the non-sense o f “poor me” or “why me?” but the loving surrender into arms & service of Our Lord the suffering servant…as we offer our lives in atonement like his.. for times we sit, like lemons or oranges, thick skinned safely ripening in this privileged orange grove, afraid to be chosen picked loved & squeezed.. squeezed to death?..or squeezed into life?.. “ ..our soul is waiting for the Lord..” waiting excitedly expectantly.. ; Lord have mercy “..the Lord is our help & our shield..” ..our fruit expert.. ; Christ have mercy “..as we place all our hope in you..” ..all of it willingly fruitfully.. ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen..
..at least in Mark’s gospel the bare faced cheek of James & John is outed..“Master, we want you to do us a favour”..in Matthew’s gospel the two timid rabbits send their Mum to ask it of Jesus,,”what is it you want me to do for you?” a warm welcoming open receptiveness towards it & questioner..they ask just what you & I often ask for.. privilege, for special blessings, divine protection, the best seat, good health, a long happy marriage, financial wellbeing..so Jesus gently, non judgementally, spells out consequences, cost of best seats..it is those closest to me who carry brunt/weight of my Cross..my fellow suffering servants..can you hack it?..can you?..& the reaction is sadly familiar “we can” a 5sec delay then quick swift generous words slip off tongue with no appreciation of real consequences..“if I’d have known it would be this hard Father, I would have refused the chemotherapy, or 2 months in rehab” they’d walked into a perfect storm when they’d mistakenly thought, or sadly been led to believe, that being a follower of Christ was a gentle breeze..& the reality check continues for them & for us as Jesus tells them seat allocation in heaven is beyond his pay grade “they belong to those to whom they have been allotted” a sense of it already having been decided..not performance related but by divine choice & allocation..like royal warrant awarded to those providers of quality service over many years to the royal family..”by divine appointment; Sarah Hayman, Kitty Hurley, Fr Kieran..disciples of Jesus Christ”..stalwarts of this Parish..nurturers not mentors..your call giftedness joy & responsibility is to become a better disciple than Sarah Hayman or Kitty Hurley..”can we do it?” asks Bob the Builder, & for answer, a real answer not a right answer, ask your grandchild..”yes we can!”sense feel difference in energy between this joyful excited yes & the dutiful “poor me” of James & John.. fortnight ago BBC news showed Giants in Liverpool; enormous giant figures of people & animals called marionettes..which walked dawdledly awkwardly round city centre with thousands of spectators squeezed [ squeezed ] into streets..the Giants animated by team of trained technicians; each had a vital role to pull rope/pulley just at right moment in unison with others so that the enormous figures began to move..come to life..& the spectators..were they being entertained? or were they seeing episodes sightings of their own life story & struggles, being challenged gently to stand tall, to begin to make progress & to impress thousands by their/your size scale beauty..apparently voiceless but broadcasting a clear message..each technician glowing with pleasure/satisfaction at seeing just what they could achieve when they all worked joyfully in unity with others ..a day of atonement.. “at-one-ment” why were we always taught atonement was akin to pay back time for sins committed?..”at-one-ment” for us surely as the Body of Christ in person & in motion..a Giant presence..you & I disciples/technicians when we work pray enjoy being together, hard work though it is at times..as Christ appears in his full stature present alive active & wonderful..not a gentle breeze yet a gift to be part of what is being seen & enjoyed gracefully..divine juice / grace, an indescribable taste & energy for a lifetime..I wondered about word “marionette” too close to Marian not to have some spiritual connection..word marionette means “to be worked from above”..Our Lady indeed full of grace was indeed worked squeezed from above..a coincidence or something more?..a quotation to finish.. “whether in our individual lives, or in the communities that invoke his name or in international life, Jesus’ word is endlessly subversive. What must be done is to plough humanity like hard & barren soil that must be opened to be able to receive & nurture God’s seed.” ..for us an autumn moment for ploughing digging.. squeezing out goodness & grace from the question of the week “can we do it ?”..answers please not dutifully on a postcard like a vote for Brexit but joyfully written on your heart..”yes we can!” [ 29thSunYrB Mk10;35-45]