Amos bless him, a simple poor shepherd with a small orchard..& God called him to put it all to one side, & become a prophet, a spokesperson for God.. ..when the going got tough, it got even tougher; trying to disturb the comfortable..for them to look again at the terms & conditions of their divine agreement with God..& its one line condition..clear definitive & sadly seemingly impossible for most of us.. ..to love another, especially the weakest..
“..woe to those ensconced so snugly in Zion, dining on lamb, drinking wine by the bowlful..but about the ruin of Joseph they do not care..” ..a moment to revisit our one line agreement with God..
“..woe to those ensconced so snugly in Ampleforth/Gilling..” ; Lord have mercy “..to those who feel so safe in the shadow of Ampleforth Abbey” ; Christ have mercy “..but about the ruin of the Yemen Syria & Halton Moor they do not care at all..” ; Lord have mercy May Almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins & bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
..about a month ago Hamish was back. I didn’t see him but his trademark signs were in evidence; a chair at back of Church moved to his favourite spot; empty beer can; money in votive candle jar had gone, & he was back, bless him; our Lazarus..covered with sores wounds of his addictions, longing for & happily taking food from our Food Bank crates at back of Church..one of our local food-poor in this affluent village..“not here Fr Bede surely?” & what was the rich mans mortal sin, serious enough to be unforgivable? self sentencing himself to an eternallife in Hades/Hell..he didn’t spit at Lazarus, nor kick him, verbally abuse him, or call police to him removed to Thirsk or Malton..his sin & ours is simple profound & incriminating; he didn’t notice Lazarus..& who is Hamish?..how many food-poor live within a mile of this Church? & can you name five of them?..& the story of great divide continues between heaven [Abraham & Lazarus ] & hell [ rich man/woman ]; part of torment of Hell is to look across divide now infinitely unmissable & uncrossable..& not only see what might have been but to have a conversation & a futile moment of plea bargaining..”Father Abraham pity me..” in spite of my lifetime’s self reliance self service & isolation, distancing myself from others, & even now that sense of ingrained superiority over poorest/weakest “send Lazarus to cool my tongue” an arrogant master/servant relationship, a permanent scar on his heart/conscience..Abraham gently explains gulf between two states of being, not imposed but self certificated, & decisions taken are now intractable; permanent/infinite..& tragically all too late rich mans change of heart emerges ; suppressed/ignored/unappreciated for lifetime & suddenly reactivated.. ”send Lazarus to warn my five brothers, so that they don’t come to this place of torment too” & he realises the theology of the Resurrection “but if someone comes to them from the dead, they will repent”..we have countless individuals who come to us from the dead do we not?..”the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins & life everlasting. Amen” “amen” we agree..familiar words each weekend we recite in the Creed..& like Lazarus on our doorstep, we’d never noticed words on our Mass sheet..our now spiritually rich brothers & sisters in Heaven, communing conversing with us as we perhaps feel like Lazarus & Hamish, alone ignored unnoticed, disowned abandoned in our own strain of addiction..each & everyone of us in this Church now has an addiction..& we need one of many many rich among us; affluent financially, emotionally, relationally& spiritually to look beyond bonnet of a 69 reg 4x4, out of our 5bed hideaway with its divans & state of art sound systems, the £6m refurbishment of the monastery & its en-suite bathrooms..out & beyond the pew of this blessed sacred & yet sadly divided space, & take responsibility for the drop of cold water which should be at the ready on your fingertip..”I put to you”.. you..”the duty of all have been told..” never ever plead you haven’t been told; told gently truthfully & realistically..what difference can I make?..like Amos a simple poor shepherd with small orchard..you a simple cook or cleaner at College or a Head of Dept..or “a frail ageing retired Catholic hanging on to my faith by my fingertips Father”..be encouraged, you are in the best of company..alongside Mother Teresa..St Teresa of Calcutta..& her theology of the missing drop..”we ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean..but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop”..young Greta Thunberg, climate change activist & prophet, mocked by Donald Trump, ridiculed by Fox News’ Michael Knowles who called her a mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents & the international left..”& she could work no miracles there.. she was amazed at their lack of faith” they saw only Greta, Hamish & Lazarus,until it was too late..when you leave this Church in 25mins time, will you dip your finger into the holy water stoop as a sign of your commitment from now on to notice the weakest links among us? ..a moment to revisit our own one line agreement with God..remember?.. [26thSunYrC; Lk 16;19-31]