Friday, 3 April 2015

A mother and her Son

The Lord's Supper

At the Mass of the Lord's Supper I emphasised that we are to find ourselves in the Holy Week story, to make connections with our own lives. I recalled how feet have played a big part in my last twelve months or so. I have worked my way through 1 GP, 2 practise nurses, 2 podiatrists, 1 ulcer specialist, 1 insole person and one shoe person. So the idea of Jesus wanting to tend to my feet has been pretty close to home. And he is there all the time...  Again I recalled that I had renewed my priestly promises at the Chrism Mass on Wednesday on my anniversary of ordination, and that over those years I have celebrated Mass around 15,000 times. At every one of those, any priest worth his salt is overwhelmed with a sense of unworthiness. 
For the Watching until midnight our good flower ladies in St Brigid's, where I was, create a kind of shrine where we place the ciborium in full view, rather than in a tabernacle. I find this has a great impact on us all, somehow much more direct.  Coming up to midnight I lead a time of intercession for our parishes, the Church, and the world, with an opportunity for people to ask the Lord to remember those whose names they mention out loud. Then, with the kiss of Judas barely audible in the midnight silence, we all depart.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Judas and priests

Today, traditionally known as Spy Wednesday, I spoke about Judas. So why did Judas do it?  It's hard enough to understand our own motives sometimes, let alone those of others. "Wolf Hall" recently challenged many people's view of St Thomas More, for example, and gave a more nuanced view of Thomas Cromwell himself. So how hard is it to get inside the head of the Betrayer?
We have only the Gospels as our sources, and two of them were written by apostles who were there... Was it because "Satan entered him",  and what about that dipping of the finger? Was Judas predestined to do the deed - and, if so, can he truly be blamed... And, of course, he threw the money on the floor - a hint of repentance/remorse? In the end, he seems to have lacked hope, to me the forgotten of the three virtues of faith, hope and charity. After all, Peter betrayed Jesus in a way, too - but stuck with it...
Judas was a mess, but perhaps in that he tells us something about ourselves, and about Jesus. After all, he was one of the apostles throughout those three years of Jesus' ministry. The Word became flesh in the human race, despite its messiness, to shine a light, that in the light of knowing Him we might know ourselves too, find faith, build hope and show love.
Today has been the 37th anniversary of my priestly ordination April 1st 1978 here at St Brigid's. Later in the morning I had the enormous pleasure of taking part in the Chrism Mass with our archbishop, priests and people. Along with all the priests present I renewed my priestly promises undertaken at ordination. A fitting way to celebrate the anniversary...