Archives October 2008

Walsingham Deanery Pilgrimage and looking forward to next week at All Saints

The Deanery weekend pilgrimage (to where? where else I ask you, other than the Shrine, the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham?) was a return for me to the heart of the pilgrimage. Celebrating a requiem at the Guild of All Souls is always important for me, bringing with me the prayers of those remaining in the parish, as was Sunday morning Mass in the Holy House, always a privilege to offer there.

In the interregnum following Frs North and Barne’s departure the Franciscan Brothers Paschal and Maximillian are doing stunning work running the Shrine, backed up as always by the retireds. The Sprinkling and Annointing (I was on Oils duty this year, a job I just love) was particularly powerful: healing at a time of need for many, including myself.

The Pilgrims were a largely happy bunch, and gelled well together. The majority come from one parish. I hope this cameraderie will persist if/when the Deanery get even more on board. Their Priest was very ill, and needed a wheechair for much of the weekend, very depleted of energy. Prayers for healing, please, for Mother C.

Coach to the Slipper Chapel in the pouring rain, and yet it held off as we said the Rosary on the way back. By mid-afternoon it was clear and bright (though cold). Deo Gratias.

After Rosary, we sang the Walsingham Hymn and the Salve Regina (Sister Act style), but I couldn’t rmember the words to “Shrine, Mary’s Shrine”, but here they are:

Shrine, Mary’s Shrine
Destination of faithful pilgrims

Foretaste of heaven
open wide your doors

Shrine, Mary’s Shrine
Holy House, England’s Nazareth

Our Lady is here
and we honour her name!

(to a tune highly familar and the work of Mr Graham Kendrick)

Next weekend, I shall be in the Guildford Diocese, preaching for the patronal festival of All Saints, Woodham. I am preaching the Saturday Night Solemnity in Traditional Style (and yes, I can do this – how lovely to be treated as a proper priest for once!) and the following morning to lead an act of Blesséd inspired All-Age Worship. I will publish both the liturgy and the sermon at a more appropriate time.

New video, for the Agnus Dei – using audio from the strangely marvellous Rufus Wainwright:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVbdzqOrOjg

 

 


Zoë

Sometimes you take a picture which just sums someone up.

Messing around with my new 70-200mm lens on my Nikon D40. This taken at 145mm, 1/2000 Sec, f5.6. This is my favourite style of photography: candid, close portraits, black and white. This lens helps me get closer whilst being far enough away to not annoy the portrait.


O Lord, open our lips…

I have to admit it, that the worst part of parishLife is the solitary Office: the grind of morning and evening prayer on your own. Yes, there is the beauty of the psalmody, and yes it is an opportunity for silent reflection, but frankly, I have always found it hard work: my faith does not exist in isolation, it MUST be in participation with others and this is why I would be useless on a desert island with only the Breviary to keep me company.

However, once a week, all this is changed, and this morning I was so much more struck by it. Each Monday morning a group of ladies join me for Mattins. There are about 5 of them, and it fills me much such joy to reconnect with the cycle of daily prayer in their company.

There is a vitality to the recitation of the Office, the words of joy spring to life, and the intercessions, at times raw and at times poignant are really invigorating. I come away uplifted and ready for the tasks ahead of me for the morning, and let them get on with their Opus Dei, the cleaning of the Church.

We use the small (and cheap) Shorter Office Books, and to accompany it I have a laminated card with the following on it to help those unfamiliar with the Divine Office. It saves a lot of the flicking to the front and the back for the Venite and the Benedictus, along with the Anthems to Our Lady at the back of the card. I have printed it here for your use, and if you would like the publisher file, email me.

O Lord open our lips
and we shall praise your name

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. world without end. Amen.

opening antiphon for the day/season/festival

Venite

(Psalm 95 also on the inside front of the book)

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;
hail the God who saves us.
Let us come before him giving thanks,
with songs let us hail the Lord 

A mighty God is the Lord,
a great king above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his.
To him belongs the sea for he made it,
and the dry land shaped by his hands.
 

Come in; let us bow and bend low;
let us kneel before the God who made us
for he is our God and we
the people that belong to his pasture,
the flock that is lead by his hand. 

O that today you would listen to his voice!
‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
on that day at Massah in the desert
when your fathers put me to the test;
when they tried me, though they saw my work.
 

For forty years I was wearied of these people
and I said: “Their hearts are astray,
these people do not know my ways.”
Then I took an oath in my anger:
“Never shall they enter my rest.”‘ 

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. world without end. Amen.

Opening antiphon, then the Psalms of the day with their respective antiphons.

The Holy Scripture appointed for the day is then read followed by the responsory which includes:

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

Benedictus Antiphon for the day/season/festival

The Benedictus

(Luke 1:67-79 also on inside back of the book)

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel!
He has visited his people and redeemed them.

He has raised up for us a mighty saviour
in the house of David his servant,
as he promised by the lips of holy men,
those who were his prophets from of old.

A saviour who would free us from our foes,
from the hands of all who hate us.
So his love for our fathers is fulfilled
and his holy covenant remembered.

He swore to Abraham our father to grant us,
that free from fear,
and saved from the hands of our foes,
we might serve him in holiness and justice
all the days of our life in his presence.

As for you little child,
you shall be called a prophet of God,
the Most High.
You shall go ahead of the Lord
to prepare his ways before him,

To make known to his people their salvation
through forgiveness of all their sins,
the loving kindness of the heart of our God
who visits us like the dawn from on high.

He will give light to those in darkness,
those who dwell in the shadow of death,
and guide us into the way of peace.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be. world without end. Amen.

Benedictus Antiphon for the day/season/festival followed by intercessions, both from the book and extemporaneously, and the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

The Collect of the day follows.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you

May Almighty God bless us, the +Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

Go in the peace of Christ
Thanks be to God.

We may conclude with an anthem to Our Lady:

Alma Redemptoris Mater (Advent to Candlemas)

Mother of Christ, hear thou thy people’s cry,
Star of the deep and portal of the sky!
mother of Him, who thee from nothing made,
sinking we strive and call to thee for aid:
Oh, by that joy which Gabriel brought to thee,
Thou Virgin first and last, let us thy mercy see.

Ave, Regina caelorum (Candlemas to Holy Week)

Hail, Queen of Heaven, beyond compare 
to whom the angels homage pay;
hail, Root of Jesse Gate of light,
that opened for the world’s new day.
Rejoice O Virgin unsurpassed,
in whom our ransom was begun,
for all your loving children pray
to Christ, our Saviour, and your Son. 

Regina Caeli (Eastertide)

Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven. Alleluia!
He whom thou wast meet to bear. Alleluia!
As he promised hath arisen. Alleluia!
Pour for us to God thy prayer. Alleluia!

Salve Regina (Trinity Sunday to Advent)

Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy;
Hail, our life, our sweetness and our hope!
To thee do we cry poor banished children of Eve.
To thee do we send up our sighs,
mourning and weeping in this vale of tears.
Turn then, most gracious Advocate, 
thine eyes of mercy towards us;
and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

or

Hail our Queen and Mother blest!
Joy when all was sadness,
Life and hope you give mankind,
Mother of our gladness!

Children of the sinful Eve,
Sinless-Eve, befriend us,
Exiled in this vale of tears,
Strength and comfort send us!

Pray for us, O Patroness,
Be our consolation!
Lead us home to see your Son,
Jesus, our salvation!

Gracious are you, full of grace,
Loving us none other,
Joy of heaven and joy of earth,
Mary, God’s own Mother!


Sermon: 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Text: Matthew 22:15-21

In the name of the +Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

You know you are in trouble when your enemies begin to flatter you: Kind words and Very Unkind Intentions. “Now, tell us, Jesus,” they continued, “is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

By “lawful,” of course they meant “according to Torah.” Any of Our Lord’s responses could have got him into trouble with one faction or another.

If Jesus said that a good Jew should support the Roman state, then he would have allied himself with a power that was occupying Israel and killing Jews. That would have alienated the Jews and given implicit approval to a state that regarded its ruler as a god. It would have been idolatry. But to say that Jews should not pay taxes to Rome would have been treason. The question was a perfect trap for Jesus.

“Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?” It was a good question then, and it is as difficult to answer today as it was two thousand years ago.

There is much to say in favour of Jewish or Christian support of the state. The state maintains order; it keeps the roads paved; and it operates schools. Even the Romans, for all their brutality, created a system of roads that ran the length of Europe. It took less time to send a letter from Athens to Rome in the first century when Rome was at the pinnacle of its power than it did in the 11th century when Europe was divided into hundreds of small kingdoms. Under Roman rule, we and the whole of Europe enjoyed a standard of living that fell drastically after the Roman state disintegrated and was not recovered until the late 19th century.

Yet, the Roman state was brutal. Persons found guilty of treason were hung or nailed to a cross and left to bleed to death and asphyxiate; it was the cruellest form of capital punishment ever devised. Men and women flocked to the circuses or amphitheatres to watch convicted criminals fight wild beasts.

“Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?”

The question seems easier to answer today. Compared to Rome, we live under a humane and beneficent power: a state-funded National Health Service, and believe me when I had to pay for an operation for my dog this week and it came to £600 – yes £600 (thankfully we are insured), I was drawn to thank God for the NHS, and vowed to be ever grateful for the life and the care it has given me. However,

“Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?”

One of the interesting things about the story of Jesus’ encounter with the Pharisees and the Herodians is that he never answers their question.

“Show me the money for the tax,” Jesus demanded. And they produced a Roman coin. As Jesus held it up, it glinted in the sunlight, and Jesus asked, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” The coin would have borne the image of Caesar, much as our coins display the profile of our Queen. Finally, Jesus said, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Well, that settles the question, doesn’t it? There are things that belong to Caesar, like the money with which we pay our taxes, and there are things that belong to God. Such as…? Well, what? There’s the problem.

Jesus threw the question back at the Pharisees and Herodians. His statement just raises some questions. How and where do you draw the line between the things that belong to Caesar and the things that belong to God? What are the things of Caesar and what are the things of God?

Jesus was a faithful Jew who every Sabbath of his adult life had recited the Shema: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all you soul, and with all your might.”

A whole God demands the service of whole human beings. The God of Jesus has a claim on all of life. So if God demands all of life, what is left to render unto Caesar?

The question Jesus threw back at the Pharisees and Herodians echoes Genesis. Holding up the coin, he asked, “Whose likeness or image is this?” The image of Caesar was imprinted only upon coins; but the image of God is upon every human life. The fingerprints of God are on us all.

“The things that are Caesar’s.” What are they? Caesar seems to have a claim on much of our lives, but in fact, nothing belongs to him. Everything belongs to God; the things that Caesar claims are merely on loan.

“The things that are God’s.” The way most of us behave suggests that we believe that God has a claim on about one hour per week and a small percentage of our income. But God’s mark is upon every particle of our being.

Many parishes today will hear sermons on stewardship today, many parish priests will ask people to consider how much they should pledge to the church. But the real question is not how much we should give to God or the church or how much belongs to Caesar, but how much belongs to God? And if we ask that question, then the real issue of stewardship is not “How much should we pledge?” but “How much should we keep for ourselves?”

All that we are and all that we have belongs to God. But we belong to God not as slaves but as children. Rendering to God what God has a claim on is not burdensome; it is liberation. We cannot divide our lives between God and Caesar. Realizing that life is whole and not fragmented is an insight that brings us freedom. It teaches us that our first and foremost priority is the service of God.

If you, like many people, feel many claims upon your time and finances and energy, then it is freeing to realize that in reality is that there is only one claim upon our lives: to serve God in joyful freedom.

Yes, my dear friends, there are Standing Order forms out in the Narthex, and yes, there are Gift Aid Envelopes and as you all know, there is a whole host of mission and outreach which needs to be underwritten in this parish, but we gather to give ourselves, and through that we bear fruit for the Mission of God in this place. Your prayer, your activism, your community engagement with the young, the disaffected, the old and the isolated, and yes, quite importantly, your money is a response to Him who gave it to us in the first place.

“Render to God the things that are God’s.”

That’s you.

Amen.


Youth Evangelism Fund – Gulp!

You may recall that our Sunday’s Youth Group applied for a tranche of funding from the Youth Evangelism Fund. Emma produced this really cool animation which (apart from a single sheet of paper) was our entire application, presented on a DVD.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQmXu3LZhHQ

Well, I got a phone call from Ben our Yuut Adviser today and he tells me that we have been granted a whole two grand !!!!!!! That is both everything we asked for, without any need for further clarification, further work or shaping of the project, and is the highest award in the Diocese. Well done them!

That, therefore, makes the project more properly called “Two Grands-Worth of Popcorn” (big debate about the presence, absence and position of an apostrophe in this Two Grand’s-worth / Two Grands’-worth / Two Grands-worth / Two Grand-Worth’s!!!) which wasted at least an hour, until we eventually gave up.

Now our young people just have to make it happen next year.


Credo

I’d just so love this to be part of the FE liturgy on December 8th, but I fear that it might be too radical. I couldn’t find the text anywhere on my system, so I am documenting it here, just in case I ever need it again. The first paragraph certainly comes from Grace, the Credo itself, I have no idea. The music is Nitin Sawney. God pulls no punches.

=http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=dXe3pQc2Sf0

God waits for us,
not like a lion ready to pounce if we let our guard down
and not like an interfering mother-in-law
but like an old friend who’s seen it all before and likes us anyway
and with whom we can spend time without having to pretend or explain.

We believe in God. Three in One. Father. Son. Spirit.
Paradox. Mystery. Elemental.

We believe in a God of Justice. Compassion. Mercy. Hope. And first, a God of Love.
Love personified. Incarnated.

We believe in God, the Mother of Creation. God, the Father of Humanity. God, the lover of us all.

We believe we are called to activity out of passivity and apathy
By the Son of God through his actions, calling down through history,
Bourne on the wings of the Spirit.

We believe we are called to community with each other
Through Christ the thread
Weaving us all together.

We believe that God
Has no favourites
Pulls no punches
Leaves no stone unturned.

We believe that life is hard
We believe that life is beautiful

And so
We believe
Does God.


Yu andastan i?

25 Wan eksport iina di Laa tan op fi tes Jiizas. “Tiicha,” im aks Jiizas, “Wa mi mos du fi liv fieva?”

26 “Wa rait dong iina di Laa?” Jiizas aks im. “ Yu andastan i?”

27 Di man se, “Lov di Laad Yu Gad wid aal yu aat, yu suol, schrent an main, an lov yu nieba laik ou yu lov yuself.” 28 Jiizas se tu im, “Yu ansa rait. Du dat an yu wi liv.”

29 Bot di man waan fi shuo se im nuo wa im a chat bout, so im aks Jiizas,“Uu a mi nieba?”

30 Jiizas ansa im se, “Wan man a go dong fram Jeruusilem tu Jeriko an som tiif grab im. Dem tek we im kluoz, biit im an go we lef im haaf ded.

31 Wan priis a go dong di siem ruod, si di man, an paas pan di ada said.

32 Wan Templ helpa kom tu di siem plies an si di man, bot im paas pan di ada said tu. 33 Bot wan Samaritan uu a chravl, kom we di man de, an wen im si im, sari fi im.

34 So, im go tu di man, chriit im kot dem wid alaiv ail an wain. Den im put im pan im uon dangki, tek im tu wan in an tek kier a im.

35 Di neks maanin im gi di inkipa tuu silva kain , an se,“Tek kier a im, an wen a kom bak a wi pie yu fi eni ekschra moni yu spen.”

36 Den Jiizas aks di eksport iina di Laa se, “Outa di chrii a dem, uu yu tingk did a di nieba tu di man wa di tiif dem biit op?”

37 Di eksport iina di Laa se, “Di wan uu tek kier a im.”
Jiizas se, “Go du di siem ting.”

http://www.biblesociety.org.uk/l3.php?id=801

Inculturation – a good thing. Spelling like Year 2 – makes it a bit harder, but well done to the Bible Society. Pity most of the Islands prefer the Authorised Version.


Blesséd on Fresh Expressions Website

http://www.freshexpressions.org.uk/section.asp?id=4000

When you have nothing – the sacrament is everything

 

Blesséd aims to impact the lives of younger people who do not relate to some traditional forms of church, but with a more ‘ancient:future’ perspective than some other Fresh Expressions.  Simon Rundell, Parish Priest for the church of Saint Thomas the Apostle, in Elson of the Diocese of Portsmouth, works hard to nourish, support and facilitate Blesséd with a personal passion for gutsy mission.  Simon is most definitely a visionary!  In fact, a number of other sacramental initiatives have taken inspiration from Simon’s work with Blesséd in and around South East England.

Simon Rundell continues …

 

  Blesséd is an unfunded, somewhat unloved and quite ramshackle loose collection of individuals seeking to draw deeply on the incarnational mysteries and views of the sacramental life and through that proclaim ancient truths in modern ways. It has been a dream to realise Blesséd as a truly alternative, ecclesial community, to foster and support a non-parochial gathering which is centred upon the Eucharist. This has been a long, hard and quite frustrating process, as the necessary work which underpins this can get lost beneath the pressures of other things: of parochial commitments and responsibilities and lack of money and time. Frankly, I am not sure it is working well at present and not convinced that what we want is necessarily what God actually wants.
 

 One of the most important things about alternative worship (and the spiritual communities associated with it which seek to ‘reach out for God’) is the recognition that we might, and indeed have the permission to, fail.
 

 Blesséd makes in its own way, a significant yet small contribution to the sum total of ‘creative worship’ as a form of mission.  It expresses a different perspective than some of the more protestant-influenced expressions of Fresh Expressions and irritates some in its insistence that the sacramental life touches everyone whether they know it, like it or dislike it.  As with other Fresh Expressions, we are placed on the edge or outside of the Church BUT engaged with the local unchurched or dechurched culture.  
 

 Yet the outside is just where Church is called to be.  This may not be a comfortable place, but it is from this vantage point that we can proclaim a transformative, newly-relational insight into society, following a God who calls us to engage with the wider community.
 

  Doing Fresh Expressions is inherently about struggle, about failing, as well as moments of success. In Blesséd numbers remain small, those who share in worship and support each other online are few and far between and weak and tired. And yet, that is what we are called to do – to support each other in our frailty, to gather in our brokenness to share in something tangible and yet powerfully inexpressible.
 

And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our very weakness, poverty and vulnerability are the source of our reliance on God.
 

  So where does Blesséd go? If it isn’t a formal, licensed, constituted or commissioned community, what then will it look like? It will, I sense, continue to be a roving resource and irritant: an inspiration to some and a folly to others; a burner of carpets and good ideas and a shot in the arm for those seeking to find a new place to encounter God in the Eucharist. There is no agenda, just an openness to God. Pray for us, and help us to discern God’s will.Until then, the altar is open and we, the people, gather to seek Christ present amongst us. Come.

 My grateful thanks to Ian Mobsby for shaping my text, and making my rather negative scribbles more positive.


Sermon 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A: Banquet

Text: Matthew 22:1-14

In the name of the +Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Our gospel lesson this morning is another parable in a series of parables that Jesus taught about the kingdom of heaven. We had the parable about the father who had two sons: he asked one to go into the vineyard. He said no but then changed his mind. When he asked the other son and he said yes, but in fact did not go as he promised.

And then there was the parable about the other vineyard where the tenents did not want to give the fruit of the vineyard to the owner’s servants. And the vineyard was taken from them and given to others.

And this week’s parable also deals with the nature of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is so unlike what we can envisage that Christ uses examples that we may be familiar with: vineyards, banquets, mustard seeds and so on, but still has to give them a twist, to make them unfamiliar and challenging; for the Kingdom of God is a Kingdom so unlike anything else we have encountered before, and is something which will challenge us, challenge us to our very core…

Jesus says the kingdom of God can be compared with a king who gave a marriage feast and invited special guests. But the guests were too busy to attend, so the king told his servants to go out into the streets and invite anyone they see.

The king gave a banquet and the invitations to the chosen guests were rejected.

All the invited guests had excuses not to attend the banquet, almost as if they were not interested in attending.

The scribes and the Pharisees as the religious rulers were not interested in the Kingdom of God that Christ was proclaiming: they made excuses!! They asked by what authority did Christ do this. They asked: “how can a son of a carpenter be the Son of God?”

They came up with excuse after excuse not to believe in the Kingdom of God which was being made known through Jesus Christ.

There is an Arabian fable which tells about a man who went to his neighbour and asked to borrow a rope. “I can’t lend it, because I am using it to tie up a pile of sand.” his neighbour answered.

“But,” the man came back, “you can’t tie up a pile of sand with a rope.”

To which his neighbour slyly replied, “Oh, yes you can.. In fact, you can do anything with a rope when you do not wish to lend it to your neighbour.”

Excuses!! Excuses, excuses!!

And in this day and age, people find a hundred and one excuses not to be in the kingdom of God, too.

There may be many different excuses not to be in church on a Sunday or on any day – for the Mass is not only said on Sunday here in this parish: we worship a seven-day God not one just reserved for Sunday Best.

You may wonder why the Mass begins with the words, ’In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen”, and why this sermon is preached in those same words: We invoke the powerful name of the Trinitarian God so he will be present with us: in word, in sacrament, in his real presence. We are invited, and we in return invite God in return into our worship, our reflection of the heavenly banquet.

The invitation is given to everyone to be present at the feast – to be part of the Kingdom of God. But sadly, it is so easy, so tempting, so beguiling to find an excuse not to be present.

A priest decided to tackle this head-on and came up with No Excuse Sunday. I know you have all come today, but how often do you hear the excuses of others?

In order to make it possible for everyone to attend Mass, they planned a special No Excuse Sunday.

  • Cots would be placed in the Narthex for those who say, “Sunday is my only day for sleeping late.”
  • Eye drops would be available for those whose eyes are tired from watching TV too late on Saturday night.
  • Steel helmets would be provided for those who believe the roof will cave in if they show up for Mass.
  • Blankets would be furnished for those who complain that the Church is too cold. Fans on hand for those who say that the Church is too hot (clearly they are not thinking of St Thomas the Apostle, Elson!).
  • Scorecards would be made available for those who wish to count the hypocrites (Don’t worry – we have plenty of room for one more!).
  • Some relatives would be present for those who like to go visiting on Sunday.
  • There would be TV dinners available for those who claim they cannot go to Church and cook Sunday Lunch too.
  • One section of the Church would have some trees and grass for those who see God in nature, especially on the golf course.
  • The sanctuary would be decorated with 30 Christmas poinsettias and 30 Easter lilies to create a familiar environment for those who have never seen the Church without them.

We are all invited guests and if we do not show up, the Kingdom of Heaven will be given to someone else.

But look even more closely to this parable: there is a warning to the guests who do come. A warning that one needs to be dressed appropriately.

It is true that in this sacred space, God accepts you as you are: he doesn’t expect you to wear a suit or what used to be called “your Sunday best” because we know from the first book of Samuel:

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7)

The clothing that this parable is concerned with is the putting on of Christ. In the letter to the Romans, Paul says that we must put on Christ (Romans 13:14), and that our relationship with Christ must be as intimate as our nether garments. One translation I came across translated that verse from Romans which we use in the Baptism service when we enfold the child in a white robe:

Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear
(Romans 13:14)

Look at the Greek and the key word: ενδυσασθε (en-du-sas-thay) from en-du-oo:

“(in the sense of sinking into a garment); to invest with clothing (literally or figuratively): – array, clothe (with), endue, have (put) on.” [Strongs Greek

Put on, sink into, κυριον ιησουν χριστον (kuri-on yay-son krist-on) – the Lord Jesus Christ

It is not enough to simply turn up to Mass and then say “that’s it, I’ve done my bit, I have received the sacrament” and then return to a life of envy, bitterness, malice and other facets of modern life.

You have to let the power of the sacrament transform you. You have to let the word of God seep into your life; you have to let the grace of God refresh and replenish you and then it won’t matter whether you are dressed in a tatty old pair of jeans or an outfit from Armani or Prada. Then you will be properly prepared to take part in the heavenly banquet, of which this eucharist is a foretaste.

So, come. Come and let God do his work within you. By God’s grace we are made worthy to be here, and through openness to his power, through putting on Christ, we fulfil our invitation.

No excuses. Come.

Amen.