Another year over …..
Wasn’t it John Healy who wrote about the tragedy of rural decline in a book entitled “No One Shouted Stop”?
“STOP”! If today is asking us to do anything it’s to stop and look again at the man on the Cross and to search for and find in the bleakness of that moment the one we call “KING”. It may not be an instant recognition but it’s there to be found, somewhere in the dialogue of the two thieves – one of whom cried “STOP”. Stop the sarcasm, the taunting, the mocking – “this man has done nothing wrong”. Nor has he ….. Recognition of a centurion who, having seen how he died said, “In truth, this man was a Son of God”. Recognition in a veil of the temple being torn in two …
We have celebrated the “YEAR OF FAITH” that comes to an end today. What impact has it had? What impact on YOU? The logo contained a boat, the great image of Church and of voyage from one shore to another. How did we make the crossing? Do we feel we’ve travelled at all? Did we un-berth the boat or leave it tied at the pier?
It’s that sort of a day. It’s a day for honest and deliberate reflection. Little can be gained by stepping away from this year if we don’t allow for some reflection. Joy should be part of that – joy and gratitude for a year of fidelity to prayer and worship, community and church. Joy – in our being there with and for people when “Calvary” drew all too close and real for them in recent months. There should be in us a sense of living faith in our celebrating the Sacraments this year; Baptisms, First Penance, First Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Anointing of The Sick and maybe here and there an Ordination. We had these moments because our “KING”, Christ The King, journeyed with us.
Though celebrating Christ The King, our day is not spent in Royal Palace or on Celebrity Red Carpets but in the here and now of life in this parish, this place and at this time. The KING before us is practically naked, blood stained, battered and bruised. He is riddled with doubts and hurt “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?” He has the taste of bitter vinegar on his lips and the taunting of a mocking crowd in his ears. He so needed that recognition and prayer of the man by his side “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom”. He is KING though and that’s the truth we’re called to accept today.
The King calls us to service and recognition. He calls us to be men, women and children of faith, vision, compassion and courage. He needs us to speak out, to whisper or if need be shout “STOP” when things are going in the wrong direction. He needs us to change the flow and direction of an uncertain and possibly non-reflective age. He needs us to come away from the foot of the Cross having recognised there-upon, the presence and love of a gracious and giving King.