Monday, November 18, 2013


He is a young priest and I am, sometimes, privileged to hear his Mass.  I look forward to his homily – always an unusual take on the day’s Gospel.  He makes me think.  His words are not palliative or passive, and they sometimes (most times!) bring home unwelcome truths.  Even so, hearing them makes the Gospel come wholly alive. 

Yesterday, Jesus cured the blind man.  But first he asked, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ Huh? Jesus is God; surely, He knows that the man is asking for sight? And yet he asks the question! He wants to know whether the man has thought of the consequences. Sightless, he invoked pity and could beg for alms.  Sighted, he would have to work and pull his weight.  When we pray and ask for what we desire, do we think of the consequences? Are we willing to take on the consequent challenge? Ouch!

Previous takes on this Gospel reading always taught that Jesus hears prayers, Jesus heals.  Yes, we know that.  Yesterday’s homily woke me up and how.  Here’s the result!


Lord, I want to see.
Will you not restore my sight?

            Do you know what you ask?

Yes, Lord!
I ask for sight that I may see
The glorious dawn and sunset,
The moods of the skies as they unfold,
The crest of waves as they break upon the shore -
The glory of all your creation!

            But will you also see the abandoned child,
            The battered woman,
            The homeless man?
            Will ‘seeing’ help you understand?

Give me sight Lord!
I have never known
The myriad hues of flowers,
Or seen the flutter of a bird’s wings;
The anger of the storm,
Or delight on the face of my beloved.

            But will you also see the anguish
            Of a war torn world;
            The desperate outstretched hand…
            Will ‘seeing’ help you understand?

I have felt the earth and know its scent;
But I have never seen its fruit,
Or watched life unfurl
From within its warm embrace:
Will you not let me see, Lord?
Will you not have mercy?

            Mercy is yours and also sight.
            Now, will you work for honest wage
            And share the yield?
            Will you labour in my field?
Lord, how could I be so blind?
Or, so selfish be…..
Give me your sight Lord
That I might truly see!

Monday, November 4, 2013


The alarm went off punctually at its appointed time; I was awake to its demands but reluctant to get out of bed.  Could I cadge a further five minutes?  I hit snooze and, promptly, five minutes later I received a shrill reminder.  Whoever invented the alarm and all its functions knew what he was doing!

Since I had time on my side, I decided that first Mass would be a good idea (instead of the afternoon which is a comfortable alternative).  It really was a good idea!  The first reading contained Paul’s advice to the ‘Romans’ – the best blueprint for Christian living that one could ever receive.  It makes me wonder why we listen to anything else!  Here’s the text, judge for yourselves:

“In the same way, all of us, though there are so many of us, make up one body in Christ, and as different parts we are all joined to one another.6 Then since the gifts that we have differ according to the grace that was given to each of us: if it is a gift of prophecy, we should prophesy as much as our faith tells us;7 if it is a gift of practical service, let us devote ourselves to serving; if it is teaching, to teaching;8 if it is encouraging, to encouraging. When you give, you should give generously from the heart; if you are put in charge, you must be conscientious; if you do works of mercy, let it be because you enjoy doing them.9 Let love be without any pretence. Avoid what is evil; stick to what is good.10 In brotherly love let your feelings of deep affection for one another come to expression and regard others as more important than yourself.11 In the service of the Lord, work not halfheartedly but with conscientiousness and an eager spirit.12 Be joyful in hope, persevere in hardship; keep praying regularly;13 share with any of God's holy people who are in need; look for opportunities to be hospitable.14 Bless your persecutors; never curse them, bless them.15 Rejoice with others when they rejoice, and be sad with those in sorrow.16 Give the same consideration to all others alike. Pay no regard to social standing, but meet humble people on their own terms. Do not congratulate yourself on your own wisdom.”
-          Romans 12:5-16

Tuesday’s Cantor is usually in good voice and today was no exception.  And even better was the choice of hymns – consolation, support and advice just when they were needed: In my heart, O Lord, you are there… you are there to lighten my burden … you are there to help me when I’m in need and God will make a way where there seems to be no way.

Prophetic?  I certainly feel so.

May your day be blessed.