Updates from Fr Alex
Thought for the Week from Fr Alex
3rd May is the Fourth Sunday of Easter. The first reading is from the Acts of the Apostles and it gives an account of Peter’s speech to the crowd, calling them to repent and be baptised, looking for the promise of the Spirit. ‘You must repent,’ declares Peter. We often diminish the meaning of this word repent to just feeling a bit sorry for our sins. But ‘repent’ means much more than that; it means a radical change of mind and heart. It means conversion.
The present C-19 crisis is, of course, terrible and disruptive and destructive. But it is a time when good things are emerging too. Good things like:
- a renewed appreciation of the amazing work of the NHS.
- a recognition of the vital, dedicated and skilled work of health and social care workers, who, judging by their salaries and the way they are often seen, have for too long constituted a kind of underclass, a sort of fossilised remnant of the one-time servant class. Time for change.
- a willingness on the part of the vast majority to put up with substantial restriction and inconvenience for the benefit and safety of everybody. (Compare that with the sickening protests from the entitlement me-culture in parts of the USA.)
- a wonderful upsurging of good neighbourliness, with people willing readily to look out for each other.
All these, and much more, are clear examples of living by what the Church calls the common good - an idea which lies at the heart of Catholic social teaching.
So what has this got to do with repentance? Well, if repentance means a change of mind and of heart it must also issue in a change of life. We can resolve to do our bit to make sure that the invisible and overlooked are honoured and given their due reward. We can resolve to hold onto the very simple, down to earth love of neighbour which is being expressed by people of all faiths or none. Further, as Christians living through the closure of our churches, we can learn and explore new ways of praying, of celebrating our friendship with the Lord, of gaining a renewed awareness of his real presence in our neighbour and, indeed, in the whole of creation. Here, then, are some ways in which we and all of us can embark upon a change of heart and mind. So, this need not be a time only of deprivation but also of a renewal which, we pray, will long survive the depredations of C-19.
This Sunday’s Entrance Antiphon begins with these words:
The merciful love of the Lord fills the earth.
Let’s celebrate and share that in renewed hearts and lives.