Just following on from today's gospel, what is the name of God's only Son?
Yes, very good, Jesus! You went to a catholic school? Yes?
The Catholic education system triumphs again.
I would suggest to you however that we have some names and ideas in the first two readings that are also correct.
The first reading from Exodus gives us names like tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness.
And what is the idea of what this tender and compassionate Jesus wants for us?
We get that in our reading from Paul's 2nd letter to the Corinthians. The idea is happiness; try to grow perfect; help one another. Be united; live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
That God, who is love and peace, is Trinity.
As Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit share totally with each other, and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus tells us that they desperately, passionately, want to share totally with us.
God shares, God doesn't want us to give him things, God wants us to share in God's love. You may remember that last year in a homily I quoted Deacon Boniface Perdjert, a highly respected indigenous deacon who died recently. Deacon Boniface spoke about how he read the gospels as an Aboriginal, and one of the features that struck him about Jesus was that, like our Aboriginal brothers and sisters—He was strong on sharing. We do a lot of things like that. Of course He went a bit further. In the Eucharist He shared Himself as nobody else could.
In the Eucharist, Jesus shares himself with us so that we can share in the life of the Trinity, in the love which is at the heart of all reality. If I can be allowed another deacon reference, one of the few things deacons get to say at Mass is what we say when we pour the wine and water into the chalice at the offertory. By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.
At the heart of Christian Faith is the awe-filled belief that we human beings are invited to share divine life, invited to be Godly.
Tender and compassionate, kind and faithful, God is inviting us to join in this life ofÂ love and peace.
Love and peace, seeing much of it on the news lately?
Last week I was in a zoom meeting with a number of Americans, and I was asked for an opinion on what is going on in their country.
I began by saying that, as a white Australian, I didn't think I had the right to preach to anyone about racism.
The conversation then turned to COVID19.
But it is worth us thinking about the forces of hatred and anger, bitterness and bullying. These forces are strong, and are often provoked by fear and injustice. That much is easy to say.
The question for us is, what to do about it?
We start with prayer. Through prayer we invite the God of love to form us, to bring us into the life of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We trust that if we have that life in us, we will know it by the way in which we live, by how we treat others with respect and love. We trust that if we build communities of people that have the life of love, of God, in them, that that will help to make a society that is more loving, more respectful.
That is our faith. It is a long journey, and normally for every two steps forward there are at least one and a half steps back, but as Christians its a journey we are called to share.
As the apostle Paul tells us, we will have help.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit will be with us all.
Deacon Jim Curtain