Let’s listen to the Gospel
Well there is certainly plenty going at the moment. What with the vote in the referendum and the result to leave the EU and the turmoil at the top of the Tory and Labour Parties, the country certainly has plenty to discuss and debate. But we shouldn’t forget that the Gospel has an important bearing on where our thoughts should be directed and our actions focussed.
You may recall that last Sunday, amid our Diamond jubilee celebrations, we received the news from the Bishop that things are to change once more in our parish. We are to become part of a new pastoral grouping of three parishes with a team ministry model of pastoral and sacramental care. Along with St. Hugh’s Bilborough and St.Teresa’s Aspely we are being asked to step out onto a new pathway. One which asks us to look to offer a new way of being St. Thomas More Parish. A way that asks us to present the gospel through a different perspective. One that calls on us to live the gospel with and alongside people across our parish boundaries. It will undoubtedly be a new and challenging standpoint, as it is clearly going to be different from the previous way we understood our relationships, when our parish was “linked” with for example The Assumption. To understand this new relationship with St. Hugh’s and St.Teresa’s more fully, each of us as parishioners, is being called upon to put our baptismal vocation into action in a way that we have perhaps never really previously considered. We tend to view our baptism as something which happened to us many years ago, as something in the past, an event which says to us I was baptised rather than as a present day reality which informs us that I am baptised. It is our baptism and its reality which gives each of us a clear vision of our responsibilities as a Christian.
In baptism each of us is anointed with the oil of Chrism. The significance and importance of this anointing, has perhaps never been properly explained to us. Yet if we are to take on the task of spreading and living out the gospel, it becomes the most important thing that has ever been done to us. In essence this anointing marks us out as images of Christ, the anointed one. Put quite simply we are each called to be Priest, Prophet and King in the reality of today’s world. We the baptised, are being called to take on the pastoral and sacramental responsibility of caring for each other. So what precisely does that mean?
Last week in our Diamond Jubilee Mass we read the gospel of the miraculous draft of fish. If you remember the story, the disciples had been fishing all night but had caught nothing. At dawn after daybreak, Jesus calls out to them to pay out the nets to the right side, and amazingly they make an enormous catch of fish, one hundred and fifty three of them. If you look at the attendance figures for the weekend masses at St.Thomas More you’ll find that our congregation is not a million miles away from this figure. In other words, each week there are approximately one hundred and fifty three, priests, prophets and kings gathered in to this place as one unbroken expression of faith, hope and love in the Risen Jesus, who, seated on the right side of the Father, now also stands amongst and alongside us in the Spirit, as the anointed one calling us to pay out the nets.
This new challenge is then the dawn of a new experience for us and our parish. The dawn of a new insight into how our vocation as the baptised is to be lived. The dawn of a new era of the coming years. We are to be priests to each other as we minister our needs. We are to be the prophetic voices delivering the message of the Good News, and we are to be the reality of kingdom at work through our call to serve each other in love.
A brave new world of the gospel in action indeed.