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Below is a homily from my deacon friend and elder, Robert Kinghorn. I have always enjoyed Robert’s sharing about the small Christian community in Scotland called the Community of the Transfiguration. Here is a homily Robert delivered a few weeks past on the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time. It is a message worth thinking about.

“Now think about that.” By Deacon Robert Kinghorn

Contemplation in Scottland

Each year in our parish we have a priest come in to give is a three day retreat. Well today I want to give you a three day retreat. So I hope you have not left anything in the oven for dinner or else you may be in trouble. We may be here for a while.

There is a Christian community in Scotland call the Community of the Transfiguration. It has been going for about 47 years, has never had more than 5 members, and now has only 2 remaining members. They have a ministry of prayer and welcoming to those who are troubled or in need of support.

When they started out they decided that a good way to start would be to go on a three day retreat at a monastery close by. The abbot of the monastery said, “You are lucky, we have our very best and wisest retreat master here this weekend. He will lead you on the retreat.

So they were very excited by this and turned up the first day with pencil and paper in their hands and the five of them sat in the front pew. The retreat master walked in and said, “I have wonderful news for you. God loves you. Now think about that.” And he shuffled off. So each of them spent the day in the monastery thinking about that.

The next morning he walked in again and said, “I know that yesterday I told you that the news I had was wonderful. But today it is truly amazing. You can love God. Now think about that.” And off he shuffled.

The final day they really felt he was going to bring it all together and explain what it was all about. He walked in and said, “Well today you are not going to believe what I am telling you. You can love one another. Now think about that.” And off he went.

I was told this story last year by one of the men that was there at the retreat and he said, “That was exactly what we needed to hear, and I still remember this message so many years later.” So that is your 3 day retreat. It’s like one of those drinks you get that says, “Just add water.” In this case it is, “Just add silence.”

I am sure you are hoping I am going to just shuffle off now, but if I go I am afraid you might complain you are not getting your money’s worth. So instead I will talk a bit about today’s readings.

The readings today are perfect to think about for this retreat. In the first reading from Isaiah, we hear how God loves us. We think of this as a message only in the New Testament, but here in Isaiah written about 700 years before Jesus the message is clear. The people of Israel were in exile and had felt the grief of losing everything; their freedom, their land, and their temple. In the midst of their sin, their grief and their helplessness they hear God saying to them, “You will no more be forsaken or feel desolate. You will be the one I delight in.” Imagine that, God delighting in us! It’s almost like the wedding feast of the gospel. Mary simply said, “They have no wine.” Don’t we feel like that often? We have been drained. We have nothing left to give. Like the Israelites we feel the pain of losing everything. But at that moment we remember the words of God spoken through Isaiah, “My delight is in you”. Just as you are. Empty and alone. God delights in you. Yes God loves us.

Now think about that.

In the gospel we heard Mary say to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” I was talking with a man last week. He has a high pressure job with lots depending on his decisions and he prays often for strength. He had a particularly difficult day coming up and he was at mass in the morning and he said that for the first time in his life that he could remember he said to God, “I give my life to you.” Up until then he had offered minutes of his life to God if he was desperate. Or if he was really desperate he would offer hours of his life to God. But never had he found the courage to offer his whole life. Well he said that his experience was unbelievable. The pressure was relieved from his shoulders and in the difficult day that he was dreading, he found the words and the actions came naturally to him and he had a peace within. Mary in the gospel said, “Do whatever he asks of you.” What God asks is that one day we can have the courage to say to God, “I give my life to you.” Yes we can love God by giving the only thing we have; our life.

Now think about that.

But what about the third part of the retreat message? Can we love one another? Ah that is the challenge isn’t it? St. John said, “How can you love the God you cannot see if you cannot love others we have seen?” Isn’t this the great challenge we have every day? St. Paul in the second reading said it quite clearly. It is not our work. It is the work of the Spirit within us. Each of us has been given a gift from the spirit. We heard them all mentioned in the reading. Today we could say they are the gift of praying for others, the gift of advocating for others, the gift of looking after the one you love, the gift of being present to your children or to your parents. The gift of service to others in the community, even those who are hard to love. All these are from the Spirit and are for service to others. What is your unique gift from the Spirit that you are being called to use? Because you can truly love one another.

Now think about that.

God loves you. You can love God. You can love one another.

Now think about that.

 

One Response to ““Now think about that.”: by Deacon Robert Kinghorn”

  1. Barb Clapperton says:

    Excellent