Monday, July 6, 2009

Communion with People

I was moved by what I read in the following homily by Father Kennedy of St. Mary’s community in Brisbane. His words begin to trace a human experience and are about a former parishioner that chose to not follow him down the street away from the old church. The parishioner has cerebral palsy and lives in an assisted care center.

Peter Kennedy - Homily - Sunday 14th June
Now the people at Lotus House have experienced physical, psychological and sexual abuse in church and government run institutions - abuse they have never been able to fully escape. I think that one of my reasons for being apprehensive about going into Lotus House was that I, an official religious person, might not be all that acceptable to the victims of such systematic abuse and yet the opposite happened - people smiling a welcome, putting out their hand to touch mine…

Again there was no meal but there was for myself as I walked away a sense of Eucharist/communion that left me promising myself that I must return to Lotus House - not for their sake but for mine…

During my conversation with Michael whenever I mentioned God he fell about crying, tears welling up in his eyes and I knew I was communing with mystery.

This community was accused of "not having any faith over there" and our celebration of the sacraments and the Eucharist were suspect, because institutional Catholicism demands that we can only come to the truth through the

divinely appointed brokers, totally submissive to their doctrines and correct formulas - the opposite of course is more likely to be the truth.

For it is clear from the gospel that the poor, the disadvantaged, the victims of injustice, the differently abled, all those excluded on the grounds of gender/sexual preference are the very ones that the historical Jesus welcomed to his table time and time again.

To paraphrase Dominic Crossan, "The last supper never happened but it is always happening".

So on Tuesday I understood what Crossan meant and that I didn‟t have to explain my Theological difference to Michael or to anyone about the Eucharist as given to us by the divinely appointed brokers, with their demand for validity, that we use the right formula for Baptism or only the ordained Priest has the power to make Jesus present in the Eucharist.

I don‟t have to fall into that trap anymore because I now know where to find a truly valid experience of Eucharist/communion…

In some cosmic sense, I believe that a true early Christian sense of fellowship, love and social earnestness are expressed above in what I feel might be called a living gospel – good news – by and for the people of God in a small distant community.

It is stories like the above that sparked the early Christian movement hearing stories from a distance that they believed, absorbed into their lives and began to commune with the energy of Jesus, a gift of God, of himself, to humanity.

Christianity needs a rebirth of spirit and outlook and focus.

Twenty first century western culture is corrupt - is as bankrupt of values and love as any of the grand totalitarian regimes, new man made religions, that failed in the recent history of the last century.

The words of Jesus did not destroy the Roman Empire. When the dust settles on fallen empires, the words of Jesus persist in the hearts of the faithful and the Word lives on.

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