Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Only view of the writer – no more, no less.
Another Summer has arrived and I’m loving it. Keep the sun shining, Lord, for as long as possible. I grew up where we could only dream of temperatures like these. You will not find me waving a fan to keep cool. When rain, grey skies and cold is your template of weather – then, this is heaven on earth. Long may it last and thank you, Lord.
Weather report over! Now to the Word of God given today. As always it is rich in meaning and full of wisdom. The Word is a person – Jesus and all the individual words point to Him. He was made flesh and dwells among us.
God doesn’t send the Word, Jesus, in a generic way as “one size fits all”. The context in which the Word was first delivered and heard is essential to the meaning. The context in which you and I receive the Word is also essential to His full gift being received.
When Mary was approached by the Angel Gabriel, her first reaction was fear. The reaction of God was, ‘do not be afraid’. The admonition, ‘do not be afraid’ occurs at least 70 times in the Bible. God gives this message as important for us to hear and absorb.
Today, St Matthew in the Gospel read at Mass begins with the same words, ‘do not be afraid’. Regularly confidential information held by banks, governments, etc. is broken into and people fear the consequences of this falling into other people’s hands. Today, we listen to Jesus as He talks about how hidden things will be brought into the full light of day.
We are told that our whispers and hidden secrets will one day be made public. It makes me careful about what I say about others, even in secret. God sees and God cares and never wants the reputation of another damaged. Perhaps the most foolish thing anyone says is, ‘tell no one else this, it must be secret.’ God doesn’t deal in Slander, Calumny or Detraction. He detests them. It is probably a while since I preached a sermon on these sins.
‘Do not be afraid’, Matthew writes where your soul, inner self, Temple of the Holy Spirt part is attacked. One day, somehow and somewhere, each of us will die. But that is not the end. The only real end is to lose my soul and miss out on the vision of God for ever.
God treats us as special and precious and never sees us as other than beautiful. Each of us can deface that beauty and prevent ourselves entering Eternal Life. God doesn’t condemn; I pass judgement on myself by the choices I make and by how I treat you.
Jeremiah, a young, sensitive and initially reluctant prophet, suffered the cruel words, ‘Denounce him, let us denounce him.’ If he had done evil that deserved this, he could have no complaint. But he didn’t deserve this and it must have hurt. But, this didn’t derail the prophet. Jeremiah has a lovely name for God – ‘my mighty hero.’ I’m no Jeremiah, but I feel the hurt of being denounced to superiors last summer by people unknown. I admire Jeremiah and all who suffer like him. Whenever opportunities arise to take down walls, do so. In their place, build bridges. A restful Summer, and may the sun continue to shine on you!