26th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 30th September 2018
Usually at Sunday's liturgy the same concept is found in the first reading and in the Gospel reading. It seems to me that Moses and Jesus tell their followers to be open to the presence of God in people who may be strangers. This may be a surprise for us but then God is "a God or surprises" - this is the title of a book written by Fr. Gerry Hughes SJ - well worth reading.
In 1984 there was a famine in Ethiopia. Bob Geldof and his band "The Boom Town Rats" joined with other pop stars of the time and made a record - "Feed the World". This made us more aware of what was happening in Ethiopia. In 1985 Bob organised a charity concert in London and New York - the proceeds went to the people of Ethiopia. That is how Bob respended in such a wonderful way to a crisis.
The second Vatican Counsil was held in 1962- 1965. Pope John XXIII now St. John XXIII urged us at the council to be open to the World, to drop a siege mentality as if we were at war with people who do not belong to us. We are asked to engage, to talk and learn from members of other churches and people who may not believe in God.
At my baptism, I received the Holy Spirit. People who are not baptised are guided by the Holy Spirit - if they follow their conscience. I don't know if Bob Geldof was baptised. He certainly responded in a huge way to the plight of starving people in Ethiopia. I can catch a glimpse of God at work in people like Bob Geldof. David Hockney has recently painted a window which has been installed in Westminster Abbey. It was to honour the Queen. I think that God leaves traces of his presence all over the place - in nature - the Beluga whale with its own navigation system which has been in the Thames Estuary for some time in stead of the Arctic Ocean, its normal home. Artists like Hockney delight us with their skills and insights and sense of beauty. I have to drop a "them and us" mentality if it prevents me from seeing the good in other people. God is waiting for me to welcome people as He welcomes all people and loves all people. The priest at the offertory of the Mass pours wine and a little water into the chalice and says: "By the divine mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity".
Fr. Noel Travers, C.M.