FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT
There was an inspiring chap speaking on Songs of Praise. He was, I think, a former vicar who now had bad MS and couldn’t walk. But he was very courageous. He said he saw the love of God in the love of his wife. With all our moans and groans, here was a man afflicted with the most terrible disability – cheerful. And on the programme too was a most impressive actor who plays Martin Luther King in ‘Selma’. He just seemed extraordinarily articulate and full of hope.
“I tell you solemnly insofar as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine you did to me.” (Matthew 25:31)
We had a debate on gender-selective abortion. I was the last to be called. I had 30 seconds to speak. I just said it is morally repugnant to destroy a foetus just because of its sex, shouldn’t we made clear in law its prohibition.
“In your prayers do not babble as the pagans do.” (Matthew 6:7)
The priest at Mass today reminded us of the Communion Rite’s words: “At the Saviour’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say…”
I had never really thought about these words before. But saying the first words of the Lord’s Prayer, we do it without thinking out.
“Go to Nineveh.” (Jonah 3)
What would ISIL make of him in Mosul if he arrived? Probably like the real Jonah he would have been scared of going at all.
I went in for a screening test for aortic aneurysm.
Marcus Aurelius tells us that we should think of one’s death every day of one’s life.
Is this a good idea? I think it is. It puts the days and life’s little setbacks into perspective. We are going to die, and all these other people more powerful than us are going to die too. We will all be levelled and then whatever people think and say about us will be meaningless.
Again today’s Gospel as a refrain sticks in the brain as a most beautiful counterpoint:
“Ask and it shall be given unto you, search and you will find; knock and the door shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7)
The answer to Marcus Aurelius is surely in today’s reading from Ezekiel 18:
“If the wicked man renounces all the sins he has committed, respects my laws, and is law-abiding and honest, he will certainly live.”
I like the day the hunt comes to our valley. I can walk in the deep hidden wood-lined valleys away from the public footpaths which normally I cannot access.
Here it is very quiet, a green carpet leads up the slopes, surrounded by birch and beech. I returned home after a couple of hours in the twilight to a cottage fire, the timeless clatter of hooves on the hunt returned.
This injunction from Matthew 5 today is so difficult to follow:
“I say this to you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, in this way you will be sons of your Father in Heaven.”