I have always been moved by the way in which the lectionary readings fit in coincidentally with what is going on our lives and in the life of the world. Our first reading today from the book of Ecclesiasticus (48:1-13) sums up, in very fulsome and elaborate language, Elijah, whose narrative from 1 & 2 Kings we concluded yesterday (the picture here is an icon of the prophet from Mount Sinai). The reading contains these words: ‘dragging kings to destruction, and high dignitaries from their beds.’ It’s difficult not to think of statues of the once mighty in the world being dragged down and destroyed, as they have been in many places in recent weeks. The Church has strongly supported efforts to challenge ingrained racism through peaceful demonstrations – in doing so we are exercising a prophetic ministry, following Elijah. It’s fortuitous that at Mass day by day we have been learning about him while all this has been going on.
Today’s gospel reading from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:7-15), which like others at the moment we also hear in Lent, is Matthew’s account of Jesus teaching the ‘Our Father’ to his disciples; the traditional site for this in the Holy Land is the Church of the Pater Noster, shown here, where the prayer is written in tablets round the cloisters in all the known languages of the world.
Some of you will have known Bert Abel, a faithful parishioner here for many years who died a few weeks ago. He was buried in a simple ceremony at Hither Green cemetery today. May he rest in peace.
God bless and take care