I got an email from a regular visitor to this blog yesterday. He mentioned that the visits (hits) on the blog had just exceeded 200,000. I hadn’t noticed but he was right. What does that mean? I’m not fully sure of the distinction between “hits” and “visitors” but it seems to say that what I have here has been looked at over 200,000 times. That’s gratifying and humbling – thanks! The first time I did this was on July 8th, 2008 with a few lines about “Barnie” my parents’ dog who had died some weeks earlier (http://sherlockshome.info/2008/07/08/hello-there/) and I had no idea where it would go and what would come next. Since then, I’ve tried to mix it up a bit – a few stories, lots of photos, a tune or twenty and bits and pieces from life. This blog has travelled with me through the deaths of my mother and father (R.I.P.) and other family events It has allowed me record the weddings and happy events of some friends along the way and given the chance to share an occasional thought I felt might be worth sharing. Sometimes it has been more personal than I might have imagined but, since July 2008 – for about six years now has been a companion, of sorts, and has, I like to think, welcomed other companions along the way, acknowledged friendships and spoken in an honest way.
Thanks for being part of the journey.
I’m not sure if it was the mention of the 200,000 that put figures in my head but I found myself this morning, alone in the sacristy before Mass, looking through the register we keep there (have kept since February 2010) to record the names of Mass Servers who served Masses, Ministers of The Word and Eucharist, our Sacristan and the name of the priest who celebrated Mass. This, as you know, is part of the Safeguarding Policy of our day but is also an interesting record of a journey of Faith – its detail, in the main, drawn from the Sunday Mass.
I just looked quickly through the pages and, apart from Sundays I was away on holidays or maybe had to be somewhere else, my name is part of the weekly story in this parish – in Kilmovee Church alone – today was about the 270th Sunday Mass (or Holy Day/Christmas/Easter etc) I celebrated Mass. We only use the register when there are Mass Servers so weekday Masses etc are not counted. Today then was about the 270th time I stood in front of the people of Kilmovee to celebrate Sunday Mass, preach a few words and hopefully offer a bit of support and nourishment for the week ahead. When I think the same could be said of Urlaur – that’s over 500 occasions, not counting the Sundays I celebrated Mass in Glann or Kilkelly. It’s a striking number and begs the question, “what have I been saying?”
The answer must lie in the truth that I have been saying the same thing, over and over, with slight variation. That is reality. We only have so much to say – stories to tell and experiences to share. So, no matter how many Sunday Mornings “come down”, the reality is I have only the one message and I really want to believe that message is rooted in the Gospel.
Today’s Gospel – even in the shortened form I read at Mass – speaks to the honesty of our lives. The wheat grows side by side with the enemy-planted darnel. Often it can go unnoticed but all too often it’s there.
This is the story brought to us from the lips of Jesus. The workers report the existence of the darnel to the landowner, offering to weed it out immediately but he recommends caution. To rush the weeding could damage the crop. Let both grow til Harvest time and then the sorting can be done.
I believe we are essentially wheat – the good crop. That’s the way God made us and that’s what he wants for and from us. Goodness! We are from the outset good. Sadly though the darnel makes its way into our lives. It takes subtle hold of us, alters the very path of our growth and ultimately, if left unchecked, can destroy us.
To me, the Lord is saying, the sorting needs to be done. He takes no pleasure in the smell of burning so asks us to look honestly at our lives and to name the darnel, even if well developed, and to separate it from the intended crop. He is calling us to be honest enough to look at our own lives and recognise there-in our weakness and limitation. He offers us, through the Sacraments of the Church, the call to repentance, to putting right what is wrong to allow for the reclamation of the name – the wheat – the crop he so truly wants for us.
We were born good. This week we think of that Malaysian Aeroplane on the runway. We imagine the soothing words of the Captain, speaking to those on board prior to take off. He told them of the flight plan, I’ve no doubt, about the expected time of arrival and most likely told them to sit back, relax, enjoy the flight and that he’d talk to them again during the flight to update them. He left them in the care of the cabin crew who, it’s certain, made sure their seat backs were in the upright position, their seat belts fastened tightly around their waists and with a smile and reassuring touch, calmed the most nervous, reassured the parents travelling with “very small children” and took their own seats for take-off. Good people! Wheat.
On the ground there were people with other intentions. They couldn’t care less about the safety of the passenger. Evil invaded every pore of their being. Darnel smothered the wheat that was once there. Was it a soldier obeying and order? Was it a terrorist? The label is almost by the way. The reality is that weaponry, technology, violence were mixed with intent and innocence was dragged from the sky. God rest each and every one of them. God bring those responsible to a place where they recognise the cruelty of their action, the futility of violence and to an abiding desire for peace. “Swords into plowshares” (Is 2:4) The ones on the ground, the ones in the plane – born Good! “An enemy has done this” ….
So I’m left wondering what I am saying today – and realise I’m saying nothing new, that I’m not being asked to say anything that hasn’t been said before and maybe that’s no harm. It’s enough to say the right thing and to keep saying it. It’s even more important to want the right thing and to do something about doing it!
A look into the field then, is appropriate, the field of wheat and to see there the darnel, to mark its spot, bide our time and weed it out. Once the weeding is done, sometimes the advice is given that we should spray to prevent new growth – to protect the ground. Maybe we need to PRAY to do likewise!
16th Sunday of The Year
- All planting and planted is good
- ESSENTIALLY Good People
- Weeds develop -often cunning
o Disguise themselves
o Grow with the crop
o cause damage
o Need to recognise them
- God wants the best of our crop
o Reconciliation and Confession
o Focus on the Crop !
o Weeds bundled and burned
- Spray to protect the ground
o PRAY to protect the ground
- Ongoing Call to holiness