Deacon Paul's Reflections

Deacon Paul Russell


Read: Psalm 39 (especially v. 7-10 and 17) - "Here I am Lord, I come to do your will"


Most of us, I imagine, will have listened to President Biden's inauguration speech yesterday, or got the gist of it from reports. At the heart of his words, to a presently very divided and unhappy American nation, was a call to unity to heal the wounds it is suffering. 


Readily encouraged by our grandchildren, I still love the 'Thomas the Tank Engine' books. As a child I was given, one Christmas, a copy of book No. 8 ('Gordon the Big Engine', if you need to know) by my favourite great-aunt, Auntie Agnes, and I was very struck by the heartwarming bit where Thomas and Gordon, who don't always get on but are now both very much in disgrace, are going happily home together "buffer to buffer" after Gordon had suggested that they form an 'Alliance'; I can still see the accompanying picture of the two smiling engines in my mind's eye. Gordon found it necessary to explain "grandly" to Thomas that this meant "united we stand - you help me, and I help you". And that, of course, is an expression of the joy (and power) of unity, which touched me even as a child.


Oh, and by the way, it's the feast of St. Agnes today, and this, of course, is Christian Unity Week. 


So how to pull that lot together? Over the past week, all but two of the Mass gospels have referred to people coming to Jesus, today in "great numbers". These people have included a leper, tax collectors and other assorted sinners, and (on Sunday) two of John the Baptist's disciples who are invited by Jesus to "come and see" where he lives. This dynamic of 'coming' to another is essential in seeking unity of any kind; we cannot find unity by observing from a distance, but by taking an initiative, moving, sometimes risking, coming to meet the other. Unity cannot be arrived at in any other way, whether we be talking about the relationships between spouses, friends, workplace colleagues, Christians of different denominations, or ourselves individually with God. And furthermore, an active 'reaching out' to the other is needed from both parties but is usually initiated by one. Our God has come, and every hour of every day comes, to invite us into a unity with him. But do we sufficiently actively reach out to meet Him? "Here I am, Lord, I come to do your will".


St. Agnes, pray for us.

Feel free to play the reflective music played and sung by Sarah

We lift our hands
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