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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Friday, June 22, 2012
The Nativity of St John the Baptist. 24th June 2012
Telling it like it is

As we celebrate the feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist, I find one of his sayings floating around in my head – “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) It very clearly shows that John’s mission is entirely focussed on Christ, and that despite his popularity and “success” (if such a thing can be attributed to a prophet) he is not at all egocentric. Of course, as students in the seminary we used to use the line with reference to someone who had out on a bit of weight, but that’s another story.

A life that points only to Christ is something that we all aspire to but few of us achieve. This is because in all sorts of ways, other things in our lives become so pressing that we become identified with them. Of course these things are important and vital to family and community life – mother, father, bread-winner, housewife/husband, and so on. But in all these vital roles it is good to see them lived out in the context of our faith in the one who gives our humanity its place in the Divine plan.

One of the ways we might do that is by spending some time before the Blessed Sacrament during the forty hours of Exposition that we will have leading up to the feast of St Mary Magdalen. I am conscious that this is a devotion that hasn’t happened here for some time but I hope you will sign up to watch and pray for a period. Taking some time to bring our role in the world to the Lord truly present is a wonderful way to put it into context and can help us to be more prophetic in whatever situation we find ourselves.

Given that universal vocation, I cannot ignore the ordinations of five new deacons for our diocese on Saturday morning. Among them was Martin Plunkett and I am delighted that he is exercising his ministry for the first time with us today. One of the most moving parts that I remember from my ordination in 1998 was putting my hands between Cardinal Hume’s and being asked, “Do you promise obedience and respect to me and my successors?” Shortly after that with my hands on the Gospels the Cardinal said, “Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you now are. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach.”

That question and that commission are good for us all to consider as we celebrate this feast of one who gave his life for that positive response to God’s call and his unswerving devotion to the truth revealed by the same God, particularly in this time of dilution of that truth. Indeed, St John Fisher (whose feast we celebrated on Friday) said, “We use all paths and circumlocutions in rebuking those who do wrong. We go nowhere near the matter and so in the meantime the people perish.”

Trust a Yorkshire man to be so blunt in his admonition to be oblivious to what the world thinks of us in our desire to point only to Christ. May St John the Baptist and St John Fisher pray for us that we may be heralds and prophets of the truth.

Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:04 am