Saturday, 5 July 2014

Week 13 Saturday (Year 2) - 5 July 2014

Readings: Amos 9:11-15; Psalm 85; Matthew 9:14-17

The picture of a restored people dwelling once again in a fruitful land has something of the Keystone Cops about it. Older people will remember those early silent films where the police moved around at twice normal speed, dashing in front of trains and trams, running up streets and over bridges, falling over each other things were happening so fast. So it seems in the first reading, where God is so exuberant in his restoration of the people that the harvest comes straight after the ploughing and the grapes are being trodden as soon as they have been sown. Everything is speeded up, there is such urgency, such desire, to restore the fortunes of the people.

God's 'repentance' is always so, immediate, swift, and complete, as extravagant in its generosity as it is dazzling in its speed. Really the first reading today should be read very quickly, almost breathlessly - for so is the desire of the Lord to settle the people once and for all in the land that He has given them.

We can think of the miracle at Cana fulfilling this prophecy of Amos, an extravagant and immediate vintage given in generous quantities, before the hour, through the powerful intercession of Mary. Here is the Lord, moving among His people, agreeing to act prematurely, and doing it with characteristic love. There is certainly no fasting at this wedding, celebrated in the presence of the Eternal Bridegroom. What is lacking and needed is supplied immediately and generously.

In the celebration of the Eucharist each day we receive this plentiful harvest gathered before its proper hour, we drink this premature vintage ready before its time. The bread of our earthly pilgrimage is also a forestaste of the wedding feast of heaven. The wine to sustain our joy in this vale of tears is also a pledge of the glory that is coming to us. Come Lord, do not delay. The Lord will hear the prayer of his servants and will avenge them speedily. The one you are awaiting will suddenly enter his temple.

Even while we are still at a distance the Bridegroom is already with us. We are not yet living the fulness of life in the Kingdom and yet we already feast on the gifts that belong to that Kingdom. We are not to hang around but to act quickly and decisively, in the decisions we are asked to make about faith, in the ways in which we are called to serve others, in hearing the call to prayer coming from the heart of Jesus.

It would be too much to try to develop a 'Keystone Cops spirituality' but there are many places in the gospel that teach us to be alert and watchful, ready and waiting and swift, watchmen keen to see and quick to respond. Take plenty of time to consider and reflect, Thomas Aquinas tells us in writing about the virtue of prudence, but once you have understood the situation and seen what needs to be done then do not hang around: do quickly what needs to be done. It is so in all matters of faith, charity, justice. In the words of Mary at the marriage feast of Cana, 'do whatever he tells you'. Do it now.

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