Reflection for Sunday 21 June 2020

My dear Friends:

Hello There! I am sure you have heard those beautiful words: love means letting go of fear! For me, this is the message of Sunday’s gospel. This is the invitation, and motivation, to cast off those shackles of fear! All too often fear seems to sap our emotional strength. It haemorrhages our confidence, gnaws at, and aborts our dreams. It hits us with tsunamis of self-doubt. It fosters a self-effacing, ‘retiring’, churchy modesty. It masquerades as a simpering form of humility. It mutes our creativity until we become mere shadows of the creation God created us to be.

What am I trying to say here?! I think the words of the great Greek writer, Nikos Kazantzakis, expresses it beautifully in his story about the blossoming of the almond tree and the jealousy of its ‘sisters’:

When an almond tree became covered with blossoms in the heart of winter, all the trees around it began to jeer. 'What vanity,' they screamed, 'what insolence! Just think, it believes it can bring spring in this way!' The flowers of the almond tree blushed for shame. 'Forgive me, my sisters,' said the tree. 'I swear I did not want to blossom, but suddenly I felt a warm springtime breeze in my heart’.

The challenge of today’s gospel is to become aware of, and allow, that “Glory of God” to unfold within each moment, each day of our lives. This is God’s warm, springtime breezetouching all our hearts, be it in the ‘winter’ of this global pandemic, the loneliness of isolation, or the uncertainty of our jobs. It is also the awesome, springtime grace of a passionately loving God, who blossoms within our hearts in the flowers of his Courage, Strength, Love, Hope, Forgiveness and Healing.

Kazantzakis says in another story, to succeed, you must believe you can! That means acknowledging, celebrating, and using the gifts and talents with which God has gifted us. It means stepping out of the shadows, shadows, often created by the jealousies, or the snide, denigrating, remarks of others. It is so easy to ‘trim’ the sails of our talents and gifts to the size of postage stamps to accommodate the other’s person fears and insecurities. As Rumi once said, the art of know is to know what to ignore!

So, my dear friends, look at the greatness of God dwelling within you! Rejoice in the gifts and talents with which he has blessed you. Use those talents, gifts and expertise to make his love present and transform our world.

I shall leave you with the lyrics of the song, The Rose:    (by Amanda McBroom in 1979 )

Some say love, it is a river, that drowns the tender reed
Some say love, it is a razor, that leaves your soul to bleed
Some say love, it is a hunger, an endless aching need
I say love, it is a flower, and you, its only seed

It’s the heart afraid of breaking, that never learns to dance
It’s the dream afraid of waking, that never takes the chance
It’s the one who won't be taken, who cannot seem to give
And the soul afraid of dying, that never learns to live

When the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long
And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong
Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows
Lies the seed, that with the sun's love in the spring becomes the rose

Remember me as Loving you,

Fr. Antony

The parish is part of the Diocese of Portsmouth. Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust registered charity 246871.

© 2019• Immaculate Conception Church, Portswood, Southampton

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