The Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List was announced this weekend, it has been delayed because of the Covid crisis. Not surprisingly it recognises the many unsung heroes from the NHS who have risked their own lives to try and help those affected by this horrible illness. As usual celebrities are the ones who make the headlines. One young man stands out for me, in a time when footballers can earn a fortune and become very wealthy at a young age; Marcus Rashford is one of these privileged young men. Thrown in to the first team at Manchester United while still at school, he has grabbed his chance for success on the field and is now an established England International.

As a football fan, regardless of what team you support, you admire talent, and this young man is extremely talented. Marcus has not been rewarded by the Queen for his efforts on the field. Marcus Rashford has stood up when many others have sat down. He has spoken up for those less fortunate than himself and he is a voice for the children who go to bed hungry in this country. He has remembered the times when his mother struggled to put food on the table as he was growing up and through the voice his football talents have given him he has spoken up in the media and managed to get the Government to support poorer families with food vouchers throughout the pandemic so far.

We may not have such a public voice, but we do have God given talents; which we are expected to use to help others.

This week’s Scriptures has similarities to last week’s in that we have some beautiful prose from Isaiah and then a very strong message to the Chief Priests and scribes from Jesus recorded in Matthew’s Gospel.

If you read the words in Isaiah, they are comforting for our current situation, they talk about how God will wipe away every tear and destroy death for ever. It is a message of hope for those in desperate times. As believers we look forward with hope to that day when all our tears will be wiped away and we can all praise God together basking in His light.

The psalm used today is one of the most popular and well known psalms which we have. At the root of it the response today, “in the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.” This statement is one of confidence; that confidence is not arrogance, but the sure knowledge that this is what God has promised us. Those who follow the Good Shepherd, have a place in heaven; Jesus told us that too when he said “In my Father’s house there are many rooms” (John 14:2).

In our Gospel today, we hear again that those originally invited to the banquet, rejected the call. So others were invited to take their place. The part where the person was spotted without a wedding garment is one which troubled me, until I read a reflection in the “I am With You” book on today’s Gospel.1 The new invitation is open to everyone who loves God and their neighbour. Our wedding garment is not something we can buy. Our wedding garment is crafted in how we live, every act of kindness, encouraging word in fact everything we do to help someone else adds stitches to our garment and we don’t even have to know how to sew! All we need to do is love.

What have you done this week to contribute to your wedding garment? Every act of kindness, which might mean nothing to the person delivering it, will mean a great deal to the person receiving it. As Christians we are called to let others know by our actions how precious they are to God. Can I whole heartedly say that is how I have treated everyone I have met or spoken with this week?

For me the response is probably not; like most people I have regrets following interactions with people. Delays in replying to messages, being too swift to judge other people’s motives. For the times when I haven’t treated other people as being precious to God I ask for forgiveness and the ability to recognise and change my behaviours so that the people I interact with are left in no doubt about how special they are.

As St Paul points out in his Letter to the Galatians for those who accompany others “it was good of you to share with me in my hardships. In return my God will fulfil all your needs, in Christ Jesus as lavishly as only God can.”

Please keep in your prayers this week

  • Those starting the Baptism Preparation Course this Sunday.
  • Those who are feeling isolated by health restrictions, loneliness or being far away from home.
  • Those looking for work.
  • Our doctors, nurses, medical staff and care workers, unpaid carers and all other keyworkers as the Coronavirus seems to be spreading further again.

Deacon Tony Darroch, 10th October 2020.

If you are struggling to find resources or would like suggestions please email me on adarroch@portsmouthdiocese.org.uk or if you would appreciate the odd call from me during this time please send me a message with your contact details and I will get in touch.

1 Two in One Flesh Team, I am with You – Year A, (Two in One Flesh, Caterham, 2013)118-9.