This past week has seen protests spread across the world like a burning fire, a fire fuelled by rage and injustice. This fire sparked by the needless death of George Floyd in America, whilst being detained by people who had sworn to protect and serve. Leaders are expected to quell the flames and while some leaders on the ground ‘took a knee’ to show solidarity, others either stayed silent or poured oil onto the fire from behind the safety of a wall around their house.

As Christians we kneel to pray to God just as Moses did in today’s first reading. This reading from Exodus comes immediately after the incident of the Golden Calf, where the people worshipped an idol instead of the one true God. God threatened to destroy those who worshipped the idol, but thanks to the mediation of Moses, the people found that the essential nature of God is faithful love. God does not abandon the Jews despite their unfaithfulness, he accompanies them for their time in the wilderness and brings them to the Promised Land.1

In our second reading St Paul tells the church in Corinth to ‘be united and to live in peace’ this is a call to us all today as well as to the people of Corinth so long ago. How can I live in peace if my brothers and sisters do not live in peace? Our faith is not meant to be a passive faith, watching from the side-lines, we are called to action. We are called to love our brothers and sisters and to do all we can to support those in need. How can you and I do that this week?

Is there someone in your world at this moment who you are not at peace with? What are you prepared to do to restore peace?

As a married man I am called to ‘be united and live in peace’ within my relationship with my wife, Pam. Often we will use a little book called “I Am With You” to reflect the scriptures as a couple and I found the one for this week particularly helpful.2

In our marriage we are called to reflect the love of God within our relationship and today’s readings give us that opportunity. In Exodus God reveals himself to Moses as a God of tenderness and compassion and we are called to be the same. God does not get irritated or react angrily and so when we do, we are called to take time out and ask ourselves why. Why is it important that things are done the way we want them to be done? Is having things done our way more important than giving life to the person we are in relationship with? Are our angry reactions because we are afraid of something?

I ask myself these things time and time again, the times when I snap at Pam, even when she is trying to help me. The times when I don’t feel listened to by those I work with. What is it in me that I can take things so personally at times?

In our Gospel Jesus reminds us that He came to save the world not to condemn it and that all we have to do is believe and we can have eternal life. Our belief in the Son of Man is what prevents us from being condemned. But as I said earlier our faith is a call to action. When we say our Creed this Sunday think of what we are professing; we are saying the Father is our Creator, the Son is our Redeemer and the Spirit is the gift given to us to share with those we meet.3 It is not a private faith, nor is it a photo opportunity. It is our declaration that we are in relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three persons in one God. The Catechism states “The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them.” (CCC234)4

‘The central mystery of Christian faith and life’, can there possibly be anything else more important than this? As Catholics what do we do to try and understand our faith better? Have we used this lockdown to get to know God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit; in a more intimate way? It is never too late, God gives us every opportunity, we just need to embrace the opportunities when we see them and go all in.

I will finish with the same message as St Paul ended his second letter to the Corinthians with “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Have a good week!

Deacon Tony Darroch, 6th June 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 Robert Draper, Pastoral Review Volume 16 Issue 2, (Tablet Publishing Company, Twickenham, 2020)83.

2 Mark & Liz Dutton, I Am With You – Year A (Two in One Flesh, 2013)140

3 Ambrose Walsh, The Creed, (New Life Publishing, Luton, 2019)

4 ————, Catechism of the Catholic Church – Popular and Definitive Edition, (Bloomsbury Publishing, London, 1999)