Today Jesus is inviting each and every one of us to enter into a personal relationship with Him. Jesus is pointing to the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and to prisoners and saying THIS IS ME!

I apologise if I have used this story before, but it is something which has stayed with me for a long time. When I was a child, my Granny used to take my brothers and I every so often to the Wimpy in Glasgow City Centre. On one of these occasions I remember the Manageress asking one of the waitresses why she had paid for a meal for one of the ‘gentlemen of the road’, her reply was that he is ‘Some Mother’s son’, and that if her son was ever in trouble she would hope that someone else would take pity on him and help him, as she had just done for this man. I don’t know if that lady would describe herself as a Christian, but based on that one encounter, surely she would find herself standing on the right hand side on the day of judgement described in today’s Gospel.

Today we find ourselves at the end of a Church Year, which has seen many differences for us all. We were unable to celebrate Lent and Easter together, we have become accustomed to watching Mass online, and of course for those in our Community who have no access to the internet, they don’t even have that consolation.

This year there are many more people going hungry, anyone who volunteers at Foodbanks will tell you of the massive increase in the number of clients. We still see hundreds of people try to reach our shores; so desperate they risk their lives in flimsy boats having been exploited by greedy gangs into parting with vast sums of money; hoping to reach a better life here. No doubt when the restrictions are lifted and the full impact of job losses kick in, there will be an increase in the number of people seeking shelter too.

Today’s Gospel points us towards helping those in need, Jesus lists the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and prisoners. This year has had such a devastating effect on people throughout the world. Cuts in funding for projects, has left many more people hungry. The lockdown has seen an increase in loneliness leading to people suffering from poor mental health, others are frightened for themselves and their loved ones.

Today’s Gospel urges us to reach out and help; help in any way we can. EVERYONE can do their bit; even if we are stuck at home. If we have money we are urged to use it to help, if we have time, we are asked to volunteer or to pray for these people and the people who are helping them. If we have talents we are asked to use them to help or to advocate for these people.

In Scotland there is an expression ‘We’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns’, which actually originates from a Church of Scotland minister (The Rev John Thomson) who used to call his congregation his ‘bairns’, which is old Scots for ‘children’, his congregation started to say they were all his children, and this was taken up into everyday language at the time to mean that we are all the same under the skin, all in this together, all brothers and sisters. If we can truly see each other as brothers and sisters then we can surely look out for each other as brothers and sisters.

Please keep in your prayers this week

  • Deceased family members, parishioners and friends and especially those who have no one else to pray for them.
  • Those who have lost hope, that today’s Gospel can help them to see that every act of kindness towards those in need will be appreciated by God Our Father.
  • Those who are having operations at this time, pray that God guides the hands of the surgeons and that their operations will be successful and that they will make a quick and full recovery.
  • Our doctors, nurses, medical staff and care workers, unpaid carers and all other keyworkers as the Coronavirus seems to be spreading further again.
  • Our priests and others who live alone; as we live through this lockdown period, may they be encouraged by our prayers.
  • Also remember those in hospital or in Care Homes who cannot receive visitors at this time;may they find comfort in our prayers.
  • For the success of the Diocesan Day of Prayer and Fasting for the end of the Pandemic on Friday 27th November.

Deacon Tony Darroch, 21st November 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.