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‘Mature in love and wisdom’

HOMILY: Jesus, Mary and Joseph go to Jerusalem. There is a festival. Afterwards, Jesus, aged 12, stays behind … wants to learn more about the struggles of God’s people. Rebellious or independent, Jesus learns that family is community. He asks and answers questions (the young have something new to say to their elders).

‘And what do we mean by success?’

HOMILY: Brothers James and John, committed disciples and privileged witnesses, request/demand places of honour in the kindom. The episode stirs up memories and worries. We see what’s wrong with this ambition. It’s dispiriting, frightening. And very much a part of the competitiveness we know so well.

Visio Divina – ‘An inclusive inn’

MEDITATION: When we meet for monthly meditation we follow various practices, including Visio Divina (divine seeing). This is a form of meditation that makes use of an icon, painting, photograph or scene. We usually allow an hour for the meditation.

‘At one with the teaching’

HOMILY: John’s Jesus is a teacher of Wisdom. John’s Jesus is also Wisdom personified, Sophia incarnate. The offence, the “stumbling block”, has to do with this.

‘Let us become what we receive’

HOMILY: Sara Miles used to describe herself as a “left-wing, atheist, American lesbian” who loved to feed people. Sara had never been to a church and didn’t think there was a place for her in the church. In fact, she hadn’t even bothered considering if there was a place for her – she didn’t care. On her morning walk one Sunday morning she decided to walk into her local church where she promptly found herself participating in the Eucharistic meal being offered.

‘Write, sing, dance’

HOMILY: Standing up for what’s right and compassionate is to risk/live your life. Paranoid powers – gluttons and abusers like Herod – deeply resent social and political criticism, and prophets like John the Baptiser are undermined, ridiculed, imprisoned.

‘Faith calls to faith’

HOMILY: Jesus was turned around. Jesus turned. Made aware of multiple needs, possible directions. Ministry on both sides (“all sides”) of the lake. Younger and older people. Life and death issues.

‘Regeneration’

HOMILY: Jesus says: “You shouldn’t be working for perishable food, but for life-giving food that lasts …” (John 6:27). The gospel directs us beyond immediate needs and shallow pleasures, and toward a maturity “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

‘Ever-present as promise’

HOMILY: Jesus says, “I am the bread of life …” There are seven “I am” sayings of Jesus in John’s gospel. In addition to the bread of life, Jesus compares himself to light in darkness (8:12), a gate to safe pasture (10:9), a good shepherd (10:11), the resurrection and the life (11:25), the way or path (14:6), and the true vine who fulfils Israel’s destiny (15:1; Isaiah 5).