Welcome to the Cathedral Church of Saints Peter & Paul, Clifton.

 

Sunday 20th August 2017
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Isaiah 56: 1, 6-7     Romans 11: 13-15, 29-32     Matthew 15: 21-28

 

Get Off My Mountain!

We all have holy mountains: our own special preserves where we feel at home and don’t want things disturbed by outsiders. Maybe it’s some area at work where we like to keep things and don’t want others to come meddling and messing things up.

Maybe it’s a group or society we belong to locally, and we are a bit wary about membership being opened up to people we think don’t really qualify for it. Or perhaps our holy mountain means being left in peace and quiet to have a snooze after lunch on Sundays without being invaded by Uncle Sid, Auntie Mabel and the kids.

God threatens to disturb the peace on the Jewish holy mountain by letting foreigners come and worship, and be as acceptable as the chosen people. This indiscriminate acceptance of strangers, irrespective of their origins, was unpalatable to many Jewish believers and they withdrew into their own little religious cliques.

Things don’t change that much. Many parishes have choirs which freeze out new blood; organists who jealously guard their instrument even when others can do a better job; sacristans who are long past their sell-by date… Instead of serving the community, the job becomes something which the individual needs for their own self-esteem.

An easy way to test a parish’s ‘holy mountain’ ratings is to ask how many new people have offered themselves for service in the past year and have been accepted and integrated into the work of the community. Without them it can get very lonely at the top of the parish mountain!

 

 

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Scripture Reflections (below) © Peter J Harrison 2017