|26th Week in Ordinary Time:
(25 September - 1 October 2016)
Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy
Christian fellowship, that shared sense of togetherness as believers, is an essential
component of faith. The Holy Spirit dwells within each of us. We worship unified as ‘one body’.
This vital sense of belonging is at the heart of each Sunday’s Mass, including our Mass just
recently, where we gathered to share and reflect on our ‘migrant stories’.
It’s the poet Ruth Padel who suggests that we are ‘travelling animals’, asserting that we seem
naturally nomadic just as much as we seem drawn towards communities. I reflected on this
whilst thinking about the ‘culture of encounter’ during Social Justice Week, wondering if Padel
hadn’t found a contradiction inherent in Christians. What kind of ‘travelling animal’, I asked
myself, craves that profound sense of belonging, that becoming of ‘one body’, which lies at
the heart of a Catholic Mass? Of course, as Christians, we believe that we never wander
alone, but always in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and by the saving grace of God’s love,
and I’m grateful to Charles Spurgeon (a 19th century Baptist I’d never heard of until I wrote
this!), for setting me straight. ‘Believers…’ Spurgeon observes, ‘…are not compared to bears
or lions or other animals that wander alone. Those who belong to Christ are sheep…they love
to get together. Sheep go in flocks, and so do God’s people.’
However you wander, wherever your journeying takes you, do as one of God’s people, in the
fellowship of the Holy Spirit, a uniquely cherished sheep in His earth-wide flock!