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17 November 2013
posted by Canon Dakin on 18-11-2013

Apart from The Tablet which is in a bracket of its own, there are three Catholic weeklies; The Catholic Herald, The Catholic Times and The Universe. I would guess that The Catholic Times sets out to be the thinking man’s Universe - they are both from the same stable. It has two regular priest contributors and I know them both. The elder, whom I will call the optimist, was a contemporary of mine in college and is now looking after a small parish on a Scottish island. The younger, whom I will call the pessimist, was several student generations behind us. He is a parish priest in Lancashire - not in our diocese. Since they have different outlooks they clash sometimes in the correspondence columns. Last week there was a letter from the optimist. Appropriately, at the beginning of November, there had been reference to death. Do we approach death in fear or in confidence? You can guess which one stressed, in the style of the old-fashioned missioner, the note of fear and trembling as we approach death unsure of our fate.  The optimist had, as his firm foundation, our sure and certain awareness of the infinite love of God.

  Just briefly to rehearse the evidence: God has made us each one individually; God became one of us in the person of Jesus who gives us the key to our existence in his death and resurrection, who also gives us a vivid reminder of how closely and personally we are caught up in the mystery of his death and resurrection through our Holy Communion at Mass. We are linked to him. What was his destiny has become ours.  What more could God have done to entwine our lives with his? From our first moment we are called into union with him. Death doesn’t break the link with God. We simply become more conscious of it. We are enabled to enjoy it more. If we shall have any regrets they will be because on earth we failed to respond as we might to our awareness of God’s love. So death is not a tragedy; it is a transition, a transformation. It may be painful but that is because of our mysterious attachment to the death of Christ in order to make our transition into the world of his resurrection. Those who are left experience the pain of separation but our faith tells us how we remain in communication through the reality of the Body of Christ - the mechanism which we identify in the Creed as the Communion of Saints. So death may be daunting but it is not a lottery and quite plainly the mission of Christ would have been a flop if there is not a presumption that we shall be raised with him into glory. Our confidence is founded on our faith in God’s love but to qualify for heaven we are to reflect this love back on to the world. There are calls on our charity to which we are to respond according to our means. No one can be unaware of the devastation caused in the Philippines by the typhoon. The Philippines is 80% Catholic. Cafod is able to work through the diocesan network which already exists and has launched a special appeal. You received this morning a Cafod envelope. Please return it with your offering next Sunday                                                        

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