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16th November 2014
posted by Canon Dakin on 18-11-2014

St Matthew was writing forty - fifty years after Our Lord had spoken the words attributed to him in the gospel today.  As Jesus was speaking he would have in mind the attitude of the Pharisees who kept the old law tightly wrapped within their precise interpretation, completely closed to any possible change of outlook.  Matthew, of course, is writing for a Christian audience so he gives the story a twist to induce them to think of their situation. Blessed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, how do they turn their spiritual capital to good account? That mysterious phrase about the man with nothing losing even what he has is intelligible only in view of the abolition of the old dispensation. The Jews who clung defiantly to the old law were unaware that it had been abolished.

So, as a Christian, what’s your talent? God is.  You’ve got God.  God is not within us like a sack of potatoes but as a power, a force to be harnessed in partnership.  We are not in the world on our own. God is with us, God is within us and God loves each one of us as he loves his own Son. That is the meaning of our adoption - of our becoming God’s children. It’s worth letting that sink in. God the Father loves me as he loves Jesus. Is that why he allows me to suffer? Yes, and that is a secret still to be revealed. But suffering is passive. Actively we are to use, to be, the power of love that God makes available. As Pope Francis puts it; we are summoned to be the ‘revolution of tenderness’. This is not to be confined within the walls of home.   

                 The eighteenth century was an age that didn’t do God. In response, Our Lord revealed to St Margaret Mary the love in his heart. She didn’t have an easy time. She was dismissed as paranoid and even suffered physical violence from some of the nuns in her convent. She was vindicated by the support of a Jesuit priest, Claude de la Colombiere. At that time in England the only places where it was legal to celebrate Mass was in the chapels of foreign embassies. He was appointed chaplain to the Sardinian embassy. So it was here in England that devotion to the Sacred Heart was first preached. Only this week I came across a prayer which Bl. Claude composed: “O God, what will you do to conquer the fearful hardness of our hearts? Lord, you must give us new hearts, tender hearts, to replace hearts that are made of marble and of bronze”. Long ago, through one of the prophets, God had said: “I will put a new heart in you. I will replace your heart of stone’. That is precisely what God has done by his presence in our lives. It is not an impersonal presence. It changes our personality because it enables us to love with a power that corrects our bias towards self-interest. This is the meaning of our Holy Communion when we accept the condition of drawing closer to God: “Love one another as I have loved you”.  Unless we take that condition seriously we are wasting our time. We are wasting the one precious talent God has given us - himself.  

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