Ampleforth Abbey

25 February 2018

Echoes of the Word 11th December 2016

Commentary on Matthew 11:2 - 11

John is in his dungeon in the fortress of Machaerus of King Herod. He or his disciples or both were in doubt if Jesus was truly the Messiah. John sent his disciples to ask him an urgent question. ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’The disciples see Jesus; they understand. The Kingdom of God is in the seeing of Jesus.Two disciples of John – you and me - were with him: Jesus walked by. John the Baptist saw him and said, `Look, see the lamb of God. The two followers heard what John said; they went after Jesus. Jesus turned. He saw them coming. He said to them, `What are you looking for?' `Teacher, where do you live?' Jesus said, `Come and see.' (John 1: 36-39)The Kingdom of God is in seeing and staying with Jesus. When somebody realises the presence of God in their life, isn’t that a blind person who has got their sight back? It seems like an accumulation of casual things that has led to this: in fact it is God’s work. Pray each day that you will see and stay with Jesus.

Fr Jonathan Cotton OSB

Gaudete Sunday

Advent is a time when we are busy and a time to prepare – for Christ is coming: the Christ of Bethlehem, the Christ at the End of Time, the Christ of Each Moment and present now. In hope, we prepare for holiness and for family sharing. First, we seek to be still, not to cling to all the things that we have and we do. Carlo Caretto, a writer and for me a hero, goes to the desert at dusk, and, taking a match, he burns his address book – he abandons a precious link – to have nothing. Secondly, in awaiting Christ, we look to see the Face of Christ. Fr Christian-Marie de Chergé, one of seven Cistercians killed perhaps by Islamists in the Atlas Mountains in 1996, writes of “seeing the Face of Christ” in the one who was to kill him, his “Last Minute Friend”, to whom he greets with a final “Thanks and Adieu”, with forgiveness. Thirdly, in awaiting Christ, we do not know the answer – we know nothing, we are in the hands of Jesus. As Mary says Yes to the angel Gabriel, we seek to say Yes – “let what say be done unto me”

Fr Francis Dobson OSB