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    Harry’s Baptism: Fr Brett with parents Harriette and Toby

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    Ness Road Shoeburyness

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15th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B

My dear friends,

FAITH IN FOCUS: DIAL-A-DISCIPLE

Have you noticed how as a society we are becoming less “hands-on”? We seem to do things at a distance or get others to do things for us that previously we would have sorted out ourselves. I know someone who has never done her own cleaning, washing and ironing for years because she has a woman who comes in and “does” for her. Recently it has become popular to go on the internet and get the supermarket to deliver the groceries to your front door. You never have to leave home or enter a store again! On a more serious level we have for years handed over the care of our loved ones to “professionals” claiming that we cannot cope with them at home. And at the drop of a hat we invite people into our homes, from decorators to funeral directors, on the grounds that if we pay them they will do the job for us.

In today’s gospel Jesus summons the twelve apostles together and sends them out in pairs to teach people all that he himself has been teaching them since they met him. They are to be disciples, people who learn at the feet of their master and then in turn become devotees of his teaching and witnesses to its power in their own lives. The call to be a disciple is one that Jesus continues to make in our day. If we agree to be Christians then we are signing on the dotted line to being disciples who pass on the message of eternal life.

But how exactly are we doing this? Do we make a conscious effort to be mouthpieces of the gospel in our neighbourhood, on the streets where we live and in the places where we work? Are we active apostles, bold believers or just closet Christians? If people wanted to have some idea of what it meant to follow Christ would they pick up any clues from the way we live and behave?

It would be understandable, but sad, if we fell into the trap of “distance discipleship” and “hands-off” Christianity given the way that today we put a premium on convenience rather than involvement. Yet no one else can do what Jesus asks of us. There is no person who can come in and “do” for us, no website that can absolve us from preaching Christ on the front line, no professional clergy or teachers who can make life easier for us. There’s no such thing as an armchair Christian; being a disciple is a “hands-on” job.

Wishing you a great week!

Fr Brett

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