It’s not about personalities, is it?
In the Eastern Churches, the apostle Andrew is venerated as the apostle who is foundational to the preaching of the gospel. Venice claims St Mark, Ethiopia cites Philip, and we in the Latin West (that’s Europe south of the Urals) look to Peter and Paul. These personalities were key to the growth of the early Church. They come from the apostolic age, as we call it now: that generation who walked, talked, and ate with Jesus.
Pope Benedict XVI reminded us that Christianity is not an abstract notion or idea; it is, rather, an encounter with a person—Jesus Christ. Pope Francis invites Christians everywhere to a renewed encounter with Jesus Christ each day. No one is excluded from the Joy brought by the Lord. Whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms. Sometimes we are tempted to find excuses and complain, acting as if we could only be happy if a thousand conditions were met. Living like that we are robbed of our joy.
Personalities matter: our approach to life, faith, and others matters. Being a Christian is not the result of an ethical choice or a lofty idea, but an encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction. Thanks be to God for that person and all the personalities who lead us to Him, Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Next week, we celebrate with Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, the faith of our fore bearers, who 150 years ago built a church on this site to shelter the Catholic community and praise God. The solemn Pontifical Mass will be celebrated at 11am, followed by a parish party.
Please remember, there is no 10.30 am or 12 noon Mass.