Sunday, 24 June 2012
An outstanding Eucharistic sermon
We heard a breathtaking sermon at our annual diocesan Corpus Christi procession today, which took place in the grounds of Hinsley Hall in Leeds just before the Olympic torch passed by on the road outside. Fr Peter Kravos, who attended the recent Eucharistic Congress in Dublin, juxtaposed the myth of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods in order to initiate human civilisation (the latter being that which the Games celebrate), and who was punished for his temerity, with Jesus present in the Eucharist, God giving himself to man, the host in the monstrance representing the white-hot centre of God's love and mercy. Standing only a couple of metres from the exposed Blessed Sacrament and Bishop Roche, Fr Kravos, who is chaplain of Leeds and Leeds Metropolitan Universities, then tackled the child-abuse scandal in the Church. He quoted Pope Benedict as saying that the clerical perpetrators of the crimes against children had allowed their faith to degenerate into routine. The ultimate Victim is always Jesus, he said. This current moment in the history of the Church invites us to enter more deeply into the Eucharistic mystery. "As Catholics we are not afraid of mystery," he concluded. It was great: he did not side-step the awfulness of the great harm done but he skilfully placed it within the Paschal Mystery made present on the altar. He conveyed the sense that atonement does not consist in mere reparation: it involves a breaking open of our hardened hearts through fearless engagement with Christ in his victimhood and his Eucharistic glory. It was one of those moments when a sermon becomes an event. Fired with suitable enthusiasm, I set about gathering the names of young people in the assembled crowd for our forthcoming Faith Walk to Egton Bridge in the North York Moors for the annual Postgate Rally: I garnered three email addresses; two girls said they would bring their friends; and then a great layman about my age with a 15-year-old son said that the lad hoped to get some of his friends to come along too. One good homily and everybody wants to participate in the life of the Church. Well used words unerringly strike home.