When we pray the Lord’s Prayer we ask for God’s kingdom to come, God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
But that can sound rather cold and impersonal. When we hear St Paul describing the effects of the Holy Spirit of God as love (charity), joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, it sounds more encouraging.
Christmas marked the fulfilment of the Hebrew scripture with the arrival of the Messiah, the Christ child. The Feast of the Epiphany shows us Christ presented to the world. In the child Jesus, God came to share in our humanity so that we might share in his divinity.
In the Gospels Jesus embraces the most broken of his society and encourages us to do likewise. It is from this motivation that for two days a week I work as a Catholic Chaplain to HMP Brixton, a prison in South London.
The Jesuits in Britain are producing a commemorative calendar to mark the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Society of Jesus. The way the calendar does this is to pick twelve Jesuits who have been active in different ways during the last two hundred years. Remembering people who have gone before us is a large part of being a human being. The Eucharist is built around Jesus’ command Do this in memory of me, and remembering Jesus in Word and Sacrament is central to our sense of being connected with him, the Father and one another. The Spirit activates that memory for us and brings us together as a community of believers.
The Jesuit community in Edinburgh gathered round the TV to hear the announcement. We had enough Latin to understand great joy and wondered how it fitted with the first name George. When the unfamiliar surname Bergoglio was spoken, someone in the group said, he is one of us.