Friday, 3 April 2009

Prayer Groups and Archbishops. UPDATED

The Passiontide prayer group last night was well attended and the warmth and light of the evening, slowly fading as we reached the end of our devotions, was a peaceful aid the meditation on the days before and just after the entry into Jerusalem. We reminded ourselves of the beginning of the creation of the New Covenant in the Temple, with the turning over of the traders - and the system of corruption they laboured under, to the new temple of the body of Christ. We compared this, through the Last Supper, to the Real Presence in our own Church. We prayed on Jesus's words on 'the house of prayer for all the people', before the the Evangelist continues: "And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them". In addition, Matthew tells us that children cried out in the temple the acclamation of the pilgrims at the city gates: "Hosanna to the Son of David" (Mt 21: 14ff.). Jesus counters the animal trade and fiscal affairs with his healing goodness. This is the temple's true purification. He does not come as a destroyer; he does not come with the revolutionary's sword. He comes with the gift of healing. He dedicates himself to those who, because of their ailments, were driven to the end of their life and to the margins of society. Jesus shows God as the One who loves and his power as the power of love. Thus, he tells us what will always be part of the correct worship of God: healing, serving and the goodness that cures.

It seems likely that Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, will become the new Archbishop of Westminster and therefore head of England and Wales's Roman Catholics today. Maybe not, these rumours have blown about before. We should pray for whoever takes on this difficult job, that they may have the strength to preach the new Covenant and to cast their souls before the Lord, as we all must, on Palm Sunday.

Indeed, Nichols is the new Archbishop of Westminster, as the Westminster Diocese website points out today.