Lent Term 2019

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Regular services: The Cambridge Mission will be celebrating the Holy Communion from Divine Worship: The Missal at St Edmund’s College Chapel as a Sunday Vigil on Saturdays at 5pm on a regular basis during Term. Do join us for wine afterwards in the SCR.

Servers, Singers, and Readers wanted. Contact Mr Keir Martland at kjm68@cam.ac.uk

For Lent Term 2019 this means every Saturday from 19th January and 16th March.

Additional Services:

  • Feast of Saint Gilbert of Sempringham, 4th February. TBC.
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Michaelmas Term 2018

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Michaelmas 2018-19

Regular services: The Cambridge Mission will be celebrating the Holy Communion from Divine Worship: The Missal at St Edmund’s College Chapel as a Sunday Vigil on Saturdays at 4.40pm on a regular basis during Term. Wine afterwards in the SCR, by all means followed by a group excursion to a pub on Mount Pleasant. For Michaelmas 2018-19 this means from 29th September through to 1st December. Lent and Easter Term dates will be provided in due course.

Additional services: Will be announced as and when and added to the list below.

  • Monday 24th September – Sung Mass for Solemnity of Our Lady of Walsingham, Fisher House, 6pm. Celebrant: Fr Allen Brent. Fr Simon Chinery in quire.
  • 9th October – John Henry Newman, a simple gathering for Evensong from the Customary 
  • 8th November – All Saints of England, Sung Eucharist, Fisher House, 5.30pm. Celebrant: Fr Thomas Mason.

More dates for the diary:

Choral Evensong at Christ’s. On 21st October at 6pm, the curate from the Other Place’s Ordinariate Mission, Revd Dr Michael Ward, is preaching at Christ’s College Chapel. Do come along to hear him.

Apologia (a Fisher House apologetics and social event) on the evening of 6th November will be a talk by Fr James Bradley on Our Lady. Fr Bradley is a priest of the Ordinariate at Holy Family church, Southampton, and is chaplain to the University of Southampton.

Homily, First Sunday of Lent (Year C)

Preached at the Ordinariate Vigil Mass on 9th March 2019 at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge, by Fr Allen Brent

One picture, we are often reminded, can say more than a thousand words. And I remember one poster that I hung in my study when I was in Australia. It was a beautiful painting of the desert, stretching for miles into the distance, with sand baked into lifelessness by the relentless sun. But in the middle of the wilderness scene a single ear of corn had sprung up and grown, confronting the dead barrenness of the landscape with a sign of life. And the slogan under the picture was ‘Go into the desert, not to escape from life, but to find it.’

I like this picture because it reminds us of what the image of the desert was to the contemporaries of those who first wrote the gospels. We think of the desert as a lonely, deserted place, a place where we can escape from the distractions of everyday life, from the hustle and bustle of the city, from the pressures and tensions of the life of work and of the community. We think of the desert as setting the scene for what Newman called a ‘watering place sermon,’ reflecting a certain, nineteenth-century genre of homiletics, where the sermon would begin ‘Let us come together at this evening hour to find refreshment from the world, let us come apart to be with God….’

But to the contemporaries of Jesus the desert was not a place where you went in order to escape from the life of the city, in our case from its secular distractions, its socially generated images manipulating the human imagination in the service of an ethical philosophy of naïve hedonism. For Jesus’ contemporaries, the desert was not a place where one went to avoid being distracted by the forces of evil, but to confront them.

There were the forces of barrenness, of chaos, of lifelessness, of meaningless that God at creation had at the first confronted when he walked on the waters of chaos, nurturing an order of a good creation that arose from that chaos. There in the desert, without the influence of the life of the city, the city that concealed those forces of evil behind its saccharine and confusing images, in the desert could be confronted the forces of evil without disguise. Our Lord went into the desert, not to escape from the world, not to shun the distractions of the secular city, but to confront an evil that was naked and undisguised: as St Luke tells us, for forty days Christ was tempted by the devil. Here was the beginning of a battle with evil, a confrontation with the powers of darkness, of chaos, and of meaninglessness.

Indeed three of our Gospel writers see our Lord’s ministry in this context, beginning with his defeat of Satan and then proceeding to assail Satan’s kingdom of this age with the kingdom of God in the age to come. The devil initially repulsed, our Lord can now assail his kingdom by expelling the daemons from the lives of the sick and thus release them from the control of the devil’s emissaries. Our Lord’s final victory is the victory of his resurrection after suffering on the cross, by which he finally triumphs over the daemonic powers. It was in this perspective that we should see the origin of monastic communities. Those figures in the fourth century, like Simeon the Stylite, who went out into the desert alone and spent their years on the top of a pole saw the desert not as a place of escape but a place where evil could be confronted in its clearest form, as they wrestled with their inner life with its inner daemons.

Each of Jesus’ temptations speak to us in our generation, and in the culture of hedonism, instant gratification, and consumption in which we live. Each of them denies the real dilemma of our human situation, the real problem of our human condition. The aims of political society are providing economic growth painlessly, without cost to the environment, without sacrifice: if we could only turn stones into bread, without labour, without cost, without sacrificing expenditure on armaments, internal security, without eliminating waste in government bureaucracies or abolishing obscene executive bonuses in order to feed ourselves and even the world’s poor without cost: technology ought to be able to do this for us, without personal cost. Or if we could be secure that whatever hazards or dangers confront us, there would never be any personal cost: God could give his angels charge over us, lest we dash a foot against a stone. What a world that would be, the world envisaged by Leibniz in his great reduction ad absurdum. It would be a world in which as our car spun out of control at the high speed at which we were driving it and crashed through the motorway barrier, the forces of nature would cushion us, an alternative to the force of gravity would click in, and we were lifted from danger and suffered no harm. It would of course be a world in which, when in anger I sought to plunge a knife into the heart of my hated enemy, the steel would turn to rubber and do not harm: a world without the possibility of evil, but a world without the possibility of goodness too, without the possibility of repentance in which I throw the knife away and seek his and my forgiveness.

Or a world in which I as an individual have supreme power, no longer a world of argument and debate, of messy compromises in which one gets only part of what one wants, in interminable committee meetings. All power, the kingdoms of this world and their glory, means what I say is to be will be…

That world, as Leibniz saw, was a phantasy world, in his famous argument that this really is the best of all possible worlds. It is the fantasy world of our present, hedonistic secular culture, in which you can have love without commitment, in which you can have human relationships without sacrifice. It is a world without spiritual discipline that we seek in Lent to find and exercise, a world in which turning stones into bread involves us in a personal cost to ourselves, as we deny ourselves various pleasures for the sake of giving for others. It is a world in which there is no such thing as absolute control over our lives or indeed over the lives of others, and this too involves discipline and restraint, compromise and understanding someone else’s interest other than one’s own.

It is in a word a denial of the cross over human life, a cross which our Saviour took and invites us to follow him, in a life where there can be no final glory without suffering, no resurrection except through death to ourselves.

Homily, Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

Sermon by Fr Allen Brent

Our Lord begins with his saying in this evening’s Gospel reading with one of many claims that I find difficult.

Our Lord teaches us that disciple or student cannot be greater than his master/teacher. The fully trained disciple/student will always be like his teacher. That my students should If successful turn out directly like me I must confess is a thought that fills me with horror and I am sure the horror will be shared by others, duly intensified by horrific nightmares.

The – I would have thought – unnegotiable goal of any university teacher should be the kind of student who at the end of the course disagrees with large parts of what his teacher has taught them, even everything. But then the student gives an account of why, the grounds on which they are making this grand rejection. The teacher sees the brilliance of the methodology, the beautiful presentation of a logical argument, and concludes that his or her work has been well done, has been a great success. This is surely what a university education is all about, critical inquiry, the duty to try to falsify dogmas too readily accepted about steady-state theories of the universe or the unqualified sanctity of St Athanasius, or the heroic stature of Winston Churchill. It certainly takes the Lecturer beyond that life-changing experience that is examining for the Cambridge Tripos. One sees the great paragraph from one’s third lecture careful and precisely set out and attributed to Plato and quietly screams.

But our Lord clearly did not see the product of his teaching as producing disciples teaching unreflectively bodies of dogma formulated in history and existing without development such as biblical fundamentalist sects tell us. And in so doing, of course, they deny development of doctrine in the life of the Catholic Church assisted by divine grace: in terms of fundamental principles that Church cannot err because the Spirit of Jesus will not allow her to err.

Jesus in the Gospels only occasionally pronounces dogmatically and often on subjects such as the indissolubility of marriage that gives so much discomfort. Or on his unity with the godhead and his life-giving, love giving relationship with God the Father. But generally we have the parables that do not give us overt instructions but invite us to place ourselves in the situations that they describe and work out for ourselves how we should then substantively behave. And this process we find continuing in the Catholic Church under the guidance of the magisterium where in the community of faith we continue a dialogue with our risen Lord that began with the apostles in his earthly life and continues in the Church that he founded.

We give thanks for the divine grace that assists us as a divine society as we play our individual parts in our dialogue with the world and with the ages.

Homily, Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (Year C)

Homilist, Fr Allen Brent

The Gospel for this Sunday’s Vigil Mass challenges to a degree that leads to exasperation, particularly in an age marked by the terrorism of a perverted, fundamentalist Islam and faced with a young woman who has joined such a version and now wishes our compassion and forgiveness for herself and her newly born baby. Jesus commands us to love those who persecute us, to give to those who steal from us, to be merciful as God is merciful. We are challenged to perform a gigantic human act in the face of our deep seated fear and hatred for those who wrong us.

But more astonishingly, Jesus offers us a reward for such pardoning and forgiving acts:

grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap; because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.’

But our practical response, based upon so much past experience, is to ask ‘How?’ Someone will be grateful for forgiveness, for being allowed to rob or abuse us? Our human experience surely belies this? People whom we critically support and help notoriously pursue their personal interests at our expense once they are not dependent on us any more. The thief whom we allow to ‘get away with it’ is likely to try it all again on someone else. The burocrat for whom we make no trouble may not be inclined to go over the forms and correct them in order to grant our entitlement: it is all too much bother: beter while away the time on games on the computer instead until the shift has ended.

The answer I think is that forgiveness and compassion heals our own inhumanity.

     The legend of Electra is well told Greek tragedians, Sophocles and Euripides.. The legend of Electra, the faithful daughter, who when her father Agamemnon returned from Troy was treacherously slain by her mother, Clytemnestra and her mother’s lover, Aegistheus, slain as he bathed ‘like an ox in a manger.’ And Electra kept the memory of her murdered father alive, praying for justice from the gods and awaiting the return of her brother as the agent of justice, or was it revenge? No, justice, of course, in view of what had been done to her father murdered by his treacherous wife. And justice comes in the form her brother, Orestes, very much alive, who proceeds to avenge his father by killing his mother and Aegisthus.

      Sophocles’ Electra can end by extolling the principle of justice in the cosmos, of all nature finally assuming an order in which everything is equally balanced, in which justices and injustices cancel one another out. But when Euripides retells the story in his tragedy things are quite different. Electra remains the heroine to the last but her final speech reaches a different conclusion to that of Sophocles. Her radiant and righteous countenance, receiving her just reward and seeing her father avenged now becomes hideous and distorted as she meditates on vengeance, and sees the cycle of revenge continuing and overflowing with great joy. And the cycle of revenge does continue, since brother and sister have committed matricide, and for which the Furies, the avenging deities, will now pursue them and the tragedy continues.

      Electra emerges as a figure needing to be able to forgive, for the act of forgiveness is as necessary for her healing as it is for she who is to be forgiven. She is caught up in a cycle of revenge, of being sinned against and then sinning. To be healed, to be forgiveness she needs to forgive.

      It is of course very difficult, for none of us comes with a clean sheet, because we are all caught up in the web of human existence and human history.

      As St Francis said in Lord, make me a channel of your peace

For it is by pardoning that we are pardoned.

It is by forgiving that we are forgiven.

It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.

Homily, Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

Sermon preached at St Edmund’s College, Cambridge by Fr Allen Brent

‘No prophet is without honour, save in his own country.’ It is a common theme of the Gospels that Jesus experienced generally rejection by his contemporaries. As St John majestically expresses the point, ‘He came unto his own, and his own people received him not.’ The apostles might claim, in unison with St John, that ‘we beheld his glory.’ But that was a special grace given to those whose heart was open to divine revelation and whom God chose to receive that revelation. When St Peter affirmed: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God,’ our Lord replied that he was blessed because: ‘flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my Father in heaven.’ But from everyone else Christ’s glory was concealed through their hostility, the hostility of the darkness that shuns the light and will not come to the light. In this gospel for this early Sunday morning the synagogue hearers are enraged and form a riotous mob that places the prophet of Nazareth in immediate danger.

But in some ways their position is understandable. What did they see in Jesus, what did anyone see, but the man of Galilee, with well-known brothers and sisters and his mother Mary, to all intents and purposes just one more of so many ordinary families? Our Lord was a carpenter, he hungered and thirsted like any other individual, his clothes could sometimes appear tatty, he sweated and toiled with his clothes and himself stained with the dust of the lanes of Galilee. Yet fantastic and, if you will forgive the term used loosely, unbelievably, yes unbelievably, beginning with a small group of eyewitnesses and expanding within a few short years divine titles were to be multiplied in understanding and proclaiming who the apostles had proclaimed that this man was. He was ‘Lord’ or Κύριος, Messiah and Son of Man, Son of God, Redeemer, Second Adam, High Priest, etc. Sometimes and nostalgically, as in the Christmas carol, we find ourselves saying to ourselves ‘O that we were there.’ O that we had seen him in the Manger, O that we had been present at the cross and then at resurrection, O that we had seen some of the miracles. ‘How fortunate were the apostles to have actually seen’… and our thoughts thus imply that faith in Jesus was so much easier for them but so much harder for us. But was it?

A prophet is not without honour but in his own country and amongst his own friends. The apostles proclaimed as Saviour, Lord, Son of God, High Priest and Redeemer the dust stained man of Galilee, the product of an ordinary family, the carpenter who sweated and toiled amongst them and who often did not attract any special attention. They responded by such claims, made by our Lord’s words and by his actions with the response of faith yet those words must have seemed incredible and even ludicrous to many onlookers. The often made comment by many an evangelical preacher I have to admit I find convincing: either Jesus’ claims were true or they were marks of insanity. How much easier would it have been really to have been with the apostles and seen what they saw?

The clearest example of how these various titles were to form part of a pattern of cosmic significance that our Lord was given and that we read in the canticle for Vespers from Colossians 1. Here the man of Galilee is proclaimed ‘image of the invisible God …  the first-born of all creation.’ Here this man of flesh and blood, the step brother of James and son of Mary, who wept in Gethsemane and who died like so many others a deserted criminal on a Roman cross is he through whom ‘all things were created through him and for him.’ He has reconciled all things by the blood of the cross and produced peace from their warring conflict. He stands as the image of God holding all things together. Indeed so convinced was Paul of that significance of the particular life of the particular man who died in an obscure place on the circumference of the Roman Empire that his letters are completely absorbed with the cosmic Christ. Paul cites no incident in the life of the earthy Jesus, repeats none of his parables nor recounts any of his miracles. The Catholic Church has remedied this deficiency by means of the divine authority committed to it as the Church that Christ founded and to which he gave a ministry that will last to the end of time. The Catholic Church added to his letters the four Gospels in the formation of the New Testament, on which together the Catholic proclamation of Jesus depends.

We are required to have this faith that in the cross and the life in all its historical obscurity that lead to that cross all time and eternity, all history and its purpose, all life and its meaning come together. The image of the invisible God made peace through the blood of the cross. Our ordinary, everyday experience may present us, at least post the European Enlightenment, with a random, chaotic universe of atoms and their sub atomic particles in aimless conflict forming accidental, merely statistically recurring patterns. Post Darwin nature appears to us red in tooth and claw with an eternal struggle for survival in which the survival of the fittest is equally random. History too is experiences by us as a series of accidents. All these things, familiar and ordinary and appearing unremarkable like a prophet without honour in his own country.

But with the example of the faith of the apostles we are called to see in this chaos the image of the invisible God, bringing the peace and order demanded by a need deep seated in the human heart and mind. We are called upon to see the peace by the blood of the cross in which the life and purpose of Easter Sunday succeeds the chaos and disorder of the events of Holy Week. May Christ’s grace enable us to receive that divine vision that is God’s gift.

Homily, Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

A sermon preached by Rev’d Professor Allen Brent in St Edmund’s College Chapel for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany of Our Lord 

One of the distinctive features of St John’s gospel is his refusal to use the term ‘miracle’ of any of the supernatural acts of Jesus. Jesus does not, as in the first three gospels, perform miracles, δυναμεις or τερατα but instead John calls his ‘miracles’ ‘signs’ or σημεια. And although he will claim that there were many signs that Jesus did, John limits himself to describing seven of them. And in this evening’s Gospel we have what St John calls the first sign that Jesus did, the changing of water into wine at Cana of Galilee.

John makes clear the nature of miracle as ‘sign.’ A miracle as a sign is an instrument by which ‘Jesus manifested his glory’ and through which his disciples believed in him:

This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.

The miracle as a ‘sign’ is not a miracle admired for its own sake, as if the miracles of Jesus were kinds of firework displays evoking wonder and awe for their own sake. John’s miracles as signs are not ends in themselves, but the means to revealing who and what Jesus is. The healing of the man born blind is a sign indicating that Jesus Christ is the light of the world, the light that shone at creation. The Feeding of the 5000 point to Jesus as the bread of life, the true bread that comes down from heaven. The walking on the water indicates that Jesus is divine, is very God of very God, is he who walked upon the waters of chaos at the creation. The final and last of the signs, the raising of Lazarus from the dead after 4 days points to the nature of Jesus as the resurrection and the life, the source and origin of all life and existence. And so the word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us, and so, by his self-revelation, we beheld his glory.

There has been a tendency to regards the ‘signs’ of the Fourth Gospel as allegories, as stories with a spiritual meaning every detail of which has a hidden significance. So regarded, the actual historical fact of some actual miracle is irrelevant: they can stand as simply stories teaching spiritual mysteries about a heavenly world quite detached from this world of sense and sight. But to so interpret them would be false. For St John they actually happened. To deny that they happened would be to deny that ‘the Word was made flesh.’ But the notion of the signs as spiritual allegories that could be purely literary constructions does not in any event fit the account of these signs themselves in their totality.

What did the first sign, the transformation of water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee point to regarding Jesus’ true nature? At first sight we have simply a delightful story about wine running out at a wedding and Jesus performing a miracle to redeem a difficult situation. We could strain to give some allegorical interpretation of course, but there is no discourse explaining their meaning as there is with the multiplication of the loaves and fishes: there there follows a long discourse on how Jesus is the Bread of life. With the healing of the man born blind also there is a long discourse on the Light of the World. But in this first of the signs that Jesus did in Cana of Galilee and manifested his glory the miracle is quite material: it is a practical solution to material resources that have been consumed. And if we reflect upon it, each of the signs have this characteristic. Each of them is first of all about what happens when human resources fail.

The healing of the ruler of the synagogue’s son is the story of life running out, as in the case of Lazarus is about human resources failing. So too with the man born blind. And the Christ of the Fourth Gospel tells us of the action of God when human resources fail. The profound pastoral experience of being a hospital chaplain is one of humbly taking one’s place in due order. The consultant surrounded majestically by senior nursing staff sees the patient first, if they arrive unexpectantly we rapidly remove ourselves from our pastoral charges as the medical entourage moves on with due and proper careless greatness. But sometimes one arrives and the consultant is already there in intense conversation with his patient. One diffidently makes to move on but she earnestly encourages the priest to stay, to talk as he withdraws himself with some relief. And at that moment the priest realizes that human resources have just failed and they are finally admitting that they have failed: what is left and remains is the hope of fulfilment of Christ’s promises.

And this is our real human experience beyond the illusion of our permanence. At the last human resources fail. The light goes out from our eyes, the power of standing upright from our limbs, and the wine of life flows away as life is consumed, just as the wine at Cana of Galilee. And it is at this point that Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh appears with his sure promise, that what was given temporarily he will give again eternally. We stand in need of the grace of God.

Homily, First Sunday of Advent

A sermon preached by the Rev’d Professor Allen Brent in St Edmund’s College Chapel, First Sunday of Advent 2018

We begin this Sunday the season of Advent in which we reflect on Death, Judgement and the Future Life, and on Advent 1 in particular, in the context of Christ’s Second Coming to Judge the world. The gospel passage that we have just heard read, about staying alert, is about Christ’s coming to judge the world. The passage occurs in the apocalyptic sections of the synoptic gospels.

Jesus prophesies his second coming as the Son of Man. That figure, in Jewish literature, was not a human being of flesh and blood, but a supernatural figure who appears in glory at the end of time, attended by the host of angels, to judge the world, before whose awful presence the stars are swept away, with the sun becoming darkened and the moon turning into blood. The powers of nature are shaken and all things collapse into the primeval chaos, with the stars falling, with natural disasters, with the very powers of nature being shaken. And into this scene of chaos, of a nature without life or order as it had been before God spoke in creation, the Son of Man comes to create the cosmos anew and eternally.

It is important to note that this scene is not one of destruction but of re-creation. Many images of creation in the Old Testament do not describe God creating out of nothing, but of a struggle between a God of love and of order seeking to order a primeval chaos of disorder and destruction. The earth was ‘waste and void’ as the Spirit of God brooded over the face of the waters nurturing life and order over their raging and destructive storm. And the human imagination had constructed mythological symbols of this conflict between life and order and chaos and destruction in term of a Chaos Dragon, Tiamat whom God slays and from her carcass creates the world. And apocalyptic literature describes the whole of nature and of human society collapsing into its original chaos before creation. These symbols taken from a mythical past, in the apocalyptic imagination, come to express an imminent historical future. The powers of nature would be shaken, stars fall, the sun is darkened, the moon turns to blood, dragons and other kinds of beasts arise out of the depths of a storm tossed and chaotic ocean, and all things return to their original disorder and chaos. And so the Son of Man comes, not simply to judge, but to create the world anew.

So often Christ’s judgement of the world has been literally understood, and the words of the apocalypses are taken or try to be taken literally, by many sectarian groups. Christ’s second coming in glory to judge the world has been represented as the fulfilment of events prophesied that will play themselves out like a disaster movie.

But the description of Christ’s coming and the final judgement are not to be read as a disaster movie at the end of which heroes and heroines are rescued. Christ’s judgement of the world is part of the mystery of death, judgement, and the future life, a mystery that we seek to grasp by means of shadows and images, by means of parables and allegories.

There is a parallel to be drawn between the end of the world’s history and the end of our personal history for both are concerned with death, judgement and the future life. Both are about when time itself comes to an end, rather than any moment in time. They are about timeless moments in which past, present and future become fused into one. They are about passing from the present and temporal into the eternal, they are about what a young German Catholic theologian of the nineteen seventies named Joseph Ratzinger described as the ‘transformation of time.’ For Christ’s judgement of the world, according to St John, is something that begins in the present, that is beginning to take place in the here and now, in which Christ the light of the world shines in the darkness, and in which those of the light come to his light, and those of the darkness shun his light, and the sheep and the goats begin in the here and now to separate themselves from each other. The judgement is no longer wholly future but has begun to take place in the present. The mystery of the last things, whether of the death at our personal end or at the end of the world’s history is a mystery that hangs over our lives in the present ‘now.’

The imagery of apocalyptic events expressed one great truth, one great human intuition, and that was that the forces of chaos and randomness were not destined in the end to prevail, that Christ’s presence in his world would re-order all things anew. How he will do this is part of the mystery of creation, of its fall and renewal. But does not this also parallel our personal existence and the end of our individual life? We blossom and flourish and enjoy a life of order and well being, but that is destined to break up, in Shakespeare’s immortal description of the seven ages of man, at the end of ‘this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.’ Our individual nature breaks up like the created order of the apocalypse, descending once again into a primeval chaos. And what our belief in the life everlasting testifies too, is our conviction, deep rooted in our human intuition, that the forces of randomness and chaos will not have the last word, will not finally prevail.

Human beings, in the mystery of this life of ours and the human drama that is being played out are neither angels nor daemons. For all the ghastly wrong that human beings do, we cannot concede that anyone is beyond redemption, that there is anyone that cannot choose life rather than death, heaven rather than hell. Neither angels nor daemons we live out the mystery of this life of ours, between life and death, heaven and hell, struggling against judgement and death and its chaos, and seeking life, healing and eternity.

And our future hope is for final redemption in the Christ who has come and who will come, who bears the scars of Calvary through which he has vanquished death and chaos, and who comes to us as the Alpha and the Omega, our beginning and our end, at the end of our personal history and at the end of human history.

May God give us grace to meet Christ in his coming to us.