Thursday, 23 October 2008

Who could ask for anything more?

As much as it pains me to admit it, at Mass yesterday morning I wasn't really listening. I had a day ahead with two seminar papers to prepare, shopping to do, a staff lunch to attend and music to learn... That familiar line of 'I'm just so busy...' reared its ugly head. Still, despite all that, one line in the first reading made it through the spaghetti junction grid-lock in my brain and stayed with me throughout the day, to the extent that I went to look up the entire reading last night and to read it again - this time properly.

St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, 3:2-12

Brothers and sisters:
You have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace
that was given to me for your benefit,
namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation,
as I have written briefly earlier.
When you read this
you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ,
which was not made known to human beings in other generations
as it has now been revealed
to his holy Apostles and prophets by the Spirit,
that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same Body,
and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.

Of this I became a minister by the gift of God’s grace
that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power.
To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given,
to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ,
and to bring to light for all what is the plan of the mystery
hidden from ages past in God who created all things,
so that the manifold wisdom of God
might now be made known through the Church
to the principalities and authorities in the heavens.
This was according to the eternal purpose
that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord,
in whom we have boldness of speech
and confidence of access through faith in him.

It was the phrase 'confidence of access' which impressed me. My first thought was that it sounds as if Our Lord puts our name on the list which gives us access to the VIP Lounge. We know we've got access - we know we're on the list. If we want to come in, then we can. Of course, if we want to stand outside in the queue then that's our choice. But we don't have to. We have confidence of access. Bring it on!

As a very short person (vertically challenged, as some like to put it...) I often find I just can't reach things. Kitchen cupboards, in particular. The 'confidence of access' makes me think of the little box or stool I'm sometimes presented with so that I can reach up to get whatever it is I need. With the box I'm given I am assured of reaching my goal, if I choose to step onto it. I can't possibly reach without it. I have confidence of access - it seems a little crude to draw a direct analogy with Christ as the box, upon whom I can step to lift me up to the cupboard (if I choose to) of a relationship with the Father... Still, you can see where I'm going with that...

At a time when there doesn't seem to be much hope or indeed confidence that we may all have continued access to the Sacraments, to the hope of reunion with the universal church and to our own local church even, this phrase, this 'confidence of access' seems to me to provide a gentle reminder that, ultimately, we look to something more than the concerns of the present, as weighty as they are in their own right.

It's the sort of thing you want to go out and sing in the jazz style:
'I've got confi - dence of access,
I've got my Lord, who could ask for anything more?
Who could ask for anything more?'

1 comment:

  1. <3 I'll be singing this to myself all day.