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In recent weeks I have attended two University graduation parties and it is wonderful to see all the hopes and dreams of our young people taking shape.  Lots of choppy water has flown under the bridge to get them to the day where they get the cap on the head to say that they are now an engineer or a teacher or whatever.  I remember being at my eldest niece’s graduation as a teacher at Glasgow Uni some years ago and desperately wanting to shout out “woop-woop” as she received her certificate – but I didn’t because I was unsure of the etiquette of these occasions (I think that’s why my family just invite me to the after-party in case I embarrass them).  In any case, what we celebrate on such occasions is that our family and friends have achieved a certain standard of wisdom in their chosen subjects.  Wisdom was going through my mind this week as I reflected on today’s Gospel; for you are all here because you are wise to God’s values, you are wise in the values of the Good News.  It’s like each time we come to Church we are remembering that we have graduated (perhaps we might say on the day of Baptism) in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Think about it!  And so we are thankful for what God has done for us ….

 

 

 

Our readings today call on people to be thankful: our prophecy from Zechariah says “rejoice heart and soul, daughter of Zion, shout heart and soul”; then the Gospel continues with Jesus’ words “I bless you, Father, for revealing all these things to mere children.”  Whenever the words “I give thanks” appear in the Bible it is more often than not followed by a list of the things that God has done for his people – Creation, crossing the Red Sea, sending the prophets.  And in most Jewish writings of the time, God’s revelations were made to the wise and the clever: to the great heroes of old, to community leaders and to the sages of the time.  However, with Jesus’ arrival, it’s the humble and lowly, the people that society casts to the side that are the main receivers of God’s wisdom.  While the religious leaders of first century Palestine were concerned about the rules and customs of religious practices, sinners and tax collectors were passing them by as the accepted the real message of the Gospel.  Sinners understood that God came to show that every person on this earth is valued in love and can find meaning and purpose in Him.  Jesus wasn’t just thanking God for all He had done in the world, but for the way He had shown all this to the weakest and poorest. 

 

 

 

It was the weakest and poorest that grasped the central point of God’s message: that they are invited into the very heart of God.  It’s not that God invites people to watch from the sidelines at what He does for the world.  People are invited into the very heart of God.  And there, in God’s heart?  What happens?  Let’s hear the words again: “shoulder my yoke for I am gentle and humble of heart; my yoke is easy and my burden light.”  Once a person sees what God does in their life, they become disciples, they become followers who are invited to share in the gifts of the Teacher, the Master.  They are invited to be Creators also, creators of love and dignity and respect.

 

 

 

For the last couple of weeks you have been invited to think about the essential requirements of being a disciple: a disciple is one who TRUSTS in God; a disciple is one who lets go of disordered attachments in life.  Today you are reminded that you too can thank God that you are graduated into his ways, graduated in His love and peace and justice.  You are not invited to watch God from the sidelines.  God invites you to his very heart.  This gives you a plan for life.  You have at your fingertips the ability to create – for your family and for your community – a space of hope, a space of dignity and a space of love.

 

 

 

You are a disciple.  Now you too can give thanks to God.

 

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