Saint John the Evangelist, 27th December 2019

How to speak without the possibility of being misunderstood? Impossible – apart from very occasional moments of grace. This, perhaps, is the sense of mystery that surrounds us all, in which we live and move and have our being. I wonder whether communion isn’t simply that – an attempt, a hope, a recognition that we are, without it, helpless, hopeless, in our own attempts at communication. Think of the communications we’ve had recently in this busy week of celebration and conversation, and are left now with just the gleamings of possible understanding; a few hints here and there of how another person really is; those moments of ‘Oh, I didn’t know that’ which suddenly allow us to see that other person in an entirely new light. ‘Oh, that’s why they act in such a manner. They’re human after all!’ I used to delight, as a teacher, at parents’ evenings, when one had a chance to see something more of the mystery of the child in the mystery of the parents: ‘So that’s where he or she gets it from’. ‘So that’s what he or she has been telling them about me.’ The learning, of course, goes both ways.

And here we have John at the tomb with Peter, each seeing the world quite differently and each, perhaps, needing to see the world quite differently. The one, then, as the gift to the other, to be revealed later. So let’s enjoy one another while we can; each a gift to the other in the process still of being unwrapped; a process necessarily incomplete until parents’ evening when we finally find out that we are brothers and sisters after all.