Friday Thought with Fr Chris Ferguson: Hair today gone tomorrow

Friday Thought with Fr Chris FergusonFriday Thought with Fr Chris Ferguson
Friday Thought with Fr Chris Ferguson
I waited this week with bated breath, hoping for positive noises coming out of Stormont.

The majority of people agree on the need for precautions, and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices and limits to personal freedoms, in order to protect the vulnerable. There is a delicate tightrope to be walked between protecting people’s jobs, financial future and the need to protect people with underlying conditions, and the many who are shielding. What is demoralising is the uncertainty and anxiety caused by a lack of agreement or clear direction from government. These thoughts crowded my mind as I drove down Spencer Road past my still shut barbers.

Longingly, I thought, when will I ever be able to get my hair cut properly again. That said, when I enter the barbers, I become involved in a game of Russian roulette. There are only two chairs, so depending on the queue, I get balded either by the Ardmore golfer or the Man United supporting gorbal.

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You probably recognise the shine coming off the top of my head and wonder, ‘they have the cheek to charge me for a haircut’. Truthfully, it’s more a search and find operation, rather than a haircut. I genuinely think they have a store bag of hair clippings that they throw around the chair, when they pretend to be cutting my hair, that’s why they insist I take my glasses off. I remember laughing as I looked around the church, when reading, ‘why every hair on your head is counted’, I’m not laughing now. I used to be able to console myself with the Scottish saying regarding hair, ‘better grey than nay!’ My world was shattered this week, not once but twice. If you follow football, you’ll understand how penalties are a controversial subject, well, so is a penalty spot. After Mass last week, an average height person was looking down on me and said, ‘you’re getting a penalty spot’. Talk about kicking a man when he is down; then it happened again. My very own sister announced to me during the week, ‘you’ve a penalty spot’.

These last weeks of the Church year, we’re confronted by what comes and goes, asked to consider what is of lasting and permanent value. Indeed, the parable of the talents, as told in Matthew’s Gospel has to be understood against the last times, the horizon of eternity. The Matthean community to whom this parable is initially addressed, are struggling to come to terms not only with their faith relating to the life and death of Jesus Christ, but also the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. Confronted by momentous events, how can we embrace our faith in the new landscape we suddenly inhabit.

Now do we celebrate the gift of faith we have been entrusted with. It’s you and I, who have been entrusted with this gift, and it’s a responsibility we share individually and together. A response is demanded by the presence of the crucified and risen Lord. A personal and communal reaction is required by the members of the body of Christ. Each one if us have been charged with making known the redemption made present in Jesus Christ.

We cannot simply bury in the ground the faith we have inherited, in a mistaken desire to simply protect the past. Like two of the servants in the parable, we need to overcome our fears and take risks.

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Faith is a risky business; it demands continued trust in Jesus Christ, in the circumstances of our lives. We have no control over when and where we find ourselves, we can’t change the era we live in. The challenge is to make the Gospel known, by making present the saving love of God. The faith we have inherited has to be shared with the people of all times and places. Only in dialogue with our times, listening to the fears and anxieties of this generation, will the Gospel become good news for the world. The challenge facing you and me, is summed up in the question, who have we brought to Christ? By our words, in our actions and through the witness of our lives, have we helped our neighbours, family, friends and strangers, encounter the God who saves? Judgement, will be based on how we make God present, now!

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