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The Church God needs us to be


If we look at the world with attention, we see quickly that it is beautiful, that it glows with the beauty of the God who created it; if we look attentively at each other we discover the same thing, that is, the first and deepest truth about creation.

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But there is also a wound that runs through the centre of creation and through our own hearts too.

We can love this world we have been given, yet at the same time we are acting to bring about its destruction and cannot seem to alter our course.

We can be so profoundly tender to children, yet also be part of a world that allows them to be bought and sold. Many of us today are wearing garments made by children who are captive to slavery.

Couples can truly love each other with deepest desire to make it work, but past hurts and present fears can still drive them apart.

The park we enjoy today will shelter homeless men, women and even children tonight. Our hearts hurt at the thought of it, but we do not necessarily act to change it.

This is the concrete truth of ourselves, that we are at the same time both the deeply beloved, and the wounded.

And this is the real world that God loves, into which He sent his Son through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Each act of healing in Jesus’ life was a sign of God’s desire to heal the wound of humanity and creation. The miracles of Lourdes are signs of the same thing.

When through the Spirit everything had been accomplished in Jesus’ life: when he had made himself into communion with every atom of human life, with joy and sorrow, friendship and betrayal, with life and with death, then he raised it all back to the tender heart of the Father, in a new and unbreakable covenant of unreserved love.

After the resurrection and ascension it was Mary, the first and the model of all disciples, who waited with us – the Church – for the coming of the Spirit. The Spirit would transform us, wounds and all, into the Body of Christ.

It is through us now that the Father continues to fulfil his ancient promise to heal the wound of the world.

The fracture of the world is fashioned by our choice to fill that hunger and thirst with all the things that cannot satisfy it, and leaves us stranded on the shores of loneliness and hopelessness, and gives birth not to life but to hurt or indifference or cruelty or destruction.

So this is who we are: the wholly beloved, with a wound that can be repaired by a deep welcome to the divine and tender love that waits for our ‘Amen’ at every turn.

For us to become the Church God wants takes honesty and courage and faith.

It means to uncover our wounds, to own them honestly and to repent them: to turn from them towards the power of God’s Holy Spirit. So often we associate the Spirit with signs and wonders, but the great wonder the Spirit works is to restore us to our true selves.

This is the moment and time we have been given. This is our Pentecost, the time to see ourselves honestly, to know our beauty and belovedness, to acknowledge our woundedness, to throw off our false disguises and remedies and stand before the mighty, tender, power of God and let God heal us, so that we can become the humanity God longs for, servants of the world God has wanted from the beginning, truly the church God wants.

We can be servants of a world where creation is reverenced and protected; where children are safeguarded and loved into their best futures; where couples are supported to find their way to each other in fruitful love; where slavery is fought and opposed until it is ended; where a safe home and shelter is found for all.

We can be the church God wants, the church God needs us to be…even now, this moment.

Let us pray with Mary, first and best of all disciples, that God’s will may be done.

Taken from Fr Marshall’s homily at the Marian Procession. The full text can be found at



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