We are moving in dangerous times; the truth which God wants us to know, live by and hand on to others is already reckoned by our society as inappropriate and we are at the threshold of this truth being unlawfull. The laws which we used to hold to about marriage and the way in which men and women relate with one another are not arbitrary laws because they are laws from God.
Today's poignant Gospel is a wonderful call to friendship with Christ. In it we see Mary responding to Christ's friendship while Judas seems already to have distanced himself from that friendship. The context of this Gospel, the house of Christ's friends in Bethany, is one in which response to his friendship has already bourne great fruit in conversion, joy, understanding, light and new life. Jesus has arrived at Jerusalem for the Festival but he chooses to stay each night outside the city with his friends. There is a meal; many people are there enjoyng his presence. Mary senses a deeper, more pressing meaning to Christ's presence, she knows that this Festival will see Christ revealing his friendhip in an even greater way. He receives her extraordinary gesture of love.
Judas is already an intimate friend of Christ, but through pride he is choosing his own ambitions and ideas, and for that matter, his own ideas about the Kingdom. Jesus' response to Judas expresses his persevering friendship towards this man who he knows is wrestling with his own sinfulness. It is not Christ who will let Judas down.
What should we do? First we must learn the lesson of this Gospel: don't wrestle with sin but give in to Christ's friendship. This will mean making use of the Sacrament of Penance.
It also means us being more aware of Christ's friendship towards us at this time and not being distracted by the "friendship" which this world creates and prolifereates. For us this means training and formation. Training our hearts and minds to respond to grace - in prayer, and forming our lives by openness to the Gospel and the teaching and life of the Church.
In the UK we still live in freedom, unless you are a Catholic or follow God in a sincere way. But real freedom does not rely upon the generosity or open mindedness of society; it relies solely upon the free response of men and women to Christ.
It is this freedom that we need to learn again in grace. It is a freedom without conditions. Conditions, as we will see, are set by the enemies of Christ and by those who have only one foot in the Gospel.
It is still early in the week and the call to stake eveything on Christ is going to grow.