Reflection: 25th November 2018

A Reflection for The Feast of Christ the King

JN 18: 33B-37 (

On a Thursday in the community centre in Dublin’s Fatima Mansions, a group of women wait eagerly to go down to breakfast in the second-floor café. We are welcomed by the men who have done the cooking. They escort us to our tables; take our orders and bring the food with a flourish. Teasing and laughter echo from wall to wall.

We go back upstairs refreshed and begin again to ‘Stitch and Bitch’.

When I look around for signs of the Kingdom, so many of the actions describing it are there in the Thursday breakfast: tending, rescuing, feeding, giving rest, healing, restoring, caring and welcoming. There is no boasting or trumpeting, only joy and fun in serving and comforting.

Very ordinary experiences hold the secret of Kingdom power. We transfigure the world doing very ordinary things, the things which our human hearts want to do, whether with ease and joy or with difficulty and pain. The list in the Gospel is a blueprint for a world transformed and every time any of these actions happens the Kingdom flourishes. 

Today’s feast celebrates our human capacity to lighten the world around us, generate hope, ease burdens, diminish fear and overcome negative powers. We are expressing the deepest desire of our hearts, breaking through the ‘grey, glubby gluck’ that chokes and cuts us off from our love:  energy.  We make space for the Kingdom – and for ourselves – to flourish. 

This belief and awareness sustains us in the face of the destructive activities that constantly assail us in the media. Pope Francis called for a ‘revolution of tenderness’ (Ted Talk, July 2017). He described it as a ‘love that comes close and becomes real.’  It means ‘to use our eyes to see the other, our ears to hear the other, to listen to the children, the poor, those who are afraid of the future. To listen also to the silent cry of our common home, of our sick and polluted earth.  Tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women.’

Let us make every day shine royally by sprinkling stars of tenderness around us, within us, over the earth!

Gemma McKenna –Co-founder of Partners in Faith, an agency for personal and social development of adults from a faith perspective, Gemma has been a resident of Fatima Mansions, Dublin for some 30 years and has been privileged to participate in the re-generation of the estate.