Metropolitan Jerome of Selsey during his broadcast homily for Pentecost Sunday referred to the news of the terrorist attacks in London on Saturday 3/6/17, resulting in the tragic deaths of seven people and seriously injuring another forty-eight, including Emergency Service personnel and Police.
His Grace began with a reflection concerning the fulfilment of the promise of the Holy Spirit to the Church and its enabling power upon the Apostles. He made reference to an allegory of the Tower of Babel and the event of Pentecost in Jerusalem, where once God had confounded humanity by the curse of language, how He then enabled the Apostles to preach the Gospel through the “gift of tongues” i.e. in the languages then spoken in Jerusalem as referred to in today’s Epistle from Acts, resulting in the conversion by St Peter’s preaching of 3’000 people!
Revisiting a favourite Johannine theme, heavenly citizenship, Metropolitan Jerome reminded the faithful that,
“…our eternal life, remember, has already begun from the moment of our baptism, so that whatever happens in this life, we are assured by the promises of Christ and our own fidelity, that salvation which will ensure that we receive, light, joy and peace for evermore in love and in union with God.”
Having established that confidence which the faithful should have by virtue of their heavenly citizenship, he then went on to admonish them to be receptive to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, particularly for our own time…
“But the time is now for us ourselves too, to be inspired by the Holy spirit to spread the Gospel and enable others to know the peace, love and light of Christ, particularly as our world becomes ever darker by this false religiosity of hatred that is threatening our communities, threatening our way of life, threatening our very being. We should not be afraid my brothers and sisters either, to speak the truth again, to allow the Holy Spirit to enable us to have the strength and the confidence to name that false religiosity which is Islamism.”
Metropolitan Jerome continued urging the faithful to be empowered and enabled by the Holy Spirit to respond to the present crises affecting families and communities globally, i.e. Islamism*, by preaching and living the Gospel.
“How many more of our brothers and sisters in the faith must be persecuted and martyred before the Church speaks with one voice? Not just to bemoan and bewail the atrocities, but to speak for the Truth and give the solution, which is the Gospel, which is the good news of redemption, of repentance and forgiveness and of being embraced by the love of God and embracing each other with that true love, with that self-sacrificial love, of that love in service, of that love that seeks the good truly of the other, without thought for oneself. Its time my brothers and sisters, for the Church, particularly in the West, and particularly in this country, to wake up! To be truly prophetic, rather than pathetic. To speak the Gospel, to speak the Gospel Truth, and with confidence.“
*N.B. it should be appreciated that “Islamism” should not be confused with “Islam” according to the peaceful practice of the majority of religious adherents. Islamism is a concept whose meaning has been debated in both public and academic contexts. The term can refer to diverse forms of social and political activism advocating that public and political life should be guided by Islamic principles, or more specifically to movements which call for full implementation of sharia. It is commonly used interchangeably with the terms political Islam or Islamic fundamentalism.