The ongoing revelations at the GPO have shaken us to the core.

We know these people so well. Warm-hearted Jo, always lifting the spirits of her customers, but helpless at the mercy of the robot that won’t answer, of the numbers that won’t add up – she is one of us.

Lee and his wife, honest, hard-working, caught in a vast and crazy system, his innocent children being bullied at school – he lives just down the road.

Alan, calm, courageous, determined, driven by his fierce sense of justice, a true ordinary hero – we are proud that he is one of our mates.

There but for the grace of God go I. Or perhaps even, that is me! And the same is true for the bad guys: we have met them often.

That is how good parables work. Jesus’ contemporaries lived with the farmers, widows, priests and rich men, the brothers and parents, in his tales. But we too recognise them instantly.

We ask ourselves: ‘Where in that story am I?’ That’s how the parable stirs up our compassion and fires our sense of justice, to change our lives.

It also invites us to examine our own mistakes.

What did I do when I was in charge? How have I made the world a fairer and kinder place? Who have I misjudged, without knowing the horrendous daily burdens they were carrying? Who should I be thanking today, for their kindness and courage in doing their ordinary job with integrity and a smile?

Written by Sr Margaret Atkins of Boarbank Hall, Allithwaite.

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