Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Mark (10: 32-45) in which Jesus tells the disciples ‘anyone who wants to become great among you must be your servant, and anyone who wants to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man, himself, did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’
Fr Paul says, today we remember and celebrate the life of St Philip Neri, who was born in Florence in 1515. At the age of 18 he went to Rome and earned a living as a tutor. He did a lot of work with the sick and with pilgrims. Having been told he could do more as a priest, Philip was ordained in 1551. He inspired many of the other clergy to follow him and so the Congregation of the Oratory was founded and still exists today.
Philip was an enemy of convention and solemnity. In fact, he was one for playing pranks on others but with a real point; it was always done to combat pride or unhappiness or hero worship.
Philip held that laughter should be part of our lives. We should even laugh that God bothered made us and continues to love us, despite the idiots we are.
Fr Paul says, mindful of our church’s tradition, as we remember and celebrate the life of St Philip Neri, we ask that he pray for us.