Fr Richard's words for the Optional Memorial of St Edmund of Abingdon
Jesus passes by
Jericho is the lowest city on earth, it being 258 metres below sea level. It's geographical profile provides a metaphor emphasising the extent of Jesus' public ministry. He is prepared to go anywhere - even to the lowliest of the low places - to seek out souls to save.
Jesus passes by the blind man on the side of the road in Jericho. Jesus too walks in our midst - today in the Yorkshire Dales. Our reaction too should be to call out for Jesus' healing touch - "have pity on me Lord". Then, when Jesus makes us see with the eyes of faith, we like the healed blind man are called to follow Him along the road.
Jesus the Saviour also came by St Edmund of Abingdon, the holy Archbishop of Canterbury from 1234-1240. When studying in Oxford, he received an apparition of the Christ Child as he walked in some fields. In memory of that occasion, 'he used every night to sign his forehead with the words "Jesus of Nazareth", a custom he recommended to others.' (https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05294a.htm). Already a pious boy, that encounter made him ever more zealous in following and serving his Lord. He made a vow of chastity; he furthered his theological studies in Paris; he preached the Sixth Crusade; and he was charitable to the sick and poor. Most of the night, he spent in prayer. As Bishop, he too imitated Christ the Good Shepherd in walking among the sheep offering the gift of Faith, despite fierce opposition from both the king and even monks. Even after his death those who, in turn, walked past his shrine at Pontigny Abbey, France, asking for his intercession, were granted miracles.
We ask for St Edmund's intercession that whenever we recognise the presence of Christ in our midst, we too will follow the Lord wholeheartedly, giving praise to God in our service of Him.