The following reflection is by Tom Cahill

There’s a memorable scene in The Shawshank Redemption. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) plays Duettino-Sull’aria from Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ over the prison loudspeaker system. Prisoners stop what they’re doing enthralled by the operatic duet. As you watch their rapt features, ‘Red’ Redding’s (Morgan Freeman) background commentary tells you that for a few minutes these prisoners feel like human beings again. The beauty of the music blocks out the ugliness of their surroundings and transports them to another place where refinement, beauty and spirit reign. It’s a powerful, touching scene.

Now another scene. This time in Suffolk, England. A 5ft by 7ft dilapidated beach hut. Its window is broken. Its paint is peeling. It lacks a door, gas, electricity and water. A local council regulation forbids overnight use of it. For sale at a whopping £40,000, its estate agent says it’ll be snapped up. Other huts similar in size but in better condition have sold even more ‘whoppingly’ for £100,000. Why? Location, location, location. They command a spectacular view of the sea. Again, a place of beauty – and for people of faith, a sense of Presence therein.

Our third and last scene is in today’s Second Reading: the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. (Apoc 21:10) Refinement, beauty and Spirit reign there. No need for gas or electricity – not even for the Sun. The glory of God is its light, God’s presence its air. Like the Shawshank prisoners we too need our moments of rapture whether it be from love, nature, art or faith. For without a peek into eternity human nature just cannot peak.
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