Monsignor Tony Rogers
Good morning. Wembley Stadium will be a focus for many football fans today and tomorrow as Wigan take on Millwall and Chelsea play Manchester City. For me, though, I’m not really interested in what goes on there; my attention is on the fortunes of my own League One team, Bournemouth, hovering on the brink of promotion. Wherever the matches are played, the fans will be cheering – and booing.
But there’s been some concern recently about the roar of the crowd at Old Trafford. So muted was it in some parts of the stadium, that they felt the need to enlist the help of an acoustics expert. It’s all centred on the need for atmospheres to be charged and for no-one to feel isolated. I was once at a lower division match with just a handful of supporters from the away team. They were brave individuals, lone voices in a sea of opposition.
It isn’t easy to stand apart. I often wonder whether all of those who cried ‘Hosanna’ when Jesus rode into Jerusalem really believed him to be king, and if those same people who were in the crowd a few days later demanding that he be crucified, really wanted that. But I know that sometimes my silence, or my failure to stand up for what I really believe, has had consequences – on people’s employment, their relationships, or their reputation. Just because I have been afraid to speak out, others have suffered.
Lord, give me courage, in whatever lies ahead, to be aware of my responsibility to the world in which I live and the people who make up its communities. Even when injustice or unfairness seems to be manifested in a small way, let me not be afraid to speak up for what it right. Amen