27 September 2020
Fr Colin Writes:
We will be starting the Track and Trace System when you come to Mass. This means that you would give your name and phone number to the steward when you come to Mass. The information will be locked away and destroyed after 21 days. As in other organisations, this is optional.
I would like to thank the stewards for all their support and time. This is not just for Sunday Masses but also for weekday Masses, baptisms, funerals and any other event that takes place in the church. If you would like to offer your services in this capacity, please let me know. You need to be under 70 and in good health.
Thank you for your co-operation with all the new rules and guidelines. Keep well. Keep the social distance. If you are not well, please do not come to church. The Sunday obligation is still suspended.
There will be a session for parents who wish to have their baby baptised next Sunday, 4th October ,at 4PM on Sunday in the church.
Signing Secondary School Forms
I have left signed copies of the Certificate of Catholic Practice on the table at the back of the church. Please take one and enter the name of the child, address and date of birth. Please do not take one for somebody else. They must come to Mass to collect it. I am adopting this system this year because the parish centre is no longer open for me to have a signing session.
There are still boxes of envelopes which started in April to be collected if you wish to resume using them. Please ask and we will try to find them for you. Very unfortunately, due to Data Protection rules, we are not allowed to leave them out in the church for you to pick up. On the afternoon of Sunday 22nd March, just before the churches were closed, I did a long delivery round putting boxes through accessible letter boxes. So, you may have already received the box but put it aside and forgotten about it because the church was closed thereafter. Many thanks to all those who have sent in backdated envelopes or donations covering the period of lockdown.
The total number of people at Mass last weekend was 287. We will have another count this weekend.
26th Sunday of Year A
Chapter 18 of the prophet Ezekiel, of which there is a small section for today’s first reading, is a long teaching on personal responsibility. In many ancient societies which were strongly hierarchical it was believed that for anyone who suffered, it was the result of the sins of those in authority. This comes through in some of the passages in the Old Testament. In Chapter 18, Ezekiel is addressing the exiles who are suffering. They are attributing this to the failings of those who brought about the fall of Israel and Jerusalem. They believe that they are suffering because of the sins of their ’fathers’. But Ezekiel rejects this argument. He says that these exiles are suffering because of their own treachery and sinfulness. It is what they have done that has led to their sorry state. So Ezekiel is calling on those exiles to repent. Repentance leads to life. This is a call to each person to examine their conscience to consider ways in which they may have offended the Lord. The Lord takes no pleasure in the ‘death’ of anyone.
A similar situation presents itself in the Gospel passage. Here, there are two sons who are asked by their father to work in his vineyard. The first son refused when asked, but thought better of it and went. In contrast, the second son agreed to work in the vineyard but didn't . This is a lesson in thinking carefully about the right thing to do. Obedience to God’s will needs careful thought, thinking about the consequences, responding to the presence and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. And if we do make the wrong decision, we need to repent. Jesus was addressing this parable to the chief priests and elders who were liable to say the right things but not put them into action. That is why Jesus remarked that tax collectors and prostitutes were reaching the kingdom of God before them. They had repented of their wrong doings. The parable is a lesson to us to repent and seek life.
St Paul describes what that life involves in the 2nd reading addressed to the Philippians. Life means love for one another, being considerate, selfless, putting others first, being sympathetic. In other words it means that we should have the same mind as Jesus Christ. St Paul is saying that we should allow the vital union between you and Christ should so come to the fore as to manifest itself in our harmonies and self-effacing conduct with others. The stress is not so much on the moral imitation of Jesus but on the vital principle of new Christian communal life. It is here that Paul in his letter inserts a hymn to Christ. This is the familiar verse that is read on Palm Sunday as the 2nd reading. It traces how Jesus accepted death in his humility and how he was raised high by his resurrection . That is why we should worship him in word and action and become true imitators of Christ.
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Saints of the Week
Tuesday 29th September Saints The Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Patrons of soldiers & police (Michael); messengers & postal workers (Gabriel); travellers & the blind (Raphael). The Old Testament description of the angels worshipping before the throne of God is one of fierce power: “…each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6: 2-3).
Wednesday 30th September Saint Jerome, Patron Saint of archeologists, Bible scholars and librarians. Jerome began the monumental task of translating the entire Bible into Latin from original Greek and Hebrew texts. It would take him years. The existing Old Latin Bible was not cohesive, but a jumble of texts stitched together under one cover. Various scholars had generated divergent translations for purely local use. So the Gospel of John in a Jerusalem-based manuscript differed from the same Gospel in a manuscript in Gaul. The one Church, spread throughout the known world, needed one Bible to match its broad scope and theological unity. Jerome was the man for the job. After just a few years in Rome, after the death of his patron Pope Damasus, and due to the enemies his blunt words and fiery temper always seemed to create, Saint Jerome left Rome for the Holy Land. He lived in a cave near Bethlehem and focused on translating. Some holy and pious women from Rome followed him there and formed a quasi-monastic community around him.
Thursday 1st October Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Patron Saint of florists, missions & aviators. Thérèse Martin was a weepy child, as emotionally brittle as porcelain. She was easily offended and easily pleased. A furled brow or a sideways glance from her father would dissolve her into tears. A beautiful flower or a kind word and she would beam a smile. She grew up in a brotherless home. Her father, an uncle, and priests were the men in her life. Her parents were canonized in 2015, the only married couple ever raised to the altars. Thérèse and her four sisters all became nuns, with the cause for beatification and canonization of her sister Léonie being opened in 2015. The Martin home was totally absorbed in the mysteries of God, prayer, saints, the Sacraments, and the Church.
Friday 2nd October Guardian Angels—Memorial . The holy guardian angels are created spirits, whereas God is an uncreated spirit. A man, however, is more than a spirit. Though we are part spirit and part matter, we can nonetheless imagine what it would be like to be a pure spirit, like an angel. God’s will is creative in the strict sense of that word. “Let there be light,” He said, and there was light. His will brings worlds into creation and maintains them there. God willed the angels into creation to communicate His messages, to protect mankind, and to engage in spiritual battle with fallen demon angels.