Takehomenews 21 February 2021
Fr Colin writes:
I hope that the liturgies in the church and at home on Ash Wednesday have helped you make a good start to Lent. Today’s Gospel about Jesus’ temptation when he was in the wilderness for 40 days helps us to see our own Lenten Journey of 40 days as somewhat of a battle but also as a journey with a destination in mind. That destination is when we renew our baptismal promises at Easter and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Lent is a preparation for that renewal, a time when we grow in our relationship with God. We can do certain things and deny ourselves certain things to aid us in this pursuit. Fasting, Prayer and Alms-Giving have been the traditional ways of Lenten observance. These may well take a different slant this year. Last Lent on the day of lockdown, we had a day of Exposition in the church. This was a great blessing for us. Although we cannot do that this year, we have decided to have an hour of Exposition on Tuesday evenings between 7 and 8pm, starting this coming Tuesday. It will conclude with Benediction. This will be livestreamed only. Similarly, there will be Stations of the Cross livestreamed only on Fridays at 7pm. Below you can find details of fulfilling the almsgiving tradition through the Cardinal’s Lenten Appeal. On Friday we have CAFOD Lent Fast Day— a recommended day for self denial.
We realise that there may be some people at home who do not have the facility to livestream or do not know how to go about it. If you need help in any way, please contact us at the presbytery and we will see what we can do for you.
To help us in our Lenten observance, there are items available in the porch. ‘My Day By Day’ gives the daily Mass readings. ‘Walk with Me’ gives meditations throughout Lent and there are some Lenten calendars for children.
Cardinal’s Lenten Appeal 2021
Cardinal Nichols thanks you for your generous support for the Cardinal’s Lenten Appeal, especially throughout the unprecedented events of 2020. Your donations help fund initiatives in parishes, schools and charities in three mission areas which are more critical than ever. Marriage and Family Life: enriching and supporting marriages, the essential building block of society and the Church. Youth and Evangelisation: helping young people, the future of the Church, as they grow in their relationship with God and deepen their Catholic faith. Caritas Westminster: putting our faith into action by serving those in need. Education Service: supporting our schools. This year, the Cardinal is asking us to think about families who are struggling to put food on the table. Poverty is deepening across our Diocese and the need for foodbanks and supermarket vouchers has accelerated. Through your generosity we’re continuing to provide food for those people most in need. Please take a donation envelope. You can use the QR code to make your donation online. Thank you for your generosity. Envelopes can be put in the Lenten Alms Box by Our Lady’s Altar, as well as any other donations.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of EVELYN HACKETT and CATHERINE MULVEY whose funerals take place this week. May they rest in peace.
1st Sunday of Lent
In the very short gospel from St. Mark we have today we can see that it is a gospel of two halves. The first half deals very briefly with Jesus being led into the wilderness by the Spirit and whilst there was tempted by Satan. Jesus lived with the wild beasts and was sustained by the food that angles brought him.
The second half of this Gospel passage moves the narrative to a different location and time. Jesus arrives in Galilee proclaiming the good news of God, and saying “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
This gospel links both the old testament and the new. The first part of this gospel brings to mind the way in which the Israelites were led out of captivity in Egypt through the wilderness for over forty years - God would feed them with manna from heaven - they would be tempted and would often fail, just like us, but with God’s mercy they were still led forwards towards the promised land. God was not going to relent on his promise to Noah and his sons that there would never again be the waters of destruction. No matter how bad their lives got, the people of God would be led forward.
For us today, this journey towards our heavenly reward can seem slow. But do we live this life to the full - the fullness that God wants for us - or do we hold back - still being tempted by our own selfishness, our own wants, our own desires; and ultimately not truly being obedient to the will of God? For in Baptism we are given a new beginning as we hear in 1 Peter 3:21 of our second reading. We are joined with Christ who rose out of the darkness of the world to new life in Heaven.
The person of Jesus we find in the second part of the gospel continues the work of John the Baptist calling everyone to repent, and believe in the good news. What it important to take note of is that this narrative is as if Jesus has picked up the batten from John the Baptist when in a relay race. Except, John the Baptist was in fact just the warm up, the prefigure, the last of the prophets. Jesus is the main event, the main focus. “The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God has come near.” When we remember John’s message it was “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” (Mk 1:7-8).
Jesus is giving us the announcement that this is now real and we are no longer in the time of prophets. God is here now, waiting to receive everyone who is willing to repent, to deliver the good news of mercy and forgiveness which is ultimately summed up in the Love of God.
Jesus, is therefore inviting us to engage with our faith. It is not a one sided affair. We must be prepared to put in the work too. Jesus is willing to meet us, and teach us, and lead us to our promised land - salvation, but he knows from his time in the wilderness that we will have our own crosses to carry. There will be struggles and temptations along the way - but that he will be with us to pick us up when we fall, to heal us when we are in pain and hurt. All we have to do is begin to turn towards him and listen and pray and want to repent.
Fasting and Feasting in Lent
Fast from discontent—Feast on Gratitude
Fast from complaining—Feast on appreciation
Fast from bitterness—Feast on forgiveness
Fast from self concern—Feast on compassion for others
Fast from Suspicion—Feast on truth
Fast from idle gossip—Feast on purposeful silence
Fast from unrelenting pressures—Feast on unceasing prayer
CAFOD Lent Fast Day
This Friday is CAFOD Fast Day when we are encouraged to give up a meal, part of a meal or some luxury and give what we save to the needy in the Third World. This time the focus is on places where there is a shortage of water.
Abdella lives in an extremely remote and mountainous part of Ethiopia. It takes him ten hours a day to collect water. He says his life is being wasted as he has no time for anything else. Please give today to reach vulnerable communities around the world with water and to provide other vital support. Please donate online at www.cafod.org.uk/give or by using one of our envelopes. You can also easily give via text.
Text LENT 5 to 70460 to give £5
Text LENT 10 to 70460 to give £10
Text LENT 20 to 70460 to give £20
Or Telephone: 0303 303 3030 to donate over the phone
E.g., if you donate £10.00 *Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS.
If you’d like to give £10 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text LENTNOINFO to 70460.
A CAFOD Prayer
Loving God, we hear your call to all who thirst for a brighter future: come to the water. Pour out your Spirit upon us and lead us to walk alongside one another.
Let a desire for change well up within us. May we overflow with compassion and love.
And as a stream wears away stone, may we reshape our world together to reflect your kingdom of hope for all. Amen.
SAFEGUARDING DBS Checks
Some of our Volunteers working with children and the vulnerable need to have their DBS updated, as checks need to made every 3 years. This would include catechists working with children, altar servers over the age of 18, Four-12 members over the age of 18 and Eucharistic Ministers taking Holy Communion to the housebound who are not part of their own family. Many of these activities are suspended because of COVID restrictions but now is the time to get the DBS sorted so we are ready when full parish life resumes. If you are in one of these groups or have become a volunteer recently, please contact our new Parish Safeguarding Representative Macdara Conneely by email on firstname.lastname@example.org who will guide you on what needs to be done. Thank you.