Takehomenews 24 January 2021
Fr Colin writes:
Today we celebrate the Sunday of the Word of God. Pope Francis has said ‘Devoting a specific Sunday of the liturgical year to the word of God can enable the Church to experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world’. Pope Francis goes on to say ’The Bible cannot be just the heritage of some, much less a collection of books for the benefit of a privileged few. It belongs above all to those called to hear its message and to recognise themselves in its words. At times, there can be a tendency to monopolise the sacred text by restricting it to certain circles or select groups. It cannot be that way. The Bible is the book of the Lord’s people, who, in listening to it, move from dispersion and division towards unity. The word of God unites believers and makes then one people’.
At Masses today we invite Parish Readers to renew their commitment before the readings. The text for this can be found below. Readers can stand in their place. There is no need to come forward.
The latest guidelines have indicated that we cannot have private baptisms outside Mass, even with only 6 people present. They are permitted, however, within communal worship. For the time being, we will not have any baptism preparation sessions.
Keep safe and well. Fr Colin.
Rite of Renewal of Commitment by Readers
Priest: Dear Friends, you have faithfully performed the work of Reader in this parish for some time. At this Mass on Bible Sunday you are asked to renew your commitment to this work of evangelisation.
Priest: Christ comes to us in Word and Sacrament to strengthen us in holiness. Are you resolved to continue to perform the ministry of Reader, by proclaiming the Word of God to the people of God in this parish?
Readers: I am.
Priest: Are you resolved to strengthen your faith by regular prayer, to prepare diligently when asked to read, and to live out the Word you proclaim in your daily life?
Readers: I am.
Priest: May the Lord bless you in this work, as you help us to deepen our love for the word of God. We ask this through Christ the Lord, Amen.
Father David writes:
Recently, I have been watching on BBC iPlayer, a series on the life of RNLI boat crews. Three things struck me. Firstly, when their pager goes off telling them that there is a shout – they drop everything, they leave their wives and children, friends and family – even their Sunday lunch behind and rush to the lifeboat station to join their fellow crewmates. This leads me to the second observation – trust – there is a very high level of trust held within the crew for each other amongst these volunteer men and women. The Sea is a dangerous and unpredictable place and you need to have complete and utter faith in your fellow crew, that they have your back at every turn of the boat and swell of the sea. My third observation is training. – these volunteers have to train every week so that everything that they do on the boat during a rescue shout is second nature, they are ready, able and active to respond to whatever distress call they are asked to attend to.
The theme of water and saving people runs throughout our scriptures today. Jonah has just been saved from the belly of the Whale and is now ready to trust the Lord and to go to Nineveh and call for repentance. Such was the strength of God’s action through Jonah that the people of Nineveh did respond and God relented and did not destroy the city.
In St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, we are being called to really think about salvation and what that really means for each of us. St. Paul called for a spirit of expectancy and vigilance, as the Church would face trials and hardship. Paul thought that the second coming of Christ was imminent, perhaps in his lifetime, as so he counselled the Corinthians to avoid anything that distracted them from their spiritual preparation and readiness. If unmarried, he thought one should remain unmarried, because the obligations of marriage compete with one’s exclusive attention to God. Celibacy allows a person to focus in a more direct, immediate, and exclusive way on God and neighbour. Of course, St. Paul was not quite right, in that he thought Jesus would return in his life time. However, the point still remains – when Christ calls us, we should be ready. We have been given the gift of eternal life at our Baptism and we continue to develop our spiritual skills through prayer, study of scriptures, and worship of God with the Sacraments of the Church.
In our Gospel today we hear how Jesus called a number of fishermen to follow him; to be his disciples. Like Jonah, and these disciples we are called out of the waters of Baptism and we are made a new. We are rescued from our sin.
Our RNLI men and women, leave everything and everyone they care about behind to risk their own lives for the lives of others. Jesus is calling us to be focused on what is to come, whenever he calls us. Like the RNLI crew, they never know when their pager will go off.
Can we be certain that we have the necessary skills and trust in faith to answer God’s pager when we are asked to leave everything and follow Jesus?
Baptism makes us a member of the Christian crew, we need to keep our faith skills alive and honed each and every day, to be on a constant level of readiness for when we are called into the perpetual service of the Lord.
Racial Justice Sunday
Next weekend we have Racial Justice Sunday. This year it is more important than ever. The effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, the killing of George Floyd and the powerful message on fraternity by Pope Francis in his recent encyclical ‘Fratelli Tutti’ speak of the need to actively oppose racism and pursue racial justice with renewed vigour. The theme this year is ‘A time to Act’. Racial issues and inequalities were identified nationally and internationally in 2020 generating awareness, emotion and outrage. The second collection next weekend will help the actions to go ahead.
We pray, Lord Jesus Christ,
in your ministry you were approached by people
of many different nations and cultures.
You listened to their cry for help,
treated them with love and compassion,
and brought them healing and wholeness.
In our own time may we provide
to all those who suffer
the help that they need
and the care that they require.
May we respond to the invitation of the Holy Spirit
to dream of a world made new
where the poor are not forgotten
but are given the opportunity to live and flourish
with good health and equal prospects.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity concludes on Monday with the feast of the Conversion of St Paul.
Tender-hearted God. Your Son Jesus prayed that we may be one.
As we journey together in openness and truth,
may we draw closer to each other.
May our love embrace people of all faiths,
Send your Spirit to empower us to promote dignity
and compassion in societies, nations and world.
God of life, lead us to justice and peace, AMEN.
THERESA ALI R.I.P
Please pray for the repose of the soul of THERESA ALI of Gloucester Grove, whose funeral Mass will be on Friday 12th February at 11am. Attendance at the funeral is at the invitation of the family but it will be possible to watch the funeral by livestream.
CAFOD Your Support in Action
Join CAFOD online this coming Saturday 30th January from 1030am to 1230 and listen to CAFOD’s representative live from Ethiopia talking about how your support is enabling communities gain access to clean water. Contact email@example.com for registration link and further information.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for registration link and further information.