1st Sunday of Lent

 

“Jesus was tempted by Satan, and the angels looked after him.”

We begin our Lenten journey at the decisive moment of the flood, when God establishes his first Covenant with man, in the person of Noah. Noah was saved from the waters, while we (as Saint Peter points out) are saved by the waters of Baptism. This is the Covenant we live in, thanks to Christ, who came to establish this “new and eternal Covenant in his blood”. He is the only one who can do this, because he is without sin, despite “having been tempted in ever way that we are”.

 

1st Sunday of Lent Year 2018 Newsletter

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6th Sunday of Ordinary Time

 

“The leprosy left him at once and he was cured.”

Thankfully, we do not encounter leprosy in our culture. It can therefore be difficult to enter into the real depth of today’s readings. We have to understand that leprosy meant exclusion, rejection and the end of “normal” life. For your leprosy to be cured would be like being given a second chance at life. What is the cause of exclusion and rejection in our society – or even in the Church? Who are those who must “live apart”? And how can we put into effect in our day those most touching of the words of Jesus, when asked if he wants to cure the leper: “Of course I want to!”? Contemplating exclusion and rejection in our world can be hard work: Saint Paul guides the way: the Christian path is not to work “for my own advantage, but for the advantage of everybody else”.

6th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018 Newsletter

 

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5th Sunday of Ordinary Time

 

“He cured many who suffered from diseases of one kind or another.”

This world, as we know, is a fragile and fallible place, in which we encounter hunger, disease, sickness and death. Jesus proclaims, by his actions of healing, that there is another world, the Kingdom of God, which will be free from all such anxieties and afflictions. The story of Paradise and the Garden of Eden painted a picture of a world which was perfect, and free from all problems. Jesus came into the world precisely to offer us a return to Eden, if we follow him. Each of his miracles is also, in some sense, a parable or teaching, pointing out to us something of the lost happiness and perfection which he is restoring. This vision of Paradise is not Utopian or delusory, not just a vain hope to comfort us with, but the true manifestation of God’s love for us. Jesus could not cure every disease or sickness in the world then: but his miracles of healing are a sign that one day, when the Kingdom comes, sickness and disease will be wiped away for ever.

 

5th Sunday Of Ordinary Time 2018 Newsletter

 

 

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4th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Where does authority come from? Why is one man regarded as a prophet, and another as a lunatic, and a third as a hypocrite? Jesus startles the crowds with a ‘new teaching’ today, but what amazes them so much is not the message but the authority behind it: they are convinced because what he does somehow adds credibility to what he says. It’s the old situation that we are all familiar with – we look through words to see the actions, which show us the real message. The scribes did not heal or work miracles, but simply talked about God. Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God, but also shows the people what it is – a Kingdom where all that damages human happiness is abolished. The other side to this is that we must listen to a prophet or teacher when they are backed by such authority; we may not “harden our hearts” and ignore the message when we have recognised that the messenger is sent by God. This is the hard part, because it demands that we too show, by our actions, that we have heard.

 

4th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018 Newsletter

 

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3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time

 

“Repent and believe the good news!”

Where does Jesus begin his ministry? Where John the Baptist left off – preaching a message of repentance, of change, to welcome the new Kingdom of God. There is a simplicity about this message, which is not compromised by anything – today’s Gospel has these simple words from Jesus, and then the story of his calling more disciples to follow him and share in the work of spreading this message. Repentance has had something of a bad press – we tend to think of it as an old-fashioned concept. But every age needs to hear this call: to look at what we do and say and assume, and realise that there are such things as right and wrong, and that sometimes we follow the wrong path. To follow Jesus, and to accept the Kingdom of God, demands that we make a radical choice, which might well change our lives

 

3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018 Newsletter

 

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 18th -25th January

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

6pm

12pm

7pm

12noon

7pm

Holy Trinity

Richmond Road Baptist

Our Lady’s

Fairhill Methodist Church

Salvation Army

 

 

 

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2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

 

“Samuel, Samuel!” “Here I am!”

What does it mean to be a follower of the Lord Jesus? Surely to listen and hear his voice, and to go where he leads us. Today, as we enter the ordinary season of the year, we begin our story of Jesus’ life and ministry with the calling of the first disciples. John fulfils his ministry – pointing to the Lamb of God – and the disciples follow where he points. His word to them is simple and inviting: “Come and see.” This echoes the calling of Samuel – a simple call, by name, which Samuel does not understand: discipleship is about trust, which Samuel shows simply by saying “Speak, Lord; your servant is listening.” The Psalm also underlines this, as we (the disciples of the Lord) sing together: “Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.” We hear his call, and we freely go to him, to listen again to the words of the Master.

 

2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018 Newsletter

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The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord

 

“We saw his star and have come to do the king homage.”

In the East, this Season of Christmas is called the ‘Time of Manifestation’, or Showing. Today is the ‘Feast of the Manifestation’, or the Showing of the Saviour to the whole world, to all nations. In the wise men who travel from the East, we see all the nations other than the people of Israel being welcomed at the New Temple of the New Covenant – the new born child in the manger. A look at the Psalm response shows this: “All nations shall fall prostrate before you, O Lord.” The same is true of the key word in the second reading: “Revelation”. Remember that for the people of Israel this was to be their Messiah, come to restore their fortunes. By this feast, we proclaim God’s plan was to extend his salvation to men and women of every nation, of every time and every place – including us. In many ways this is our Christmas Feast, when we celebrate the Good News of the Saviour’s birth revealed at last to us.

The Epiphany 2018 Newsletter

 

Epiphany Prayer

O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth:
Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence,
where we may see your glory face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen

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