6th SUNDAY OF EASTER

 

“A man can have no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.”

There are two obvious themes to today’s readings: Saint Peter summarises many of the ideas of Easter – baptism, the name of Jesus, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit; the other readings talk simply of love, both God’s love for us and our love for each other. Our Gospel is taken from the great discourse at the Last Supper, and has at its centre the New Commandment that Jesus gives his disciples – the commandment of love. This love has its origins in the love of the Father, manifested in the love shown by the Son (willing to die for his friends); we, like the disciples, are called to imitate the love we see in Jesus’s life and death – not because we are servants, but because we are friends

 

6th Sunday of Easter 2018 Newsletter

 

 

 

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5th SUNDAY OF EASTER

 

Last week it was sheep: this week, the vine. Jesus offers us another (agricultural) image to explain the mystery of his offering of himself, and our belonging to him, our being part of him, which comes about through the sacrament of Baptism. This is, as was stated earlier, the period of Mystagogy, when the newly baptised are helped to see what life in Jesus Christ really means. Today this comes out strongly for all of us, with two of the three readings emphasising the moralaspects of life in Christ: it is not simply enough to “belong” to him: our belonging must be shown by the works we do, by the fruits we bear – while remembering of course that we cannot bear fruit except in him.

 

5th Sunday of Easter 2018 Newsletter

 

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4th SUNDAY OF EASTER

 

This is traditionally called “Good Shepherd Sunday” because of the Gospel narratives (from John 10) read each year, in which Jesus talks of himself as the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his flock. A general “theme” to the Scriptures is the person of Jesus and what he has achieved by the Paschal Mystery (his dying and rising): the first reading talks of his name, and the power of the name of Jesus to save: one of the results of the “power of this name” is that in him we are all God’s children, and are promised an eternal reward. All this is summed up in the Gospel, in which Jesus talks of himself as the real shepherd, who is prepared to do anything for his flock, even to the point of giving his life. This he said before his passion, but in Eastertide we read it with the benefit of hindsight. His words are true, and by his dying and rising he has truly saved his flock.

 

4th Sunday of Easter 2018 Newsletter

 

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3rd SUNDAY OF EASTER

 

We continue to think about the Resurrection this week, from three different perspectives: the Gospel gives us another story of Jesus appearing to his disciples – this time the beautiful story of the meeting in Jerusalem, when Jesus proves he is alive and no ghost by eating some grilled fish: he reminds the disciples that all he suffered and rise so the repentance for the forgiveness of sinscould be preached to the whole world. The first reading shows us Saint Peter’s doing just that, as he addresses the crowd in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost: he takes them through recent events (fifty days earlier), highlighting the important point, that he and the disciples can witness to the raising of Jesus from the dead, and calling them to “repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out.”The second reading brings this into our lives: the resurrection is not just a historical event, which we remember. By baptism (which we renewed at Easter) we become part of Jesus in his dying and his rising, as he ‘becomes the sacrifice that takes our sins away. So all that Saint John tells us about the commandments and avoiding sin is our way of living the Resurrection.

 

3rd Sunday of Easter 2018 Newsletter

 

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2nd SUNDAY OF EASTER

Divine Mercy Sunday

 

After the joys and exuberance of Easter Sunday and Easter Week, we settle down into the longest Season in the Church’s Year – Eastertide. This period of fifty days is a time of sustained gladness, which comes through reading and reflecting on the Scriptures which describe the risen life of Jesus – not just his appearances to the disciples after the Resurrection, but the teachings from his ministry which reveal the risen life he now possesses. We also spend time hearing about how the Resurrection made a difference: how the timid and frightened disciples were able to leave Jerusalem and proclaim a message of life over death to the whole world, as we read through the book of the Acts of the Apostles. We also linger over the first letter of Saint John, which ties together so many of the themes of Easter: life, faith, baptism, the Spirit – all brought together in the person of the Lord Jesus, risen from the dead. On this second Sunday, we continue to track through real time, by hearing what happened in Jerusalem on the Sunday after the Resurrection, with the Lord appearing to Thomas – strengthening his faith, and strengthening ours as we listen to the account.

2nd Sunday of Easter 2018 Newsletter

 

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Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

“Christ our Passover has been sacrificed; let us celebrate the feast then,
in the Lord.”

When the Word is proclaimed, it is real and active – the Lord is present, and what is described is, in a sense, happening now. On certain days this is made more obvious by the selection of scripture that refers to a particular time or day. Such a selection occurs this morning, when we go with Mary Magdalene to visit the tomb, only to make – with her – a momentous discovery: the tomb is empty, he is risen!

 

Easter Sunday 2018 Newsletter

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Palm Sunday

 

On Palm Sunday the long reading of the Passion dominates the celebration, and in a sense its meaning is obvious. Do not allow this, however, to detract from the other readings, which give the vital context necessary for understanding the Passion as more than just a long story. It is our story – the tale of how God achieved OUR salvation by the supreme sacrifice of Jesus Christ

Palm Sunday 2018 Newsletter

 

 

 

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5th Sunday of Lent

“If a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it yields a rich harvest”

In the weeks of Lent so far we have followed God’s work of salvation: we have seen the Covenants he established with Noah, Abraham, Moses and the people of Israel after the return from Babylon. Now we come to one of the most significant parts of the Old Testament: the promise of a brand new Covenant, which will be different from all those that went before. This Covenant will see God and Man living more closely together. For the ratification of a Covenant, something was always sacrificed as a sign of the new relationship – normally man would offer some animal offering to God. But the New Covenant will be ratified not with the death of sheep or bull, but by the death of Jesus Christ, God and Man. In this perfect sacrifice is the source of our eternal salvation.

 

5th Sunday of Lent 2018 Newsletter

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4th Sunday of Lent

“God sent his Son, so that through him the world might be saved”

There were two remarkable moments in the story of the Old Testament where God saved his people; one was in the escape from Egypt – we’ll keep that for the Easter Vigil. The other was the end of their second exile, this time in Babylon, which we hear of today. Of course there was an even greater moment when God saved his people: the work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God – and we hear Jesus tell Nicodemus about that today. So today’s theme is “salvation”: but to understand “being saved”, we must ask “What from?” Saved from slavery, from exile, from human enemies – these are all clear. But the last and greatest salvation brought by Jesus is harder to understand: saved from sin and death. These threaten us as much as any other enemy, and our salvation in Jesus is as real as any other.

 

4th Sunday of Lent 2018 Newsletter

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3rd Sunday of Lent

 

This week, in our journey through the Old Testament, we reach Covenant Number Three: and this is the big one – the Covenant with Moses at Sinai. The Ten Commandments are (or should be) familiar to us all: they form our side of the agreement with God – if we stick to these rules and commands, then we are truly God’s people, and he is truly our God. If we ignore them, or break them, then we break the Covenant or relationship.  The Temple was, for the people of Israel, the place that guaranteed the permanence of this Covenant – God dwelling with man. Jesus alerts us to the new Temple – himself – since he is the core of the New Covenant, God and Man in perfect unity. Only by the destruction of this new Temple, in his death, will he rise again as an eternal Temple, and the eternal guarantee of the New Covenant which we enjoy.

 

3rd Sunday of Lent 2018 Newsletter

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