2nd Sunday of Easter (C)

alleluia

Gospel  (John 20: 19-31)

In the evening of that same day, the first day of the week, the doors were closed in the room where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews. Jesus came and stood among them. He said to them, ‘Peace be with you’, and showed them his hands and his side. The disciples were filled with joy when they saw the Lord, and he said to them again, ‘Peace be with you.

‘As the Father sent me,
so am I sending you.’
 After saying this he breathed on them and said:

‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
For those whose sins you forgive,
they are forgiven;
for those whose sins you retain,
they are retained.’

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Thomas, called the Twin, who was one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. When the disciples said, ‘We have seen the Lord’, he answered, ‘Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.’ Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed, but Jesus came in and stood among them. ‘Peace be with you’ he said. Then he spoke to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; look, here are my hands. Give me your hand; put it into my side. Doubt no longer but believe.’ Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Jesus said to him:

‘You believe because you can see me.
Happy are those who have not seen and yet believe.’

There were many other signs that Jesus worked and the disciples saw, but they are not recorded in this book. These are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name.

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Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honour of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.

Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.

May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death’s domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity,
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Excerpt from the English translation of the Roman Missal © 2010 International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.


Easter Sunday (C)

Prayer for Sri Lanka

prayer-for-sri-lanka

Christ is risen!  He is risen, indeed!

Christus resurrexit! Resurrexit vere!
Chrystus zmartwychwstał! Prawdziwie zmartwychwstał!
Khristos voskrese! Voistinu voskrese!
Le Christ est ressuscité! En verité il est ressuscité!
Tá Críost éirithe! Go deimhin, tá sé éirithe!
Atgyfododd Crist! Yn wir atgyfododd!

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Gospel  (John 20: 1-9)

It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb’ she said ‘and we don’t know where they have put him.’

So Peter set out with the other disciple to go to the tomb. They ran together, but the other disciple, running faster than Peter, reached the tomb first; he bent down and saw the linen cloths lying on the ground, but did not go in. Simon Peter who was following now came up, went right into the tomb, saw the linen cloths on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in; he saw and he believed. Till this moment they had failed to understand the teaching of scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

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Lord God, this is the day that you have made!
Raising Jesus from the dead,
and raising us with him,
you have fashioned for yourself a new people,
washed in the waters of baptism,
sealed with the gift of the Spirit,
and invited to the banquet of the Lamb!

Prepare our hearts, Lord,
to celebrate this Easter festival with great joy.

We ask this through your Son, our Passover and our Peace,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.   Amen.

(c) 1998 ICEL.

malcolm

EASTER MESSAGE FROM THE ARCHBISHOP

Whether we recognise it or not our lives have been changed for ever by the Risen Lord at Easter. All too often we fail to see the good things of life when they are right in front of us, it may be the joy which other people can bring us, or it could be something we see in the beauty of the world around us, particularly as new life comes to us in spring time after the darkness of the winter months.

On the first Easter morning Mary of Magdala stayed outside the empty tomb weeping. She was grieving, mourning the death of Jesus. It was the end of everything that she had hoped for and believed in. Her Lord had been crucified and buried, now his body had been taken. As she wept a man came up to her and said, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?’ Mary didn’t recognise the man and thought he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and remove him.’ Then the man looked at her and said, ‘Mary’ and at that point she recognised him as Jesus, the Risen Lord.

In that instant Mary’s life changed, all she had hoped for came true, and in the most unexpected way. She didn’t recognise Jesus, she even thought he was the gardener, and then she knew him. ‘It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb’, and with the dawn the darkness of her own life was transformed for ever. If we can hear the Risen Lord saying our name, our lives can be transformed too.

We live in difficult times. These last weeks and months have been filled with uncertainty and division. Political indecision and financial insecurity lead us to worry about the future for ourselves and for our families. We need the light to keep us going and give us hope. Real hope is based on the resurrection of Jesus, otherwise it is just optimism. The trouble with optimism is that it is just a desire for things to get better and is really only wishful thinking. Hope says that they will get better because Jesus has risen from the dead, and that hope is given to us too. So why not enjoy this season of Easter by looking for signs of new life and resurrection in the ordinary things we encounter every day. You will be surprised by what you see, your faith will be enriched, and it will be fun.

+ Malcolm McMahon, OP
Archbishop of Liverpool


Holy Week 2019

THE EASTER TRIDUUM

Holy Saturday

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In silence, the world waits.

Good Friday

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” When the chief priests and the police saw him, they shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him; I find no case against him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has claimed to be the Son of God.” Now when Pilate heard this, he was more afraid than ever. He entered his headquarters again and asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, “Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” From then on Pilate tried to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of the emperor. Everyone who claims to be a king sets himself against the emperor.” When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside and sat on the judge’s bench at a place called The Stone Pavement, or in Hebrew Gabbatha.

carrying-the-cross

Now it was the day of Preparation for the Passover; and it was about noon. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” They cried out, “Away with him! Away with him! Crucify him!” Pilate asked them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but the emperor.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus; and carrying the cross by himself, he went out to what is called The Place of the Skull, which in Hebrew is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus between them. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, “The King of the Jews,” but, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

crucifixion

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see who will get it.” This was to fulfil what the scripture says, “They divided my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.” And that is what the soldiers did.

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, “Woman, here is your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfil the scripture), “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

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(cf. John 19: 1-30)

Holy Thursday

Gospel  (John 13: 1-15)

It was before the festival of the Passover, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were his in the world, but now he showed how perfect his love was.

They were at supper, and the devil had already put it into the mind of Judas Iscariot son of Simon, to betray him. Jesus knew that the Father had put everything into his hands, and that he had come from God and was returning to God, and he got up from table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel he was wearing. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, ‘Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’ Jesus answered, ‘At the moment you do not know what I am doing, but later you will understand.’ ‘Never!’ said Peter ‘You shall never wash my feet.’ Jesus replied, ‘If I do not wash you, you can have nothing in common with me.’ ‘Then, Lord,’ said Simon Peter ‘not only my feet, but my hands and my head as well!’ Jesus said, ‘No one who has taken a bath needs washing, he is clean all over. You too are clean, though not all of you are.’ He knew who was going to betray him, that was why he said, ‘though not all of you are.’

When he had washed their feet and put on his clothes again he went back to the table. ‘Do you understand’ he said ‘what I have done to you? You call me Master and Lord, and rightly; so I am. If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example so that you may copy what I have done to you.’

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Pope Francis washing feet when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires

Wednesday of Holy Week

Gospel  (Matthew 26: 14-25)

One of the Twelve, the man called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?’ They paid him thirty silver pieces, and from that moment he looked for an opportunity to betray him.

Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus to say, ‘Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the passover?’ ‘Go to so-and-so in the city’ he replied ‘and say to him, “The Master says: My time is near. It is at your house that I am keeping Passover with my disciples”.’ The disciples did what Jesus told them and prepared the Passover.

When evening came he was at table with the twelve disciples. And while they were eating he said ‘I tell you solemnly, one of you is about to betray me.’ They were greatly distressed and started asking him in turn, ‘Not I, Lord, surely?’ He answered, ‘Someone who has dipped his hand into the dish with me, will betray me. The Son of Man is going to his fate, as the scriptures say he will, but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for that man if he had never been born!’ Judas, who was to betray him; asked in his turn, ‘Not I, Rabbi, surely?’ ‘They are your own words’ answered Jesus.

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Walk of Witness for Peace today at 12.00 noon beginning opposite the Bridegfoot War Memorial in Warrington.

Tuesday of Holy Week

Fire at Notre Dame in Paris

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Last night, a fire broke out at the famous Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris and spread rapidly across the building. Cardinal Nichols said: “The shock at the outbreak of this fire is spreading round the world. It is an iconic building visited by millions but more importantly is a symbol of faith which is at the heart of Europe. We therefore all pray that the fire is extinguished quickly and with a shared effort the building made good.”

Gospel  (John 13: 21-33, 36-38)

While at supper with his disciples, Jesus was troubled in spirit and declared, ‘I tell you most solemnly, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, wondering which he meant. The disciple Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus; Simon Peter signed to him and said, ‘Ask who it is he means’, so leaning back on Jesus’ breast he said, ‘Who is it, Lord?’ ‘It is the one’ replied Jesus ‘to whom I give the piece of bread that I shall dip in the dish.’ He dipped the piece of bread and gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. At that instant, after Judas had taken the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus then said, ‘What you are going to do, do quickly.’ None of the others at table understood the reason he said this. Since Judas had charge of the common fund, some of them thought Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’, or telling him to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the piece of bread he went out. Night had fallen.

When he had gone Jesus said:

‘Now has the Son of Man been glorified,
and in him God has been glorified.
If God has been glorified in him,
God will in turn glorify him in himself,
and will glorify him very soon.
‘My little children,
I shall not be with you much longer.
You will look for me,
And, as I told the Jews,
where I am going, you cannot come.’

Simon Peter said, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus replied, ‘Where I am going you cannot follow me now; you will follow me later.’ Peter said to him, ‘Why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ ‘Lay down your life for me?’ answered Jesus. ‘I tell you most solemnly, before the cock crows you will have disowned me three times.’

judas

Holy Week Penance Service (Service of Reconciliation) tonight (Tuesday) at 7.30 pm at St Oswald’s.  Walk of Witness for Peace tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12.00 noon beginning opposite the Bridegfoot War Memorial in Warrington.

Monday of Holy Week

Gospel  (John 12: 1-11)

Six days before the Passover, Jesus went to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom he had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there; Martha waited on them and Lazarus was among those at table. Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was full of the scent of the ointment. Then Judas Iscariot – one of his disciples, the man who was to betray him – said, ‘Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor?’ He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief; he was in charge of the common fund and used to help himself to the contributions. So Jesus said, ‘Leave her alone; she had to keep this scent for the day of my burial. You have the poor with you always, you will not always have me.’

Meanwhile a large number of Jews heard that he was there and came not only on account of Jesus but also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead. Then the chief priests decided to kill Lazarus as well, since it was on his account that many of the Jews were leaving them and believing in Jesus.

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Holy Week Penance Service tomorrow (Tuesday) at St Oswald’s at 7.30 pm.

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Today we read St Luke’s account of the Passion of our Lord to prepare us for the great events we will celebrate this week.  If you get chance, why not go somewhere where you can be quiet for a little while and read the passage.

Luke 22: 14-23: 56

When the hour came, Jesus took his place at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, ‘I have longed to eat this passover with you before I suffer; because, I tell you, I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’

Then, taking a cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and share it among you, because from now on, I tell you, I shall not drink wine until the kingdom of God comes.’

Then he took some bread, and when he had given thanks, broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which will be given for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ He did the same with the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood which will be poured out for you.

‘And yet, here with me on the table is the hand of the man who betrays me. The Son of Man does indeed go to his fate even as it has been decreed, but alas for that man by whom he is betrayed!’ And they began to ask one another which of them it could be who was to do this thing.

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A dispute arose also between them about which should be reckoned the greatest, but he said to them, ‘Among pagans it is the kings who lord it over them, and those who have authority over them are given the title Benefactor. This must not happen with you. No; the greatest among you must behave as if he were the youngest, the leader as if he were the one who serves. For who is the greater: the one at table or the one who serves? The one at table, surely? Yet here am I among you as one who serves!

‘You are the men who have stood by me faithfully in my trials; and now I confer a kingdom on you, just as my Father conferred one on me: you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.

‘Simon, Simon! Satan, you must know, has got his wish to sift you all like wheat; but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail, and once you have recovered, you in your turn must strengthen your brothers.’ ‘Lord,’ he answered ‘I would be ready to go to prison with you, and to death.’ Jesus replied, ‘I tell you, Peter, by the time the cock crows today you will have denied three times that you know me.’

He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without purse or haversack or sandals, were you short of anything?’ ‘No’ they said. He said to them, ‘But now if you have a purse, take it; if you have a haversack, do the same; if you have no sword, sell your cloak and buy one, because I tell you these words of scripture have to be fulfilled in me: He let himself be taken for a criminal Yes, what scripture says about me is even now reaching its fulfilment.’ ‘Lord,’ they said ‘there are two swords here now.’ He said to them, ‘That is enough!’

He then left to make his way as usual to the Mount of Olives, with the disciples following. When they reached the place he said to them, ‘Pray not to be put to the test.’

Then he withdrew from them, about a stone’s throw away, and knelt down and prayed. ‘Father,’ he said ‘if you are willing, take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, let your will be done, not mine.’ Then an angel appeared to him, coming from heaven to give him strength. In his anguish he prayed even more earnestly, and his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.

When he rose from prayer he went to the disciples and found them sleeping for sheer grief. ‘Why are you asleep?’ he said to them. ‘Get up and pray not to be put to the test.’

He was still speaking when a number of men appeared, and at the head of them the man called Judas, one of the Twelve, who went up to Jesus to kiss him. Jesus said, ‘Judas, are you betraying the son of Man with a kiss?’ His followers, seeing what was happening, said, ‘Lord, shall we use our swords?’ And one of them struck out at the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. But at this Jesus spoke. ‘Leave off!’ he said ‘That will do!’ And touching the man’s ear he healed him.

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Then Jesus spoke to the chief priests and captains of the Temple guard and elders who had come for him. ‘Am I a brigand’ he said ‘that you had to set out with swords and clubs? When I was among you in the Temple day after day you never moved to lay hands on me. But this is your hour; this is the reign of darkness.’

They seized him then and led him away, and they took him to the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance. They had lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and Peter sat down among them, and as he was sitting there by the blaze a servant-girl saw him, peered at him, and said, ‘This person was with him too.’ But he denied it. ‘Woman,’ he said ‘I do not know him.’ ‘Shortly afterwards someone else saw him and said, ‘You are another of them.’ But Peter replied, ‘I am not, my friend.’ About an hour later another man insisted, saying, ‘This fellow was certainly with him. Why, he is a Galilean.’ ‘My friend,’ said Peter ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’ At that instant, while he was still speaking, the cock crew, and the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter, and Peter remembered what the Lord had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows today, you will have disowned me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Meanwhile the men who guarded Jesus were mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and questioned him. ‘Play the prophet’ they said. ‘Who hit you then?’ And they continued heaping insults on him.

When day broke there was a meeting of the elders of the people, attended by the chief priests and scribes. He was brought before their council, and they said to him, ‘If you are the Christ, tell us.’ ‘If I tell you,’ he replied ‘you will not believe me, and if I question you, you will not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the Power of God. Then they all said, ‘So you are the Son of God then?’ He answered, ‘It is you who say I am.’ ‘What need of witnesses have we now?’ they said. ‘We have heard it for ourselves from his own lips.’ The whole assembly then rose, and they brought him before Pilate.

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They began their accusation by saying, ‘We found this man inciting our people to revolt, opposing payment of the tribute to Caesar, and claiming to be Christ, a king.’ Pilate put to him this question, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ ‘It is you who say it’ he replied. Pilate then said to the chief priests and the crowd, ‘I find no case against this man.’ But they persisted, ‘He is inflaming the people with his teaching all over Judaea; it has come all the way from Galilee, where he started, down to here.’ When Pilate heard this, he asked if the man were a Galilean; and finding that he came under Herod’s jurisdiction he passed him over to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

Herod was delighted to see Jesus; he had heard about him and had been wanting for a long time to set eyes on him; moreover, he was hoping to see some miracle worked by him. So he questioned him at some length; but without getting any reply. Meanwhile the chief priests and the scribes were there, violently pressing their accusations. Then Herod, together with his guards, treated him with contempt and made fun of him; he put a rich cloak on him and sent him back to Pilate. And though Herod and Pilate had been enemies before, they were reconciled that same day.

Pilate then summoned the chief priests and the leading men and the people. ‘You brought this man before me’ he said ‘as a political agitator. Now I have gone into the matter myself in your presence and found no case against the man in respect of all the charges you bring against him. Nor has Herod either, since is he has sent him back to us. As you can see, the man has done nothing that deserves death, So I shall have him flogged and then let him go.’ But as one man they howled, ‘Away with him! Give us Barabbas!’ (This man had been thrown into prison for causing a riot in the city and for murder.)

Pilate was anxious to set Jesus free and addressed them again, but they shouted back, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’ And for the third time he spoke to them, ‘Why? What harm has this man done? I have found no case against him that deserves death, so I shall have him punished and then let him go’ But they kept on shouting at the top of their voices, demanding that he should be crucified. And their shouts were growing louder.

Pilate then gave his verdict: their demand was to be granted. He released the man they asked for, who had been imprisoned for rioting and murder, and handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they pleased.

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As they were leading him away they seized on a man, Simon from Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and made him shoulder the cross and carry it behind Jesus. Large numbers of people followed him, and of women too, who mourned and lamented for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children. For the days will surely come when people will say, “Happy are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne, the breasts that have never suckled!” Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”; to the hills, “Cover us.” For if men use the green wood like this, what will happen when it is dry?’ Now with him they were also leading out two other criminals to be executed.

When they reached the place called The Skull, they crucified him there and the two criminals also, one on the right, the other on the left. Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.’ Then they cast lots to share out his clothing.

The people stayed there watching him. As for the leaders, they jeered at him. ‘He saved others,’ they said ‘let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers mocked him too, and when they approached to offer vinegar they said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’ Above him there was an inscription: ‘This is the King of the Jews.’

One of the criminals hanging there abused him. ‘Are you not the Christ?’ he said. ‘Save yourself and us as well.’ But the other spoke up and rebuked him. ‘Have you no fear of God at all?’ he said. ‘You got the same sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus,’ he said ‘remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ ‘Indeed, I promise you,’ he replied ‘today you will be with me in paradise.’

It was now about the sixth hour and, with the sun eclipsed, a darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. The veil of the Temple was torn right down the middle; and when Jesus had cried out in a loud voice, he said, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’ With these words he breathed his last.

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When the centurion saw what had taken place, he gave praise to God and said, ‘This was a great and good man.’ And when all the people who had gathered for the spectacle saw what had happened, they went home beating their breasts.

All his friends stood at a distance; so also did the women who had accompanied him from Galilee, and they saw all this happen.

Then a member of the council arrived, an upright and virtuous man named Joseph. He had not consented to what the others had planned and carried out. He came from Arimathaea, a Jewish town, and he lived in the hope of seeing the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. He then took it down, wrapped it in a shroud and put him in a tomb which was hewn in stone in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day and the sabbath was imminent.

Meanwhile the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus were following behind. They took note of the tomb and of the position of the body.

Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. And on the sabbath day they rested, as the Law required.


Fifth Week of Lent

Fifth Saturday of Lent

“From the Cross, Jesus teaches us the powerful courage of renunciation. Because we will never go forward if we are weighed down by heavy loads.”

(Pope Francis, 11 April 2019)

Fifth Friday of Lent

Today, Friday 12 April, the Catholic community in England and Wales is encouraged to answer Pope Francis’ call to take part in a day of prayer for survivors of abuse.

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We pray in sorrow for the suffering endured by so many in so many ways.
Lord, in your mercy.   R. Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who were disbelieved – or punished for trying to speak the truth.
Lord, in your mercy.   R. Hear our prayer.

We pray for those whose memories have been reawakenedand whose pain feels as fresh as the times when it was inflicted.
Lord, in your mercy.   R. Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who hid the truth – from themselves – and from others.
Lord, in your mercy.   R. Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who chose to protect the institutionrather than the children and vulnerable adults Christ himself calls us to protect
Lord, in your mercy.   R. Hear our prayer.

We pray for those who perpetrated these crimes – who committed these grave sins.
Lord, in your mercy.   R. Hear our prayer.

We pray for ourselves – for the anger – the dismay – the revulsion – the despair… that we might be forces for good – bearers of light in this time of deep darkness.
Lord, in your mercy.   R. Hear our prayer.

(c) Wellsprings

Fifth Thursday of Lent

Encountering Jesus

“The joy of the Gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. I invite all Christians everywhere to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them.

I ask you to do this unfailingly every day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord.

The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step toward Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms.

Now is the time to say to Jesus, “Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love. Yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you. I need you. Save me once again, Lord, and take me once more into your redeeming embrace.”

How good it feels to come back to him whenever we are lost!”

Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium (2013)

Fifth Wednesday of Lent

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Last Sunday, Pope Francis visited the parish of San Giulio Papa, Monteverde, in the diocese of Rome.  During a meeting with parishioners, Pope Francis was asked if he had ever personally fed the poor. “Yes, several times”, he said, adding that feeding the poor in person is something “that all Christians must do”.

A young person asked Pope Francis about the difficulty of trusting God.  Pope Francis said that we should not be afraid to doubt, and to be honest with God, telling Him exactly how we feel. He said it is important, too, to share our feelings with others, discussing them, and growing with the help of others.

Speaking to older members of the parish who may be suffering, Pope Francis said: “Jesus never disappoints, never!” Jesus knows what it means to suffer.  “All the complaints that we can make to Jesus, He transforms them in prayer, and presents them to the Father, because He went through all these things before us”.

Speaking to  newlyweds and young couples preparing for marriage, Pope Francis recalled the three key words that are essential for married life: “May I?”, “Thank you”, and “Sorry”. “Perhaps you already know them”, he said, “but they must be learnt with the mind and with the heart”. He also counselled young couples not to be afraid to fight, but to never end the day without making peace.

Finally, addressing volunteers in the parish, Pope Francis offered three “signs” that a parish is doing well: prayer; the “charity of facts” exemplified by charitable works; and “passive charity – that you love one another and do not criticise one another”.

(c) Vatican News

Fifth Tuesday of Lent

“We need to reject the desire to identify only with those who are sinless. How could the Church have excluded sinners from her ranks? It is for their salvation that Jesus took flesh, died and rose again.”

Pope Benedict XVI, Meeting with Clergy in Poland, 25 May 2006

Fifth Monday of Lent

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The Heart of Compassion
Compassionate God,
your generous presence
is always attuned to hurting ones.
Your listening ear is bent
toward the cries of the wounded
Your heart of love
fills with tears for the suffering.

Turn my inward eye to see
that I am not alone.
I am a part of all of life.
Each one’s joy and sorrow
is my joy and sorrow,
and mine is theirs.
May I draw strength
from this inner communion.
May it daily recommit me
to be a compassionate presence
for all who struggle with life’s pain.

(c) Joyce Rupp

5th Sunday of Lent (C)

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Gospel  (John 8: 1-11)

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At daybreak he appeared in the Temple again; and as all the people came to him, he sat down and began to teach them.

The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery; and making her stand there in full view of everybody, they said to Jesus, ‘Master, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery, and Moses has ordered us in the Law to condemn women like this to death by stoning. What have you to say?’ They asked him this as a test, looking for something to use against him. But Jesus bent down and started writing on the ground with his finger. As they persisted with their question, he looked up and said, ‘If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Then he bent down and wrote on the ground again. When they heard this they went away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left alone with the woman, who remained standing there. He looked up and said, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ ‘No one, sir’ she replied. ‘Neither do I condemn you,’ said Jesus ‘go away, and do not sin any more.’

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Thought

It appears the Sultan of Brunei wants to bring back this kind of barbaric and self-righteous kind of punishment for those deemed less than perfect.

Scripture scholars wonder what Jesus wrote in the sand.  Was he just doodling, or was he listing the sins of those who were ready to stone the woman?

We should be very careful before making a judgement about another person, but we’re not.  Too often we rush to judge each other, either in our thoughts or in our conversations with others.

Jesus doesn’t condemn the woman, he forgives her, gives her another chance.  Let’s try to do the same.

Fr Dave