3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

Sunday of the Word of God

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Gospel  (Matthew 4: 12-23)

Hearing that John had been arrested, Jesus went back to Galilee, and leaving Nazareth he went and settled in Capernaum, a lakeside town on the borders of Zebulun and Naphtali. In this way the prophecy of Isaiah was to be fulfilled:

‘Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali!
Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan,
Galilee of the nations!
The people that lived in darkness has seen a great light;
on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death
a light has dawned.’

From that moment Jesus began his preaching with the message, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’

As he was walking by the Sea of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew; they were making a cast in the lake with their net, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.’ And they left their nets at once and followed him. Going on from there he saw another pair of brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they were in their boat with their father Zebedee, mending their nets, and he called them. At once, leaving the boat and their father, they followed him.

He went round the whole of Galilee teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness among the people.

Thought

In celebrating this Sunday as ‘Sunday of the Word of God’, Pope Francis is inviting us to renew our appreciation of the Scriptures and to make them part of our everyday life.

Fr Pádraig McCarthy (from the Archdiocese of Dublin) has produced a very useful sheet to encourage us to read the Scriptures, with some simple introductory notes, and a list of the Sunday readings for the current year.  You can download the sheet here:  reading-the-bible-cycle-a-2020

Prayer

Before the Liturgy of the Word this weekend, we are praying the following simple litany:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Word of the Father.
R. Come, Lord Jesus, come.
You became one with us to tell of the Father’s love.  R.
You are the light that shines in the darkness.  R.
You save us from fear and break the bonds of sin and death.  R.
You come to guide our steps and lead us to God.  R.
You are the Word of eternal life.  R.
You fill us with the Holy Spirit.  R.

Adapted from ‘Enthroning the Bible in the Family’ by Pauline Publications Africa. Used with permission. Copyright © 2009, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved.

SYNOD 2020

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Between now and 16 February, we are invited to reflect on the third Synod Theme:  How we pray together.   There are a number of ways we can do this:

1)  There will be a Meeting for all the Parishes in Warrington Pastoral Area on Tuesday 4 February, either at 1.00 pm or at 7.00 pm in St Stephen’s Church, Orford.

2)  There will be an opportunity to share your thoughts after the weekend Masses at St Oswald’s and St Benedict’s on Saturday & Sunday, 8 & 9 February.

3)  There will be an Evening of Prayer & Reflection led by Fr Chris Thomas and Sr Moira Meeghan, 7.30 – 9.00 pm, on Wednesday 29 January at Our Lady Help of Christians, Portico L34 2QT.

4)  You can visit the Synod Themes and submit a proposal online at:  www.synod2020.co.uk

HOW WE PRAY TOGETHER

In this Synod Theme, we reflect on the place of prayer and worship in our life as Church.

What people said in the Synod Listening:

  • Sunday Mass is central to everything.
  • People respond to different styles of prayer and liturgy.
  • Liturgy needs to support families as they strive to nurture the faith of their children.
  • Prayer is a source of strength.
  • It is a joy to have children at Mass.
  • Living and working patterns can make Sunday Mass attendance difficult.
  • Liturgy and Worship are central to the mission of our Catholic schools.
  • Our Church buildings are deeply valued as places of prayer.

And much more.

In becoming the Church that God is calling us to be:

  • In 1990 137,000 people came to Mass each weekend, last year the number was 40,000. Why have so many stopped praying with us on Sunday?
  • If you wanted to learn more about prayer or scripture who/where would you ask?
  • How can we make our churches places of prayer through the week?
  • Can our churches be left open during the week?
  • How can we celebrate the sacraments in a way that helps those who don’t regularly attend Mass?
  • Is your home (school) a place where you find it easy to pray? What might help you to pray more at home or at school?
  • Does the celebration of Mass in your parish help you to grow in how you live your faith through the week?
  • How are the sick and housebound included in the prayer and worship of your parish? Do they know that they are valued members of your parish?

2nd Sunday in Ordinary time (A)

Gospel  (John 1: 29-34)

Seeing Jesus coming towards him, John said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. This is the one I spoke of when I said: A man is coming after me who ranks before me because he existed before me. I did not know him myself, and yet it was to reveal him to Israel that I came baptising with water.’ John also declared, ‘I saw the Spirit coming down on him from heaven like a dove and resting on him. I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptise with water had said to me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and rest is the one who is going to baptise with the Holy Spirit.” Yes, I have seen and I am the witness that he is the Chosen One of God.’

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Thought

John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Jesus.  As Jesus was about to begin his ministry, John pointed out Jesus to the crowds:  “Look!” he cried, “there is the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”

John still points us to Jesus.  Just before communion, we pray his words when we say: “Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world.”  Then the priest echoes the words of John as he lifts the host and says, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

Let’s take the words of John the Baptist and make them our prayer this week, and may his prayer direct us to Jesus who walks with us in every moment of the day.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world,
grant us peace.

Fr Dave

SYNOD 2020

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Between now and 16 February, we are invited to reflect on the third Synod Theme:  How we pray together.   There are a number of ways we can do this:

1)  There will be a Meeting for all the Parishes in Warrington Pastoral Area on Tuesday 4 February, either at 1.00 pm or at 7.00 pm in St Stephen’s Church, Orford.  There will also be the opportunity to share your thoughts after the weekend Masses at St Oswald’s and St Benedict’s on 8 & 9 February.

2)  Instead of a prayer station in church, there will be Thoughts & Reflections in the newsletter each week which will help you to reflect on the theme and suggest proposals for action.

3)  There will be an Evening of Prayer & Reflection led by Fr Chris Thomas and Sr Moira Meeghan, 7.30 – 9.00 pm, on Tuesday 21 January at St Joseph’s, Crow Orchard Road, Wrightington WN6 9PA and on Wednesday 29 January at Our Lady Help of Christians, Portico L34 2QT.

4)  You can visit the Synod Themes and submit a proposal online at:  www.synod2020.co.uk


The Baptism of the Lord (A)

Gospel  (Matthew 3: 13-17)

Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. John tried to dissuade him. ‘It is I who need baptism from you’ he said ‘and yet you come to me!’ But Jesus replied, ‘Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that righteousness demands.’ At this, John gave in to him.

As soon as Jesus was baptised he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on him.’

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Thought

During the weekdays of Christmas, we have been reading from the first letter of St John.  At Mass last Tuesday, we heard these words from St John:

My dear people,
let us love one another
since love comes from God
and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Anyone who fails to love can never have known God,
because God is love.
God’s love for us was revealed
when God sent into the world his only Son
so that we could have life through him;
this is the love I mean:
not our love for God,
but God’s love for us when he sent his Son
to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.
(1 John 4: 7-10)

This is the God we’ve been celebrating in these shining days of Christmas:  God, who came down from heaven as a tiny, vulnerable baby;  God who, in Jesus, joined a queue of people and went down into the muddy waters of the Jordan to be baptised when he didn’t need to be baptised, but was humble enough to want to walk in our shoes simply to let us know that he’s with us, that he loves us and that he cares for us so deeply.

Fr Dave

Prayer

In all we do
You are with us, O God.

In all our laughter
You are with us, O God.

In all our tears
You are with us, O God.

In all our talk
You are with us, O God.

In all our silence
You are with us, O God.

In all our success
You are with us, O God.

In all our struggles
You are with us, O God.

In all our fear
You are with us, O God.

In all our sleeping
You are with us, O God.

In all our walking
You are with us, O God.

In all our loving
You are with us, O God.

(Source unknown)

 

SYNOD 2020 TALKS

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‘Faith in the Family’ by Dr Dominika Kurek-Chomycz & Prof John Sullivan on Monday 13 January 2020:

  • What does Scripture teach about Faith and family?
  • What does it mean to call home ’the domestic Church’?
  • What foundations for Faith can be laid in the family?

Dominika Kurek-Chomycz is Senior Lecturer in New Testament Studies at Liverpool Hope University. She is married to Taras, a Greek Catholic priest, and is a mother of two wonderful boys.

John Sullivan is Emeritus Professor (Christian Education) at Liverpool Hope University and a parishioner in Ainsdale. John has been married to Jean for 48 years, has four (adult) children and six grandchildren.

The talk will take place at the LACE Conference Centre (Croxteth Drive L17 1AA).  Lecture begins at 7.30 pm and concludes at 8.45 pm.  Tea & Coffee served from 7.00 pm.  Optional Night Prayer follows at 9.00 pm.  Full details at www.synod2020.co.uk/lectures


The Epiphany of the Lord

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Gospel  (Matthew 2: 1-12)

After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east. ‘Where is the infant king of the Jews?’ they asked. ‘We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.’ When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. ‘At Bethlehem in Judaea,’ they told him ‘for this is what the prophet wrote:

And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
you are by no means least among the leaders of Judah,
for out of you will come a leader
who will shepherd my people Israel.’

Then Herod summoned the wise men to see him privately. He asked them the exact date on which the star had appeared, and sent them on to Bethlehem. ‘Go and find out all about the child,’ he said ‘and when you have found him, let me know, so that I too may go and do him homage.’ Having listened to what the king had to say, they set out. And there in front of them was the star they had seen rising; it went forward, and halted over the place where the child was. The sight of the star filled them with delight, and going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and falling to their knees they did him homage. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. But they were warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, and returned to their own country by a different way.

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NEW YEAR MESSAGE FROM THE ARCHBISHOP

The start of a new year gives us time for reflection. A time to look back over the last 12 months, to give thanks to God for the memories which we will cherish, and to recognise his loving presence in our lives. It is a time for us to gather all the experiences of the last year and offer them to the Lord.

As we look forward in hope to the months ahead, it is a time of renewal, a time of resolutions and new beginnings. We give up on new year resolutions, they fade and are gone, often before the end of January, yet we must always remember that God does not give up on us; He is ever present in our lives.

At the start of a new year we offer the days and months ahead to the Lord, recognising that he will be with us on our journey giving us strength for the time ahead.

The days are still short and the nights long, but we look forward with optimism. The author of the Song of Solomon speaks of the flowers appearing on the earth, a time of singing, and the voice of the turtledove being heard. In the darkness of the winter months we long for summer, for light and long days. In just a few weeks’ time spring will be here and we will see signs of new life around us.

The coming year is a significant one for the Catholic Church in Liverpool as we journey towards our Synod 2020 meeting in October. Our prayer, reflections and discussions have been taking place under the banner of ‘Together on the road, becoming the Church we are called to be’. In the months ahead we can take this to ourselves by praying that in the coming months we will journey with others and become the people God has called us to be, so that we can recognise those around us, journey with them and reach out to them.

In the Book of Numbers the Lord gives this blessing to the people of Israel; let us make it our blessing too for the year ahead:

‘May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.’

The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP
Archbishop of Liverpool

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SYNOD 2020

The audio of the Synod Talk on Young People in the Church by Stephen Davies is now available on the Synod website under ‘News’ www.synod2020.co.uk  This was the third in a series of seven Synod Talks.

The next talk is on Faith in the Family by Dr Dominika Kurek-Chomycz & Prof John Sul livan on Monday 13 January at the LACE Conference Centre beginning at 7.30 pm (Tea and Coffee served from 7.00 pm).

The third Synod theme, “How we pray together”, will begin on Sunday 19 January and will run until Sunday 16 February.  More details next week.