Fr Dave's Blog

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.


Feast of the Holy Family (A)

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Gospel  (Matthew 2: 13-15, 19-23)

After the wise men had left, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you, and escape into Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and do away with him.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, left that night for Egypt, where he stayed until Herod was dead. This was to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet:  I called my son out of Egypt.

After Herod’s death, the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother with you and go back to the land of Israel, for those who wanted to kill the child are dead.’ So Joseph got up and, taking the child and his mother with him, went back to the land of Israel. But when he learnt that Archelaus had succeeded his father Herod as ruler of Judaea he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he left for the region of Galilee. There he settled in a town called Nazareth. In this way the words spoken through the prophets were to be fulfilled:  ‘He will be called a Nazarene.’

Thought

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The picture above is of the beautiful statue of the Holy Family commissioned in 2000 for the refurbishment of the Church of the Holy Family in Boothstown, Worsley.  It was crafted by Butzon & Bercker in Kevelaer, Germany.

What do you notice?

Notice the curves – Mary holding her Son, Jesus, under the protection of Joseph.

Look closer and notice the chisel marks too – symbolising the rough and tumble and sufferings of life.

Notice the youthfulness of the couple – Mary would have only been about 15 years old and, Joseph, not much older.  How many of our Cribs portray Joseph as a balding man in his sixties?

Notice the simplicity of the statue which just adds to its beauty.

Fr Dave

Prayer

Loving God,
guardian of our homes,
when you entrusted your Son
to the care of Mary and Joseph,
you did not spare them the pains
that touch the life of every family.

Teach us to rely on your word,
that in our trials as in our joys
we may be clothed in gentleness and patience
and united in love.

Make us ever-thankful
for the blessings you give us
through Jesus Christ, your Word made flesh,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
in the splendour of eternal light,
one God for ever and ever.

Scripture Passage from ‘The Jerusalem Bible’ © 1966 by Darton Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday and Company Ltd.  Prayer (c) 1998 International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

SYNOD 2020

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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 Sullivan on Monday 13 January at the LACE Conference Centre beginning at 7.30 pm (Tea and Coffee served from 7.00 pm).


Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord

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Sending Greetings to our sisters and brothers in the Holy Land
at the Christmas Vigil Mass

A very happy and peaceful Christmas to you all

Nollaig Shona Dhuit

Feliz Natal

楽しいクリスマスをお過ごしください

Froehliche Weihnachten

Joyeux Noël

Feliz Navidad

愉快的圣诞节

Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia…

Scripture Reading  (Luke 2: 1-14)

Caesar Augustus issued a decree for a census of the whole world to be taken. This census — the first — took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria, and everyone went to his own town to be registered. So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee and travelled up to Judaea, to the town of David called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s House and line, in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first-born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn.

shepherds

In the countryside close by there were shepherds who lived in the fields and took it in turns to watch their flocks during the night. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, “Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly with the angel was a great throng of the heavenly host, praising God and singing: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to all who enjoy his favour”.

Carol

Once in royal David’s city

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TT3cfXd3Shk

Thought

In his homily for Midnight Mass, Pope Francis said:

“Tonight the love of God has been revealed to us. In Jesus, the Most High made Himself small, so that we might love Him. In Jesus, God made Himself a Child, so that we might embrace Him.”

“Tonight, in the beauty of God’s love, we also discover our own beauty, for we are beloved of God. In His eyes we are beautiful: not for what we do but for what we are.”

“Dear brother, dear sister, if your hands seem empty, if you think your heart is poor in love, this night is for you. The grace of God has appeared to shine forth in your life. Accept it and the light of Christmas will shine forth in you.”

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Prayer

Almighty God and Father of light,
a child is born for us and a son is given to us.
Your eternal Word leaped down from heaven
in the silent watches of the night,
and now your Church is filled with wonder
at the nearness of her God.

Open our hearts to receive his life
and increase our vision with the rising of dawn,
that our lives may be filled with his glory and his peace,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Scripture Passage from ‘The Jerusalem Bible’ © 1966 by Darton Longman & Todd Ltd and Doubleday and Company Ltd. Prayer (c) 1973 International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

 


4th Sunday of Advent (A)

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Gospel  (Matthew 1: 18-24)

This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfil the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son
and they will call him Emmanuel,
a name which means ‘God-is-with-us.’

When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home.

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We pray to the Lord, who is, who was and who is to come:
R. Come, Lord Jesus.  Maranatha!

That the generosity of Christian people
may bring good news to the poor.  R.

That all the peoples of the earth
may learn to live in peace.  R.

That those whose hearts have been broken
may find joy and healing in the Lord and his love.  R.

That the Word of God may touch our hearts this Christmas
and renew our hope and trust in the Lord.  R.

That those who have died
may rejoice for ever in God’s presence.  R.

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CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN
In all the joy of Christmas, there can be sadness too – especially if we’re missing a loved one who has died.  The following poem was penned by a mother, Wanda Bencke, whose young daughter died.  She imagines her daughter saying: 

I see the countless Christmas Trees
Around the world below
With tiny lights, like Heavens stars
Reflecting in the snow.
The sight is so spectacular,
Please wipe away a tear
For I am spending Christmas
With Jesus Christ this year.

I hear many Christmas songs
That people hold so dear,
But the sounds of music can’t compare
With the Christmas Choir up here.
I have no words to tell you,
The joy their voices bring;
For it’s beyond description
To hear an angel sing.

I know how much you miss me
For I feel your breaking heart;
But through our memories, oh so dear
We’re never far apart.
I can’t tell you of the splendour
Or the peace that’s in this place,
Can you just imagine Christmas
With our Saviour face to face?

I’ll ask him to light your spirit
As I tell him of your love;
Then pray for one another
As you lift your eyes above.
So let your heart be joyful
And let your spirit sing
For I am spending Christmas in heaven
And I’m walking with the King.

archbishop

Christmas Message from the Archbishop

‘The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.’  This is St John’s description of the birth of Jesus which is read in churches on Christmas morning.  He also speaks of the nativity as, ‘the light that shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it’.  Jesus is the light of the world, not some artificial light but the true light which can never be overcome by darkness.  He comes into the world for us to bring hope to our lives.

They must have been dark days for Mary and Joseph.  They lived under an occupying power and then Caesar Augustus decreed that there should be a census and everyone, irrespective of their situation or personal difficulties, had to go to their own town to be registered.  So, Mary and Joseph had to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem, a long and difficult journey.  When they eventually arrived, there was no welcome for them.  They were refugees, forced to stay in a stable, but everything was about to change for them.

With the birth of Jesus an angel and a heavenly host appeared to shepherds on a nearby hillside.  Blinding light piercing the darkness and leaving them shaken and afraid.  ‘Fear not!’  ‘Do not be afraid’ said the angel and that is the message of Jesus for us today.  As God chose shepherds to bring ‘news of great joy’ so too he chooses us today to be his messengers and says to us ‘do not be afraid’.

As the feast of Christmas comes near people have many hopes and expectations, there are pressures created by the clamour of modern life; created by a ‘must have’ society, by fear of what the future may hold, or by memories of Christmas past.  Yet in the birth of Jesus there is only simplicity: a child lying in a manger, yet the Son of God among us.

Amid the consumerism of Christmas there are many acts of human kindness, as minds and hearts turn to the needs of others.  We welcome the stranger and the refugee; we buy gifts for people we don’t even know, and we give our time to those who are in need.  In all the uncertainties of life we have hope which is a sign of love – God’s love for us in sending his Son into the world.  Our celebrations too are a sign of God’s love.

2,000 years ago there was a child born for us, a turning point in history which we still rejoice in today, which says that each one of us is loved by God and which takes away fear and gives us hope for the future.  We must open our hearts to the welcome offered by our Saviour and let him bring his peace to our lives and to our world.

May this Christmas be a time of peace for us all so that we may know the love of God in our lives.

Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP
Archbishop of Liverpool

SYNOD 2020

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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 Sullivan on Monday 13 January at the LACE Conference Centre beginning at 7.30 pm (Tea and Coffee served from 7.00 pm).


3rd Sunday of Advent (A)

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Gospel  (Matthew 11: 2-11)

John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me.’

As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says:

‘Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
he will prepare your way before you.

‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’

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Thought

Today, the 3rd Sunday of Advent, is known as ‘Gaudete’ Sunday.  ‘Gaudete’ is the Lain word for ‘Rejoice’.  We rejoice because the Lord is very near.  The rose coloured candle on the Advent Wreath stands for joy, so that’s the one we light today.

In today’s 1st Reading, God’s people are in exile.  The prophet encourages them not to lose heart but to hope in God who is coming to save them.  This prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus, as we hear in today’s Gospel: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor.  And so today’s Psalm response is the prayer of Advent, the prayer of people longing for Christ: “Come, Lord, and save us”.

In today’s 2nd Reading, St James counsels us to be patient and not to lose heart as we wait for the Lord to come again.

Fr Dave

Prayer

God of glory and compassion,
at your touch even the wilderness blossoms,
broken lives are made whole,
and fearful hearts grow strong in faith.
Open our eyes to your presence
and awaken our hearts to sing your praise.
To all who long for your Son’s return
grant perseverance and patience.
Come, Lord, and save us.

SYNOD 2020

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Many thanks to those parishioners who were able to attend one of the Pastoral Area meetings exploring the second Synod Theme, ‘Sharing the mission of Jesus’.  You can still submit proposals for this theme via the Synod website:  www.synod2020.co.uk  We will consider the third Synod Theme, ‘How we pray together’, in the new year.


2nd Sunday of Advent (A)

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Gospel  (Matthew 3: 1-12)

In due course John the Baptist appeared; he preached in the wilderness of Judaea and this was his message: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’ This was the man the prophet Isaiah spoke of when he said:

A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord,
make his paths straight.

This man John wore a garment made of camel-hair with a leather belt round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. But when he saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers, who warned you to fly from the retribution that is coming? But if you are repentant, produce the appropriate fruit, and do not presume to tell yourselves, “We have Abraham for our father,” because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones. Even now the axe is laid to the roots of the trees, so that any tree which fails to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire. I baptise you in water for repentance, but the one who follows me is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to carry his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fan is in his hand; he will clear his threshing-floor and gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.’

advent-2

Thought

Today’s Gospel introduces us to one of the great characters of Advent – John the Baptist.  He came to ‘prepare a way for the Lord’.

In today’s passage from St Matthew, John says, ‘I baptise you in water for repentance’.  The word ‘repentance’ means to make changes.  As Christians, we are only too aware that we need to keep making changes in our lives to be more like Jesus.  What change do you need to make in your life this Advent to be more like Christ?

St Paul offers a suggestion in today’s 2nd Reading.  He says, ‘treat each other in the same friendly way that Christ treats you’.  It seems to me that this is very good advice for us, not only in the run up to Christmas, but in the run up to Thursday’s General Election as well.

One way of doing this is simply to work at being kind and gentle:  be kind to yourself and to others, be gentle with yourself and others.  If you need a hand, here is a ‘Kindness Calendar’ from the ‘Action for Happiness’ website.

kindness-calendar

Fr Dave

Prayer for the 2019 General Election

God of grace and truth,
send your Spirit to guide us
as we discover your will for our country.
Help us to discuss the issues before us
with courtesy, truth and mutual respect,
and grant that all who stand for parliament
will seek to serve the common good,
through him who came not to be served but to serve,
Jesus Christ, who is Lord for ever and ever.

(c) Church of England

GENERAL ELECTION 2019

The Catholic Bishops’ of England and Wales have issued a statement on the forthcoming General Election.  The statement concentrates on the key issues – not parties or manifestos – offering a series of points that can be put to candidates prior to voting.  You can read the statement here:  http://www.cbcew.org.uk/2019-general-election-statement-and-bishops-plenary/

SYNOD TALK

logo

Complex Catholicism:
Discovering the Reality of Young Catholics in England & Wales
Monday 9 December – Stephen Davies

Exploring who the younger members of our Church are today, using research from England and Wales:

  • Understanding why we might feel different from them, and them from us.
  • Reflecting together on how we can reach out to young Catholics.
  • As part of the presentation, young people will speak from their own experience.

Liverpool Hope University Chapel – entrance by Chapel or Gateway Building.  Tea and Coffee from 7.00 pm. Talk begins at 7.30 pm. Concludes at 8.45 pm. Optional Night prayer follows at 9.00 pm.  Disabled parking available on the Liverpool Hope campus.

Stephen’s career has stretched across differently aged communities within the Church. He is the fundraising and communication director for the iconic Red Box of Missio and the Mill Hill Missionaries. He started his career in university chaplaincy before helping to establish Animate Youth Ministries in the diocese. For seven years, he led CAFOD’s programme working with young people. He is a co-founding trustee of Million Minutes, and Vice-Chair of the Archbishop Romero Trust.


1st Sunday of Advent (A)

advent-1

Gospel  (Matthew 24: 37-44)

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes. Then of two men in the fields one is taken, one left; of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left.

‘So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

Thought

Today we begin a new year in the Church’s calendar with the season of Advent – a time of preparation for the great feast of Christmas.  However, our culture is impatient and wants to celebrate Christmas now.

Whenever we have a special celebration (e.g. a birthday meal, a party, etc), we take the time to get ready for it.  So it is with Christmas.  We need to make the time to get ready for the feast.  This is the purpose of Advent – to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ.

The Advent Scriptures help us to do this.  Today’s First Reading calls us once more to learn the ways of the Lord and walk in his paths.  The Second Reading tells us to ‘wake up’ because Christ is near, so ‘let us live decently as people do in the daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy’.

Advent is a gift to us at this time of year.  It’s an antidote to all the things that can cause us stress in the run up to Christmas.  So, today, receive the gift of Advent.  Perhaps make a little Advent Wreath to have at home, light the first candle and pray the blessing below.

Fr Dave

Blessing of the Advent Wreath

Lord our God, we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ;
he is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples;
he is the wisdom that teaches and guides us;
he is the Saviour of every nation.

Lord God, let your blessing come upon us
as we light the candles of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light
be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation.
May he come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

(From the Book of Blessings)

GENERAL ELECTION 2019

The Catholic Bishops’ of England and Wales have issued a statement on the forthcoming General Election.  The statement concentrates on the key issues – not parties or manifestos – offering a series of points that can be put to candidates prior to voting.  You can read the statement here:  http://www.cbcew.org.uk/2019-general-election-statement-and-bishops-plenary/

SYNOD TALK

logo

Complex Catholicism:
Discovering the Reality of Young Catholics in England & Wales
Monday 9 December – Stephen Davies

Exploring who the younger members of our Church are today, using research from England and Wales:

  • Understanding why we might feel different from them, and them from us.
  • Reflecting together on how we can reach out to young Catholics.
  • As part of the presentation, young people will speak from their own experience.

Liverpool Hope University Chapel – entrance by Chapel or Gateway Building.  Tea and Coffee from 7.00 pm. Talk begins at 7.30 pm. Concludes at 8.45 pm. Optional Night prayer follows at 9.00 pm.  Disabled parking available on the Liverpool Hope campus.

Stephen’s career has stretched across differently aged communities within the Church. He is the fundraising and communication director for the iconic Red Box of Missio and the Mill Hill Missionaries. He started his career in university chaplaincy before helping to establish Animate Youth Ministries in the diocese. For seven years, he led CAFOD’s programme working with young people. He is a co-founding trustee of Million Minutes, and Vice-Chair of the Archbishop Romero Trust.


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