Sunday Readings & Homily


8th - 22nd November 2020

Sunday 22nd November 2020  

Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of The Universe

First Reading: 
A reading from the prophet Ezekiel [34:11-12,15-17]

The Lord says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest – it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them. As for you, my sheep, the Lord says this: I will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

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Responsorial Psalm:  [Psalm 22(23):1-3a,5-6]

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Near restful waters he leads me,
to revive my drooping spirit.
He guides me along the right path;
he is true to his name.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

You have prepared a banquet for me
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for ever and ever.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

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Second Reading:  
A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians [15:20-26,28]

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet. And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in his turn to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

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Gospel Acclamation:  [Mark 11:10]

Alleluia, alleluia!
Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessings on the coming kingdom of our father David!
Alleluia!

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A Reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew [25:31-46]

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.

‘Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”

‘Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.” ‘And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

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Fr John’s Homily – 22nd November 2020

The Solemnity of Christ The King  

Over the next three Sundays we will be encouraged to think about God’s plan for our lives. Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King which leads us to think about the kind of kingdom Christ came to inaugurate. It is certainly not the kind of kingdom we see in this world – Jesus says my kingdom is not of this world. In the Preface of today’s feast we read that Jesus’ kingdom is “an eternal and universal kingdom, a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice love and peace.” We see no kingdom which can be described in these terms here and now in this world.

So what is going on from God’s perspective? His kingdom is being built, but slowly, because his followers are slow in responding to Jesus’ teaching in the parables and other ways he taught us. Today’s parable is a good example – we are slow to respond to the needs of the hungry, thirsty, strangers, those who are homeless, those who are naked, those who are sick or in prison, those who are least in the world’s eyes. We have to learn to die to self and live for others – it is not easy and we can only do it by God’s help.

Next Sunday will be the First of Advent, and again the readings will help us think of Christ’ second coming, as will the readings of the Second of Advent. As St Paul says in today’s second reading, “After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death.”

Have a good week and stay safe.

Fr. John   

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Sunday 15th November 2020  – 33rd Sunday of the year (A) 2020

First Reading: 

A reading from the book of Proverbs  [31:10-13,19-20,30-31]

A perfect wife – who can find her? She is far beyond the price of pearls. Her husband’s heart has confidence in her, from her he will derive no little profit. Advantage and not hurt she brings him all the days of her life. She is always busy with wool and with flax, she does her work with eager hands. She sets her hands to the distaff, her fingers grasp the spindle. She holds out her hand to the poor, she opens her arms to the needy. Charm is deceitful, and beauty empty; the woman who is wise is the one to praise. Give her a share in what her hands have worked for, and let her works tell her praises at the city gates.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

Responsorial Psalm: [Psalm 127(128):1-5]

O blessed are those who fear the Lord.

O blessed are those who fear the Lord. and walk in his ways! By the labour of your hands you shall eat. You will be happy and prosper.

O blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine in the heart of your house; your children like shoots of the olive, around your table.

O blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Indeed thus shall be blessed the man who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life!

O blessed are those who fear the Lord.

Second Reading: A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians [5:1-6]

You will not be expecting us to write anything to you, brothers, about ‘times and seasons’, since you know very well that the Day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night. It is when people are saying, ‘How quiet and peaceful it is’ that the worst suddenly happens, as suddenly as labour pains come on a pregnant woman; and there will be no way for anybody to evade it. But it is not as if you live in the dark, my brothers, for that Day to overtake you like a thief. No, you are all sons of light and sons of the day: we do not belong to the night or to darkness, so we should not go on sleeping, as everyone else does, but stay wide awake and sober.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

Gospel Acclamation: [Rv2:10]

Alleluia, alleluia! Even if you have to die, says the Lord, keep faithful, and I will give you the crown of life. Alleluia!

Communion Antiphon: [Mark 11: 23-24]

Amen, I say to you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you will receive, and it shall be given to you, says the Lord.

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A Reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew [25:14-30]

Jesus spoke this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of Heaven is like a man on his way abroad who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to a third one; each in proportion to his ability. Then he set out. ‘The man who had received the five talents promptly went and traded with them and made five more. The man who had received two made two more in the same way. But the man who had received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. ‘Now a long time after, the master of those servants came back and went through his accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more. “Sir,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made.” ‘His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things; I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.”

‘Next the man with the two talents came forward. “Sir,” he said, “you entrusted me with two talents; here are two more that I have made.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things; I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness.”

‘Last came forward the man who had the one talent. “Sir,” said he “I had heard you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered; so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is; it was yours, you have it back.” But his master answered him, “You wicked and lazy servant! So, you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered? Well then, you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return, I would have recovered my capital with interest. So now, take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the five talents. For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away. As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.”’

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD.

PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST

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Fr John’s Homily for 33rd Sunday of the year (A) 2020

We are coming to the end of the Church’s Liturgical Year: next week will be the Solemnity of Christ the King which marks the last Sunday of the year; the weekend after is The First Sunday of Advent and we begin another year.

For the past few weeks, the Gospel at Sunday Mass has featured one of the parables which Jesus uses to teach his disciples about the Kingdom which he has come to inaugurate. Many of the parables refer to someone in authority: a king, a householder, a man going on a journey, a man who gave a great banquet, a vineyard owner. These parables all concern the behaviour of servants or subjects and how they are treated by the one in authority. They reveal the generosity of God and the justice of God. They also reveal the response of the subjects or servants which varies from good to appalling!

In each of the parables the one in authority returns to hold those servants to give an account of their behaviour. At this time of the year the Church encourages us to reflect on how we respond to the promise that Christ will come again in his glory. Do we watch for the day, hoping that the salvation promised us will be ours when Christ will come again in his glory?

Do we use the gifts God has given us to build his Kingdom? Do we share our understanding of God’s plan with others who are searching for meaning in life? Do we rejoice in the knowledge we have been given through faith, or do bury it in fear of being found wanting?

Keep safe and God bless you this coming week,

Fr. John

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Sunday 8th November 2020 

32nd Sunday of the year (A) 2020

First Reading:                                                                                                 

A reading from the book of Wisdom [6:12-16]

Wisdom is bright and does not grow dim. By those who love her she is readily seen and found by those who look for her. Quick to anticipate those who desire her, she makes herself known to them. Watch for her early and you will have no trouble; you will find her sitting at your gates. Even to think about her is understanding fully grown; be on the alert for her and anxiety will quickly leave you. She herself walks about looking for those who are worthy of her and graciously shows herself to them as they go, in every thought of theirs coming to meet them.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

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Responsorial Psalm:  [62(63):2-8]                                                                             

For you my soul is thirsting, O God, my God
O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you
like a dry, weary land without water.

 

For you my soul is thirsting, O God, my God
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory.
For your love is better than life,
my lips will speak your praise.

 

For you my soul is thirsting, O God, my God
So I will bless you all my life,
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet,
my mouth shall praise you with joy.

For you my soul is thirsting, O God, my God
On my bed I remember you.
On you I muse through the night
for you have been my help;
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.

For you my soul is thirsting, O God, my God

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Second Reading:                                                              
A reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Thessalonians [4:13-18]

We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring [them with him. We can tell you this from the Lord’s own teaching, that any of us who are left alive until the Lord’s coming will not have any advantage over those who have died.

At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds, together with them; to meet the Lord in the air. So we shall stay with the Lord for ever. With such thoughts as these you should comfort one another.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

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Gospel Acclamation:
Matthew 24:42 44

Alleluia, alleluia!
Stay awake and stand ready, because you do not know the hour when the Son of Man is coming.
Alleluia!

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A Reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew   [25:1-13]

Glory to you, O Lord

Jesus told this parable to his disciples: ‘The kingdom of heaven will be like this: Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were sensible: the foolish ones did take their lamps, but they brought no oil, whereas the sensible ones took flasks of oil as well as their lamps. The bridegroom was late, and they all grew drowsy and fell asleep. But at midnight there was a cry, “The bridegroom is here! Go out and meet him.”

At this, all those bridesmaids woke up and trimmed their lamps, and the foolish ones said to the sensible ones, “Give us some of your oil: our lamps are going out.” But they replied, “There may not be enough for us and for you; you had better go to those who sell it and buy some for yourselves.” They had gone off to buy it when the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding hall and the door was closed. The other bridesmaids arrived later. “Lord, Lord,” they said, “open the door for us.” But he replied, “I tell you solemnly, I do not know you.” So, stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour.’

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ

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Fr John’s homily for Sunday 8th NOVEMBER 2020.

This is the time of the year when we especially remember the dead; we have just celebrated the Commemoration of All Souls (Nov 2nd) and this Sunday we remember those who have died in time of hostility (Remembrance Sunday).

On All Souls Day I blessed the graves in our cemetery and was struck by how many of our loved ones I had buried! I have been here for over 12 years, the longest I have served in any parish. I often walk around the cemetery praying for the deceased and I remember the spouses and family members who are left behind and who tend the graves so devotedly. I even look at the plot I have chosen for my own when the time comes! This is not a morbid thing to do because we believe that the grave is a sign of hope, made holy by the three days Our Lord spent in his tomb waiting for the Resurrection.

The Christian Church has always spoken of death as sleeping – our belief in the resurrection makes it an appropriate metaphor. The Gospel today tells us that the bridesmaids all fell asleep as they waited for the bridegroom (all people will die) but only those who had prepared themselves for his coming would be invited into the wedding feast. This parable is meant to be an encouragement and a challenge to those of us who may be weak or failing in our living out of the gospel.

St. Paul in the second reading at Mass today gives us a similar message of encouragement and challenge. He says we shouldn’t grieve as if we have no faith like people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring them with him. With such thoughts as these we should comfort one another.

There are a lot of people grieving for their loved ones at this present time, several hundred every day, in our own country, and thousands throughout the world who are dying of Covid – let alone of other illnesses. We pray that they may be consoled by our prayers and by faith in Jesus’ victory over death itself.

We also remember with gratitude all who have died in time of war and paid the ultimate sacrifice. We will remember them; their memory does not grow dim.

ETERNAL REST GRANT UNTO THEM, O LORD AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.

AMEN.