Sunday Readings & Homily


Sunday 21 February 2021

Readings for Sunday 21st February 2021, the first Sunday of Lent (Year B)

First Reading: Genesis 9:8-15
God spoke to Noah and his sons, ‘See, I establish my Covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; also with every living creature to be found with you, birds, cattle and every wild beast with you: everything that came out of the ark, everything that lives on the earth. I establish my Covenant with you: nothing of flesh shall be swept away again by the waters of the flood. There shall be no flood to destroy the earth again.’

God said, ‘Here is the sign of the Covenant I make between myself and you and every living creature with you for all generations: I set my bow in the clouds and it shall be a sign of the Covenant between me and the earth. When I gather the clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the Covenant between myself and you and every living creature of every kind. And so the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all things of flesh.’

THE WORD OF THE LORD

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Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 24(25):4-6,7b-9

Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love for those who keep your covenant.

Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my saviour.

Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love for those who keep your covenant.

Remember your mercy, Lord,
and the love you have shown from of old.
In your love remember me,
because of your goodness, O Lord.

Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love for those who keep your covenant.

The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path,
He teaches his way to the poor.

Your ways, Lord, are faithfulness and love for those who keep your covenant.

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Second Reading: 1 Peter 3:18-22

Christ himself, innocent though he was, died once for sins, died for the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life, and, in the spirit, he went to preach to the spirits in prison. Now it was long ago, when Noah was still building that ark which saved only a small group of eight people ‘by water’, and when God was still waiting patiently, that these spirits refused to believe. That water is a type of the baptism which saves you now, and which is not the washing off of physical dirt but a pledge made to God from a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has entered heaven and is at God’s right hand, now that he has made the angels and Dominations and Powers his subjects.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

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Gospel Acclamation: Matthew 4:4

Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!
Man does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Praise to you, O Christ, king of eternal glory!

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Gospel:  Mark 1:12-15

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the wilderness and he remained there for forty days, and was tempted by Satan. He was with the wild beasts, and the angels looked after him.
After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’

 

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD

PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST

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Fr John’s Homily for First Sunday of Lent (B)

Over the past year there have been two images frequently on our TV screens: one is the terrible floods some people have had to endure, some quite close to home, in Bewdley and Worcester! The other image is the Rainbow, a sign of hope, and used to say thank you to the NHS. I pass one of the signs often, on the bend just after Rowberry’s coming from Bromsgrove (it’s looking a bit worn it’s been up so long!).

Both of these signs are mentioned in today’s readings at Mass, though in a different context. In our first reading we hear about Noah and his ark and how through the warning he received from God, he and his family escaped the devastation of the flood that covered the whole earth. Noah became a symbol of the saving Covenant between God and the rebellious human race. Never again would God destroy the people for of their rebelliousness and the Rainbow would be a reminder of this. The waters of the flood became for the Church a symbol of Baptism – in Baptism, as we are told in the second reading at Mass today, we emerge from the devastation of sin, to a new life in Christ, the resurrected one.

The whole of Lent is supposed to be a reflection on Baptism and what it means for us; at the Easter Vigil we will be invited to renew our Baptismal Promises in which we reject sin and reaffirm our faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and in the Church which Christ founded.

So, what does our baptism mean for us? This is the question we need to answer for ourselves during these days of Lent. It might be helpful to think about these powerful images we have been given in the readings at Mass today. First, the image of the devastation of flood water – we have seen what destruction and suffering is caused by it – some people have suffered it on several occasions in a short space of time. Perhaps this could help us see what devastation is caused by our sin, the loss of everything we hold precious. Jesus in today’s Gospel shows us how he battled with temptation for forty days when Satan tempted him. Lent is a time when we too need to resist temptation to sin by the power of the Holy Spirit.

What can we learn from the Rainbow as a sign? When we have seen the pictures of the NHS rainbows, often drawn by children, our spirits have been uplifted and we have been filled with gratitude for the sacrifices made by others for our safety. We have been reminded of those brave people who have laid down their precious lives for their brothers and sisters. Perhaps it might help us see more clearly that Jesus laid down his precious life for each one of us, to save us not from Covid 19, but from the devastation of sin which can rob us of eternal life.

It looks as if we can look forward to celebrating these sacred mysteries in our little church of St. Mary’s from 21st March! Or even in the garden, weather permitting.

God Bless, Fr. John 

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Readings for Sunday 14th February 2021 the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading:         Leviticus 13:1-2,44-46
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘If a swelling or scab or shiny spot appears on a man’s skin, a case of leprosy of the skin is to be suspected. The man must be taken to Aaron, the priest, or to one of the priests who are his sons.

‘The man is leprous: he is unclean. The priest must declare him unclean; he is suffering from leprosy of the head. A man infected with leprosy must wear his clothing torn and his hair disordered; he must shield his upper lip and cry, “Unclean, unclean.” As long as the disease lasts he must be unclean; and therefore he must live apart: he must live outside the camp.’

THE WORD OF THE LORD

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Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 31(32):1-2,5,11

You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Happy the man whose offence is forgiven.
whose sin is remitted.
O happy the man to whom the Lord
imputes no guilt,
in whose spirit is no guile.

You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation.

But now I have acknowledged my sins;
my guilt I did not hide.
I said: ‘I will confess
my offence to the Lord.’
And you, Lord, have forgiven
the guilt of my sin.

You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation.

Rejoice, rejoice in the Lord,
exult, you just!
O come, ring out your joy,
all you upright of heart.

You are my refuge, O Lord; you fill me with the joy of salvation.

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Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1

Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do at all, do it for the glory of God. Never do anything offensive to anyone – to Jews or Greeks or to the Church of God; just as I try to be helpful to everyone at all times, not anxious for my own advantage but for the advantage of everybody else, so that they may be saved. Take me for your model, as I take Christ.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

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Gospel Acclamation: cf. Ephesians 1:17,18

Alleluia, Alleluia!
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
enlighten the eyes of our mind,
so that we can see what hope his call holds for us.
Alleluia!

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Gospel: Mark 1:40-45
A leper came to Jesus and pleaded on his knees: ‘If you want to’ he said, ‘you can cure me.’ Feeling sorry for him, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him. ‘Of course I want to!’ he said. ‘Be cured!’ And the leprosy left him at once and he was cured. Jesus immediately sent him away and sternly ordered him, ‘Mind you say nothing to anyone, but go and show yourself to the priest, and make the offering for your healing prescribed by Moses as evidence of your recovery.’ The man went away, but then started talking about it freely and telling the story everywhere, so that Jesus could no longer go openly into any town but had to stay outside in places where nobody lived. Even so, people from all around would come to him.

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD

PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST

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Fr John’s Homily for Sixth Sunday of Year (B)

Unclean, Unclean! This was what a leper, in Jesus’ day, was supposed to call out if he came near anybody! Does it strike a chord with you this year? I think we have all felt a bit like a leper as we have conformed to the guidelines of the Government during this Covid pandemic. Social distancing is the polite way of describing what we have been reduced to, but it doesn’t make it any more acceptable – it feels unnatural, it makes us feel isolated from each other. But it’s not just distancing, it’s touching. We can’t hug or even shake hands. Some people say it’s like suffering “Skin hunger”! We long to feel the touch of another human being. Perhaps we know what the leper in today’s Gospel felt like when he approached Jesus, who interestingly touched him and said to him be cured. (In touching him, Jesus was himself made unclean according to the ritualistic laws of the Jews.) What does it tell us about Jesus and his relationship with those who are outcasts? It says in our translation of the Gospel for today that Jesus felt sorry for him, but the commentators say it was a much stronger expression than just feeling sorry for him – we might say he was gutted, Jesus was moved with compassion in the very depth of his being.

Well, we are not lepers, but we do become isolated from God through our sin – that’s what sin is, it isolates us from the holiness of God (and from each other actually). And when Jesus looks at us, and when we ask him to heal us from our sins, he looks on us with a deep compassion and says of course I want to heal and forgive you, be cured!

On Wednesday of this week, we begin the holy season of Lent. Normally we would come to church to receive the ashes as a sign that we want to repent of our sins and make a new start in our relationship with God. This year we are not able to come to St. Mary’s, but it doesn’t stop us from making that inner step, that movement of the heart towards our beloved Lord. So, I hope we will all make that inner movement of our hearts, of which the ashes are merely the outward sign.

God bless and have a good Lent.

Fr. John    

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Readings for Sunday 7th February 2021 the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 First Reading:
A Reading from the prophet Job [7:1-4,6-7]
Job began to speak:

Is not man’s life on earth nothing more than pressed service, his time no better than hired drudgery? Like the slave, sighing for the shade, or the workman with no thought but his wages, months of delusion I have assigned to me, nothing for my own but nights of grief. Lying in bed I wonder, ‘When will it be day?’ Risen I think, ‘How slowly evening comes!’ Restlessly I fret till twilight falls. Swifter than a weaver’s shuttle my days have passed, and vanished, leaving no hope behind. Remember that my life is but a breath, and that my eyes will never again see joy.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

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Responsorial Psalm:                     Psalm 146(147):1-6

Praise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted.
Praise the Lord for he is good;
sing to our God for he is loving:
to him our praise is due.

Praise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted.
The Lord builds up Jerusalem
and brings back Israel’s exiles,
he heals the broken-hearted,
he binds up all their wounds.
He fixes the number of the stars;
he calls each one by its name.

Praise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted.
Our Lord is great and almighty;
his wisdom can never be measured.
The Lord raises the lowly;
he humbles the wicked to the dust.

Praise the Lord who heals the broken-hearted.

 ……..

Second Reading:

A Reading from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians 9:16-19,22-23
I do not boast of preaching the Gospel, since it is a duty which has been laid on me; I should be punished if I did not preach it! If I had chosen this work myself, I might have been paid for it, but as I have not, it is a responsibility which has been put into my hands. Do you know what my reward is? It is this: in my preaching, to be able to offer the Good News free, and not insist on the rights which the Gospel gives me.

So though I am not a slave of any man I have made myself the slave of everyone so as to win as many as I could. I made myself all things to all men in order to save some at any cost; and I still do this, for the sake of the Gospel, to have a share in its blessings.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

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Gospel Acclamation: John 8:12

Alleluia, Alleluia!
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
anyone who follows me will have the light of life.
Alleluia!

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Gospel:          A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark [1:29-39]
On leaving the synagogue, Jesus went with James and John straight to the house of Simon and Andrew. Now Simon’s mother-in-law had gone to bed with fever, and they told him about her straightaway. He went to her, took her by the hand and helped her up. And the fever left her and she began to wait on them.

That evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils. The whole town came crowding round the door, and he cured many who were suffering from diseases of one kind or another; he also cast out many devils, but he would not allow them to speak, because they knew who he was.

In the morning, long before dawn, he got up and left the house, and went off to a lonely place and prayed there. Simon and his companions set out in search of him, and when they found him they said, ‘Everybody is looking for you.’ He answered, ‘Let us go elsewhere, to the neighbouring country towns, so that I can preach there too, because that is why I came.’ And he went all through Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out devils.

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD

PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST

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Fr John’s Homily for Fifth Sunday of the Year

Last week, if you remember, Jesus was in the synagogue at Capernaum teaching with authority. This week he leaves the synagogue with James and John and heads straight to the house of Simon and Andrew, here he finds Simon’s mother-in-law sick with a fever, he took her by the hand and helped her to her feet and the fever left her and she made them a meal!

When people heard Jesus was at Simon’s house, they came bringing their sick to be healed. It seemed as though the whole town had heard and they came crowding round the door. He must have gone to bed exhausted, but he got up early next morning, left the house and found a quiet spot to pray. Then they were off to all the towns round about to teach in their synagogues and to heal their sick.

I want to share with you a few thoughts about PRAYER today. Prayer was so important to Jesus, we notice that before he did anything important, he always prayed to his Father. It just so happens that I have read a review of a new book about prayer. The book is called “Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone”.  It will be published this week by William Collins priced £16.99. It is written by an author whose work I know well, Fr. James Martin S.J. I shall certainly read it myself and perhaps some of you might want to, I’m sure you will be able to get it through Amazon.

The review lists nine reasons to pray. Reason One: Because God wants to be in a relationship with you. It’s the way he has created you, deep within you is a longing to be in a relationship with God. The author give two quotations you have heard me mention from time to time, “There is a hole in our hearts that only God can fill and as St Augustine puts it: you have made us for yourself, O Lord. And our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

I can’t go through all nine reasons here but perhaps looking at the first reason will lead us on to want to know what the other reasons are? Here are a tantalizing few headings: Because we have to – we can’t not pray, because prayer is part of being human. We pray because we are in need. How can you not ask for help from your Creator? Because it helps: if we don’t, we get out of shape spiritually. Just like if we don’t exercise, we get out of shape physically. Because in prayer we can give thanks. If we pray with others, we are united with people throughout the world, and even with those who have gone before us. We pray to be transformed. Prayer will change us, slowly but surely.

Have a prayerful week!

Fr. John

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Readings followed by Fr John’s homily for for Sunday 31 January 2021 – 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

First Reading:                                                                                            

A Reading from the book of Deuteronomy [18:15-20]

Moses said to the people: ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like myself, from among yourselves, from your own brothers; to him you must listen. This is what you yourselves asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the Assembly. “Do not let me hear again” you said “the voice of the Lord my God, nor look any longer on this great fire, or I shall die”; and the Lord said to me, “All they have spoken is well said. I will raise up a prophet like yourself for them from their own brothers; I will put my words into his mouth and he shall tell them all I command him.

The man who does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name, shall be held answerable to me for it. But the prophet who presumes to say in my name a thing I have not commanded him to say, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.”’

THE WORD OF THE LORD

Responsorial Psalm//:  Psalm 94(95):1-2,6-9

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;
hail the rock who saves us.
Let us come before him, giving thanks,
with songs let us hail the Lord.

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Come in; let us bow and bend low;
let us kneel before the God who made us:
for he is our God and we
the people who belong to his pasture,
the flock that is led by his hand.

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

O that today you would listen to his voice!
‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,
as on that day at Massah in the desert
when your fathers put me to the test;
when they tried me, though they saw my work.’

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

 

Second Reading:                                                                          

A Reading from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians [7:32-35]

I would like to see you free from all worry. An unmarried man can devote himself to the Lord’s affairs, all he need worry about is pleasing the Lord; but a married man has to bother about the world’s affairs and devote himself to pleasing his wife: he is torn two ways. In the same way an unmarried woman, like a young girl, can devote herself to the Lord’s affairs; all she need worry about is being holy in body and spirit. The married woman, on the other hand, has to worry about the world’s affairs and devote herself to pleasing her husband. I say this only to help you, not to put a halter round your necks, but simply to make sure that everything is as it should be, and that you give your undivided attention to the Lord.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

Gospel Acclamation:   Matthew 11:25

Alleluia, Alleluia!
Blessed are you, Father,
Lord of heaven and earth,
for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom
to mere children.
Alleluia!

Gospel:         

A Reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark [1:21-28]

Jesus and his disciples went as far as Capernaum, and as soon as the sabbath came he went to the synagogue and began to teach. And his teaching made a deep impression on them because, unlike the scribes, he taught them with authority.

In their synagogue just then there was a man possessed by an unclean spirit and it shouted, ‘What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are: the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus said sharply, ‘Be quiet! Come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit threw the man into convulsions and with a loud cry went out of him. The people were so astonished that they started asking each other what it all meant. ‘Here is a teaching that is new’ they said ‘and with authority behind it: he gives orders even to unclean spirits and they obey him.’ And his reputation rapidly spread everywhere, through all the surrounding Galilean countryside.

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD

PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST

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Fr John’s Homily for Fourth Sunday of the Year (B)

I remember the first time I visited the Holy Land and came to Capernaum. I had read so many references to this town in the Gospels and now here I was entering the town itself. It sits beside the Sea of Galilee and Jesus made it his headquarters for his Galilean ministry. Peter had a house there and in that house Jesus had healed his mother-in-law. But what impressed me most was the synagogue – it is a ruin now but you can still see the black foundation stones of the synagogue of Jesus’ day. I remember lingering in the ruins, trying to be by myself and imagining Jesus teaching in this space – it was here that he taught his sublime teaching on the Bread of Life (John 6). It is the scene of today’s Gospel reading where we are told he taught with such authority and demonstrated this authority by casting out the unclean spirit.

This scene comes straight after Jesus has called his disciples – they somehow recognised his authority and so left everything immediately and followed him. As I said last week, it wasn’t quite as simple as that and they had many doubts along the way, but ultimately, they gave their lives for him – literally for some of them!

Our journey in faith is similar to all others who truly want to follow Jesus; he somehow touches our lives and slowly but surely his life dwelling within us, conforms our lives to his. I was reminded of this by one of the readings at Mass during the week about the seed lying in the ground and slowly growing regardless of whether the sower is awake or asleep. What is true in nature is mirrored in our spiritual lives; the seed is the grace of God sown in our lives through the word of God and the sacraments, our task is to appropriate this grace and allow it to impact our lives. The power of God’s life resides within us, and it is this power at work in our lives, day and night whether we sleep or rise which makes us holy. Our holiness will be measured less by our actions and more by our love, and this love has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit as a free gift. I found this very consoling during these inactive days; I hope you do too.

Have a good week.

Fr. John 

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Readings followed by Fr John’s Homily for Sunday 24 January 2021 – 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

FIRST READING:  JONAH 3:1-5,10

The word of the Lord was addressed to Jonah: ‘Up!’ he said ‘Go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach to them as I told you to.’ Jonah set out and went to Nineveh in obedience to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was a city great beyond compare: it took three days to cross it. Jonah went on into the city, making a day’s journey. He preached in these words, ‘Only forty days more and Nineveh is going to be destroyed.’ And the people of Nineveh believed in God; they proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least.

God saw their efforts to renounce their evil behaviour, and God relented: he did not inflict on them the disaster which he had threatened.

THE WORD OF THE LORD.

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Responsorial Psalm:  Psalm 24(25):4-6,7b-9

 Lord, make me know your ways.

Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my saviour.

Lord, make me know your ways.

Remember your mercy, Lord,
and the love you have shown from of old.
In your love remember me,
because of your goodness, O Lord.

Lord, make me know your ways.

The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,
He guides the humble in the right path,
He teaches his way to the poor.

Lord, make me know your ways.

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SECOND READING:  1 CORINTHIANS 7:29-31

Brothers: our time is growing short. Those who have wives should live as though they had none, and those who mourn should live as though they had nothing to mourn for; those who are enjoying life should live as though there were nothing to laugh about; those whose life is buying things should live as though they had nothing of their own; and those who have to deal with the world should not become engrossed in it. I say this because the world as we know it is passing away.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

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GOSPEL ACCLAMATION: MARK 1:15

Alleluia, Alleluia!
The kingdom of God is close at hand:
repent, and believe the Good News.
Alleluia!

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A READING FROM THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARK:  1:14-20

After John had been arrested, Jesus went into Galilee. There he proclaimed the Good News from God. ‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.’

As he was walking along by the Sea of Galilee he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net in the lake – for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men.’ And at once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on a little further, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John; they too were in their boat, mending their nets. He called them at once and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the men he employed, they went after him.

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD

PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST

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FR JOHN’S HOMILY FOR THIRD SUNDAY OF THE YEAR (B)

As many of you know, the children who used to attend the children’s liturgy group now meet together through the wonders of ZOOM and I often join them on Sunday at 10.30am. It helps me keep in touch with them and helps them to remember what I look like!

Some of the children attend St. Ambrose School and one of the houses is named after St. Wulstan so they were encouraged to do something to celebrate his feast day last week. They sent me the pictures they had drawn of what their particular contribution was. It was all very entertaining – as children’s pictures usually are.

I am writing this on Saturday morning, and I have just celebrated the Mass of St. Nicholas Owen whose feast day it is today. I lit a candle earlier this morning and placed it in front of our lovely sculpture of St. Nicholas (made by Gabrielle Mercer some years ago). You all know his story how he constructed priest’s hides in Catholic houses up and down the country, including our own Harvington Hall. Some have said about him, “no man can be said to have done more good of all those who laboured in the English vineyard. He was the immediate occasion of saving the lives of many hundreds of persons, both ecclesiastical and secular.” As I celebrated Mass today, I looked up at his figure and asked him to intercede for all of us going through this awful time, which I know isn’t as bad as his time was for Catholics! But it’s bad enough and is keeping us away from the Mass which died for.

The saints are very precious to us, they remind us that we are all called by God to do some special work for him (St. John Henry Newman reminds us of that, he says we are like links in a chain.) In the readings of Sunday’s Mass, we hear of the call of Jonah and the four Apostles. It says they were obedient to God’s call and carried it out immediately! But we know it wasn’t quite like that: Jonah went in the opposite direction when God asked him to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh and was only convinced about his call when God arranged for him to be swallowed by a whale! And the four Apostles had many doubts about their call, even to extent of running away from Jesus when the going got tough. It all goes to show us that God does not give up on us but gradually coaxes us to follow our call to be his disciples and by his grace we are able to be what he has made us to be.

Have a good week – I’ve had my jab!

Fr. John

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Readings followed by Fr John’s Homily for Sunday 17 January 2021 – 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

 

First Reading:                                                                                                                                                                                                         1 Samuel 3:3-10,19

A reading from the First Book of Samuel

Samuel was lying in the sanctuary of the Lord, where the ark of God was, when the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ He answered, ‘Here I am.’  Then he ran to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’  Eli said, ‘I did not call. Go back and lie down.’ So he went and lay down. Once again the Lord called, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’  He replied, ‘I did not call you, my son; go back and lie down.’ Samuel had as yet no knowledge of the Lord and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

Once again the Lord called, the third time. He got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am, since you called me.’ Eli then understood that it was the Lord who was calling the boy, and he said to Samuel, ‘Go and lie down, and if someone calls say, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”’ So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord then came and stood by, calling as he had done before, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Samuel answered, ‘Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.’

Samuel grew up and the Lord was with him and let no word of his fall to the ground.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

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Responsorial Psalm:                                                                                                                                                                                         Psalm 39(40):2,4,7-10 

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

I waited, I waited for the Lord and he stooped down to me; he heard my cry. He put a new song into my mouth, praise of our God.

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings, but an open ear. You do not ask for holocaust and victim. Instead, here am I.

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

In the scroll of the book it stands written that I should do your will. My God, I delight in your law in the depth of my heart.

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will.

Your justice I have proclaimed in the great assembly. My lips I have not sealed; you know it, O Lord.

Here I am, Lord! I come to do your will. 

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Second Reading:                                                                                                                                                                                 1 Corinthians 6:13-15,17-20

A reading from St Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians

The body is not meant for fornication: it is for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. God, who raised the Lord from the dead, will by his power raise us up too. You know, surely, that your bodies are members making up the body of Christ; do you think I can take parts of Christ’s body and join them to the body of a prostitute? Never! But anyone who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him.

Keep away from fornication. All the other sins are committed outside the body; but to fornicate is to sin against your own body. Your body, you know, is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you since you received him from God. You are not your own property; you have been bought and paid for. That is why you should use your body for the glory of God.

THE WORD OF THE LORD

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Gospel Acclamation:                                                                                                                                                                       1S 3:9,John 6:68

Alleluia, Alleluia!

Speak, Lord, your servant is listening: you have the message of eternal life. Alleluia!

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Gospel:                                                                                                         John 1:35-42 A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

As John stood with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God.’ Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi,’ – which means Teacher – ‘where do you live?’ ‘Come and see’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.

One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Early next morning, Andrew met his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ – which means the Christ – and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ – meaning Rock.

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD

 PRAISE TO YOU, LORD JESUS CHRIST

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Fr John’s Homily for 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

At the beginning of each year the Lectionary give us a reading from St. John’s Gospel before we proceed through the designated Gospel of the year (which this year is Mark).

The first words of Jesus reported in the Gospel are “What do you want?” These words sum up the whole human searching experience of life. Jesus asks this question of each and every one of us. What do you want? Do you remember what I said last week, that we should never underestimate the human spirit’s search for God? The two disciples in today’s Gospel answer Jesus by saying “Where do you live?” And Jesus answers them by saying “Come and see.” The disciples spend the rest of the day with Jesus

In John’s Gospel faith comes through a personal encounter with Jesus, in other words, spending time in prayer. Christianity is not just about giving our assent to a set of truths or a moral code but an encounter with Jesus. When Andrew has found Jesus he can’t wait to go and tell his brother, Peter, “We have found the Messiah.” This is how Evangelisation works it is primarily introducing others to this person whom one has met and spent time with.

It sounds simple – and it is, but we have to make the journey ourselves, just like the two disciples in the Gospel; spend time with him ask him questions, talk to him listen to him – like Samuel in the first reading, “Speak Lord your servant is listening”.

This year we are encouraged by our bishops to make it a year dedicated to reading the scriptures they have given us a title for it “The God Who Speaks”. When we read the Bible it is God speaking to us – shall we try to be more faithful to it this year?

Fr John