14 March 2021
Sunday : Fourth Sunday of Lent
Contents: The Gospel Reflection
Notices (Including details of our churches’ reopening)
Reflections for the coming week
Gospel: John 3:14-21
Jesus said to Nicodemus:
‘The Son of Man must be lifted up
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert
So that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.
Yes, God loved the world so much
That he gave his only Son,
So that everyone who believes in him may not be lost
But may have eternal life.
For God sent his Son into the world
Not to condemn the world,
But so that through him the world might be saved.
No one who believes in him will be condemned
But whoever refuses to believe is condemned already,
Because he has refused to believe
In the name of God’s only son.
On these grounds is sentence pronounced:
That through the light has come into the world
Men have shown they prefer
Darkness to light
Because their deeds were evil.
And indeed, everybody who does wrong
Hates the light and avoids it,
For fear his actions should be exposed;
But the man who lives by the truth
Comes out into the light,
So that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.
Gospel Reflection : Uprooting Hedges
No – not a plea for help in the church grounds! It’s just that we all have a tendency to hedge our love, and being loved, with conditions. We attach ourselves to others who can please us, or supply us with what we want. Even children learn that living up to expectations, rather than being themselves, is what earns adult praise and affection.
The liturgy today reminds us that we do not have to earn God’s love. We are loved for who we are – lovable, completely lovable, to Him. Perhaps this week we could examine the hedges we build around love, and pray for the strength to uproot them. And not to leave them still lying around, only to take root again, but remove them for ever.
We Remember In Our Prayers Win Ward whose Funeral was last week, Tommy McShane whose Funeral is at St.Teresa’s on Tuesday, 16th March, and Joan Ashworth whose Funeral is at St. Teresa’s on Monday 22nd March. We remember them and their families, and all those whose anniversaries are at this time. May they be in God’s love. Please remember also those people who we have been asked to pray for on the Parish website under St Teresa’s Community of Prayer.
We Have News – Good News For A Change : St. Teresa’s and St. John Southworth Churches are Opening Again For Mass. This will start on Palm Sunday weekend, 27th/28th March, with the usual weekend Mass times for both our churches (St. Teresa’s : Saturday 6.30 pm, Sunday 9 am, and 10.30 am; St. John Southworth : Sunday 5 pm). This will then mean that we will be celebrating all the Holy Week Services in the week before Easter, and the Easter weekend itself.
For those Holy Week Masses and Services (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday), because they are celebrated at particular times of the day, unfortunately we have to ask parishioners of St. John Southworth parish to attend at St. Teresa’s. The Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday Masses will be celebrated at St. John Southworth at the usual Sunday Mass time of 5 pm.
Then of course there are all the current regulations we have to keep. As Bishop Paul writes : “Despite the apparent success of the vaccine roll-out so far, and also the encouraging signs of falling infections and hospitalizations, we have to remember that we are still ‘in lockdown’. Although schools went back last week, many of the restrictions and regulations we currently have will continue to be in place for some weeks or months yet, with a cautious and gradual return to normality. We must be careful not to give the impression that things are returning to normal at this present time – they are not. We are still asked to hold essential services only, and our liturgies must be brief”. To that we should add – we must also ensure that we personally try to ensure our own safety, and that of others, by keeping social distancing, hand cleansing and mask wearing in church, and keeping in mind that there is no obligation at all to attend Mass. We must still make sensible decisions.
Please read the following carefully. Our Deacon Bernard, and his wife Sue, have kindly organised the arrangements for us attending church at St. Teresa’s in Holy Week and for Easter, as they did very successfully last Christmas.
PALM SUNDAY/HOLY WEEK MASS BOOKINGS
MASS TIMES at St. Teresa’s only: Mass times will be as follows.
Palm Sunday 28th March…..(Sat.) 6.30pm and (Sun.) 9.00am, and 10.30am (This Mass is live streamed)
NO DAILY MORNING MASS during Holy Week just the following Mass times and Services.
Maundy Thursday 1st April…….6.30pm (live streamed)
Good Friday 2nd April……11.00am Stations of the Cross (live streamed), and 3.00pm The Celebration of Our Lord’s Passion (live streamed)
Easter Vigil 3rd April……(Sat.) 6.30pm (live streamed)
Easter Sunday 4th April……9.00am, and 10.30am (This Mass is live streamed)
Sadly, again due to Covid 19 and Government restrictions, a booking system needs to be implemented, exactly the same as we had successfully over the Christmas period. This is due to the fact that sections of the church are cordoned off in order to maintain social distancing. As we anticipate a higher demand in attendance over the two week-ends, seats in church will be limited to booked seats ONLY.
Please, Please, follow the ‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ in order to keep everyone safe.
DO email, phone or text Deacon Bernard/Sue on: firstname.lastname@example.org
01253 858346, 07515347256, 07889532158 ONLY to book your seats. Firm bookings only please.
DO give the following information:
Your contact number
No. of people attending (in your bubble)
Your chosen Mass/Service time (see above)
DO…….If after booking has been confirmed and your arrangements change, then please notify us so we can reuse your allocation for others.
DON’T……. turn up at church without a booking. We do not wish to embarrass or disappoint by refusing you entry for that Mass – (this item continues on the next page)
We will endeavour to accommodate as many people as possible but we need your cooperation for planning. Please ensure your arrangements are with us in good time. Last day for booking Thursday 25th March for Palm Sunday and Monday 28th March for all other Masses and Services in Holy Week.
To join the live streamed Masses go to the web-site address: – st-teresas-cleveleys.co.uk and click on ‘Live Streaming’. As from Palm Sunday (28th March) the weekly live streamed Sunday Mass is at 10.30am NOT 10.00am.
Daily Reflections for this week
Monday (A New Catechism)
The first thing that we as Christians have to realise—as is proclaimed again and again by the Gospel, the liturgy and the preaching of the church—is our inadequacy. This is the primary task of Christians in the world. They are called to know and proclaim that we constantly receive light and strength from him who loves us. This is the first element of sanctity in the church. Those who sense this insufficiency share the true fundamentals of holiness in the Church. Through it, dedication to the Infinite takes shape. This offers support and perspectives which are above our closed circle.
Scripture (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
Yahweh says this, “Accursed be anyone who trusts in human
beings, who relies on human strength and whose heart turns from Yahweh. He is like a scrub in the wastelands: when good comes it does not affect him, since he lives in the parched places of the
desert. Blessed is anyone who trusts in Yahweh with Yahweh for his reliance. He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it has nothing to fear.
Tuesday (Fr. Richard Rohr)
When all our idols are taken away, all our securities and defence mechanisms, we find out who we really are. We’re so little, so poor, so empty—sometimes, even so ugly! But we are able to present ourselves to God poor and humble. Then we find out who we are and who God is for us. The desert is where Israel experienced its sinfulness, that it was weak and unable to do any good. Our temptation is always to shorten the time, make our timetable God’s timetable. We want to get out and get it over with. But we cannot rush the journey of faith.
Scripture (Daniel 2:20-22)
May the name of God be blessed for ever and ever, since wisdom and power are his alone. It is he who controls the procession of times and seasons, who makes and unmakes kings, who confers wisdom on the wise, and knowledge on those with discernment, who uncovers depths and mysteries, who knows what lies in darkness; and light dwells with him.
Wednesday (Fr. Daniel O’Leary, ‘An Astonishing Secret’)
What Jesus introduced and accomplished by his death and resurrection was not a legal contract of atonement with his demanding Father; it was the depth and invincibility of love. Love transforms darkness, death and sin. When everything we see, hear, touch and smell is perceived as the embrace of the divine arms; when the winter chill, the city noises, the brilliance of artists and the revelations of scientists provide glimpses of the Incarnate God; when the New Universe Story captures our hearts with a profound and transforming wonder, when the courage and hope of oppressed people on a mutilated earth are experienced as the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit within, then, and only then, are we living within the Incarnation.
Scripture (Isaiah 42:6-7,16)
I, the Lord, have called you in saving justice, I have grasped you by the hand and shaped you; I have made you a covenant of the people and light to the nations to open the eyes of the blind, to free captives from prison, and those who live in darkness from the dungeons. I shall lead the blind by a road they do not know, by paths they do not know I shall conduct them. I shall turn the darkness into light before them and the quagmires into solid ground. This I shall do—without fail.
Thursday (From the “Twelve Steps” Alcoholics Anon)
We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us; made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God; made a fearless moral inventory of ourselves; admitted to God, to ourselves and to others the exact nature of our wrongs; were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character; humbly asked him to remove our shortcomings; sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.
Scripture (Eph 2:4-5,8-10)
God, being rich in faithful love, through the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our sins, brought us to life with Christ. It is by grace that you have been saved, through faith; not by anything of your own, but by a gift from God; not by anything you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit.
Friday (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin)
What I cry out for, like every being, with my whole life and all my earthly passion, is something very different from an equal to cherish: it is a God to adore. To adore….that means to lose oneself in the unfathomable, to plunge into the inexhaustible, to find peace in the incorruptible, to offer oneself to the fire and the transparency, to annihilate oneself in proportion as one becomes more deliberately conscious of oneself, to give of one’s deepest to that whose depth has no end.
Scripture (Matthew 16: 24-26)
Jesus said to his disciples “If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself, take up his cross and follow me. Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will find it. What, then will anyone gain by winning the whole world and forfeiting his life? Or what can anyone offer in
exchange for his life?