Memorable sermons

The theme of this week’s readings got me thinking about one of the few homilies I have remembered over the years. It was whilst I was a student in Manchester and it was at the Holy Name church which was run by the Jesuit priests.

The priest asked the congregation to consider all the different languages there are in the world and to ask themselves which language would be the language spoken in Heaven. Would it be English or Anglo/American? What about Spanish or even Chinese? All of these are widely spoken languages across the world but the priest felt that none of these would be the language of Heaven.

His assertion was that The Language in Heaven would be the language of Love, and that if that were the case, our task whilst on earth should be to learn as much of that language as we can. And the more we practice the language of love, the more familiar we will become with it and the more we will feel at home in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Can you recall any sermons that have stayed in your thoughts through the years? Why not share them with me adambajk@gmail.com and I will hopefully be able to share it with our website users. Let me know if I can say who shared it with our group.

Parish Bulletin 9th May 2021

St Teresa & St John Southworth Churches, Cleveleys

Fr Chris Cousens—Phone: 853340

Rev Bernard Ward (Deacon) (Tel: 858346)

Enquiries for St John Southworth: Phone: 853340

9 May 2021

http://www.st-teresas-church.co.uk

Email: st.teresas.cleveleys@gmail.com

Lancaster Roman Catholic Diocesan Trustees Registered Charity Number 23433

 

 

Sunday : Sixth Sunday of Easter

 

Contents:  Gospel Reflection

 

Notices 

 

Reflections for the coming week

 

Gospel

 

John 15:9-17

 

Jesus said to his disciples

‘As the Father has loved me,

So I have loved you.

Remain in my love.

If you keep my commandments

You will remain in my love,

Just as I have kept my Father’s commandments

And remain in his love.

I have told you this

So that my own joy may be in you

And your joy be complete.

This is my commandment:

Love one another,

As I have loved you.

A man can have no greater love

Than to lay down his life for his friends.

You are my friends,

If you do what I command you.

I shall not call you servants any more,

Because a servant does not know

His master’s business;

I call you friends,

Because I have made known to you

Everything I have learnt from my Father.

You did not choose me,

No I chose you;

And I commissioned you

To go out and to bear fruit,

Fruit that will last;

And then the Father will give you

Anything you ask him in my name.

What I command you

Is to love one another.’

Gospel Reflection :  Lucy  –  A Light To Show The Way

 

Most days Lucy would pick up two of her neighbours, who didn’t drive and who couldn’t walk very far, and bring them to Mass, and when needed to the shops afterwards.

Visiting her in the hospital a day after she’d had a stroke, I stepped into the sideroom, and saw her partly-paralised body surrounded by monitors and tubes.

Going up to her bed I gently called Lucy’s name, and her eyes opened. Though finding it difficult to speak, and me taking a long time to understand what she was saying, I eventually got it :    “What are you doing here. Haven’t you been busy with a wedding?”

And I thought to myself – “Lucy, how can you worry about me at a time like this?”  Yet, “laying down your life” for people, when done often enough, becomes habit forming, and everyone benefits.

 

We Remember In Our Prayers  Shirley Mahood whose Funeral was last week, Audrey Jordan, formerly from Cleveleys, whose Funeral is at Grange-over-Sands on Wednesday, 12th May, and Gareth Jones whose Funeral is at Carleton Crematorium on Wednesday, 19th May. We remember them and their families, and all those whose anniversaries are at this time. May they be in God’s peace.

 

The Feast of the Ascension  is celebrated this Thursday, 13th May, a Holyday of Obligation. The Mass times at our two churches are as follows :

 

At St. Teresa’s, 6.30 pm on Wednesday, 12th May (Vigil Mass), and 9.30 am on Thursday, 13th May.

 

At St. John Southworth, 6.30 pm on Thursday, 13th May.

 

Readers at Mass : The new Rota for those who kindly read at Mass for us is now available on the notice board at the back of church. Would Readers please take a copy.

 

Volunteers needed

The technology advances with respect to the video projector screen and the live streaming of mass are at a stage now where all that is needed for them to work is a few button presses. Unfortunately we need real people to push those buttons and we cannot rely on Giles and Adam to be there all the time to push those buttons. We therefore urgently need volunteers to go on a rota to push those buttons. If you are interested in helping out after having the appropriate training (being shown which buttons to press!) then please contact Adam either by phone where you can leave a message on 01253 423047 or email on adambajk@gmail.com. Thank you for your help in this new ministry.

100 Club Winners for AprilSophie Gooch, £15;   

Irene Connor,  £10;  Andrée Glynn, £5 

 

At The.Moment The Times Of Masses At Our Two Churches Are :  

 

Sundays :  St. Teresa’s  :  Saturday Vigil Mass 6.30 pm, Sunday 9.00 am and 10.30am (live streamed)

                   St. John Southworth : 5 pm

 

Weekdays : St. Teresa’s : Mondays and Fridays 9.30 am

                     St. John Southworth :  Wednesdays 9.30 am

 

Daily Reflections for this week

 

 Monday (A New Catechism)

We must trust in the Spirit of God, who leaves nobody untouched, and concentrate on the truth and goodness which other religions and philosophies offer to all. And then they can also be helpful to us. The gleam of truth in another way of life can help Christians to gain a deeper and more vital conviction of Jesus’ truth. As St. Thomas Aquinas said “All truth, no

matter by whom it is uttered, comes from the Holy Spirit.”

Humanity’s groping quest for God is animated by God’s quest for us.

 

Scripture (Acts 10:34-35,44-48)

Then Peter addressed them, ‘the truth I have come to realise is that God has no favourites, but that anybody of any nationality who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.’ While Peter was still speaking the Holy Spirit came down on all the listeners. Jewish believers who had accompanied Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit should be poured out on gentiles too, since they could hear them speaking in strange languages and proclaiming the greatness of God. Peter himself then said ‘Could anyone refuse the water of baptism to these people, now they have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ He then gave orders for them to be baptised in the name of Jesus.

 

Tuesday (Henry Scougal, 1677)

I must regret that so few understand what ‘religion’ means, some placing it in orthodox notions and opinions. Others believe if they live peaceably with their neighbours, observe the returns of worship and occasionally extend their hands to the relief of the poor, they think they have sufficiently acquitted themselves. Others again aim only to pray with passion and from thence assume a great confidence of their salvation. But those who are acquainted with religion disdain all those false imitations of it. They know by experience that true religion is a union of the soul with God, a real participation of the divine nature.

 

Scripture (Wisdom 7:24-27)

Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion; she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things. She is a breath of the power of God, pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; so nothing impure can find its way to her. For she is the reflection of the eternal light, untarnished mirror of God’s active power. She renews the world, and, generation after generation, passing into holy souls, she makes them into God’s friends and prophets; for God loves only those who dwell with wisdom.

 

Wednesday (Anthony de Mello)

A very religious-minded old woman was dissatisfied with all existing religions, so she founded one of her own. One day a reporter, who genuinely wanted to understand her point of view, said to her “Do you really believe that no one will go to heaven except you and your housemaid?” The old woman thought for a while and then replied “Well, I’m not so sure of Mary.”

 

Scripture (Luke 18:9-14)

Jesus said, ‘Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood there and said, “I thank you, God, that I am not unjust, grasping, adulterous like everyone else, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes on all I get.” The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven; but he beat his breast and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” This man, I tell you, went home justified; the other did not. For anyone who raises himself up will be humbled, but anyone who humbles himself will be raised up.’

 

Thursday (Caryll Houselander)

I had long been haunted by the Russian concept of the humiliated Christ, the lame Christ limping through Russia, begging his bread. Now, in the flash of a second, I knew that this dream is a fact; Christ in man. Christ in his perfect human nature, Christ in his risen glory and Christ in his need and his suffering on earth, are reconciled. We have the whole Christ. I knew too that since Christ is One in all, everyone is included in him; there can be no outcasts, no excommunicates, excepting those who excommunicate themselves—and they too may be saved, Christ rising from death in them. Christ is everywhere; in him every kind of life has a meaning and has an influence on every other kind of life.

 

Scripture (John 15: 9-16)

I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete. This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you. No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and bear fruit, fruit that will last.

 

 

Friday (Nicholas Berdyaev)

The life and destiny of the least human being has an absolute meaning in respect of eternity; each person’s life and dignity are everlasting. For that reason we may not do away with a single human creature; we must consider the divine image and likeness in everyone.

 

Scripture (Psalm 98)

Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has performed wonders.

Yahweh has made known his saving power, revealed his saving justice for the nations to see. The whole wide world has known the saving power of our God. Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth, burst into shouts of joy! Let the sea thunder and all it holds, the world and all who live in it, for he is coming to judge the earth; he will judge the world with saving justice and the nations with fairness.

 

 

Martin Bennett

Hymns

Although congregational hymn singing is still not allowed under Covid 19 restrictions, those of you who attend the 10.30 mass will have noticed that we have started to include hymns at the beginning and end of mass on our video projector screen. At this point they are for personal meditation (since they are prayers in their own right) but we are getting prepared for when hymn singing is allowed.

That being the case, I think it only right that special thanks should go to Josephine Connolly, Sharon Jones and Carol Gregson who helped me convert our most popular and well known hymns into digital form so that they can be projected onto our video screen.

You will hopefully see the fruits of their labours soon.

Church Bulletin 2nd May 2021

St Teresa & St John Southworth Churches, Cleveleys

Fr Chris Cousens—Phone: 853340

Rev Bernard Ward (Deacon) (Tel: 858346) 

Enquiries for St John Southworth: Phone: 853340

2 May 2021

http://www.st-teresas-church.co.uk

Email: st.teresas.cleveleys@gmail.com

Lancaster Roman Catholic Diocesan Trustees Registered Charity Number 23433

Sunday : Fifth Sunday of Easter

 

Contents Gospel Reflection

 

Notices 

 

Reflections for the coming week

 

Gospel

 

John 15:1-8

 

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘I am the true vine,

And my Father is the vinedresser.

Every branch in me that bears no fruit

He cuts away,

And every branch that does bear fruit he prunes,

To make it bear even more.

You are pruned already,

By means of the word that I have spoken to you

Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.

As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,

But must remain part of the vine,

Neither can you unless you remain in me.

I am the vine,

You are the branches.

Whoever remains in me, with me in him,

Bears fruit in plenty;

For cut off from me you can do nothing,

Anyone who does not remain in me

Is like a branch that has been thrown away

 He withers;

These branches are collected and thown on the fire,

And they are burnt.

If you remain in me

And my words remain in you,

You may ask what you will

And you shall get it.

It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit, and then you will be my disciples.’

 

Gospel Reflection : “I am the vine. You are the branches.”

 

Sometimes we have a good conversation. After it, and during it, we feel uplifted, alive. Sometimes we have a good laugh, or a good cry. Different people or groups we meet can give us this lift of the spirit. In the Gospel today Jesus speaks about branches that don’t remain part of the vine. They wither, and they are thrown away. He is referring to himself and our relationship with him. Our relationship with Jesus can bring us to life because he is that sort of person. He appeals to the best in us, and the real Jesus brings out the best in us. If the Jesus we experience is one who disapproves of us, keeps us down, contributes to our poor self-esteem, then this is not the real Jesus!

 

If we want to grow into a good relationship with him, we notice how we feel with him and share that with him. But also, our relationship with him should reach out to others. “Whoever remains in me bears fruit in plenty.” Someone once asked, ‘how do I know that I am praying right?’ The answer is not to get new methods of prayer, though these can help, but ask what is your life like? Are you growing in compassion, justice, faith, good humour, and all those things that go to make up wholeness, which is also holiness?  

 

The invitation is to stay close to Jesus as branches are to the vine. We can do this by living the beautiful words of the Old Testament Prophet, Micah  :  “Act justly, love tenderly, and walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6 : 8) That is what following Jesus is – staying close to His way

 

We Remember In Our Prayers  Constance Roberts whose Funeral was last week, Shirley Mahood whose Funeral Mass is at St. Teresa’s on Friday 7th May, and Audrey Jordan, formerly of Cleveleys, whose Funeral is at Grange-over-Sands on Wednesday, 12th May. We remember them and their families, and all those whose anniversaries are at this time. May they be in God’s peace.

 

Eucharistic Ministers :   The new Rota for Eucharistic Ministers at St. Teresa’s is now available on the notice board at the back of church. Please take a copy with you.

 

The Oxfam Shop :  The manager of the Oxfam shop in Cleveleys is very grateful that we advertised their need for more volunteers. There has been an increase in people interested –  and in shoppers!  If there is further interest please pop into the shop on Victoria Road West, or phone 01253 860144

 

At The.Moment The Times Of Masses At Our Two Churches Are :  

 

Sundays :  St. Teresa’s  :  Saturday Vigil Mass 6.30 pm, Sunday 9.00 am and 10.30am (live streamed)

                   St. John Southworth : 5 pm

 

Weekdays : St. Teresa’s : Mondays and Fridays 9.30 am

                     St. John Southworth :  Wednesdays 9.30 am

 

 

 

 

 

CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF ENGLAND AND WALES

Reflection by the Bishops of England and Wales

 

The Day of Lord

 

Gathering as Bishops in Conference this week, we wish to pay tribute to all in the Catholic

community who have shown such courage, generosity and understanding in the face of adversity

this past year. Across England and Wales, families and parish communities have risen to the

challenge of sustaining one another through times of great isolation, loneliness and grief in an

impressive variety of ways, spiritual, emotional and practical. We thank all who have worked

tirelessly in prisons, in hospitals, care-homes and across the medical profession for giving of

themselves so generously. We thank all who have worked valiantly in our schools, facing unforeseen

demands and meeting them with characteristic professionalism and dedication.

 

We wish also to pay tribute to those who have given of their time and energy to keep open our

churches as havens of peace and prayer. Churches up and down the land have realised the vision

of Pope Francis that they be like village-wells where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their

journey; and centres of “constant missionary outreach.” We thank all who have developed diverse

new patterns of outreach – of prayer, catechesis, study and spiritual solidarity; all who have made

participation in the Mass possible through the internet.

 

Also prominent in this tribute should be thanks to all who have contributed to the immense effort

of providing food for those most in need. The generosity shown in the distribution of so very many

meals has given eloquent expression to the mercy, love and compassion which are at the very heart

of God. Many have been touched by the joy of meeting Christ in the poor; and many of the poor by

the joy of meeting Christ in selfless parishioners. The provision of food is often the first step into a

deeper relationship of help and accompaniment, including the sharing of the gift of faith in our

Blessed Lord.

 

‘Vibrant’ is a word which seems to have characterised so many of our parishes throughout the

pandemic. We wish to salute our priests in particular for the leadership they have shown in this

time of crisis. We thank them for their deep devotion to both the liturgy and to their parishioners.

We commend every priest who made of his parish “a ‘sanctuary’ open to all” and with a particular

care for the poor; and the many Deacons who have exercised with such generosity their mission of

charity.

 

What will be the pace of our emerging from this pandemic remains as yet unclear. What is clear is

the challenge we face of bringing our communities and the practice of the faith to a still greater

expression and strength. As your bishops, we are aware of a threefold pattern to this challenge.

 

a) There are the fearful and weary, anxious about coming into the enclosed spaces of our

churches; those who have simply lost the habit of coming to church. Personal contact, clear

reassurance, and sensitive invitations will all be needed.

 

b) There are those who will have reassessed their pattern of life and priorities. The practice of

faith within the community of the Catholic Church may not be among those priorities. A

gap may have opened up, or widened, between the spiritual dimension of their lives and any

communal expression of that spiritual quest. They represent a particular focus and concern

for our outreach.

 

c) There are those whom we might describe as the ‘Covid curious’, those who have come into

contact with the Catholic Church through our presence on the internet – a contact we may

be able to develop through our continuing presence across diverse media platforms.

In facing these challenges, we are endowed with veritable treasures which serve to resource and

enrich us. Among them are our schools, in which so many are regaining confidence to come together

with others. We believe our schools can indeed be bridges back to church. There is also the

remarkable work of social outreach which has grown exponentially during these long months of

pandemic. On this, too, we must build. But the greatest treasure is, of course, the sacramental life of

the Church, and, pre-eminently, the Eucharist.

 

It is the Eucharist, the celebration of the Mass, that makes the Church; and it is the Church, in the

gift of the Holy Spirit, which makes the Eucharist. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the lifeblood of

the Church. It requires our active participation and, to be fully celebrated, our physical presence.

At this moment, then, we need to have in our sights the need to restore to its rightful centrality in

our lives the Sunday Mass, encouraging each to take his or her place once again in the assembly of

our brothers and sisters. We face the task of seeking to nurture the sense of Sunday as “a weekly gift

from God to his people” , and something we cannot do without; to see Sunday as the soul of the

week, as giving light and meaning to all the responsibilities we live out each day; to see the Sunday

Eucharist as food for the unique mission with which we have been endowed.

 

In the time to come we can do no better than to rekindle in our hearts, foster and encourage, a

yearning for the Real Presence of the Lord and the practice of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament,

a gift so deeply appreciated in these times of lockdown. We need to begin by fostering this in

ourselves. For the Eucharist should be the cause of our deepest joy, our highest manner of offering

thanks to God and for seeking his mercy and love. We need to make it the foundation stone of our

lives.

 

 

 

 

The invitation to Sunday Mass resonates all the more deeply when we consider, as Pope St John Paul

II reminds us in the Encyclical Letter Dies Domini, that the Sabbath rest is nothing if not a call to

remember the gift of God’s Creation. The Eucharist is indeed a celebration of the created world,

called into life by the Eternal Word, for the bread and wine of the earth becomes the Body and Blood

of Christ who is that same Lord of all life. The Christ to whom we come so close in the Eucharist

must be the foundation of our strivings, not least in the urgent task we face of caring for creation

and our environment.

 

Pope St John Paul II spoke of our amazement at the gift of the Mass and the abiding Presence of our

Blessed Lord in the Sacrament of the Altar. Herein lies our treasure, enriching our relationship with

Jesus and bringing together every aspect of our life and mission. This is such an important focus for

our task in the coming months.

 

 

Daily Reflections for this week

 

 Monday (Bede Griffiths)

The church was originally a community of the Spirit. People who received the gift of the Spirit, of which contemplation is a type, dedicated their lives to prayer. Neither serving nor preaching is good if you are not praying. If you have not got Christ within you, you cannot give him to others. You can put words and doctrines before people, but this is not preaching the gospel. It is only when you have the gospel and Christ within that you can 

communicate it to others.

 

Scripture (1 Thessalonians 2:12-13)

We urge you and appeal to you to live a life worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and his glory. Another reason why we continually thank God for you is that as soon as you heard the word that we brought to you as God’s message, you welcomed it for what it really is, not the word of any human being, but God’s word, a power that is working among you 

believers.

 

 

 

Tuesday (Jean Vanier)

The more a community grows and gives life, the deeper its roots must grow into its own soil. Expansion has to be accompanied by deepening. The more a tree grows, the stronger its roots must be, otherwise it will be uprooted by the first storm. Jesus speaks of a house built on sand. A community’s solid foundation is in the heart of God. It is God who is at the source of the community and the more it grows and expands, the more it needs people who stay close to this source.

 

Scripture (1 John 3: 18,21-24)

Our love must not be just words or mere talk, but something active and genuine. If our own feelings do not condemn us, we can be fearless before God, and whatever we ask we shall receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what is acceptable to him. His commandment is this, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and that we should love each other as he commands us. Whoever keeps his commandments remains in God, nd God in them. We know that God lives in us by the Spirit that he has given us

 

Wednesday (Carlo Carretto)

We must eliminate, or at least reduce, the tensions between action and contemplation, apostolate and prayer. People say, ‘I’m too busy with work to find time for prayer.’ This betrays a very serious shortcoming: it radically underestimates the value of human activity. It gives the impression that professional, social and family life is totally separate from prayer and the life of the soul. This betrays a sad confusion and is the product of an age with no proper theology of the laity. Furthermore, it is based on a ‘disincarnate’ piety. The first thing I must understand and believe is that my work is of enormous value, that the duties incumbent on me as a human being are holy because they are willed by God and I fulfil them in obedience to his Law.

Scripture (Ephesians 4:1-13, 15-16)

To some, his ‘gift’ was that they should be apostles; to some, prophets; to some, evangelists; to some, pastors and teachers; to knit God’s holy people together for the work of service to build up the Body of Christ, until we all reach unity in faith and knowledge of the Son of God and form the prefect Man fully mature with the  fullness of Christ himself. If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow completely into Christ, who is the head by whom the whole body Is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength for each individual part to work according to its function. So the body grows until it has built itself up in love.

Thursday (Fr. Michael Ivens, SJ)

Humility, generosity and spiritual poverty are often sought in relation to an individualistic concept of perfection. In the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, on the contrary, they are sought in relation to the call made to every Christian to the service of the kingdom, a service which is a sharing in Christ’s own continuing mission in the world. To imitate Christ, to lead the true life, and to grow in its qualities, one must be associated in this mission, not only by sharing Christ’s work, but, at least as a desired ideal, by being involved in the very pattern of vulnerability and powerlessness which embodied his self-emptying.

 

Scripture (1Peter 1:15-17,21-22,25)

As obedient children be holy in all your activity, after the model of the Holy One who calls us. And if you address as Father him who judges without favouritism according to each individual’s deeds, live out your time in reverent awe. Since by your obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves so that you can experience the genuine love of brothers, love each other intensely from the heart, for your new birth was not from any perishable seed but from imperishable seed, the living and enduring Word of God. And this Word is the Good News that has been brought to you.

 

Friday (Pope Francis, Gaudete et Exsultate. Rejoice and be Glad)

 the lack of a heartfelt and prayerful acknowledgment of our limitations prevents grace from working more effectively within us, for no room is left for bringing about the potential good that is part of a sincere and genuine journey of growth.  we need to live humbly in his presence, cloaked in his glory; we need to walk in union with him, recognizing his constant love in our lives. We need to lose our fear before that presence which can only be for our good. God is the Father who gave us life and loves us greatly. Once we accept him, and stop trying to live our lives without him, the anguish of loneliness will disappear (cf. Ps 139:23-24). In this way we will know the pleasing and perfect will of the Lord (cf. Rom 12:1-2) So often we say that God dwells in us, but it is better to say that we dwell in him, that he enables us to dwell in his light and love.

 

Scripture (John 15, 1-5,7-8)

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more. You are pruned already by means of the word that I have spoken to you. Remain in me as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in them, bears fruit in plenty. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for whatever you please and you will get it. It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit and be my disciples.

Martin Bennett

 

Parish Bulletin 25th April 2021

St Teresa & St John Southworth Churches, Cleveleys

Fr Chris Cousens—Phone: 853340

Rev Bernard Ward (Deacon) (Tel: 858346)

Enquiries for St John Southworth: Phone: 853340

25 April 2021

http://www.st-teresas-church.co.uk

Email: st.teresas.cleveleys@gmail.com

Lancaster Roman Catholic Diocesan Trustees Registered Charity Number 23433

 

Sunday : Fourth Sunday of Easter

 

Contents:  Gospel Reflection

 

Notices (including a letter to us all from Bishop Paul)

 

Reflections for the coming week

 

Gospel

 

John 10;11-18

 

Jesus said:

 

‘I am the good shepherd:

The good shepherd is one who lays down his life for his sheep. The hired man since he is not the shepherd and the sheep do not belong to him, abandons the sheep and runs away as soon as he sees a wolf coming, and the wolf attacks and scatters the sheep; This is because he is only a hired man

And has no concern for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me,

Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; And I lay down my life for my sheep,

And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and these I have to lead as well.

They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock and one shepherd.

The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again.

No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will,

And as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again;

And this is the command I have been given by my Father.

 

Gospel  Reflection :  Welcome To The Flock – But Don’t Automatically Shut The Gate.

 

Some of us believe that we have minds that can understand things, and hands that can make things, and yet why can’t we all believe that we have hearts which can give life to our fellow human beings?

 

“I can’t do much for you. All I can do is be your friend.” The person who can put those two sentences together, and mean them has what may be the greatest contribution of all to make.

 

Today, Good Shepherd Sunday, is also Vocations Sunday. All Vocations are vocations to love, to love like the Good Shepherd. 

 

We Remember In Our Prayers  Betty Bright and Betty Clarke whose Funerals were last week, and Constance Roberts whose Funeral Service is at St. Teresa’s on Monday 26th April. We remember them and their families, and all those whose anniversaries are at this time. May they be in God’s peace.

 

This Sunday, Good Shepherd Sunday, Is Also The World Day Of Prayer For Vocations. This weekend we also traditionally support those preparing for Ministry in the annual special collection for the Ecclesiastical Education Fund. The basket for that collection is at the back of church as you arrive and leave today.

 

CAFOD  Sue Ward, our parish rep. for CAFOD (The Catholic Agency For Overseas Development)  writes this weekend  “On behalf of CAFOD, a Big Thank You for all your contributions during Lent. Due to the Covid pandemic we didn’t have the usual Lenten Family Fast Day as we normally do, but that hasn’t prevented people from giving generously – online, by post direct, or by leaving your donations at church. The generosity shown has been amazing, enabling us to send a cheque for £700 to CAFOD. In addition to that, many of you sponsored Sharon Jones as she did the ‘Walk For Water’ in solidarity with Abdella who, you may remember, is a young boy who has to walk a huge journey each day to get essential water for his family. He was the focus of CAFOD’S Lenten Campaign this year. As a result, Sharon has been able to send a further £535 to CAFOD. Thank you so much Sharon for the time and effort you gave to this, and to everyone who supported you.”

 

 

A PASTORAL LETTER

FROM THE BISHOP OF LANCASTER

for Good Shepherd Sunday, 25 April 2021

 

 

APPOINTED TO BE READ AT ALL PUBLIC MASSES IN ALL CHURCHES

AND CHAPELS IN THE DIOCESE OF LANCASTER ON THE WEEKEND

OF 24/25 April 2021 (or shared in whatever way is possible).

My dear people,

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. Each year on this Fourth Sunday of Eastertide the

Church prays for Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life. Our heavenly Father

knows well what is needed even before we pray, but Christ tells us we must pray

always. We are very familiar with prayer of asking, prayer of intercession, the prayer

that is a cry for help. We learn it easily whenever we have a problem or a fear or

sickness, or whenever there is conflict.

Other forms of prayer can take more effort. A very important one is listening. Asking

for vocations is important, but it must lead us to listen for vocations because a vocation

is a response to the voice of the Good Shepherd’s call. Creating an outer-silence helps

us to listen with the heart, and can help others to hear too. Our silence will help them

to recognise the Lord’s reassuring voice. A noisy church can prevent someone hearing

the call of the Good Shepherd.

The pandemic brought a profound change to our lives, much of that change has been

unwelcome. However, one observation made by many has been how much they

noticed the world growing quieter. As traffic and activity reduced, we have been able

to notice the quiet of the natural world around us, enabling us to hear more birdsong

for example.

We are people of Faith. Appreciation of creation is good but is not an end in itself. A

work of art, a beautiful building, or a moving piece of music draws us towards the

artist, the architect and inspired composer of whatever has captured our attention and

wonder. Such beauty and awe become places of meeting with the Lord of Creation, the

person of Jesus Christ.

Over the years, you have had many fine homilies and Pastoral Letters on vocations.

Please God, many more are still to come. Sadly, the only point we often take from them

is how long they are! Each of us needs to grow and try to become more attentive to the

voice of the Good Shepherd. This will not only help us individually; it will help others

to become attentive too, and allow them to know the voice of Jesus. Perhaps the

Samaritan woman our Lord once met by a well had come to draw water at a time when

no one else was about partly because that was when the water was at its purest, when

the silt had had time to settle after everyone else had finished stirring it up with their

buckets. She wanted the best water for her family and for herself. Prayerful silence in

our churches can be like that. We have the rest of the week for chatting.

Our Lord criticises the hired men. Their loyalty was not to the sheep but to their own

needs and their own agenda. When they had got what they wanted they went. Good

shepherds, good priests and religious, good parents, good teachers are prepared to stay

with the sheep, even during the hardest times and most disturbing circumstances.

They are prepared to stay even when there is suffering. We must be like that if we are

to be like the Good Shepherd.

Our prayer for vocations must focus on our love for the gift that is the Most Holy

Eucharist. The pandemic has threatened our appreciation of this gift. Online Masses

can help us, but can never replace being physically present at Mass in our parishes. I

know we have many who are unable to come to Mass because of sickness and frailty.

But I strongly encourage you who can travel to make every effort to get back to Mass

as restrictions ease. Make our churches places of strong silent prayer where people can

sense the presence of our Lord and hear His voice. Be certain that some of those who

will come are being called to the priesthood and the religious life. This matters because

it is their way to heaven. Helping them to hear the Lord’s call and to answer can be

your way to heaven.

Pray for Deacon Stuart Chapple, to be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese on

June 26th, and for Philip Wrigley to be ordained Deacon at Oscott on the 6th June. Pray

for Simon Marley in his first year at the Beda College, Rome, and for James Knight in

his propaedeutic year at Valladolid, Spain

Finally, I wish to express my gratitude to those priests and religious who have come

from overseas to serve in our Diocese. It can be a great sacrifice to serve far from home,

from loved ones and one’s own culture, with years between visits home. It is a sacrifice

for your Bishops, your communities and your families too. This becomes even more of

a sacrifice during times of crisis. You are truly listening to the voice of the Good

Shepherd. We are grateful for your presence and for your generosity, and ask the Lord

to pour His blessings upon you.

With my blessing upon all who hear and read this Pastoral Letter,

 

Rt Rev Paul Swarbrick

Bishop of Lancaster

 

  

Daily Reflections for this week

 

Monday (Thomas Merton)

To live “in Christ” is to live in a mystery equal to that of the Incarnation and similar to it. For as Christ unites in His one person the two natures of God and man, so too in making us His friends He dwells in us, uniting us intimately to Himself. From the moment we have responded by faith and charity to His love for us, a supernatural union of our souls with His indwelling Divine Person gives us a participation in His Divine sonship and nature. A “new being” is brought into existence. I become a “new man” and this new man, spiritually and mystically one identity, is at once Christ and myself.

 

Scripture (Romans 8:14-17)

All who are guided by the Spirit of God are children of God; for what you received was not the spirit of slavery to bring you back into fear; you received the spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry out “Abba, Father!” The Spirit himself joins with our spirit to bear witness that we are children of God. And if we are children, then we are heirs, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, providing that we share his suffering, so as to share his glory.

 

Tuesday (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

The first disciples lived in the bodily presence and communion of Jesus. In what manner is that communion and fellowship still possible for us today? St. Paul tells us that we are made members of the Body of Christ through Baptism. The baptised can still live in bodily presence and enjoy communion with him. So far from impoverishing them his departure brings a new gift. Our communion with him is richer and more assured than it was for the first disciples, for the communion and presence we have is with the glorified Lord. In the Body of Christ we are caught up into eternity by the act of God.

 

Scripture (Eph. 2:19-22)

So you are no longer aliens or foreign visitors; you are fellow-citizens with the holy people of God and part of God’s household. You are built upon the foundations of the apostles and the prophets, and Christ Jesus himself is the cornerstone. Every structure knit together in Him grows into a holy temple in the Lord; and you, too, in him, are being built up into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

 

Wednesday (Fr. Richard Rohr)

To be able to experience ourselves as givers of energy, we have somehow to know ourselves as God (here you find a thin line between truth and illusion!). We have to know who we belong to, we have to believe in the divine indwelling. Prayer itself is God.  It is not something I do for God; prayer is God in me loving God outside of me, and God outside of me loving God inside me.

 

Scripture (1John 4:16-18)

We have recognised for ourselves, and put our faith in, the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. Love comes to perfection in us when we face the Day of Judgement

fearlessly, because even in this world we have become as he is.

 

Thursday (Brother Lawrence)

As Brother Lawrence had found such comfort and blessing in walking in the presence of God, it was natural for him to recommend it earnestly to others; but his example was a stronger inducement than any arguments he could use. It was noticed that in the greatest hurry of business in the kitchen, he still preserved his recollection and heavenly-mindedness. “The time of business” he said “does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquillity as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.

 

Scripture (John 14:16-20)

I shall ask the Father and he will give you another Paraclete to be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth whom the world can never accept since it neither sees nor knows him; but you know him, because he is with you, he is in you. I shall not leave you orphans; I shall come to you. In a short time the world will no longer see me; but you will see that I live and you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you.

 

Friday (A New Catechism)

God’s omnipresence is not the homogenous filling of the height and width of the universe, but fellowship with our love and suffering. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” When we try to penetrate this mystery prayerfully, we begin to realise that our whole life is in the hands of an eternal love. Being brought to the Father by Jesus and filled with their Holy Spirit, we are perpetually involved in a mystery of love. Since we are privileged to be the family of God, the most magnificent glory is revealed to us.

 

Scripture (John 10:11-18)

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold, and I must lead these too. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock, one shepherd. The Father loves me because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as I have the power to lay it down, so I have the power to take it up again; and this is the command I have received from my Father.

 

Martin Bennett

Bishop Paul’s latest Pastoral letter

A PASTORAL LETTER

FROM THE BISHOP OF LANCASTER

for Good Shepherd Sunday, 25 April 2021

 

 

APPOINTED TO BE READ AT ALL PUBLIC MASSES IN ALL CHURCHES

AND CHAPELS IN THE DIOCESE OF LANCASTER ON THE WEEKEND

OF 24/25 April 2021 (or shared in whatever way is possible).

My dear people,

Today is Good Shepherd Sunday. Each year on this Fourth Sunday of Eastertide the

Church prays for Vocations to the Priesthood and Religious Life. Our heavenly Father

knows well what is needed even before we pray, but Christ tells us we must pray

always. We are very familiar with prayer of asking, prayer of intercession, the prayer

that is a cry for help. We learn it easily whenever we have a problem or a fear or

sickness, or whenever there is conflict.

Other forms of prayer can take more effort. A very important one is listening. Asking

for vocations is important, but it must lead us to listen for vocations because a vocation

is a response to the voice of the Good Shepherd’s call. Creating an outer-silence helps

us to listen with the heart, and can help others to hear too. Our silence will help them

to recognise the Lord’s reassuring voice. A noisy church can prevent someone hearing

the call of the Good Shepherd.

The pandemic brought a profound change to our lives, much of that change has been

unwelcome. However, one observation made by many has been how much they

noticed the world growing quieter. As traffic and activity reduced, we have been able

to notice the quiet of the natural world around us, enabling us to hear more birdsong

for example.

We are people of Faith. Appreciation of creation is good but is not an end in itself. A

work of art, a beautiful building, or a moving piece of music draws us towards the

artist, the architect and inspired composer of whatever has captured our attention and

wonder. Such beauty and awe become places of meeting with the Lord of Creation, the

person of Jesus Christ.

Over the years, you have had many fine homilies and Pastoral Letters on vocations.

Please God, many more are still to come. Sadly, the only point we often take from them

is how long they are! Each of us needs to grow and try to become more attentive to the

voice of the Good Shepherd. This will not only help us individually; it will help others

to become attentive too, and allow them to know the voice of Jesus. Perhaps the

Samaritan woman our Lord once met by a well had come to draw water at a time when

no one else was about partly because that was when the water was at its purest, when

the silt had had time to settle after everyone else had finished stirring it up with their

buckets. She wanted the best water for her family and for herself. Prayerful silence in

our churches can be like that. We have the rest of the week for chatting.

Our Lord criticises the hired men. Their loyalty was not to the sheep but to their own

needs and their own agenda. When they had got what they wanted they went. Good

shepherds, good priests and religious, good parents, good teachers are prepared to stay

with the sheep, even during the hardest times and most disturbing circumstances.

They are prepared to stay even when there is suffering. We must be like that if we are

to be like the Good Shepherd.

Our prayer for vocations must focus on our love for the gift that is the Most Holy

Eucharist. The pandemic has threatened our appreciation of this gift. Online Masses

can help us, but can never replace being physically present at Mass in our parishes. I

know we have many who are unable to come to Mass because of sickness and frailty.

But I strongly encourage you who can travel to make every effort to get back to Mass

as restrictions ease. Make our churches places of strong silent prayer where people can

sense the presence of our Lord and hear His voice. Be certain that some of those who

will come are being called to the priesthood and the religious life. This matters because

it is their way to heaven. Helping them to hear the Lord’s call and to answer can be

your way to heaven.

Pray for Deacon Stuart Chapple, to be ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese on

June 26th, and for Philip Wrigley to be ordained Deacon at Oscott on the 6th June. Pray

for Simon Marley in his first year at the Beda College, Rome, and for James Knight in

his propaedeutic year at Valladolid, Spain

Finally, I wish to express my gratitude to those priests and religious who have come

from overseas to serve in our Diocese. It can be a great sacrifice to serve far from home,

from loved ones and one’s own culture, with years between visits home. It is a sacrifice

for your Bishops, your communities and your families too. This becomes even more of

a sacrifice during times of crisis. You are truly listening to the voice of the Good

Shepherd. We are grateful for your presence and for your generosity, and ask the Lord

to pour His blessings upon you.

With my blessing upon all who hear and read this Pastoral Letter,

 

Rt Rev Paul Swarbrick

Bishop of Lancaster