Paul on Paul – 10th April 2022

Palm Sunday
Phillippians 2:6-11

His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.

But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all other names so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


There is little I can add to this. This passage when I hear it – as we do as part of the liturgy every year – give me shivers.

Imagine a God who is so powerful and so perfect that his very nature was ‘being’ itself.

Imagine a God who, despite that, loves humanity so much that he gave up that perfection and power to, not just become like a human – but to become human.

Imagine a God who does that, but is rejected, challenged, teased, mocked, scourged and denied…but carries on anyway.

Imagine a God who is abandoned by even his closest friends and let down by even his most convicted followers.

Imagine a God who is caught by those who mocked him, and treated in the most humiliating way known to the world at the time. Tortured in a way reserved for the worst of the worst.

Imagine a God is killed for the sake of humanity.

Imagine a God who dies.

Imagine a God who goes through all of that, but still cannot be overcome by death and instead is able to overcome death itself. Who is still above all other things. Who is still to be lauded and praised by all created things.

We do not need to imagine that God. We know him. This is the Gospel. The Story St. Paul tells us in 6 verses and 2 sentences is the Story of the Gospel.

And what a story it is.

Parish Bulletins – 10th April 2022

Our Parish Bulletins for this week are available at the links below.

This is the Palm Sunday (also known as Passion Sunday), the final Sunday in the Season of Lent and the first day of Holy Week.

Holy Week is a special time of prayer and reflection for the church. You can see information about our Holy Week Services (including the Easter Triduum) here, and in our Parish Bulletins.

The Sunday Obligation to attend Mass has now resumed in Scotland.

Paul on Paul – 3rd April 2022

5th Sunday of Lent
Phillippians 3:8-14

Not only that, but I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For him I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in him. I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts, the perfection that comes from the Law, but I want only the perfection that comes through faith in Christ, and is from God and based on faith. All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death. That is the way I can hope to take my place in the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have become perfect yet: I have not yet won, but I am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me. I can assure you my brothers, I am far from thinking that I have already won. All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come; I am racing for the finish, for is the prize to which God calls us upwards to receive in Christ Jesus.


One of the most difficult moments in our lives – and it must happen to each of us at an early age – is when we realise we are not ‘the best’ at everything. That there is someone who can run faster; who can jump higher; whose handwriting is better; who can do maths faster. And that realisation will – or should – follow us. That sometimes, we fall short.

It is this feeling, but in the moral dimension, that St. Paul is trying to get at in this Sunday’s 2nd reading. He states very clearly that he has accepted that he cannot achieve moral perfection under his own efforts. “I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts, the perfection that comes from the Law“. What perfection is this? “The Law” is the “Law of Moses” – the Jewish Torah.

In the Jewish faith at the time of the new Church, and indeed today, obedience to God is the sign of being a Jew. Following the Commandments and rules that are drawn from the first 5 books of (what we woudl call) the Old Testemant: Genisis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy is what sets the nation of Isreal apart. ‘The Law’ is the sign of the relationship with God.

But St. Paul has, and is trying to explain to the new Churhc in Phillipi, that this is not the sign of a relationship with Christ. Now we need more. We must, instead, search for “…the perfection that comes through faith in Christ, and is from God and based on faith“. Our relationship with God is founded on and marked by our faith in God – the Father, the Son and the Spirit.

But yet – Paul is cautious in this. he acknowledges that while we can come to perfection in Christ he “…has not won yet”. But he is focussed on the task at hand. It is won, not by following rules for their own sake but by having faith in Christ.

So…what does that mean for us today? We have rules to follow in the name of ‘faith’ – Lent more times than most. What’s the point? What Paul warns against is thinking that just following the rules is enough…we must follow the rules out of love of Chirst. We follow the rules and directions of the Church not to get ‘Catholic Points’ that build up our Salvation-meter that gets us to heaven. No!

We follow the guidence of the Church our of love of Christ and his Church. Because those rules assist us in building our faith – through fasting, through prayer or through compelling us to care for and act for others. The rules alone – from the Pope or even from God himself are not enough when God has asked us to form a direct relationship with him directly. “All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come“.

Parish Bulletins – 3rd April 2022

Our Parish Bulletins for this week are available at the links below.

This is the 5th Sunday of Lent, the season of the Church charaterised by Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.

The Sunday Obligation to attend Mass has now resumed in Scotland.

From this Monday, the ‘Mask Mandate’ (i.e the requirement to wear facemasks is no longer in force. People may still shoose to wear masks, others may not – we must all respect others in thier choice.
Hand santiser when entering the church remains necassary.

Parish Bulletins – 27th March 2022

Our Parish Bulletins for this week are available at the links below.

This is the 4th Sunday of Lent, the season of the Church charaterised by Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving.

The Sunday Obligation to attend Mass has now resumed in Scotland.

We are now in Level 0 restrictions. The Congregation can join in singing under masks, however, we are maintaining 2m distancing for the time being. While booking is not essential, it is encouraged.

Paul on Paul – 13th March 2022

2nd Sunday of Lent
Phillippians 3:17 – 4:1

My brothers, be united in following my rule of life. Take as your models everybody who is already doing this and study them as you used to study us. I have told you often, and I repeat it today with tears, there are many who are behaving as the enemies of the cross of Christ. They are destined to be lost. They make foods into their god and they are proudest of something they ought to think shameful; the things they think important are earthly things. For us, our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of his glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which he can subdue the whole universe.

So then, my brothers and dear friends, do not give way but remain faithful in the Lord. I miss you very much, dear friends; you are my joy and my crown.


It’s hard being a Christian who is seriously trying to be a ‘Good Christian’. Even within the Catholic Church, there are those who disagree with fundamental truths of the faith – the Pope’s Authority; the place of the Mass; and even the truth that Christ teaches! But at least in the 21st Century we know that the Wisdom of Mother Church, under the Pope’s Leadership, will guide us in our faith.

But imagine not 21st century Christianity, but 1st century Christianity. Where Peter’s ‘Papacy’ isn’tuniversally known in new Christian churches & where there is no ‘Bible’ as we would know it today to refer to for guidance in prayer. When those 1st century Christians needed to know what to do, it is only natural that they would turn and copy those around them. This is what – in a way – Paul encourages – but with caution. He says to the Church in Philipi “…My brothers, be united in following my rule of life. Take as your models everybody who is already doing this…”

This can sound a bit self-important of Paul – he wasn’t people to follow him. But what is important is not that he wants people to follow him, but why. He does it not for fame or glory, but to help people in the faith. He would rather they follow his (self-admittedly) imperfect example than the example of those who are “…proudest of something they ought to think shameful; the things they think important are earthly things”.

This is an urging, really, not to follow those who obsess and focus soley on amassing food – or material posessions. Because, to use a slightly more modern phrase, “There’s no pockets in a shroud”. “For us, our homeland is in heaven“.

This final thing to note here, somethign particualrly appropriate in the Lenten season of waiting is that Paul writes that …”from heaven comes the saviour we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ…”. Notice the future tense. That Paul – who is only too aware of and spreads the news of Jesus death, burial and ressurection – is already anticipating his coming again. We too as Christians, as we prepare to commemorates Christ’s Death are, too, sitting, waiting, anticipating His coming again.