Paul on Paul – 16th January 2022

2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 12: 4-11

There is a variety of gifts but always the same Spirit; there are all sorts of service to be done, but always to the same Lord; working in all sorts of different ways in different people, it is the same God who is working in all of them. The particular way in which the Spirit is given to each person is for a good purpose. One may have the gift of preaching with wisdom given him by the Spirit; another may have the gift of preaching instruction given him by the same Spirit; and another the gift of faith given by the same Spirit; another again the gift of healing, through this one Spirit; one, the power of miracles; another, prophecy; another the gift of recognising spirits; another the gift of tongues and another the ability to interpret them. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, who distributes different gifts to different people just as he chooses.


As we pass the halfway point of January, the New Year’s Resolutions we made just 2 weeks ago may have fallen by the wayside…slightly. The determination to write the 100 words a day of the next great novel; or the commitment to photography; or our attempt to learn a language to make up for the lack of success at school. It’s natural to us to want to try new things.

But there can come a moment where, in some things, it is better for us to recognise that we are just not ‘that person’. There are some skills we do not possess and try as we might to acquire them, we never will. As in life, so in the Church. There are some who are called to the priesthood or religious life, but there are others who are not – but called to serve the Church in other ways. Those called to Proclaim the word; those to bring Christ to the sick and housebound; those to welcome familiar faces and new neighbours into the Church Building; to clean the Church or prepare the Church for Mass.

What St. Paul is telling the early Church is just as important in the Modern one – that even though not all of us hold the same role, or have the ability to do so, does not mean what we do is unworthy. There is a perception that the Pope, or the clergy ar ‘The Church’ and the rest of us are just passive observers…nothing can be further from the truth. The flip-side is, of course, that we are all called to serve – however we can. Whether that is service to the poor, leading worship, sharing the Gospel or maintaining the Parish website…“All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, who distributes different gifts to different people just as he chooses.

Parish Bulletins – 16th January 2022

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

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.

Remember that our Devine Mercy Devotions resume this Thursday, 20th January 2022.

Parish Bulletins – 9th January 2022

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

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.

We would also highlight that there will be no Daily Masses between 10th -14th January 2022.

Paul on Paul – 2nd January 2022

The Feast of the Epiphany
Ephesians 3:2-3A, 5-6

You have probably heard how I have been entrusted by God with the grace he meant for you, and that it was by a revelation that I was given the knowledge of the mystery, as I have just described it very shortly.
If you read my word you will have some idea of the depths that I see in the mystery of Christ. This that has now been revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations; it means that pagans now share the same inheritance, that they are parts of the same body, and that the same promise has been made to them, in Jesus Christ, through the gospel.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

New years are often the time when we look back at where we’ve come from and use that to look at where we’re going. And our 2nd Reading this Sunday gives us an opportunity to do that – by raising a fundamental point of our Faith; that we know God because He has made Himself known.

St. Thomas Aquinas showed that it is possible to ‘reason’ your way to the existence of God. But it isn’t possible to know that there are Three Persons who are co-equally God. It isn’t intuitive that God became Man and died and was resurrected. We only know this because God himself revealed this to us.

It is this idea that Paul invites us into in this Sunday’s passage – that we have been brought into the mystery of God’s love, not by some accident or fluke, but because God Himself brought us in. The mysteries were “…revealed through the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets was unknown to any men in past generations.”

It is easy to lose sight of this remarkable fact – and not to appreciate that our Faith is handed to us by others. From our parents; our family; our priests and Bishops and the Pope – all of whom received it from their parents or family or priests; who in turn received it before them – leading all the way back to the Apostles, and Paul, and then to Christ Himself.

That is what Paul means when he says we “…share the same inheritance…” as the Jews who were the first Chosen people of God – that God, who revealed himself to the Whole World allowed us to share the ultimate gift from Him…faith.

Parish Bulletins – 2nd January 2022

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

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.

We would also highlight that there will be no Daily Masses between 10th -14th January 2022.

Paul on Paul – 19th December 2021

4th Sunday of Advent
Hebrews 10:5:10

This is what Christ said, on coming into the world: You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation, prepared a body for me. You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin; then I said, just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book, ‘God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.’
Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.


This Sunday is the 4th and Final Sunday of Advent and the Church, through our readings from Scripture this week guide us to consider the greatest of all the Christian Virtues – Love.

While this week’s 1st Reading and Gospel give us physical examples of love (of God’s love for man and Mary’s love for her Cousin Elizabeth) – but the 2nd reading, instead, gives us an opportunity to consider how difficult love actually is – how difficult it can be to will or act for the good of the other for the sake of the other – and how our Worship of God is how we express our love for God

St. Paul frames this in Christ’s words “This is what Christ said…” which tells us that this ‘struggle to love’ is both ages-old and known by God. He is talking about the struggle of the early Christians and the Jewish people of the time in doing what God had asked for them under the Old Law (or Testement) – the sacrifices they were asked to make; the rules God asked them to follow; or the way they were to worship. But even then – God came to earth to redeem those who did not seek him. God made the ultimate act of love.

But we know this struggle too – that Love is hard. In relationships (whether romantic, social or familial), it can often be the case that it we can ignore or overlook what is asked of us by that other person and try and please them on our terms instead. Think of the child, whose parents ask constantly to tidy their room but instead, the child draws a picture to show them how much they mean to them. There is no reason to doubt the sincerity of the child’s love – but it isn’t a ‘sacrifice’ is it? The child may enjoy drawing, and by undergoing the suffering of the ‘tidying the room’ and doing what the parents asks, shows that the child would be placing the parents wants of their own.

So to with God: in the first books of the Torah (Old Testament) God sets out the ways and means of worship – does to the dimensions of the building, the shape of the vessels and other objects for worship, the rules for sacrifice and offerings – and the rest of the Old Testament is the story of the Jewish people time and again not following what is asked of them, and the consequences of that. Often, they do still worship God – they still offer him sacrifices, they still worship him – but they do it in a way pleasing to themselves, not what is pleasing to God.

Even today, in the Christian World, when Christ said at the Last Supper “Do this in memory of me”, it seems to be very clear what he is asking of his followers in the Church – but yet, how many Churches do not have some form of ‘Bread and Wine’ at the heart of their worship. Or closer to home, how many times do we look out the window and all too quickly say “It’s too wet/dark/cold/windy to go to Mass” when we know we could if we tried (though, of course, there are legitimate reasons as to why some can’t get to Mass – including extreme weather)? How many times are we too quick to find a reason not to attend Mass and say “I will worship in my own way”. Think the same of the Sacrament of Confession too – we can go straight to God, but God also gave us the Sacrament to use.

To show love of God and to neighbour over Christmas let us adopt the words of Christ as per the 2nd Reading: God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.

Parish Bulletins – 19th December 2021

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

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 – 12th December 2021

3rd Sunday of Advent (Gaudete Sunday)
Philippians 4:4-7

I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord; I repeat, what I want is your happiness. Let your tolerance be evident to everyone: the Lord is very near. There is no need to worry; but if there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving, and that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.


Appropriate Background Music for this Sunday’s reflection

The 3rd Sunday on Advent is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday – Joyful or Rejoicing Sunday – but we looked at that last year.

Instead of just telling us to ‘Rejoice’ and be happy, this Sunday’s 2nd Reading forces us to consider how we can rejoice. Paul, writing, most likely, from his prison cell, a miserable and awful place, tells others to be happy.

But to implore happiness is one thing, but how does one achieve that? “…If there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer…” is Paul’s suggestion. So accept what we have, and if there is whatever we need, we know that we can ask God for it.

There – that was easy. But, of course, we know that that is not true. We know that God does not always deliver what we ask. we don’t get every promotion we pray for; the relationship we long for; and not every illness we pray to be cured is. So how can this be a recipe for Christian happiness?

Because, I would suggest, that is only half of the story. We are not just to pray for it, but to use “…prayer of thanksgiving…”, not, necessarily a prayer of petition (or request). But then, what does St. Paul say we should expect when we pray to God? That our prayers will all be instantly answered? No – not at all. He says that “…that peace of God, which is so much greater than we can understand, will guard your hearts and your thoughts.”

It’s not a denial or a guarantee of abandonment. It is instead a promise of contentment – that when we seek something from God, God’s consideration for us is not merely our short-term ask, but our long-term betterment. Just as we have all experienced the sadness and disappointment of a prayer not answered, we have all experienced the joy of the dodged bullet – that thing we thought we wanted, but turned out would have ruined us.

Because true Joy, Christian Joy, is not merely ‘happiness’. It is not the promotion, or the short-term gain – but it is the long-term benefit and, ultimately, eternal happiness in Heaven. And God – who loves us with the love of a Parent – acts as a parent, sometimes denying what we want (to our own sadness) in favour of what we need.

So when we pray to God, we will not always get the happiness of what we ask for, but He will, in His love “…guard your hearts and your thoughts…”, so that we may experience true, pure, Christian Joy.

Parish Bulletins – 12th December 2021

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

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 – 28th November 2021

1st Sunday of Advent
1 Thessalonians 3:12 – 4:2

May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints. Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Once again, the Church enters a new liturgical year (called, Year C) – the Year of St. Luke’s Gospel.

Luke is a strange figure among the four Evangelists – he is the only one who is suspected of being a Gentile (i.e coming from a non-Jewish background), though some think he may have been a ‘God-fearer’ – someone who believed in the strength and power of the Lord, but was not properly Jewish. He was, in any view, one of the first people ‘brought into’ the Church – excluded from the Old Covenant of Isreal, but invited into the Covenant of Christ.

And it is this broad invitation – this extension beyond Isreal and Judah – that invites us into the Love of God too, as well as those in Thessalonica to whom St. Paul is writing in today’s 2nd Reading. People who were not included in the covenant by birth-right, but by choice and every-day decision making – trusting that Christ and God is there for us. It is this that, as we begin the preparation season of Advent, we can reflect upon. It is this virtue of ‘Hope’ that the Church invites us to consider on this Advent Sunday.

Christian Hope is not earthly ‘hope’. It isn’t a “I hope this happens”, like a longing or a desiring – it is, instead a trusting. A trust in that what God has promised, to His people Isreal as through the Father; through his prophets and priests; through Christ to the world; and through the Holy Spirit to us on a day-to-day basis. And it is this same Christian Hope that we hold today, as the early Christians in Thessalonica held. That what God has promised, He will deliver.

And why wouldn’t He – because He already has. 2000 years ago, God fulfilled his century-long promise to Isreal, to deliver them a Messiah and reunite them to himself. And now that we have had the first Advent (which Culminates in the First Coming of Christ and Christmas), we as Christians await in this Second Advent, for His second coming, as has been promised to us.

We await in this sure and certain hope.