Paul on Paul – 6th June 2021

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Chirsti); Year B
Hebrews 9:11-15

But now Christ has come, as the high priest of all the blessings which were to come. He has passed through the greater, the more perfect tent, which is better than the one made by men’s hands because it is not of this created order; and he has entered the sanctuary once and for all, taking with him not the blood of goats and bull calves, but his own blood, having won an eternal redemption for us. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer are sprinkled on those who have incurred defilement and they restore the holiness of their outward lives; how much more effectively the blood of Christ, who offered himself as the perfect sacrifice to God through the eternal Spirit, can purify our inner self from dead actions so that we do our service to the living God.
He brings a new covenant, as the mediator, only so that the people who were called to an eternal inheritance may actually receive what was promised: his death took place to cancel the sins that infringed the earlier covenant.


Thank the Lord for the Feast of Corpus Chirsti – the opportunity to focus on the the source a summit of our faith. But, to truly understand the gift that if the Eucharist – the Real Presense of Jesus in our lives, we have to look at the history of ‘God among the people’…and many books have been written on that subject. But the 2nd Reading this Sunday invites us to peek into it.

The letter is “The Letter to the Hebrews” – it’s audience isn’t a group of pagan people who are creating a new relationship with the Judeo-Christian God; it is a group of “Christian Jews”, who already have a relationship with the LORD, which comes with a history and rules of worship, and rituals and symbols. This letter, written only around 40-50 years after Christ’s death and ressurection, is to help those Jewish people reach a fuller understanding of their traditions in light of the Full realisation of salvation in Jesus Christ.

But what is it that is re-contextualised? The greatest Jewish Symbol of God’s presense with his people was the Ark of the Covenant, in which were the 2 tablets of the Ten Commandments. In the books of Exodus and Deuteronomy, God spoke to Moses from the top of the Ark. When the Isrealites were wandering in the dessert, it was the Ark that led them; When they camped, the Ark had its own tent…called ‘The Tabernacle’. And when King Solomon built the Temple in Jereusalem, the Ark was placed in the Holy of Holies – the holiest place in the Temple and in Isreal. The First Book of Kings tells us that when the Ark was placed in the Holy of Holies, the whole room was filled with a cloud of the Lord’s presense.

The only time that anyone was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies was on Yom Kippur or the “Day of Atonement”, and even then only the High Priest was permitted to enter. This was the day where Jews would seek forgiveness of their sins from God – seeking redemption and salvation. He would spend days preparing, ritually washing and being sprinkled with ashes as signs of purification. He would then lead in – not a lamb, which was the usual sarifices seeking sin – but a bull and 2 goats and sacrifice them. One of the goats woudl be prayed over to take on the sins of the people and then led into the wilderness to symboliclly ‘take away the sins’ of the people from Isreal (which is where the word ‘scapegoat’ comes from). He would then sacrifice the other goat and the Bull in atonement, sprinkling their blood over the people gathered outside the Holy of Holies.

So now, with that context in mind – which would have been the real lived expereiences of 1st Century Jewish-Christians reading this letter, the spleandour and wonder of Christ’s scarifice is all the easier to appreciate. When he “…passed through the greater, the more perfect tent, which is better than the one made by men’s hands…”, Christ was not simply performing a ritual or symboliclly acting in place of God – he was not of the created order” but he was truly effecting God’s love! This was not Symbolic, but Real.

He did this not with “…the blood of goats and bull calves, but his own blood, having won an eternal redemption…”. Again, He did not require any creation to help Him, becuase He was the perfect expression of God’s merciful love. The symbolism of the animal’s blood (where in the Jewish tradition, blood is the life-force of a creature) is replaces with the God-Man’s blood – Jesus gives his life-force for the forgiveness of sins. And the blood which was “…sprinkled…[to restore] the holiness of their outward lives“, is replaced by “…the blood of Christ…the perfect sacrifice …[who] can purify our inner self”. This is not symbolic; but Real.

But importantly – the Jewish people were in Covenant with God. They were bound to Him. But, as the writer notes, that Jesus “…brings a new covenant, as the mediator“. A new covenant, between God and His People (the faithful, His Church), brought about and mediated by God himself. Not prophets or priests, but by Christ. He signs the deal in His own Blood to seal it. This is not symbolic; but Real.

And now – with all of that – why woudl the Church want us to ponder this reading on this Feast day? The answer is obvious: we are challenged to recognise God being truly present among us in the Eucharist. Not just a symbol of God’s presense, like the Ark; but as his Real Presense. Not something reserved to only the High Priest (or the Pope) on 1 day a year; but to all of us, as often as we can manage. Not just something that is some sort of outward performance; but which brings about a Real inward transformation of, not only the bread, but ourselves. And not merely a symbol of our relationship with God; but a Real receiption of him in out lives, in our bodies and in our souls. None of this – not the Eucharist, not Christ, not his Sacred Body nor His Precious savign Blood – is symbolic, like what came before him; but Real, just as he was.

Parish Bulletins – 6th June 2021

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

This is our First Sunday Mass under the Level 2 restrictions, however, nothing too much will change in the Parish & Physical distancing is still required in the Parishes.

There is no ‘hard limit’ to attendee numbers, however, 2m distances between households means that the practical limit for the parishes is 60. Booking, while encouraged, is no longer mandatory.

Paul on Paul – 30th May 2021

Feast of the Holy Trinity; Year B
Romans 8: 14-17

“All who are guided by the Spirit of God are sons 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 joint-heirs with Christ, provided that we share his suffering, so as to share his glory.”


The mystery of the Trinity is the central Christian mystery of God’s identity. But, it is also central to Christianity’s purpose – to fundementally change us as created humans. It is this that Paul makes reference to in his letter to the Romans in c.60AD.

It has been noted before that Love is active and it needs someone who loves, one who is loved and love passing between them – and this is one view of the Trinity. The Father loves, the Son is the Beloved and the Holy Spirit is the love that flows between them.

In baptism, which changes our nature as humans, and in Confrimation even moreso, we ‘recieve the Holy Spirit’. We receive “…not the spirit of slavery to bring you back into fear; you received the Spirit of adoption…”. Baptism, then, should not create upon us a burden, or a “Catholic Guilt” for us to be worried about a God who judges or condemns us. It should, instead, create in us an openness to God and welcome us into the mystery of the Trinity.

If we recieve the “spirit of adoption”, then the Holy Spirit brings us, really, into God’s Love. We enter into the same relationship as the Father and the Son – we are literally called to be like Christ. We, as Christ did asked to call God “Abba” – which is what we would now call ‘dad’. We are asked to enter into an intimate relationship with Him – a relationship of ever-flowing love.

Paul’s letter to the Romans is called the Letter of God’s Love and Hope – and as we peer into the mystery of the Trinity, we can see why. The unity of the Trinity is the cenral mystery of our One, True, Living God. When we enter the Church, we enter into by the Holy Spirit of Love – is what unifies us to the Paschal scarifice as “…heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ…”, and leaves us fully open, and fully receptive to the Love of the Father which lets us, in the fulness of time, “… share his glory“.

Parish Bulletins – 30th May 2021

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

There is now no attendance cap for most services (including Sunday Mass), however, 2m distances between households must be maintained. Booking, while encouraged, is no longer mandatory. The Attendance limits for Weddings and Funerals, however, will be 50 people.

Paul on Paul – 23rd May 2021

Pentecost Sunday; Year B
1 Corinthians 12: 3B-7; 12-13

Brothers and sisters:
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.
To each individual, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ.vFor in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.


Pentecost is the end of the Easter Season in the Church. It signals the end of the season of celebration and institution for the Church – it’s first principles, it’s original mission – to the real life of the church. The work that it was institued for remains our work 2000 year later. And the same Lord, the same Spirit that descended upon the Apostles, descended upon us at our Baptism and Confirmation. And it descended upon us with the same purpose.

Which is not to say that we all have the same job towards that same purpose. After spending Easter time with John’s letters, we are back to Paul’s letters. Both wrote to the early Christians, both for the same purpose of sharing knowledge of God, but both with different emphasies. Think of the Gospels – all sharing the same fundemental truth of Jesus Christ, but each emphasing different aspects of Jesus (as a Messiah, as a King, as a God).

It’s this unity in difference that St. Paul – who’s emphasis was on the practical works of Christianity – is referring to in this Sunday’s 2nd Reading: There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. We can eaily be envious of someone elses talents or role or position – but we are all working towards the same goal, our task given by God. To each individual, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit

And, to take that furhter, without each doing their own role – not someone else’s – then any project is doomed to failure. We know this from families or workplaces, where too many people want to lead, but not enough people want to do the hard labour. As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body. We, as a Church, a family, a workplace, a society are separated parts of one whole – not a whole in ourselves.

And finally, Paul makes a statement that woudl have been incendary for the 1st Century Jew – “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit”. Jew and non-Jew being equal would have been scandalous; those in bondage and those over them being equal would have up-ended social relations…but that is what the Sprit of God demands.

Christianity is a radical proposition if done correctly. that is the challenge is for us to remember that we all, too, regardless of our station in life, our income, our national or ethnic background, our past actions, or our immigration status are “…all the parts of the body” that Paul writes about this weekend – and the challenge for us is to think and act accordingly. To think and act in accordance with the Sprit of God’s love that we have recieved.

Parish Bulletins – 23rd May 2021

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

There is now no attendance cap for most services (including Sunday Mass), however, 2m distances between households must be maintained. Booking, while encouraged, is no longer mandatory. The Attendance limits for Weddings and Funerals, however, will be 50 people.

Paul on Paul – 16th May 2021

7th Sunday of Easter; Year B
1 John 4:11-16

My dear people, since God has loved us so much, we too should love one another. No one has ever seen God; but as long as we love one another God will live in us and his love will be complete in us. We can know that we are living in him and he is living in us because he lets us share his Spirit. We ourselves saw and we testify that the Father sent his Son as saviour of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him, and he in God. We ourselves have known and put our faith in God’s love towards ourselves. God is love and anyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in him.


As you may have noticed over the Easter period (where Paul’s letters have been absent), John’s 1st letter focus heavily on Love – both God’s love for us and our duty to love each other, and who both these things aren’t that different. We’ve looked at this, both in previous reflection on the 2nd Readings, and in Father Benneth’s Homily from last week.

So, instead – I want us to consdier a seemingly unimportant connecting line: “No one has ever seen God; but as long as we love one another God will live in us and his love will be complete in us. We can know that we are living in him and he is living in us because he lets us share his Spirit“.

God is Love. But Love, as has been discussed before, is not a passive event, but an action. It requries both a do’er and a do’ee; someone who loves and someone to be loved. This is the beginning of the Trinity. God is Three disinct Persons in one united God – God the Father is the 1st Lover; the Son (who would be sent to us as Jesus Christ) the Beloved; and the Holy Spirit the force of Love that flows between them. Love is the essential idenity of God.

So just as we cannot see wind, but can see the effects of Wind in the world; so too with God. We cannot see God, but we see the effects of God in the world, and in us. The strongest, surest of them is Love. When we love another – unconditionally, for their own sake – we act as God the Father; when we recieve love and consolation from another – we act as God the Son; and when we embody both of these, when we love one another and let love flow between us – we embody the Spirit.

The surest sign of God’s presence is love. We do not worship a Loving God, we worship a God of Love.

Parish Bulletins – 16th May 2021

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

There is now no attendance cap for most services (including Sunday Mass), however, 2m distances between households must be maintained. Booking, while encouraged, is no longer mandatory. The Attendance limits for Weddings and Funerals, however, will be 50 people.

Paul on Paul – 9th May 2021

6th Sunday of Easter; Year B
1 John 4:7-10

My dear people, let us love one another since love comes from God and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love. God’s love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have life through him; this is the love I mean: not our love for God, but God’s love for us when he sent his Son to be the sacrifice that takes our sins away.


Anyone who fails to love can never have known God, because God is love” is quite the statement. It recognises a fundemental part of God’s unchanging identity: That God is Love. He created the world out of Love; he led the Isrealites from Egypt out of Love; gave us His Son out of Love; He created the Church out of Love. Each of these actions show us a way we can love others, and “know God“.

He created the world our of Love. God had no reason to create – or maintain in creation – the Universe, or us, but yet out of love, he does. We follow God’s Love when we create and maintain other, most obviously families and children. But also, when we maintain our homes and our communities and work to bring them together, and on a bigger scale, by fulfilling the role God gave us – as stewards of creation, not as masters over it, to do with as we wish. We show love for others by co-operating in maintaining the planet, and working towards a sustainable future.

He led the Isrealites from Egypt out of Love. He didn’t need to get invovled, He could have forgotten his promises to Abraham given the number of times they had forgotten their promise to Him, but He chose not to. He knew what was right and did it – in the same way we are called to. When there is hatred or violence, as Christians, we are called not to just “not particpate” but to fight on the side of Justice. When and wherever we lead, in our families, our church, our workplaces, our governments, we are called to lead our of love and concern for others, not our own concerns or lust for power. We show love for others by following’s God’s example of leadership.

He gave us His Son out of Love. He gave us his very self in Jesus Christ. The Son took on a Human nature as we have, fought temptation as we do, suffered as we do, died as we will. He is the prime example of sacrificial-love. In the same way, we as Christian are called to will the good of the other for the sake of the other, to not pursue our own means for our own ends, but for the greater good of all. This is the basis of Catholic Social Teaching – that we are not individuals that happen to live near each other, but a society that is made up of individuals. We are called to go out our way to help others, even at our own inconvenience. We show love for others by following’s God’s example of self-sacrifice.

He created the Church out of Love, to remind us that He remains with us. He left us the oppurtunity to spend time with Him, to speak with Him and ask Him for help. In the same way, we are called to be avaliable to others when they seek us out, to give them our time, our thoughts and our charitable guidence in their difficulties. We show love by following God’s example of openess and assistance.

“God’s love for us was revealed when God sent into the world his only Son so that we could have life through him”, says St. John – and in doing so God revelaed to us the way we can come to know him m0re deeply and become more like Him – by offering to others what he offers us – to Love one another, as He loves us.