Fr. Andrew and I hope that you are all keeping well and while we miss saying Mass for you hope that you are finding the material, we send out helpful. We certainly appreciate your kind messages to us.
Some of you may remember the extinguishing of the Paschal Candle after the Gospel on Ascension Day. This was, in my opinion, thankfully abolished in the liturgical reforms of the 1960s for we now see the Feast of Pentecost as the culmination of the Easter Season. The time between the two feasts have remained a time, not only for the liturgical celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles but of a renewal in our own openness to the power of Holy Spirt in the Church and in our own lives.
This period of nine days has led to a practice in the Church of keeping Novenas. The Bishop has called the Diocese to keep such a Novena this year, “to deepen our prayer for the people of this diocese in the time of this pandemic.” He invites us all “to join him in prayer each day at 12.00, for around 15 minutes, in a live streaming of intercession, worship, and silence from the Bishop’s Chapel.” Joining details for this will be available on the Diocesan website.
Aware that some of you do not have connection with the new world of technology I have prepared material for you to keep such a Novena at home: this is being circulated electronically and by hard copy on the 6th Sunday of Easter.
With the slight relaxation of lockdown measures we are changing the Church building to reflect the glory of the season and I look forward to celebrating Mass there again. As I have said before, while I have spoken with some and heard news of all our family, should you wish to call me you are always welcome to ask for prayers of thanksgiving or need.
With my love and Blessing.
Lord, hear my voice when I call to you. My heart has promised me to seek your face; I seek it, Lord; do not hide from me, alleluia.
Graciously hear our supplications, O lord,
so that we, who believe that the Saviour of the human race is with you in your glory,
may experience, as he promised,
until the end of the world,
his abiding presence among us.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Reference: Acts 1:12-14
Theme: All joined in continuous prayer.
After Jesus was taken up into heaven, the apostles went back from the Mount of Olives, as it is called, to Jerusalem, a short distance away, no more than a sabbath walk; and when they reached the city they went to the upper room where they were staying; there were Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Jude son of James. All these joined in continuous prayer, together with several women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.
R. I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.
The Lord is my light and my help;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
before whom shall I shrink? R
There is one thing I ask of the Lord, for this I long.
to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to savour the sweetness of the Lord,
to behold his temple. R
O Lord, hear my voice when I call;
have mercy and answer.
Of you my heart has spoken;
‘Seek his face.’ R
Reference: 1 Peter 4:13-16
Theme: It is a blessing for you when they insult you for bearing the name of Christ.
If you can have some share in the sufferings of Christ, be glad, because you will enjoy a much greater gladness when his glory is revealed. It is a blessing for you when they insult you for bearing the name of Christ, because it means that you have the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God resting on you. None of you should ever deserve to suffer for being a murderer, a thief, a criminal or an informer; but if anyone of you should suffer for being a Christian, then he is not to be ashamed of it; he should thank God that he has been called one.
I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord;
I will come back to you, and your hearts will be full of joy.
Reference: John 17:1-11
Theme: Father, glorify your Son.
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:
'Father, the hour has come:
glorify your Son
so that your Son may glorify you;
and, through the power over all mankind that you have given him, let him give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him.
And eternal life is this:
to know you,
the only true God,
and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
I have glorified you on earth
and finished the work
that you gave me to do.
Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me
with that glory I had with you-
before ever the world was.
I have made your name known
to the men you took from the world to give me.
They were yours and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now at last they know
that all you have given me comes indeed from you;
for I have given them
the teaching you gave to me,
and they have truly accepted this, that I came from you,
and have believed that it was you who sent me.
I pray for them;
I am not praying for the world-
but for those you have given me,
because they belong to you:
all I have is yours
and all you have is mine,
and in them I am glorified.
I am not in the world any longer,
but they are in the world,
and I am coming to you.'
V. Be with us, Lord;
R. as we call on your name.
Those in need:
Ann Baughan. Diane Burrell, Jo Chamberlin,
Michael Clarke, Paul Clarke, Elle Deveson, Joyce Drake, Lynn Elliott, Ron Fuller, Hazel Hickman, John Levett,
Laura Mack, Dave Manley, Fr Terry Morley,
Jo Rees-Davies, Margaret Smith, Maureen Smithers, Roger Smithers, Julie Swetman, Dorothy Valder, Laurie Wellard, Shirley Wellard, Timothy
The Recent Departed:
Beaumont Brandie (Pr)
(24) Kathleen Tullett, Leonard Brooker
(25) Alfie Way
(26) Arthur Ingram (Bp), Peter Cobb (Pr)
(27) Charles Simons (Pr), Margaret Tyrie, Denis Cove
(28) Frederick Betson, Percy Philcox, Lillian Craven
(29) Lilian Young, Annette Walton, Theresa McSorley
(30) Percy Baden
Accept, O Lord, the prayers of your faithful
with the sacrificial offerings,
that through these acts of devotedness
we may pass over to the glory of heaven.
Through Christ our Lord.
Father, I pray that they may be one as we also are one, alleluia.
Hear us, O God our Saviour,
and grant us confidence,
that through these sacred mysteries
there will be accomplished in the body of the whole Church what has already come to pass in Christ her head.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
“I am not in the world any longer, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you”
Jn. 17: 11
On Thursday we reflected how in Luke’s second account of the Ascension there is a reference to the slight hesitation by the Apostles before the Angel spurs them on, inspiring them by Jesus’ own Easter promise that he would not totally leave them. Today we meet them united in prayer awaiting the gift of the Holy Spirit
Our Gospel Reading, once again from the High Priestly prayer of Jesus, centred on the Last Supper experience, reflects Jesus’ own trust, that in fulfilling the will of his Father by going to his Passion, the Church would be born.
I was reflecting on how highly tense must have been the atmosphere at that pre-Pentecost gathering. It is beyond doubt that the were eager to proceed for before the day itself they elected Matthias to succeed Judas. This was based on Old Testament Prophecy and Luke quotes the Psalm:-
“’Let his camp be reduced to ruin,
let there be no-one to live in it.’
‘Let someone else take his office.’” (Acts 1:20)
I found myself thinking how their reflection would have called to mind not only the ancient prophecies but also their time with Jesus in that the criteria they adopted for the appointment is this:-
“We must therefore choose someone who has been with us the whole time that the Lord Jesus was travelling around with us….from the time John was baptising…and he can act with us as a witness to his resurrection.” v. 22
Looking back is a natural human phenomenon. For most of us school days seem rosier the older we get: however much we are looking forward to brighter prospects there is usually a tinge of sadness as we leave a job or where has been our home for a number of years. Reflecting on theses emotions and relating them to the Apostles met together before Pentecost a commentary has this to say: -
‘Memory is as much an act of love as intelligence. Or to put it another way, love never really leaves anything behind. We take it with us on the road to new things.”
At this time in our lives with the Church now back in use, even if only for my private saying of Mass and our time together on a Sunday morning, I am sure we have all remembered past Easters. At this point in our celebration of Eastertide this year, let’s take heart in the example of the Apostles eagerness to fulfil Jesus’ will not to look back negatively but to be strengthened in the desire to spread the good news of the resurrection, for we will, please God, sooner rather than later, be reunited around the Altar.
How can we do this? If not already joining in, begin sharing the Novena for preparation for next week’s celebration of Pentecost. Thus renewed in our trust in the Holy Spirit, alive in the Church – the people of God that is, whenever we look back we shall easier remember, that is to prepare for the future for we have Jesus’ reassurance that united in the Holy Spirit, we are following the Will of his heavenly Father: -
“I am not in the world any longer, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you”