Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Sunday, 6 July 2014
Today Father Martin officiated at St. Alban’s, Romford as some of the parish are on their annual Walsingham Pilgrimage. I celebrated the Solemn Parish Mass, and preached. Veronica, one of the Churchwardens, led our intercession. In his address I pointed out that parents have the responsibility of teaching children to be obedient; we say things like “go to bed”, “get up” “tidy you room”. “don’t interrupt people when they’re speaking” “clean you teeth”. We learn from our parents as children and put that into practice as we mature. The things parents, teacher and priests teach us form our conscience when we grow up. We learn how to listen to our conscience, not in some act of blind obedience but by listening to what is good, honest and the kind thing to do. It enables us to grow into spiritual maturity and greatness.
Sunday, 29 June 2014
Today at St. Augustine’s we celebrated the Solemnity of SS Peter and Paul, the two pillars of the Church. Father Martin presided at the Solemn Parish Mass and i concelebrated, read the Gospel and preached. In my sermon Father I drew attention to the differences in character of the two men , who complemented each other in their Apostolic Ministry. Peter the impetuous, chosen by Jesus to lead the embryonic church Paul the great missionary and writer. It is at this time of year that ordinations to the Diaconate and Sacred Priesthood take place. Each person brings into ministry their different abilities and talents. I reminded the congregation to listen to see if they were being called to serve as Ministers in God’s Holy Church and to bring into their ministry their own special, and different, talents.
Monday, 23 June 2014
State educated school children need greater provision for sports, according to Ofsted. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a few years ago, a certain political party, then in power, sold of many of the state school playing fields despite many protests at the time. One of the sayings prevalent at then was “they knew the cost of everything and the value of nothing.
From “The Guardian”
Sunday, 22 June 2014
Today, Father Martin went to St Paul’s, Goodmayes to celebrate Corpus Christi, swopping with me and I officiated at St. Augustine’s. I haven’t been too well lately and it was decided that the celebration of Solemn Mass, Procession and Solemn Benediction must just be a little too much as I feel at present .
As St. Augustine’s had observed Corpus Christi on Thursday, today was the usual Parish Mass. I preached and led the Intercessions. In my homily I talked about the need to use the wonderful gift of the Eucharist as something we celebrate frequently. We were privileged to take into our hands the precious Body of Our Lord: a gift he had given to us just before his crucifixion.
Sunday, 15 June 2014
Today I presided at the Solemn Mass in celebration of the Most Holy Trinity; Father Martin concelebrated, read the Gospel and preached. In his sermon Father Martin referred to a previous sermon on the Trinity when,as an illustration and an egg had been used. He said the the Trinity was a difficult concept which had kept theologians debating for many years until they had agreed on the words of the Nicene Creed which we would be saying shortly. In the end what we needed to believe was that God is love. After the sermon, Ann led us in our intercessions.
Sunday, 8 June 2014
As Father Martin was away for the weekend I presided and preached at the Solemn Mass and our Intercessions were led by Joan our retired Lay Reader. In my sermon I talked about how fear can paralyse us; the disciples locked themselves in the Upper Room because they were afraid. The Holy Spirit removed their fear and instead of be frightened by the authorities, they found the strength and inspiration to preach the Gospel far and wide even facing martyrdom for the sake of the Gospel. If we are open to receive the Holy Spirit into our lives he will rid us of our fears and qualms so that we too can proclaim the good news of the Gospel of Jesus.
Sunday, 1 June 2014
Today we continued our celebration of the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Father Martin was officiating at St.Andrew’s, Romford. so I was the celebrant at St. Augustine’s. During my sermon he reminded people about Captain Kirk asking Scotty to beam him up in Star Trek. Is this what some thought had happened at the Ascension? If that was so, we had a wrong understanding of the event. We knew that Jesus was taken from their sight by a cloud but he was still with them although no longer visible to them – he is still with us but we can’t actually see him. He returned to his Father so that the gift of the Holy Spirit could come to be part of His church. We shall think more of this next week which is Pentecost.
Sunday, 25 May 2014
Today at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green we welcomed the Archdeacon of Barking, Dr. John Perumbalath to our Parish Mass and he concelebrated with Father Martin and preached the homily. Pamela led us in our Intercessions and, as our Organist & Choirmaster is taking a well-earned break I played the organ. In his homily Father John referred to the book “Is your God to Small” by J. B Philips. He said that God is a God of all people – he makes no distinction.. We make a mistake if we try to categorise Him – he can’t be contained. Nor can Jesus be confined to church premises because he is in our daily lives. Everything God wants to do He can but he would prefer to have our co-operation. However He is all powerful and will ultimately achieve His will. He is close to use at all times – take a breath and He is that close.
Father John joined us in the hall after Mass for refreshments so he could meet as many parishioners as possible.
The Flower Festival at St Augustines continues afternoon concluding with Evensong and Benediction at 6.00 p.m. and tomorrow opening at 11.00 a.m.
Sunday, 18 May 2014
Today Father Mervyn officiated at St. Paul’s, Goodmayes who are in their interregnum. In his sermon, based on Today’s Gospel Father Mervyn stressed that Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life. It is only through following him that we can be saved. If we know Jesus we know God and it is through recognising Jesus we can recognise God himself. Jesus didn't leave us a handbook itemising every single thing that might happen; instead he gave us this guideline “the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE” During the Interregnum it was something to keep in the front of their minds.
We hope to see many people at St Augustine’s for our May Fayre and at our FLOWER FESTIVAL next week-end (during the Flower Festival there will be organ music.)
Sunday, 11 May 2014
Today I presided at the Solemn Concelebrated Mass at St. Alban’s, Ilford where there was an excellent congregation. I preached on the Gospel and talked about the Good Shepherd who cares for his sheep, protecting them and guarding them. After Mass refreshments were served and I had the chance to replenish my supply of marmalade which is made in the parish as part of their fund raising – and very good it is too.
Friday, 9 May 2014
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling some degree of discomfort about the lack of labelling of meat so that what I’m buying could be hallal. The supermarket chains are refusing to identify where their meat comes from and the government intend to take no action on this. The BBC reports in an article: How widespread is halal in the UK? A number of supermarkets including Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Morrisons, and the Co-op all sell halal lamb. Some Waitrose lamb products are given a Halal blessing, but are not supplied separately and are therefore not considered halal on the shelves, the chain said. The Sun newspaper prompted a debate after running a front page reporting that all chicken served at Pizza Express was halal and customers were not being told. The HFA estimates 15% of all meat slaughtered in the UK is halal compliant.” I have no problem in eating either Kosher or Hallal and have done so many times both in the UK and when I’ve been abroad but surely, we have a right to know just what we are eating and to be able to make a choice whether or not we are happy to eat meat killed according to either Hallal or Kosher rules?
Sunday, 4 May 2014
Today I presided at the Solemn Parish Mass at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green, and Father Martin concelebrated, preached and led our Intercessions. As it is the Bank Holiday week-end we wondered if our congregation would be somewhat reduced as we knew several families were going to be away. In the event, the church was pretty full. In his sermon Father Martin reminded us that we recognise saints by various means and mentioned his particular regard for St. Jude, the patron saint of lost causes, as he frequently misplaced his keys and glasses. The travellers on the road to Emmaus eventually recognised Jesus by the breaking of bread. Every time we attend Mass we have the chance to do the same: recognise Jesus in the breaking of bread; and if we are willing, to let him enter our hearts.
Sunday, 27 April 2014
Today Father Martin presided at the Parish Mass whilst I read the Gospel, preached, led our Intercessions and concelebrated. It was good to see quite a full church. In my sermon I commented on the fact revealed by the Gospel that that after the Crucifixion the disciples were in the Upper Room with the door locked because they were afraid. Jesus came and stood among them and gave them their commission to go out to the world. All except Thomas were there and he doubted the veracity of what the disciples told him until a week later when Thomas was present and Jesus appeared again. The conclusion of St. John’s Gospel reminds us that: "These signs are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing this you may have life through his name."
During the Intercessions we prayed for our brothers and sisters in the Roman Catholic Church as today they pronounced Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II Saints and we prayed that the day maybe hastened when we are united.
Monday, 21 April 2014
Our New Fire, Vigil, Renewal of Baptismal Promises took place at St Augustines at 5.30 a.m. and afterwards we all adjourned to the Parish Hall for a sumptuous breakfast of Cereals, fruit juices, eggs, sausages, toast, marmalade and coffee or tea. The sausages made by our local butcher Paul was fantastic. Father Martin presided I played the organ
At 10.00 a.m. it was time for the Solemn Mass of the day which was concelebrated; I presided and Father Martin preached and lead the Renewal of Baptism Promises with me do the my favourite job – the sprinkling.Pamela led us in our prayer. Our choir was augmented for the anthem by Ann and Ruth. At the end of Mass all the children were presented with an Easter Egg whilst all the adults had a smaller individual egg. I was surprised and delighted when I was presented with a huge Egg by Father Martin which I will really enjoy. All our chocolate eggs were by the Meaningful Chocolate Company which supports Fair Trade.
Easter Day finished with Solemn Evensong & Benediction at which Father Martin presided and for which I played the organ.
Sunday, 13 April 2014
Yesterday afternoon I was asked if I could help out at St. Mary’s, Ilford as their Vicar had been taken ill so this morning I was at St Mary’s for their Palm Sunday Procession, Blessing of Palms and Solemn Mass, We started in the church car park where the Choir sang the Antiphons I blessed the Palms and read the Gospel. We then went out to the road in procession and round the nearby side road and back into the church. Local police were there to ensure our safety. The choir led the singing of “All Glory Laud and Honour” and at our entrance they sang another Antiphon before leading us in “Ride on Ride on in Majesty”
Led by three soloist, the Passion according to St. Matthew was sung by the choir. In my homily I talked about the tearing of the temple curtain. It had separated the congregation from the Holy of Holy’s but with the death of the sacrificial lamb of God, Jesus, we no longer had the need for animal sacrifices and heaven and earth were now joined so we didn’t separation.I really thought the Choir, led by their organist & choirmaster Ian, were suburb. It was a really wonderful service.
Sunday, 6 April 2014
Today I celebrated the Parish Mass at St. Paul’s, Goodmayes. The service began with The Asperges. In my sermon I highlighted the saying of Jesus “I am the Resurrection and the Life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live and whoever lives and believes in me will never die”. I pointed out how this verse had been an inspiration and gave an example in the life of Robert Schumann. Following the Angelus, during the Notices, volunteers for the Washing of Feet at the Maundy Solemn Mass were sought at which I am also presiding.
After Mass I headed back to St. Augustine’s for the well attended Annual Vestry and Parochial Meeting.
Sunday, 30 March 2014
Today I presided at St. Augustine’s where we had a full church as Father Martin presided at the Parish Mass at St. Lawrence, Upminster; . At the beginning of the service the flags from the Uniformed Organisations were paraded and presented. Our Intercessions were led by the Brownies. I talked about the different names for this Sunday and then pointed out that we all had 3 mothers: our own Mums, Mother Mary and Mother Church. What linked these together was “love” – you couldn’t see “ love” but you knew it was there. I produced a stick with 2 coloured balls at each end; as you pulled one – one at the other end went up (or down) He then opened the stick into two pieces to show that the coloured balls were not linked.
At the Peace, flowers were blessed and distributed, or votive candles lit for those whose mothers had died. Leaflets detailing all the services for Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter were distributed and they included an invitation to the annual Easter Parish Breakfast on Easter Day. Cost for adults: £3, £1 for children between 5 to 11, children under 5 free. Fruit Juice, Cereals, toast and marmalade, Boiled Eggs and Sausages, tea or coffee. All breakfasts must be pre-booked – no one will be served who hasn’t reserved a place. Having been to this for several years I can thoroughly recommend it.
We hope to hold a Flower Festival on 24th and 25th May as part of our Mission Week ; volunteers to arrange flowers or sponsor an arrangement are needed by NEXT SUNDAY when we are holding our Annual Vestry and Parochial Meeting..
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
From the Coalition for Marriage
The democratic deficit
With the first same-sex weddings set to take place this weekend to much media fanfare, it’s important to remember how undemocratic and illiberal the redefinition of marriage is:
- Marriage was redefined over the heads of the 24 million married people in this country.
- None of the three main political parties at Westminster made redefining marriage part of their election manifesto. It was not even in the coalition agreement.
- Three days before the 2010 General Election, David Cameron told Sky News he had no plans to change the law of marriage.
- There was no green paper or white paper. The only consultation was on 'how' to redefine marriage, not 'whether' to.
- The Government ignored the 500,000 names and addresses of UK residents on our C4M petition. They weren’t accepted as responses to the consultation.
- Since the Government’s online response form was anonymous, anyone anywhere in the world could submit a response, as many times as they liked.
- The consultation ruled out religious same-sex weddings. But when the Bill was published religious ceremonies were included.
- This exposed religious organisations to the threat of hostile legal action, with one gay couple already publicising their intention to go to court to get a C of E wedding.
- Though he still backs gay marriage, David Cameron has admitted he would never have gone ahead had he known the level of opposition that would be stirred up.
- Parliamentary scrutiny was wholly inadequate. At Second Reading, backbench MPs were limited to four minute speeches.
The implications of redefining marriage have not been thought through. The Government agrees that people’s careers shouldn’t be damaged just because they believe in traditional marriage – yet the protections in place are completely insufficient.
A parent complained to her school that her six year old daughter had had two lessons on same-sex marriage in a week.
A teacher was threatened with disciplinary proceedings because she said in the staff room that she believed in traditional marriage.
A couple wanting to adopt children were told they were unsuitable because they supported traditional marriage.
Thankfully all these cases have been resolved, but they should never have arisen at all.
If marriage is redefined once, what is to stop it being redefined again? Some campaigners are now calling for polygamy to be legalised.
Just recently the Government stripped familiar words like husband, wife and widow from a raft of our laws simply because these words don't line up with the Government's new definition of marriage.
For another example of what could happen, you have to look no further than the recent comments of a Justice of the Supreme Court.
Lord Wilson, in a speech he gave supporting gay marriage, suggested that marriage to the dead was an option. He said “if it really helps the broken-hearted, we have at least to ask: why not?”
No nation on earth had legalised same-sex marriage until 13 years ago. Only 16 out of 193 nations have done so.
The truth is that same-sex marriage is a social construct, a social experiment. Parliament can change the law, but it cannot change the reality that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Marriage – between a man and a woman – is the greatest partnership in history. It reflects the complementary natures of men and women.
Time and time again the evidence has shown that children do best with a married mother and a father.
So let’s keep standing up for marriage.
Coalition for Marriage
Tuesday, 25 March 2014
Sunday, 23 March 2014
Today I was the principal celebrant and Father Martin read the Gospel and preached the sermon at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green. Father Martin began the sermon by recalling how he had been approached by a television production company to appear in TOWIE (The Only Way is Essex) a few days ago; he had to decline as he had a prior engagement at the time of filming. We were a little disappointed that we won’t be seeing Father on our TV’s just yet.
The Gospel relates how the Samaritan woman had approached Jesus who was able to supply her immediate needs. Father pointed out that the Samaritan woman represented us; Jesus came not only for the Jewish people as their expected Messiah but to us, non-Jews/gentiles, as well. Jesus provides our needs; he provides us with “living water”. I led the Intercessions today.
The Samaritans are an interesting people and now number only around 751 divided into 5 families. Recently males have been given permission to “marry” out provided the bride converts. In view of the Samaritans strict observance of Levitical law many have found this very difficult.
Sunday, 16 March 2014
I was a little surprised when, returning home yesterday afternoon, I had an e-mail informing me that our Organist & Choirmaster had sustained some nasty injuries following a fall in his garden and would I play the organ for the Parish Mass today. So this morning it was of to church a little earlier than normal to have a look at the anthem and to take Choir Practice. During Lent it is the custom to only use the organ to accompany the hymns service setting so I didn’t have to play anything before or after Mass.
I was also preaching today and in my sermon suggested that Nicodemus might have thought Jesus had taken leave of his senses when he said that a person needed to be born again. How could some one re-enter the womb of their mother? However Nicodemus totally missed the point as Jesus was talking about being born by water and the Spirit referring to the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. It was just before the crucifixion and afterwards that Nicodemus reappears in the Gospel when it seems he now understood the point Jesus was making.
Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Unquestionably Bob Crow was one of the greatest Trade Union leaders, possibly the last of the true socialists, and whether or not you agreed with him, you had to admire both his tenacity and his outstanding leadership of the RMT. At a time when Trade Unions have been loosing membership the RMT were increasing theirs. Bob Crow managed to obtain above inflation settlements for his members which other Union seemed unable to do. Tributes are being made to him from both friends and opponents alike.
May he Rest in Peace.
Sunday, 9 March 2014
I presided at the Parish Mass at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green today: Father Martin read the Gospel, preached and Concelebrated. We had a good congregation for this the start of the Holy Season of Lent. It is the custom to read out to the congregation the Ten Commandments on the 1st Sunday in Lent which I used as the introduction to the Confession. It seemed quite strange to have no voluntary either at the beginning or the end of the service, and this will be the case now, until Easter. The Choir sang an arrangement of “God be in my head” during the Communion.
In his sermon Father Martin talked about temptation. He pointed out that we were all subject to temptation; some here at Mass might be tempted to have a snooze or think about their next shopping trip instead of concentrating on the sermon. He gave an example of how people could be tempted and actually sin but not realising initially that they were doing so. Helping yourself to stationary or pencils/ball points from the cupboard at work was breaking the commandment not to steal. He briefly talked about parents letting their children go hungry so that they could buy drinks or drugs. We might be tempted to gossip about people. Fortunately we have a way to put matters right by coming and making our Confession, a sacrament which is mentioned in the Book of Common Prayer and it was pointed out the either he or I were always ready to hear confessions.
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
FATHER MICHAEL HORE 12th May 1950 - 19th February 2014
May he Rest in Peace
Today I attended the Requiem Mass for Father Michael which was taken by the Bishop of Chelmsford and supported by many clergy. The church was packed and the choir magnificent. They sang three solo's Justorium Animae by William Byrd, And I saw a New Heaven by Edgar Bainton and God so loved the World by John Stainer. In a fitting tribute to Father Michael who had suffered from Motor Neurone Disease The Bishop of Chelmsford preached an excellent sermon on the text "Be still and know that I am God". At the end of the Requiem Bishop Steven blessed the coffin with Holy Water and Incense and we sang that wonderful Easter Hymn "Thine be the Glory". The cortege left the church to that great triumphal organ piece Nun danket alle Gott by Sigfrid Karg-Elert.
Sunday, 2 March 2014
Today I presided and preached for the Solemn Parish Mass at S. Paul’s, Goodmayes who have recently started their Interregnum. I am going to be there again on Ash Wednesday. In my sermon I talked about how brides and grooms would come to the Vicarage to put up their banns. Often one would wonder what he saw in her or conversely what she saw in him. On the day of the wedding you would see a lovely, radiant bride walk up the aisle and you would realise that you were witnessing a transfiguration and experience the true person. Moses came down from the mountain and he had a radiant face and Jesus was revealed in his full glory when he was transfigured in front of the Apostles James, John and Peter. As we prepare to begin Lent we should try to see the face of Jesus in our fellow Christians and we should experience a true meeting with him when we come to Mass.
ASH WEDNESDAY at s. paul’s, goodmayes.
SOLEMN MASS with the Blessing and Imposition of Ashes 8.00 p.m.
Monday, 24 February 2014
From the Coalition for Marriage
The Government now realises that same-sex marriage will require a massive re-write of legislation dating back to 1285 AD – including airbrushing out the terms “husband” and “wife” from many of our laws. Crucial safeguards will also have to be introduced to safeguard the Monarchy.
The Government are rushing to introduce all these changes through ministerial orders.
The proposals include changing the law:
- To prevent a man from becoming Queen in the event a King 'marries' another man
- To prevent a man from becoming the Princess of Wales in the event that the heir to the throne enters a same-sex marriage
- To stop the 'husband' of a male Peer being referred to as Duchess, Lady or Countess
- To replace the terms “husband” and “wife” with “partner” or “spouse” in a huge raft of English law
Redefining marriage means rewriting our language as well as our laws. All this just goes to show that marriage should never have been redefined.
C4M said all along that thousands of laws would need to be changed. These, and other far-reaching consequences, flow from redefining marriage.
MPs are expected to agree the draft orders tomorrow with the House of Lords considering them on Thursday. No doubt there will need to be further changes to clear up the legislative mess created by the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act.
Parliament may have changed the law, but it is vitally important that we continue to assert the truth that marriage is between one man and one woman.
Coalition for Marriage
Sunday, 23 February 2014
I presided at the Solemn Parish Mass today and Father Martin concelebrated, read the Gospel, preached and led our Intercessions. In his sermon Father Martin wanted to stress our need to have “faith, hope and charity (love)” in all our dealings. He mentioned that on a practical note there would be two opportunities to help charities during Lent: USPG and our local Hospice. He mentioned Cardinal Vincent Nichol’s condemnation, as well as the church leaders letter to the Daily Mirror, highlighting the problems with poverty and the need, in this day and age, for food banks. The letter had the signatures of 27 Bishops and 16 other Christian leaders. There was a great need, he said, for “faith, hope and charity (love)” in all we do.
Friday, 21 February 2014
The decision by the Appeal Court that British Judges can impose a whole life tariff without review on sentences for the most heinous of crimes, might, at first glance seem entirely appropriate and just. Putting a person in prison and throwing away the key might seem entirely justifiable but is it, from a Christian viewpoint? Surely there should be the hope of repentance; surely there should be the hope of amendment of life, surely there should be the possibility of forgiveness. By allowing a whole life sentence to be reviewed so that these matters can be considered doesn’t mean that the incarcerated should be freed but that consideration be given to that possibility.
A very wise priest said to me years ago that you must never take away all hope from a prisoner. To review a sentence provides the opportunity for experienced people to exam if the incarcerated has made significant progress; it provides the prisoner with the incentive to do so. Many given whole life, and entirely justified, sentences might never, ever leave prison but shouldn’t the door be open to recognise rehabilitation should it occur?
Sunday, 16 February 2014
Today I played the organ, preached and led the Intercessions at St. Augustine's, Rush Green for the Solemn Parish Mass. For the postlude I played Nun Danket Alle Gott by Sigrid Sigfrid Karg-Elert,
Today’s Gospel reading continues The Sermon on the Mount. In my sermon I pointed out that Jesus spoke with authority and quoted part of Pope Benedict’s book where he comments on the phrase, "But I say to you..." When Jesus says, "But I say to you..." he is making an amazing claim of authority and power. To show how radical the claim is, the pope cites a Jewish Scripture scholar, Rabbi Jacob Neusner. Regarding Jesus' approach to the Law, Rabbi Neusner asks, "What did Jesus leave out?" He answers: "Nothing." Then he asks, "What did Jesus add?" To that the Rabbi answers, "Himself." What makes Jesus significant when considered amongst other religious teachers such as Socrates, or the Buddha is that whilst others show a way – a path of life, it is only Jesus who makes the claim to be “the way, the truth and the life” and that “no one can come to Father except through me” He claims an uniqueness which others don’t; he is part of the Holy Trinity God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God.
If we truly want to follow His way we need him in our lives. Without Jesus we can easily take the wrong path. I then mentioned the appalling decision of the Belgium Government to allow euthanasia for children which I consider to be totally against Christian teaching. I urged people to sign the petition on the Internet to ask King Philippe of Belgium to refuse to sign this Act.
Sunday, 9 February 2014
As Father Martin was away today, I presided and preached today at the Parish Mass at St. Augustine’s. In my sermon I quoted two texts from the Gospel: “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world.” and remarked that salt was an essential part of life in the ancient world and described how battles had been fought over it and how it had been used to raise taxes. Personally I don’t think I could fancy fish and chips without salt (and a little vinegar); just a small amount could make a significant difference to the taste of a meal. I then posed the question on how we could be the “light of the world” when this was a title used to describe Jesus in St. John’s Gospel. In fact Christians get their light from Jesus. We are described by S. Paul as the Body of Christ – we are his representatives on earth. Last week, at the Candlemass celebrations we had heard how Simeon had described Jesus “as the light to lighten the Gentiles” Now, we as Christians were called to be “lights” in the world reflecting the light of Jesus in our lives.
Tuesday, 4 February 2014
I would have thought that those folk in areas experiencing some of the worse floods since records began would have been able to access telephone information from the Environment Agency free of charge. Instead they have to pay 40p per minute using a premium phone line. You couldn’t make it up!
Sunday, 2 February 2014
Today I officiated at St. Paul’s, Goodmayes which has just started an Interregnum. When I arrived at the church I was greeted by being told that the electricity was not working so there were no lights, no heat, and no organ. All the fuses had been inspected and all seemed OK. We would have to have a “said” Mass instead of the usual Solemn Parish Mass. Just before we left the Sacristy for the service the lights came on, the organ started to work and, thank goodness, the heating started up.
In the sermon I pointed out that Mary and Joseph had made the thank-offering of two birds rather than the unblemished lamb which the wealthy could afford. Of course, they presented the “Lamb of God” because that is what Jesus was.
After Mass many of us went to the hall for refreshments.
Friday, 31 January 2014
There is now a proposal to make the school day run from 9.a.m. until 6.00 p.m. for 45 hours a week for 45 weeks a year. When I first read this I thought it was windup but it appears that it is a serious proposal. School Holidays would be just 7 weeks a year. The plans, now being considered by the Tories as part of their Election Manifesto, were originated by David Cameron's former policy chief Paul Kirby. These plans would apply to all children in England between the ages of five and 18, and would be in time for the party's 2015 general election manifesto.
I thought it was important for children to have some leisure time, some time with their families, some time for organisations like Scouting, Guiding etc. in fact sometime to be children. And what about homework – would that be in addition? This plan, apart from increasing teacher’s hours which I’m positive they would quickly reject, provides no opportunity for children to actually be children.
Is this the brave new world that we are to be invited to support in 2015? What a terrible prospect for future generations.
Sunday, 26 January 2014
Today the Gospel reminds us of the call to Peter and Andrew, James and John who, on receiving it, responded immediately to Jesus. These fishermen were working at their trade on The Sea of Galilee and they left it behind.
In our pilgrimage in October last year we spent a wonderful time at Tiberius with a very moving Mass right by the Sea of Galilee. In the tranquillity of that beautiful place you could easily believe it was two thousand years ago. No doubt the area has changed down the centuries but you still get a glimpse of what it must have been like when Jesus walked there and when the future Apostles first heard the call to “follow me”.
Ann and I have visited the Holy Land several times and have enjoyed visiting the various places which form the basis of our faith but nothing has been more moving or more beautiful than the Sea of Galilee.
Sunday, 19 January 2014
Today I concelebrated the Parish Mass at St. Augustine’s, Rush Green, read the Gospel and preached on the text from today’s Gospel “Behold, the Lamb of God”. I reminded those present that the words spoken by St. John the Baptist are the words spoken at every Mass and we would be hearing them later in today’s service. Do we take them seriously, do we really appreciate that in the wafer placed into our hands we would receive the same Jesus that John the Baptist had been speaking about. Were the words we spoke in response just something perfunctory,or did we really mean them: “Lord I am not worthy……………..only say the word and I shall be healed” Do we realise or understand that the wafer is not just a symbol. or a token as a representation but the actual and real Body of Jesus. I mentioned the spiritual experience of a priest I knew who, on celebrating his First Mass, held the chalice in his hands and realised that he was holding the real blood of Christ and how that experience had had a profound spiritual effect on him. John the Baptist uttered those profound words Behold the Lamb of God. At every Mass we repeat them for on the Altar is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world……………happy are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb
Saturday, 11 January 2014
Tuesday, 7 January 2014
George Osborne announced yesterday that he is contemplating more benefit cuts. Having reduced many to near starvation with the assistance of Ian Duncan Smith’s reforms he now proposes cutting housing benefits to under 25 year old which seems to me to be totally wrong and counter productive. Is it any surprise that many young people feel unwanted and useless?.... some apparently considering suicide because they are unable to find employment;unable to get jobs they will be unable to afford accommodation, if Osborne's stupid plan goes through. I know of one young man with a first class honours degree in Maths still unemployed several years out of university. We have people who would starve in modern Britain if it wasn't for the work of Food Banks. Just what sort of country are we becoming?
Sunday, 5 January 2014
Today I presided at the Solemn Mass of The Epiphany at St. Paul’s, Goodmayes. After the Gospel, with suitable prayers, the Magi, bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, were placed in the Crib.
In my sermon I pointed out that in our modern society we don’t expect to see portents in the sky predicting future events. In the days of Jesus the reverse was the case, and the Magi who travelled to Jerusalem were scientists of their day. Herod, a despotic king, try’s to get them to reveal to him where the new born King is when they have found him in Bethlehem. Warned in a dream, they return home using a different route. Herod was nothing less than totally ruthless when he thought his reign was in danger; he had already murdered his wife and some sons. I drew the analogy of the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, who had just arranged for his uncle to be executed. The gifts of the Magi demonstrate the nature of Jesus: King, God and Saviour.