newsletter 20th January 2020


5, Cresswell Park, SE3 9RD

Tel. 020 8852 5420 



Mass times: Saturday: 6.30 pm (first Mass of Sunday) Sunday: 9.30 am, 11.00 am, 7.30 pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 10.00 am Tuesday and Thursday: 7.30 am Eucharistic Service: Tuesday 10.00 am Confessions: Saturday 12 to 1.00 pm

19th January 2020.

Today is the second Sunday of the Church’s year. The green vestments for ordinary time return for a few weeks until we begin Lent – on Ash Wednesday which comes on 26th February this year.

Readings are taken from Cycle A – which means that for most of the year, the gospels will be taken from Matthew.

Today there is a joint Service at 6.30pm at All Saints Church for the week of prayer for Christian Unity. Our choir will be sharing in the service.

Tuesday is the feast of St. Agnes. On this day the Holy Father blesses the palliums. These are the woollen collars which are given to Archbishop’s as a sign of their office.

Friday is the feast of St. Francis de Sales, the much-loved Bishop of Geneva. His book “Introduction to the Devout Life” is a classic of common-sense spirituality and can be recommended to you.

Saturday is the feast of the Conversion of the Apostle St. Paul on the road to Damascus.

Tasks are continuing once again and to Lewisham on Thursday for a meeting of the Education Committee.

Thanks to the Children in the First Communion class for reading so well. And thanks to the parents who have helped with the classes.

We seem to be missing hymn books and Mass books from the Church. If you have taken one home, I would be grateful if you could return it.

A new version of a familiar recipe. You can use up some pieces of a panettone. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle with some cinnamon and adds some blueberries. Cover with some egg custard and bake in a medium oven until it begins to brown. This is very yummy indeed.

News that it will no longer be possible to board the New Routemaster buses from the rear door. Canny passengers used to stand some distance beyond the stop so as to be able to board at the back and obtain a seat on the lower deck.

Some familiar words for next Monday night:

St. Agnes’ Eve – Ah bitter chill it was!

The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;

The hare limp’d trembling through the frozen grass,

And silent was the flock in the woolly fold:

A prayer for today:

Let the fire of thy love, O God, cleanse and possess our souls; that out of pure hearts and true affections we may worship thee: through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Something from Francis de Sales:

We are human beings because we have reason, yet it is rare to find anyone who is truly reasonable, for we can be diverted from the path of reason by self-love, which leads to unjust and unfair things.

Very busy at the moment with business for the College in Spain. We have a special meeting of the Trustees in Birmingham next week and I have to prepare all the papers for it.

Best wishes to you all,

Monsignor Nicholas Rothon

2nd Sunday of the year 2020.

This is the year of Matthew – but today we have a reading from John’s gospel – following from last week – John describes the Baptism of the Lord.

The gospel of John is different from the other three gospels – Matthew, Mark and Luke follow the same outline – the baptism of the Lord in the Jordan by John, the temptation of the Lord in the wilderness, the return to Galilee and the call of the first disciples as they are working with their fishing boats on the edge of the lake – it is simple and schematic, but possibly it does not give the complete story – Mark and Luke were not apostles and took their accounts from elsewhere – Matthew, the tax collector, as one of the apostles, but form his own account, he was called later – it comes in chapter 9 of his gospel – there was a man named Matthew sitting by the customs house –

But the gospel of John is different and at times gives an account which seems to come from personal experience – normally he does not give his own name but simply refers to “the other disciple.”  And his account of the Baptism of the Lord and the call of the first apostles is very different. Following the Baptism, John points out Lord to two of his disciples and says “Look, there is the lamb of God” – the phrase that he has used in today’s gospel.  The gospel goes on to explain how the two disciples – one of whom was Andrew and the other probably John – spoke to the Lord – and spent the day with him at the house where he lived – as a detail, the gospel writer adds, it was about the tenth hour, suggesting that this is a personal experience.

But then what continues to happen – the gospel says that John the baptised continued to baptise and gives the exact location -at Aenon near Salim – the people are still coming to him. But then curiously some of John’s disciples come to him and say the one you pointed out to us is himself baptising and in fact a greater number of people are coming to him. The gospel writer clarifies this at the beginning of chapter 4 – by saying that it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who were baptising – following the tradition that they had learned from John – but then there is the arrest of John by Herod and the Lord leaves Judea and makes his way northward to Galilee, passing through Samaria.

So we begin understand the witness of John –  his task is to prepare the way of the Lord – in the prologue to the gospel – in the first chapter – there is a verse – a man came, sent by God, his name was John – he came as a witness – at first sight this seems to be a later addition to the majestic flow of the prologue – speaking of the Word of God – but we can see this as an essential feature – John preparing the way an gradually fading as the mission of the Lord begins – there is a phrase that the Baptist uses twice in the gospel today – I did not know him myself – although they were cousins, it is probable that they had not seen each other for many years so that John was unable to recognise the Lord – but he was conscious of his mission and recognised the Lord when he saw the Spirit coming on him at his baptism. And he goes on to describe him as the lamb of God – both in the gospel today and when he points him out to his disciples – a curious phrase – but for the Jewish people – an obvious reference to the Paschal Lamb which symbolised the way in which God had saved the Jewish people and brought them out of slavery in Egypt. So John is accepting that his mission is nearing its completion – seeing the Spirit coming down upon the Lord, he recognises that his hopes have been completed –  and the following part of the gospel is an account – at least in part – of how all this was realised.

At times, the gospel story came seem to be complex. We recognise, as we compare the narrative of the four evangelists, that the details that we have are far from complete. And yet it is far more than an attempt to put together a detailed historic account. What we are seeing is a gradual growth in faith as the disciples recognise and accept the presence of the Lord. This I a reminder that for the majority of us, faith is not a sudden and an immediate moment – it is a gradual growth in understanding as we come to know the presence of the Lord.     

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