newsletter 24th March 2019

Newsletter Sunday 24th March 2019

Today is the Third Sunday of Lent.

As a Lenten devotion, there are Stations of the Cross at 6.30 this evening.

You will have noticed that there are no flowers, or sweets, during Lent, but something to look forward to once the penitential season is over.

I hope that you are continuing with your Lenten prayers and penances. Next week we will be half way there with the rose vestments.

Monday is the feast of the Annunciation.

The Confirmation classes have come around once again. The class is at 6.30pm in the big hall. Thanks to the team of teachers who are helping with the classes. I was most concerned when I discovered that our previous teacher was no longer available, but it has worked out well.

The First Communion children will be helping at the 9.30 Mass today. Last time they learnt about the bread used in the offertory. This time it is the wine and it is always a most popular class.

A reminder that summer time starts next weekend so remember to arrive in good time for Mass.

I would be grateful if you could remember to turn off mobile phones during Mass. We have a wireless system for the sound and this cuts out if you receive calls, even silent messages, during Mass.

Once again I am beginning to think about the pool in the garden. Some years, with a warm spring, we have been able to fill it up during April. I usually think that 15 degrees is the minimum for swimming. Anything below this leads to bronchitis.

A prayer today from St. John of the Cross: O blessed Jesus, give me stillness of soul in Thee. Let they mighty calmness reign in me; rule me, O King of gentleness, King of peace. By thine own deep patience, give me patience. Make me in this and in all things more and more like Thee.

I think that this might be allowed for a Lenten lunch. Poach some eggs and when they are cool and dry, coat them with some mayonnaise. Make a salad with some French beans, some skinned tomatoes and some diced cooked potatoes.  Mix them with some mayonnaise and place the eggs on top.

I have been reading about Venice recently, and this leads to something from Byron. Here he is giving his thoughts on England whilst he is in Italy:

I like the weather, – when it’s not rainy

That is, I like two months of every year.

So God save the Regent, Church and King!

Which means that I like all and everything.

We haven’t had any Gilbert and Sullivan for a very long time, so here come the Pirates of Penzance.

With cat like tread,

Upon our prey we steal,

In silence dread

Our cautious way we feel.

No sound at all, we never speak a word,

A fly’s foot fall would be distinctly heard.

Tarantara, tarantara!

(here come the policemen)

The problems with the introduction of Crossrail continue. I understand that a large number of new trains have been delivered at they remain out of use at Old Oak Common depot. Trains stored out of use can deteriorate and this could lead to further problems when the line is opened.

The boy and his sister are looking forward to the Easter holiday. It has been a long term this year. I hope to be able to go to see them soon.

A reminder please to add your names to the list for readers at Easter.

Best wishes to you all,


Monsignor Nicholas Rothon




Third Sunday of Lent 2019

The gospel today is in two parts – the questioning about recent events, the slaying of the Galileans by Pilate and the collapse of the tower at Siloam – and the parable of the fig tree.

The two events can be verified from sources outside the gospel – Pilate, on his arrival in Jerusalem wanted to provide a new supply of clean water for his own use and need to construct a new aqua duct. Funds were not available from Rome and so he appropriated funds belonging to the Temple – the Jewish people were outraged and this led to a major demonstration, organised by the High Priest – Pilate knew what was about to happen and arranged for his guards to be hidden and disguised – so that they could attack the demonstrators – the Galileans whose blood was mingled with their sacrifices – And the tower at Siloam – the pool of Siloam is in the southern part of the old city of Jerusalem – it is not clear  if the tower was part of the fortifications or part of an aqua duct – but excavations as recent as 2004 have discovered the remains of a tower about 6 metres across – probably built on the foundations of a much older tower which seemed to have collapsed –

And so unusually, the Lord is being asked to comment on contemporary events, initially with the suggestion that the victims themselves might be responsible for what had happened to them – but he responds – are they greater sinners – their misfortune comes from being in the wrong place at a particular time – but the responsibility for their deaths and injuries is something different – the Roman system of administration which allows the local governor to act with unrestricted cruelty – or the high priest and the rulers of Jerusalem who allow an unsafe building to remain in place without concern for the danger that it causes.

But then the parable of the fig tree – it seems totally different the farmer asking for patience and consideration – leave it one more year and give me time.

And yet the two parts of the gospel are related – the killing of demonstrators or the collapse of a building are not totally different from events of our own age –  there are those who mourn the dead – those who are injured – leading to a search to identify and condemn the individuals who are responsible- in our own day, it could be an enquiry into military actions or the fire precautions in the design of a tower block.

But the addition of the gospel parable adds a new dimension  – certainly a recognition that our world is far from perfect – for many years – the owner comes to look for fruit and finds none – we can be radical uprooting all that has gone before – cut it down – why should it be taking up the ground – but there is an alternative – a possibility – recognising that we are far from perfect but we are sharing the same journey – we admit our faults and recognise the faults of others – the sea may be rough and the boat may be leaking – but we continue – forgiving others and asking for forgiveness for ourselves – I fully recognise that this is not an easy task, thinking particular of some of the problems which face the Church today – and we might be condemned  for allowing evil to fester – yet there is something there in the gospel today, that I realise I am only beginning to tease out – the solutions that suggest that the only answer is a total abolition without a careful examination of all that is involved – trying to see if we can separate the good from the bad so as to preserve what possibly might have value. Who knows, we might even have to do this personally during Lent as we examine our own consciences as try to determine what we might discard and what we might preserve.

We can condemn the actions of Pilate, but there are elements of the Roman civilisation which have survived to the present day – and many buildings may have fallen or collapsed, but to this day scholars continue to pick over the ruins of the old city of Jerusalem around the pool of Siloam.

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