newsletter 26th April 2020

Newsletter Sunday 26th April 2020

Today is the Third Sunday of Eastertide.

First, I hope that you and your families are keeping well – and surviving the “lock-down”. Prayers and best wishes for you all.

The gospel that we would normally read today tells the story of the appearance of the Risen Lord on the road to Emmaus. This must be one of the favourite gospel stories. The full story is only given in Luke’s gospel, but it is mentioned in the appendix to Mark’s gospel. There are many fascinating details. One of the disciples is called Clophas, or Cleopas in some versions. His companion is not mentioned by name, but possibly it could be a woman. John’s gospel mentions Mary the mother of Cleopas, at the foot of the cross. She is said to be one of the daughters of Anne and Joachim, the parents of Our Blessed Lady.  Could this be the same family?  Cleophas is mentioned in some of the early Christian writings and was to become the Bishop of Jerusalem after the death of the apostle James.

And another thought – the two disciples recognise the risen Lord in the “breaking of the bread”.  Did the Lord offer the Eucharist to them? This is a great unanswered question but the phrase, breaking of bread, is used several times in the book of the Acts to describe the celebration of the Eucharist – following the command of the Lord at the Last Supper – do this in memory of me.

There is endless speculation on the exact location of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem, according to the gospel, but it would take up too much space to explain it all!

A simple recipe that I used this week. Fry some sausages in some oil and then cut into to chunks and fry again so that the ends are crisp. Cook pasta and as it begins to soften, add some cabbage leaves and cook together until all is soft. Drain well and add the sausages, seasoning well. Pretty basic but something to use up items in your fridge.

At weekday Masses, the first lesson is taken from the book of the Acts, which is always interesting. In the office book, during the Easter season, we read the book of the Apocalypse. It is quite hard going and at times I wonder what it is all about.

The only saint this week is Catherine of Siena, whose feast is on Wednesday. She lived in the 14th century and is best known for helping to arrange for the Papacy to return to Rome from the exile in Avignon. If you ever visit Avignon, you should visit the Papal Palace and look for the face mask of Catherine in the Sacristy.

(Special prayers, please, for my niece Catherine, who is a hospital doctor helping to look after virus patients – happy feast day, Cath.)

Quite a lot of work in the garden in recent days, cleaning some of the beds and planting out the herbs. All the trees are now in bud and we look forward to a long warm summer. The pool is now up – but not in general use as yet. It is still very cold. My general rule is that it is not to be used below 15 degrees.  Recently I came across the sale particulars for when the house was offered for sale and purchased by the Church in 1872. The details are fascinating, and I will arrange for a copy to be included in the magazine in due course. The house is said to have a “pleasure garden”, which is quite a good way of describing it.  The basement has been changed for use by Marriage Care and the description of the original layout is most interesting.  It seems that the kitchen was in the basement.

Travel is still limited. I had hoped to go across to Stratford to see the changes on the line from Liverpool Street to Norwich.  The expresses are the last locomotive hauled trains in regular service, but they are about to be replaced by new units.

Time for some Hopkins now:

Nothing is so beautiful as spring –

When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;

Thrush’s eggs look little low heavens, and thrush

Through echoing timber does so rinse and wring

The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing –

A prayer for today: Heavenly Father, grant that by the guidance of the Holy Spirit we may discern your holy will, and by the grace of the same Spirit, we may do it gladly and with our whole hearts, for the glory of your Son Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

We are all trying different things these days.  A pause from books on the history of Spain and trying to learn a little Italian. Fa piuttosto caldo oggi. Sono quasi pronta. (Don’t try too hard!)

We have not had anything from Thomas Merton for some time. Here he is with some curious reflections on solitude.  “You will never find interior solitude unless you make the conscious effort to deliver yourself from the desires and the cares and the interests of an existence in time and in the world”.   I am not sure if I quite understand what he is saying. In these curious days, some of us experience times of solitude, and yet this does not mean that we are cut off from the cares and interests of others – keeping in contact and helping them if possible. Read what is there, but maybe time to move on.

I celebrate the Mass in the Church each morning on my own – looking and the empty benches and thinking of you all and looking forward to time when we can open the Church once again and join together to share the Eucharist.

Lee Child – it thought it was the title of a book about local young people – Swallows and Amazons for SE 12. I was disappointed to discover that this is the name of the author who writes boring books about an American detective.

Keep well and with kindest wishes to you all.

Monsignor Nicholas Rothon

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