Newsletter 5th May 2019
Today is the Third Sunday of the Easter Season.
It is the first Sunday of May. At the end of the 9.30 Mass I will ask the children to help to crown the statue of Our Blessed Lady as we celebrate her special month of May.
Monday is the Bank holiday but I will be here for Mass as usual at 10am. The works to the track of our steam railway are continuing so that there is no need for additional train crews. We should be back to normal by August.
Next Sunday is Vocations Sunday and there is a second collection to help meet the cost of training the future priests of the Diocese. As always I hope that the Archbishop might consider sending some students to Valladolid.
The garden is proving to be most popular on warm days. Quite a lot of work to keep the pool topped up with chemicals, to run the filter and to clear out the junk, but is greatly enjoyed.
Not long now to the First Communion day. There is a rehearsal on the morning of 18th May at 10.30 in preparation for the big day on 19th May. We are all looking forward to it.
I have been very busy in recent days preparing papers for the meeting of the Trustees of our College in Spain which takes place at the end of May. I will be away from the Monday to the Thursday.
A simple recipe for a lemon pudding. You can use some frozen puff pastry to line a dish. Cream together 4oz butter, 4oz caster sugar, the grated rind and the juice of one lemon and the yoks of four eggs. Cook in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes.
Possibly you might have noted the new buses on route 54. They are not quite what they seem. They are not true hybrids but a cheaper version which has a diesel engine and some electrical help when starting. The final old Dennis Tridents were last seen in the yard at Catford Garage awaiting disposal.
A prayer to the Holy Spirit:
Holy Spirit, be with us throughout this day. Strengthen and enlighten us in our work. Make us constantly are of each other and of you, so that we may live every moment of our day as you would have us do.
This week work will be starting on the renewal of the heating boiler in the house. Last year we attended to the Church. The house boiler is coming to the end of its days and we will put in a modern and more efficient system. Also I am preparing plans for the renovation of the lavatories in the big. The present system is antiquated and needs to be improved.
I am watching the horse chestnut tree in the garden with interest. In recent years it seemed to suffer from a disease and the leaves become mottled after a fairly short time. This year the leaves look quite healthy and I hope that they survive the summer.
The boy and his sister now have a new cousin, born on 16th April. Lots of baby prodding at present but fairly soon they will be dragging him round to share in their games. For me this is number five of the greats- must remember all the birthdays.
And time for a poem:
They’ve filled their batwater-bottles
Made their batbeds,
With two springy battresses
For sleepy batheads.
They’re closing red eyes
And they’re counting black sleep,
Batman and Robin
Are falling asleep.
Best wishes to you all
Monsignor Nicholas Rothon
Third Sunday of Easter 2019
Today the story from John’s gospel of the appearance of the Risen Lord beside the lakeside. This is the 21st chapter of John’s gospel which seems to have been added as an appendix to the original gospel either by John himself or possibly by one of his disciples. Chapter 20 ends seemingly with a formal conclusion but then the story continues – Jesus showed himself again to the disciples.
It is a complex story and there are a number of puzzling details. From the other gospels, there is the suggestion that the days after the Resurrection were spent mainly in Jerusalem – yet here the apostles are back in Galilee and continuing with their previous occupation as fishermen on the lake.
There are obvious references to previous incidents from the gospels – the repeat of a miraculous draft of fish – recalling the incident when Peter was first called by the Lord – and then the bread and fish prepared by the Lord to provide a meal for the disciples – a reference were to the miraculous feeding of the multitude – the story given in the sixth chapter of John’s gospel when two loaves and five fish provide food for five thousand.
Also there is a possible reference to the account of the resurrection given in John’s gospel – Peter and John run to examine the empty tomb – Peter goes in to examine the folded grave cloths, but it is John who says he saw and believed. And so in the story today, it is John who recognises the Lord first on the shore of the lake.
And the great question here – did the Lord give the bread of the Eucharist to the disciples – you will recall the phrase from the account of the appearance of the Lord to the disciples on the road to Emmaus – they recognised the Lord in the breaking of the bread – the phrase – breaking of the bread – was used by the disciples in the early Church as a way of describing the celebration of the Eucharist – the book of the Acts describes how the disciples would meet for prayer and for the breaking of bread – there is nothing specific in the reading today – but at least it is a possibility – the gospel says – the Lord stepped forward, took the brad and gave it to them.
And then the curious detail of the fish – 153 of them. Fishermen do not normally count their wish individually – they throw them into a box and weigh them – there is much speculation about this verse – one suggestion is that it symbolises the different types of fish that were known to be found in the lake – and points to the future task of the apostles to go and teach people of all nations.
And the gospel adds the detail – this was the third time that Jesus showed himself to the disciples after rising from the dead. We read of the first two appearances in the reading from John’s gospel last Sunday – on the day of the resurrection – the gospel said – the disciples were filled with joy – and then eight days later – the second appearance for the specific benefit of Thomas who had not been present on the first day. These first two appearances took place in a closed room – which John says – was for fear of the Jews – a reference to the Pharisees and the High Priest – but they are back in their own familiar countryside – fishing on the lake – and now there are no doubts or hesitations. It is John who first recognises the Lord on the shore of the Lake and Peter in his enthusiasm jumps into the water to be the first to greet the Lord. Last week weo were thinking of the doubts of Thomas and on Easter Sunday, in John’s gospel there was the reaction of the women whose only thought was that the body of the Lord had been stolen from the tomb. But today in contrast, a confident faith as John is able to say quite simply – It is the Lord – and the sense of unreality in their minds – they do not ask who are you for they knew quite well it was the Lord.
So not a complete, structured piece of doctrine – but rather in this reading today a collection of details, of images – links to memories of past events as well as the intensity of the moment as the apostles recognise the risen Lord. And as we listen to gospel text, we can share something of this. At the end of the chapter, John sums it up – the disciples is the one who vouches for these things and has written them down and we know that his testimony is true.