Newsletter 19th May 2019
Today is the Fifth Sunday of Eastertide.
Today is the First Holy Communion Day. Prayers and congratulations for the children who will be receiving Holy Communion for the First Time this Sunday at the 11am Mass.
After the Mass, weather permitting, there will be a celebration in the garden.
Thanks to all the parents who have helped with the classes. It has been a wonderful year and we have all enjoyed it.
On Saturday the children planted their tree in the garden – this year a cherry tree. Remember to go to look at it regularly to see how it is progressing. From previous years, there are a number of trees and all seem to be doing well.
On Monday I am off to the College in Spain for the meeting of the Trustees. I return on Thursday afternoon. This will mean that there will not be a Mass in the Church on Tuesday or Thursday. I will let you know if the Bishop is available for Masses on Monday and Wednesday. Back to normal on Friday. It will be a very busy few days – straight into a meeting when I arrive on Monday evening, meetings all day on Tuesday and writing up the minutes between the meetings, to the Banks on Wednesday and then back home on Thursday.
Saturday is the feast of St Bede the Venerable, well known for his history of the Early English Church. It was written in the early 8th century and is regarded as one of the most important early histories of England. Here is a tiny extract:
Mellitus, bishop of London, went to Rome to confer with Pope Boniface about the necessary affairs of the English Church. And the same most reverend Pope, assembling a synod of Bishops of Italy, to prescribe orders for the life and peace of the monks, Mellitus also sat among them, in the eight year of the reign of the Emperor Phocas, to the end that he also by his authority might confirm such things.
A prayer for after Holy Communion taken from Psalm 31:
I will bless the Lord at all times,
His praise always on my lips
In the Lord my soul shall make its boast,
The humble shall her and be glad.
A very Spanish recipe: allow three small potatoes per person and three large prawns. Cook the potatoes unpeeled in salted water and add the prawns just before the end. Peel the prawns and potatoes and add some chopped parsley, some finely chopped garlic and dress with oil and vinegar. Just the thing for a spring day with a glass of rueda.
Any bit of Eliot today:
I made this, I have forgotten
The rigging weak and the canvas rotten
Between one June and another September.
Made this unknowing, half conscious, unknown, my own.
With many changes to bus routes in recent months, there seems to be a surplus of new Routemasters, otherwise known as Boris buses. They have appeared on a number of new routes including the 176 and the 87. Look out for the three axled monster working on route 12. Similar vehicles last operated on this route in 1949.
The boy is now enjoying cricket once again. His bat is thrown down in the hallway and he has to dress it with linseed oil. His sister wants to help but this is not to be encouraged.
After a cold start to May, I looked forward to some warm summer days.
Best wishes to you all.
Monsignor Nicholas Rothon.
Fifth Sunday of Easter
The context of today’s reading is the Last Supper on the evening of Maundy Thursday.
The reading begins with the departure of Judas – already the Lord had warned the apostles – one of you will betray me – the apostles think that Judas had been commissioned to undertake a special task – buying something for the festival or giving something to the poor – but the Lord knew that he was about to betray him for 30 pieces of silver – the physical detail given in the gospel seems to confirm it – night had fallen. Even at this late stage, it would have been possible for Judas to turn back – possibly ask the forgiveness of them all – but his mind is set on what he is determined to do.
But it is not Judas alone – Peter is full on enthusiasm when the Lord comes to wash his feet before the beginning of the meal – yet within a few hours, he will betray him when he is challenged in the courtyard of the High Priest – Mark’s gospel, by tradition based on the memories of Peter explains in the briefest terms what happened when the soldiers came to arrest the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane – They all deserted him and ran away.
Of the eleven remaining disciples, only John found his way to Calvary. The others had all disappeared, including the Thomas who had confidently to the others – let us go to Jerusalem and die with him.
The Lord could foresee all of this – he had spoken of the treachery of Judas and also of the denial of Peter – before the cock crows twice, you will have denied me three times –
And he will have foreseen the perversity of Thomas in the days of the resurrection – unless I can put my hand into his side – I refuse to believe.
We might see something of the fear and apprehension when the Risen Lord appears to the disciples – that he had come to reprimand them – but in fact there is a familiar greeting so as to re-assure them – Peace be with you.
And yet despite all this – there are the words of the Lord in these last hours with his apostles at the Paschal meal – I give you a new commandment love one another – just as I have loved you – by this everyone will know that you are my disciples.
We must have heard these words many times, one of the phrases from the gospels which seems to stick in our minds – in particular it is frequently chosen as the gospel reading for a nuptial Mass – as with hope in the future, the husband and wife look forward to way in which and yet they will try to live out this commandment in their married life.
And yet I am very much aware of the way in which I have failed to keep this commandment – sometimes a dispute, a breakdown of relationships which looking back now seem to be of trivial importance – why ever did I need to worry about things of such trivial importance – sometimes it has been possible to recover, to rebuild – but sometimes things have gone for ever, leaving a gap in one’s life.
Yet there is a wonderful reassurance in the way in which the Lord treats his apostles – he knows their weaknesses only too well and the different ways in which they will fail him – but he continues to give them an ideal – a new commandment – at least they can try to keep this commandment – even though they will not always succeed – in the coming years Peter will have bitter arguments with Paul on the need for new Christians to observe the Jewish law.
And really it is the same for each one of us – many joys, many moments of happiness, but just possibly moments when this new commandment becomes far from easy – but as with the apostles, we can only ask the Lord
For his mercy, for his forgiveness, for his understanding.