PARISH MASS & HOLY BAPTISM 1000
VESPERS & BENEDICTION 1800
Mass Book 18a
Divine providence is a wonderful thing: God is so generous with his creation (it is human greed that denies some their rightful share). The Kingdom of God is the time and place when this vision will be fully realised, when all who wish may ‘come to the water’, when all who are hungry may ‘eat as much as they want’, when what is left over is still enough for all the twelve tribes of Israel. Our contemplation of the kingdom of God, through the parables and miracles of Jesus, should stir us up to build this kingdom here and now. The miracle of Divine providence is allowed to work when human greed and selfishness give way to the power of the Spirit working within us, and we share all we have with those in need. Our hearts are set on the kingdom of God, where there is corn and wine and milk in abundance.
Martha was the sister of Mary of Bethany and Lazarus. In the West, her feast day comes a week after that of St Mary Magdalene because of the old and probably erroneous tradition that Mary Magdalene was the same person as Martha’s sister.
But at least Martha and Mary both get celebrated somehow. What about poor Lazarus? He deserves our sympathy for being brought back to life by Jesus so as, later, to have to die all over again. What he thought of being brought back to Earth is not recorded. The presence of the incarnate Lord must have made up for the postponement of Heaven, but – where less dramatic circumstances are concerned – we should think of Lazarus when we prepare to make spectacular acts of charity on behalf of people who may not necessarily appreciate our interventions.
TUESDAY OF WEEK 14
Today’s Gospel presents two facts: (1) the cure of a possessed dumb person (Mt 9, 32-34) and (2) a summary of the activity of Jesus (Mt 9, 35-38). These two episodes end the narrative part of chapters 8 and 9 of the Gospel of Matthew in which the Evangelist seeks to indicate how Jesus put into practice the teachings given in the Sermon on the Mountain (Mt 5 and 7).
LIVE STREAM – 4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Here we enter a new stage of Advent: having spent so much time on the Second Coming, now we look back, to remember the details of the Lord’s First Coming. Today we focus on the characters of Mary and Joseph, and hear of the circumstances surrounding the conception of the child Jesus, and the reaction of Joseph. This mystery springs from the House of David, and so we lead into the Gospel by hearing of the promise that the Messiah would come from that line. The link between the First Reading and the Gospel is quite explicit today, since Matthew actually quotes Isaiah. Joseph, descendant of King David, is invited to take his place in the great story of God’s relationship with the Chosen people. There is great sense of a timeless mystery reaching its focal point, as that which was “promised long ago” (Second Reading) now takes flesh in the womb of Mary.
10am – Parish Mass
4pm – Christmas Carol Service & Building of the Crib
Christmas Eve 10pm – Mass During the Night
Christmas Day – 11am – Mass of the Day
|St Francis of Assisi (1181 – 1226)
Mass – 9.30am
Francis was the son of a prosperous cloth merchant in Assisi. When his father objected to having his goods sold without his consent to pay for the restoration of a church, the bishop commanded Francis to repay the money. He did. He also renounced his father and gave back everything he had ever been given, even his garments. He began a life of perfect evangelical poverty, living by begging and even then only accepting the worst food that people had to give. He preached to all the love of God and the love of the created world; because, having renounced everything, he celebrated everything he received, or saw, or heard, as a gift. A rich man sold everything and joined him in living next to a leper colony; a canon from a neighbouring church gave up his position and joined them also. They looked into the Gospel and saw the story of the rich young man whom Jesus told to sell everything; they saw Jesus telling his disciples to take nothing with them on their journey; they saw Jesus saying that his followers must also carry his cross. And on that basis they founded an order. Francis went to Rome himself and persuaded the Pope to sanction it, though it must have seemed at once impractical and subversive, to set thousands of holy men wandering penniless round the towns and villages of Europe.
Because Francis was wearing an old brown garment begged from a peasant, tied round the middle with string, that became the Franciscan habit. Ten years later 5,000 men were wearing it; a hundred years later Dante was buried in it because it was more glorious than cloth of gold.
There is too much to say about Francis to fit here. He tried to convert the Muslims, or at least to attain martyrdom in doing so. He started the practice of setting up a crib in church to celebrate the Nativity.
Francis died in 1226, having started a revolution. The Franciscans endure to this day.