Father Bob Writes – April 27, 2014

A few years ago, a friend of mine kept being woken up at 2.42 am each morning, according to the clock by his bed. He could never figure out why, until a friend of his suggested he look up Acts 2:42 in the Bible. What he found when he did so was the very verse quoted in our first reading this Sunday: “They devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” This is a description of how the early Church community lived out their faith-life. The “breaking of bread” referred to the Eucharist, or Mass, and we are told further down in the same passage that the community “broke bread in various houses.” In other words, house masses were commonly the way in which the early Church celebrated the Eucharist. Which is why I love doing house masses, and enjoyed celebrating them in St Clare’s parish during the winter over these last two years.

My friend who kept being woken up at 2.42 each morning was obviously being directed by the Lord to go back to attending Mass on a regular basis. Because at the mass he was receiving teaching which stretched back to the days of the apostles, fellowship, i.e.the community life of the parish, and prayers, participating in the spiritual life of the parish community – as well as sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ, a participation in the death and resurrection of Jesus.

When we come to Mass, it is salutary to remind ourselves that we are partaking in something which has been going on since the very first days of the Christian Church, and in fact goes back to the example of Jesus Christ himself, when he took bread at the Last Supper and spoke over it “This is my body, which shall be given for youand then took the cup of wine and spoke over it “This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which shall be poured out for you and for all , for the forgiveness of sins.” “Each time we break this bread, and drink this cup,says St Paul in 1 Corinthians 11, “we proclaim his death until he comes again.” So the Eucharist, our Mass, is the way we remind ourselves of all that Jesus did for us, in dying for our sins and rising from the dead to bring us into new and eternal life. And we are exhorted to keep doing this, until the end of time, when Christ returns to bring all earthly life to an end and usher in the era of the kingdom of God in all its fullness.

To stay away from Mass, or to only attend on an infrequent basis, is to rob us of the very essence of our faith. This weekend and next, we are celebrating in our parish a high point of our community life together: the First Communion of over 30 of our young children. It is when we remind ourselves as a community of the importance of the Eucharist for us as Catholics, to strengthen us in our faith, to sustain us in our hope for eternal life, and to deepen our love for God and for the whole human race. If you find yourself being woken up at 2.42 am each morning, now you know why!!

Fr Bob Writes – Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014

This beautiful poem captures the spirit of the Easter season perfectly:

EASTER

Most Glorious Lord of life, that on this day

Didst make thy triumph over death and sin ;

And having harrowed hell didst bring away

Captivity thence captive, us to win:

This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,

And grant that we for whom thou didst die

Being with thy dear blood clean washed from sin,

May live forever in felicity.

 

And that thy love we weighing worthily,

May likewise love thee for the same again;

And for thy sake that all like dear didst buy,

With love may one another entertain.

So let us love, dear love, like as we ought.

Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.

 

Edmund Spenser

Fr Bob Writes – April 13, 2014

As we approach Holy Week, below are some reflections on this climactic week of the Church’s year from Catherine Doherty, founder of Madonna House, a Catholic community of priests and single laymen and women, based in Combermere, but with outreaches around the world.

“The triumphant ceremony which liturgically opens Holy Week on Palm (Passion) Sunday teaches us that death leads to life, that the cross is inseparable from God’s glory and ours. And that the redemptive sacrifice completes itself only on the day of the Ascension when Christ, conqueror and king, enters heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. 

Our life is intimately bound up with Christ’s triumphant mysteries: Death on the Cross, Tomb, Resurrection, and Ascension. Because of thes , you and I will ascend to heaven and be with God – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – in a union of love and joy. Because of these mysteries we are redeemed. We have faith, we walk in hope and we have charity, which means that we already possess God who is love. Let our joy in the meaning of these mysteries reflect itself in the procession on Palm Sunday, which reminds us of the triumphal entry Jesus made into Jerusalem a few days before his death. 

Dearly beloved, our life should be such a processio . Our ordinary, everyday life, I mean. What does it matter that instead of palms, we hold brooms and tools of all kinds, dishes and scrubbing brushes and books. Every day of our life should be a living Hosanna to Christ the King, a march, a triumphal march towards Jerusalem, the City of God – and the day of his Second Coming, the parousia. 

During the Mass itself on Palm Sunday, the Gospel of Christ’s Passion is read. The cries of the crowd, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” are in sharp juxtaposition to the cries of “Hosanna!” during his triumphal entry into Jerusalem a few days previously. So we also remember, as we walk daily in this glorious procession of love and allegiance, that it will lead us  inevitably to Golgotha. About that we should be joyful, as we grow in faith and love. For as we grow , an incredible miracle will take place within us by the grace of God: Golgotha, the cross, the tomb will become so very small and easy of acceptance, even willed, desired and waited for .

Our growing faith and love will center on the Resurrection and on the Ascension that guarantees us our heart’s desire; oneness with the Beloved .”

Fr Bob Writes – April 6, 2014

Almsgiving is traditionally a way to do something extra during the Lenten season. It can take the form of giving money to a charity, but it can also involve performing any kind of kind or charitable act. Below St Leo the Great shares some insights into the virtue of almsgiving or charity

“Any time is the right time for works of charity, but these days of Lent provide a special encouragement. Those who want to be present at the Lord’s Passover in holiness of mind and body should seek above all to win this grace, for charity contains all other virtues and covers a multitude of sins.

 As we prepare to celebrate that greatest of all mysteries, by which the blood of Jesus Christ did away with our sins, let us first of all make ready the sacrificial offerings of works of mercy. In this way we shall give to those who have sinned against us what God in his goodness has already given to us.

 Let us now extend to the poor and those afflicted in different ways a more open-handed generosity, so that God may be thanked through many voices and the relief of the needy supported by our fasting. No act of devotion on the part of the faithful gives God more pleasure than that which is lavished on the poor. Where he finds charity with its loving concern, there he recognizes the reflection of his own fatherly care.

In these acts of giving do not fear a lack of means. A generous spirit is itself great wealth. There can be no shortage of material for generosity where it is Christ who feeds and Christ who is fed. In all of this activity there is present the hand of him who multiplies the bread by breaking it, and increases it by giving it away.

The giver of alms should be free from anxiety and full of joy. His gain will be greatest when he keeps back least for himself. The holy apostle Paul tells us :”He who provides seed for the sower will also provide bread for eating; he will provide you with more seed, and will increase the harvest of your goodness”, in Christ Jesus our Lord, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit for ever and ever . Amen.”