“It is Jesus who is the Good Shepherd (St John 10). It is Jesus who has the task of leading & feeding his sheep & lambs, guiding them to & from pasture, keeping them safe from predators. He knows them & they know him. He has now given his life for them. Bu the commission of John 20:21 was quite specific. ‘As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.’ there’s no getting away from it. & this means what it means. Peter is to share Jesus’ task of shepherding. Here is the secret of all Christian ministry, yours & mine, lay & ordained, full-time or part-time. It’s the secret of everything from being a quiet, back-row member of a prayer group to being a platform speaker at huge rallies & conferences. If you are going to do any single solitary thing as a follower & servant of Jesus, this is what it’s built on. Somewhere deep down inside, there is a love for Jesus, though (& goodness knows) you’ve let him down enough times, he wants to find that love, to give you a chance to express it, to heal the hurts & failures of the past, & to give you new work to do. These are not things for you to do to ‘earn’ forgiveness. Nothing can ever do that. It is grace from the start to finish. They are the things to do out of the joy & relief that you are already forgiven. Things that will be costly, because Jesus’ own work was utterly costly. Things that will mean following Jesus into suffering perhaps into death. In the last week, as I have been writing this, more Christians have been killed around the world simply for worshipping Jesus. “someone else will dress you & take you where you would rather not go.” Peter will complete his task as a shepherd by laying down his own life, in turn, for the sheep. But even this is not something different from the call that drew the disciples in the first place. “follow me!” now that Jesus has taken the steep road to the Cross, & has proved that death itself is defeated by the life & joy of the new creation, he can ask for everything from those he has rescued, & know he will get it. Peter went from strength to strength. He was still muddled from time to time, but he was a shepherd. He loved Jesus & looked after his sheep. No one could ask for more. Jesus never asks for less.” (John for Everyone: Tom Wright)
Our Parish Vision Prayer
We pray that we may be a growing community Which, thorough the power of the Holy Spirit, joyfully serves the mission given to us by Jesus Christ.
We pray that we may be a welcoming family In which, young or old, you are known by name, loved and accepted as you are, invited to pray, to share your life, to heal and to grow, to enjoy a loving relationship with God, yourself and others, and so become the person you were created to be.
We pray that together we may reach out in love To serve the needs of the world and offer the joy and hope of the Gospel to others, through our actions, our words and the example of our lives, responding above all to the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth, so that in all things God our Father will be glorified.
This vision for Our Lady & St Benedict’s was written at the end of Advent 2018 and was developed during six months of prayer, personal reflection and discussion. The intention was to have an inspiring picture of what we are and what we hope to become. Everyone was invited to participate and well over half the parish actively contributed in one way or another. The vision seeks to combine the insights, inspirations and hopes of all. Now seems like a good time to suggest that we pray it together so that it will help to inspire us and guide our actions, particularly as Our Lady & the Holy Angel’s (Gilling), St Aidan’s (Oswaldkirk) and Our Lady & St Benedict’s (Ampleforth) come together. Acknowledging that we each have our own vision, vocation and gifts to offer, let us take every opportunity to share over the coming months what these are; and any suggestions of how this prayer and statement of vision can be improved would be very welcome – just share them with a member of the Co-ordinating Group.
Living God, you walk alongside us & speak to us throughout the Scriptures. Your Son, Jesus Christ, listens to our hopes & fears & shows us how to live for one another. Send us the Holy Spirit to open our hearts & minds so that we may be your witnesses throughout the world. Amen. V. Your word is our path & your truth is our light. R. This day & every day. (Prayer of the Word for the Year of the Word)
Lent began this last week with two notable Masses at OL&SB & OL&HA: our 9am Mass in Ampleforth included St Benedict’s Primary School who took a full part in the celebration, having prepared last Monday by burning the palm branches from last Palm Sunday, together with their sorry sheets, on which they has expressed their sadness at their mistakes. The ashes from our fire formed the basis of our dust/ashes for Ash Wednesday. Our evening Mass in Gilling included a fine mix of parishioners from there & from Ampleforth, as we journey together both into Lent & onwards into our Parish amalgamation. “Follow me! No one could ask for more. Jesus never asks for less.” with my love & prayers Fr Bede.