St Peter “He came to God by doing it wrong.” “He is the only one whom Jesus ever calls a devil. He is the only one who directly denies Jesus; His first response in every encounter is always wrong; & yet he is clearly the one whom Jesus makes the spokesman & the symbol for this whole new enterprise that he is starting. Peter is undoubtedly everyman & everywoman. Peter is humanity at its most lovable, disheartening best. Peter has a working-class, uneducated man’s response to life. He does not filter things through his head, like people who write books such as this. He filters it through an immediate instinctive response, which is not to filter it at all. He is often presented as a bit of a buffoon - but the very buffoon that we all are & that God in Jesus loves & uses for God’s purposes. The greatest leader is one who serves; servant leadership, the authority that comes from being at the bottom, is the authority that finally convinces & converts people. It is based not on “potestas” the power to enforce, but on “auctoritas” the power of inherent truth. One sees it in people like Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, & Mahatma Gandhi. They have the authority that comes from lifestyle. St Paul “a man of contradictions.” Did Saul really die when Paul was born on that road to Damascus? Or was Saul always in the background, the raw material of God’s new creation? Was Saul really the bad man we all love to hate, or was Paul such a good man, since most of us find him hard to love? Paul seems to love & understand paradox: he teaches through contrast, comparison, & the overcoming of seeming contradictions. To read him superficially is to make one of the sides bad & the other good (flesh/spirit) but this is to miss his genius as a teacher. If one has not consciously struggled, & partly reconciled these patterns inside of oneself, it is almost impossible to understand St Paul. He is a midwife who can bring out only what is already there. If we choose to resent & reject Paul for many understandable reasons, we are missing an opportunity to leap into the fray of full humanness. He gives you some answers, yes, but only by allowing you first of all to experience the dilemma & the struggle within yourself. He is the problem personified, the human paradox & the human possibility. Stay with him & you will see your own life caught up in the same text & in the same struggles.” (Soul Brothers: Richard Rohr)
A fledgling choir/music group met for the first time a fortnight ago after Mass, enjoyed the moment, & are keen to meet again & take a number of possible initiatives forward for trial & experimentation for our Sunday liturgy. Their next meeting will be Sun 7th July immediately after Mass, & they would warmly encourage others to join them. You don’t have to be skilled either in music or song, & the group will welcome you in offering every joy & encouragement.
As from this coming Monday our weekday Mass will revert to 9.30am. We changed it to 9.45am some weeks ago as Fr Gabriel wished to hold a Council briefing each morning at 9am. As from Monday the Community Mass, which has been at 12.45pm each weekday moves to 8.45am, & the Council briefing to 2pm. I hope this change of Mass for us doesn’t prove inconvenient, & I am grateful to you for your patience in agreeing to the original change to 9.45am.
I explained a fortnight ago that meetings have been held in Our Lady & the Holy Angels in Gilling (16th April 2019) & in St Aidan’s Oswaldkirk (13th June 2019), to explain our difficulty in providing monk-priests to celebrate weekend Masses in so many neighbouring locations, & to seek the views of those present on how our Community could respond to the resultant opportunity. The feedback from both meetings has gone to Fr Gabriel & his Council. We would like to hold a third meeting here in Our Lady & St Benedict’s, the Mother Church for the locality, in order to inform you of the discussions thus far & to seek your wise counsel on how we might go forward in Mass provision, & in the ongoing faith formation of the wider locality. Provisionally the meeting will be held in Church on Thurs 11th July, the Feast of St Benedict, at 7pm, finishing by 8pm. I hope as many of you as possible will come & contribute in advance of a decision by Fr Gabriel & his Council. Let us keep all those who will be affected by the changes in our prayers.
Could I welcome back, now that the College academic year has finished, those young people & their parents, as well as some of our academic staff, who have understandably been part of the College Sunday Mass celebrations. You are each & all missed during term, & we feel a restored sense of full unity & belonging at your return to us. Love & prayers, Fr Bede.