Part 1”what are we to make of the fact that 99% of the faithful won’t take a step towards the Sacrament of Confession?” [9 Confessions in 9 wks so far this year in OL&SB] Part 2 “when he looked into the face of the unfortunate woman, Jesus didn’t see sinfulness but a boundless longing for love.” “to be obedient & to avoid nibbling things are sensible dictates when we cannot yet distinguish between sweets & poisonous substances. But when we are capable of personal insight & judgement, when we have a right to claim what we need, then strict unquestioning obedience may become a barrier to life itself. Another situation is much more difficult. There are things that are undeniably wrong according to the laws of morality, yet some people do them & up to this point in their lives, cannot feel repentance for them. The actions feel so necessary, so much part of their lives. It can teach us that if some things are forbidden too early in life, people may have to learn them later. Don’t we in the Church bear a heavy burden of blame for expecting people to be perfect experts in the most important areas of human life? consider the whole issue of love & lovemaking. Before marriage it is sinful; in marriage it is a duty; outside of marriage it is again sinful. It is all simple & clear-cut. But when do people under such pressure learn to love & to dream? how can they suddenly move from lovemaking as sin to lovemaking as a duty without feeling anger or hatred for themselves, our ultimately for the person who is living by their side? One of Jesus’ most important instructions in the Sermon on the Mount was that if a person forces you to go one mile with him or her, you should go two. He was trying to tell us that what people need is accompaniment through thick & thin, wherever it may lead. It is a matter of taking our place by the side of others when they are suffering; it is not a matter of pushing our way into their lives obtrusively, already knowing what is to be corrected, they themselves know that. In so far as God is concerned, not only can we obtain forgiveness when we do wrong, but we also have a right to make mistakes when we mean well. In the end there really is not clean & universally valid order of good & evil, virtue & vice. Instead there is “a sound of sheer silence” [1Kings 19;12] in our hearts, a feeling for what is human, & a touch of compassion for everything living on this earth. In the end there is only one sin in God’s eyes, made clear in parable of the talents; to bury everything & to refuse to risk our lives out of sheer anxiety, perhaps even before God.” [the Open Tomb ; Eugen Drewermann]
On 8 Dec 2020, Pope Francis wrote a letter to us to commemorate 150th anniversary of St Joseph being proclaimed as Patron of the Universal Church. “Patris Corde” [with a Father’s heart]. There will be a Novena to St Joseph beginning on 10 March up to his feastday on 19 March 2021; we gave out a prayer card at both Masses last weekend. prayers for 10-19 March on; https://www.praymorenovenas.com/st-joseph-novena We will celebrate Mass in OL&SB on 19 March 2021 at 930am, & I am leading a Home Retreat at the Abbey on Sat 13 March 2021 at 11am, entitled “Art & lectio..rock & sand?” which will open a favourite painting of mine “Geburt Christi” depicting a different Joseph at the manger. You will be really welcome to join me; Yvonne Wood will give you full details & joining instructions on; firstname.lastname@example.org
A moment to express our gratitude to Sophie Tyrell who organises the Red Mission boxes for the parish, an initiative under the guidance of St Joseph’s Missionary Society, & to those of you who hold a box at home, & give with extraordinary generosity to their work.
Our Parish continues to provide food through the Food Initiative at a cost of £200 a month. [£2,600 since the pandemic began]. I hope those in our own Village who may be struggling to provide food for their children in this ongoing & increasing crisis in health & in the economy, will be warmly encouraged to benefit from our Food Initiative, where it is possible to approach Ray & Deb in the Village Shop, & quietly ask for a bag of food essentials which will be delivered to your door. This has been working well since the lockdown began, & it could be more of us in the Village will find themselves in ever deeper need of help, & we would encourage them to ask..it isn’t charity, it is basic good bread & butter Christian discipleship which, at such times of crisis, is asked of us in our plenty. Across the Village there is deep appreciation for the good natured & generous service given by Ray & Deb throughout the crisis, who regularly go the extra mile for us. Food donations to Middlesbrough Food Bank via cash in envelope to Parish House or direct via email@example.com Please remember the sterling work of our own SVP group in the Parish, who are there, willing & able to help anyone in any form of difficulty, or those who would value a phone call now & again in the midst of the lockdown. Do please Contact Mary Borrett firstname.lastname@example.org. With my love & prayers Fr Bede