Sunday, 27 April 2014

Divine Mercy Sunday

St John Paul II, canonised today, was a great advocate of associating this Sunday with the divine mercy. Here are some words from a sermon of his on the subject:

In the Messiah, crucified and risen, we recognize the features of the Lamb sacrificed on Golgotha, who implores forgiveness for His torturers and opens the gates of heaven to repentant sinners; we glimpse the face of the immortal King who now has "the keys of Death and Hades" (Rev 1:18).
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endures forever! (Ps 117:1). Let us make our own the Psalmist's exclamation which we sang in the Responsorial Psalm: "The Lord's mercy endures forever!" In order to understand thoroughly the truth of these words, let us be led by the liturgy to the heart of the event of salvation, which unites Christ's Death and Resurrection with our lives and with the world's history. This miracle of mercy has radically changed humanity's destiny. It is a miracle in which is unfolded the fullness of the love of the Father who, for our redemption, does not even draw back before the sacrifice of His Only-begotten Son. 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Alleluia Christ is risen!!

We gathered in the night to rekindle the fire of love and renew our baptismal faith as we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord from the dead. 

Congratulations to Rio Martins who was baptised today 

Saturday, 19 April 2014

The Judas Tree

Fr John used this powerful poem as part of his homily on Maundy Thursday. In these dark hours of Holy Saturday I've found myself reflecting back on the words of the poet on remarkable forgiveness of Love. 

In Hell there grew a Judas Tree
Where Judas hanged and died
Because he could not bear to see
His master crucified

Our Lord descended into Hell
And found his Judas there
For ever haning on the tree
Grown from his own despair

So Jesus cut his Judas down
And took him in his arms
"It was for this I came" he said
"And not to do you harm

My Father gave me twelve good men
And all of them I kept
Though one betrayed and one denied
Some fled and others slept

In three days' time I must return
To make the others glad
But first I had to come to Hell
And share the death you had

My tree will grow in place of yours
Its roots lie here as well
There is no final victory
Without this soul from Hell"

So when we all condemned him
As of every traitor worst
Remember that of all his men
Our Lord forgave him first

Ruth Etchells

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Maundy Thursday

The morning Chrism Mass at the cathedral 

The clergy of the diocese gathered outside st Paul's to be blessed by the bishop and sent out to show the love of christ to the city

In the evening we celebrate the Mass of the last supper with foot washing and keep vigil at the altar of repose - here is St Matthias 

Monday, 14 April 2014

Holy Week Women

It is Holy Week, and with the Church throughout the world, our parishes are reflecting on the events leading up to Jesus' death. In a series of sermons at Mass on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we will think about some of the women from gospel and other traditional accounts of Jesus' last earthly days:

Monday 7:30pm, St Matthias - Mary of Bethany
Tuesday 10am, St Matthias - Veronica
Wednesday 11am, St John - our Lady

Please try to get along if you can. Even if you can't, perhaps you could make finding out more about these characters part of your observance of Holy Week.

A different sort of Palm Sunday procession

Today on Palm Sunday many gathered in churches around the world and processed with palms to remember Jesus' entry in to Jerusalem. I didn't. I decided to walk to the junction of Commercial Road and Butchers Row, round the corner from where I live, to see the London Marathon runners go by. As daft as this might sound it really made me think about Jesus' coming into Jerusalem. 
There was something about shouting and cheering as the runners came past, being part of a crowd that had a life of it's own. Looking out at first for the elite runners, looking together for the helicopters and motorbikes that would herald their coming. We did not shout hosanna, but 'woo hooo' and 'go [insert name on t-shirt here]'. It was all good fun as the elite athletes of all abilities came past. But then came Mo. 

When the Men's Elite runners came up West India Dock road a huge ripple spread down the lines of spectators. The leading runners bounced past with a flutter of cheers, then came the rest of the leading pack, the flutter growing. Then as Olympic hero Mo Farah got nearer the flutter grew to a roar of 'Go Mo, Go Mo!'

While Mo and tiredly grinned and made his way towards the 21 mile mark, many gathered at that corner wandered away. I walked back home to see Mo finish on the telly, with a pot of tea. Seeing this proud Londoner come in 8th in his first ever Marathon with a time of 2 hours and 8 minutes was great. True he had hoped to be faster, but wow. In the interview moments after he crossed the line he was his typically chirpy self and although a bit disappointed stated that he could not have run his first marathon anywhere else and he'd be back!

Then came the commentary. 'Mo fails to win first marathon.' 'Mo fails to break British record.' 'Mo should stick to the track.' So quickly the euphoria  of the crowd faded as voice after voice came over the t.v. pointing out every error the athlete had made. 'He should have gone with the front back.' 'He messed up his drink stops.' 'He should have done an easier marathon first.'

An this is when my mind pulled me back to Palm Sunday. As Jesus entered Jerusalem the crowds yelled 'hosanna' and threw their coats down for his ass to walk on. I wonder how long it took for those cheering into Jerusalem to start critiquing Jesus. 'A donkey? A king should come on a horse.' 'Why's he come to Jerusalem? Shouldn't he have tried regaining in Galilee first.' 'He should stick with preaching in backwaters - he's not ready for the big time.'

We know that the same voices that shouted 'Hosanna' as Jesus came by, were among those that yelled 'Crucify' just five days later. Two crowds, two very different atmospheres. Voices excited and engaged by this unassuming king entering the city on a donkey are turned in five days to become angry and have dehumanised a man enough to call for his death.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Palm Sunday

‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heavens!’

Holy Week began today with the bittersweet Palm Sunday liturgy, which combines a celebration of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem with the reading of the Passion gospel.

Our observance of Holy Week takes place at both churches. Service times can be found via the 'What's On' tags at the top of the page.