Newsletter- 16th Week of Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners

During part of this coming week, I shall be away at the Diocesan Clergy Conference in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. This means that on Monday and Tuesday 18th and 19th July there will be no Public Worship and the church will be closed. I am very grateful to Andrew for offering a Service of Word and Holy Communion at 9.30 am on Wednesday 20th July. Normal Masses will resume from Thursday 21st July onwards. Please do keep the diocesan clergy in your prayers during this coming week as we meet together and with Bishop Patrick. 

During late July and August, many within our parish will be taking a well-deserved rest, a time away for holidays and to visit friends and family at home and abroad, many of our regular volunteers at the weekend Masses will be doing the same, this means at times our Sunday Liturgies will be a little simpler than normal.  I would take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to the many within our parish who regularly come to offer their time to serve at the altar, to visit the sick and the housebound,  to assist with our music ministry, ministry of welcome, stewarding, reading, flower arranging and in so many other practical ways each week, all of which ensures the smooth running of our liturgies and of our parish community. I hope and pray that each of you will enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation this summer….and that you will return after your time away rested and refreshed!

The story of Jesus in the home of Martha and Mary which we hear in the Gospel this weekend complements the story of the Good Samaritan, which we heard last weekend at Mass. Both stories are unique to Luke. The story of the Samaritan opens with the words “a certain man.” Today’s reading opens with the words “a certain woman.” The Samaritan is an example of how a disciple should see and act. Mary is an example of how a disciple should listen. Mary, a woman, is a marginalized person in society, like the Samaritan. Both do what is not expected of them. As a woman, Mary would be expected, like Martha, to prepare hospitality for a guest. Here again Jesus breaks with the social conventions of his time. Just as a Samaritan would not be a model for neighbourliness, so a woman would not in their society have been allowed to sit with the men around the feet of a teacher.

Both stories exemplify how a disciple is to fulfil the dual command of love of God and love of neighbour. These are the two essentials for our Christian witness and discipleship and reflect life in God’s Kingdom. Yet by using the examples of a Samaritan and a woman, Jesus is saying something more. Social codes and boundaries were strict in Jesus’ time. Yet to love God with all one’s heart and one’s neighbour as oneself requires breaking those rules. The Kingdom of God is a society without distinctions and boundaries between its members. It is a society too that requires us at times to listen and to respond, to see and to do, but it also requires that we wait upon the Lord and listen to Him.

With my prayers for you during the coming week,

Your friend and parish priest,

Fr Jonathan

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