Newsletter- 22nd Week of Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners

Today we welcome back many people from the parish who have been away on holiday, and we offer a very warm welcome to anybody who may be visiting St Mary’s this weekend.

I was extremely touched upon returning to the sacristy after Mass last Saturday night to find the lovely card signed by so many parishioners and a very thoughtful and quite unexpected gift from you all to mark my two years of being your parish priest. It is I who should thank you…your kindness, generosity, and support of me in my ministry over the past two years has been a great blessing! I have enjoyed greatly these past two years of being your parish priest and I hope and pray I shall remain amongst you for a few more years to come!  With my sincere thanks for your generosity and your very kind words!

The Gospel for this Sunday the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time continues the story that began in last week’s Gospel. Simon Peter was called the “rock” upon which Jesus would build his Church, and yet Peter continues to show the limitations of his understanding of Jesus’ identity. Now that the disciples have acknowledged that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus confides in them the outcome of his ministry: he must suffer and die in Jerusalem to be raised on the third day. Peter rejects this prediction, and Jesus rebukes him severely, calling him “Satan.” In opposing this aspect of Jesus’ mission, Peter shows that he is no longer speaking based on the revelation from God but as a human being. Jesus then teaches all the disciples about the difficult path of discipleship: to be Christ’s disciple is to follow in his way of the cross.

Peter could not yet understand what it meant to call Jesus the Messiah. It is unlikely that the other disciples understood any better. The common view at that time was that the Messiah would be a political figure, a king that would free Israel from Roman rule. This is perhaps what Peter envisioned when he was led to recognise Jesus as the Messiah. In this passage, however, Jesus is beginning to teach his disciples that he was the Messiah but in a different way.

Jesus would be more like the suffering servant described by the prophet Isaiah rather than the political liberator. Those who would be Jesus’ disciples would be called to a similar life of service. Perhaps this is what Peter feared most in Jesus’ prediction of his Passion. He whom Jesus had called “rock” would also be called upon to offer himself in sacrifice and service to others. 

You and I are called through our Christian discipleship and witness in the world in which we live to offer service to God and to one another. It is often in the small acts of kindness and generosity we show to one another during our daily lives that our witness has the greatest impact upon those around us. Today at Mass let us ask for the grace to be faithful witnesses to Christ and to the Gospel message, and that our hearts may remain open to Christ’s transformative Love, Mercy, and Truth.

CAFOD – Solidarity with small farmers – Salina’s Giant Letter to the World Bank – Our global food system is broken. One tenth of the world go hungry whilst one third of all the food produced is wasted and giant corporations make huge profits. The way we produce food damages our planet too. But many of the small-scale farmers are pushing for the alternatives that are good for people and the planet. It’s vital for us as a parish community to support them to fix the giant global food system.

CAFOD works with small farmers around the world who produce lots of the world’s food. But many of them are facing a huge problem. For hundreds of years, they have freely used and shared their own seeds, but laws are being passed that limit what they are allowed to do with their own seeds giving them little choice but to buy more expensive seeds from large companies. These laws make it even harder for small farmers and their families to produce enough food.

Salina is a small farmer from Bangladesh. Please sign Salina’s letter on your way out of Mass this weekend. By signing your name alongside Salina, we can send a strong message to the World Bank that our Catholic community stands with small-scale farmers.Salina’s letter is displayed on the notice board by the DONA Pay Station in the entrance to church. This Giant Letter will be sent back to CAFOD by 18th September.

Parish Confirmation Course 2024 – You will find an advert in this week’s Bulletin about our next Confirmation course. We are limiting places to 30 candidates and applications will be taken on a “first come first served basis.” I am very grateful to those parishioners who have already volunteered as catechists; however, it would be good to have a few more volunteers to help support our young people. If you would like to assist, please come, and speak with me informally and I will put you in touch with Mary Peeling who is heading up our Parish Confirmation Catechist Team.

With my prayers for you and for your families during the coming week ahead,

Your parish priest and friend,

Fr Jonathan


2023 3rd September 2023– Newsletter – Download