Newsletter- 22nd Week of Ordinary Time

Dear Parishioners

This week many families will be returning from their summer holidays as our young people prepare shortly to return to their schools for a new academic year. In preparation for the new term at St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School, on 5th September, we shall welcome this Friday, the staff, and governors to our parish Mass at 9.30 am. Mass that day will be offered by me for them. Do pray this week for all who work, and study in our school, in particular pray for the new members of staff and students who will begin at our school this coming term. 

On this the Twenty Second Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Church calls our attention to an important Christian virtue, humility. It is an attribute and quality if we are honest that most of us struggle with. I certainly do! But it is an attribute and quality of God which we must all strive to possess and live. We are enjoined this Sunday to reflect deeply on this great virtue, as we seek to imitate the humility of Jesus who calls us to serve rather than to be served.

In the first reading at Mass, we hear some candid advice. We are given the key to a successful relationship with God, and of course, with one another: “Behave humbly and you will find favour with the Lord.” Humility was a distinctive mark of the life and ministry of Jesus and so it must also be for us his modern-day disciples living in this present age. The second reading at Mass reminds us that our destination is Mount Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, and the city of the living God. In this city, only the humble like the of Angels and Saints can dwell. The Gospel takes us to the climax of today’s good news. Christ exhorts us: “…Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the man who humbles himself will be exalted.” Jesus reminds us too of the importance of humility and simplicity in our Christian journey and vocation. Two virtues which if you are like me need daily to be remembered and practiced! But there is nothing to lose by being humble. In fact, there is a great deal to gain. Pride can only result in unhappiness and often shame. Any spiritual life that is not based on humility will ultimately be an empty and unhappy one and without a good dose of humility in our lives we are only working for ourselves with little regard for others, for their needs and concerns.

The Church teaches us that: “Humility is the foundation of prayer.” (CCC 2559). Only a humble heart can really be open to God in prayer, open to His Love, His Mercy, and His Truth. A humble person is always ready to ask for guidance from God and from others. A humble person is also ready to listen and learn from others and it often takes real humility to ask for forgiveness when we are wrong or when we have wronged another by our actions. I share with you a short prayer I often pray in my daily quest to seek a greater sense of humility and simplicity in my life:

 “O Jesus! Meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours. From the desire to be honoured and esteemed deliver me!”

As September approaches we shall see Little Church resuming, initially twice a month. Sessions start on Sunday 11th September,and I do encourage families with young children (up to 7 years old) to make use of this group. It will we hope, be a fun and informative shared time together, for all those attending, with a little gentle catechesis, creative input, and some simple prayer. Parents are very welcome to accompany their children and there will be a corner for babies and toddlers too (one parent must accompany babies and very young children please). Those wishing to attend Little Church should gather in church at the start of Mass with their families and they will be invited to go out to the hall after the opening Collect, returning to join family members at the Offertory. 

I am very grateful to those who have offered their time to help run Little Church, without their commitment and support Little Church would not be able to take place. We can though always do with a few more volunteers to help ease the load, so do get in touch with me if you would like to join our small band of willing helpers! No prior knowledge is needed other than a willingness to engage and encourage the young children to grow in a deeper knowledge of the Faith.

With prayer for you and for your families during the coming week, 

Your parish priest and friend,

Father Jonathan


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