Newsletter 2nd May 2021 – 5th Week of Eastertide
This weekend we welcome back Father Anthony who will be covering in the parish during the month of May and first weekend in June. Father Anthony kindly shared with me that Saturday 1st May marks 188 years since our Church opened.
As we celebrate the Fifth Sunday of Easter, we are called to renew our commitment and relationship with God, that our Christian faith should not be just superficial and empty, but instead must be strong and vibrant, based on true devotion and love for God. We must base our faith upon this deep love and commitment, a genuine relationship built between us and God, or else, we may end up easily losing our faith especially during times of trials and difficulties.
In our first reading today, taken from the Acts of the Apostle, we heard of the beginning of the ministry of St. Paul when he was still using his original name of Saul, and preached in Jerusalem very shortly after his conversion in Damascus. As not long before that Saul had just encountered the Lord, who called on him to turn away from his mistaken and erroneous path, and instead following Him and His guidance so that he may not lose his path and find the true joy in life in Christ.St. Paul did his best in everything he had done, in giving his life to the greater glory of God as the witness to the Lord and His truth, preaching the Good News and the words of the Gospel in the midst of many communities, to both the Jews and the Gentiles alike. He persevered on despite the many challenges he encountered, the numerous near-death experiences and the sufferings he had to endure throughout his ministry. And all of this is because of his attachment to the Lord, how the Lord is at the centre and as the focus of his life and his entire work and ministry.
All that St. Paul had done, he did because of his great love and dedication to the Lord, and not for his own sake or glory. This is what the Lord spoke of in our Gospel passage today, when He used the parable of the Vine to explain how all those who believe in Him, all of His followers, have to remain attached to Him as the true Vine. That if we are the branches, then in order to remain living and vibrant, we have to be connected to the Vine, or the main stem, that is Our Lord, our foundation in life and the focus of our entire existence, around which all of our efforts and works should be centred on.
St. John in his Epistle, our second reading today, spoke of the commandments that God has entrusted to us, the commandments of love that He has revealed before us and which as Christians, we are all expected and obliged to follow and fulfil. We should live our lives in a true Christian way, loving God with all of our hearts and putting Him as the centre of our existence, and at the same time, also loving our fellow brothers and sisters with the same love as well. By that love and by our faith then everyone will know that truly we are Christians, those whom God has chosen and called.
That is why this Sunday, as we continue to progress through the season of Easter, and as time continue to move on through the current restrictions, we should spend the time to re-examine our lives and discern carefully on what we all should be doing to be a better role model and inspiration for one another, to be a better Christian and a more dedicated follower of God, not just in name only, but also through our real actions and commitments in life. No one is perfect, and we all have made mistakes and disobeyed the Lord at some point of time in our lives, but we should not continue making the same mistakes and continue in living our lives in disobedience against God.
If we are worried or thinking that we cannot do wonderful and great things in living up to our Christian faith and calling, then we must realise that what matters is all the small, little actions we do each day, in our own communities, and even within our own families and circle of friends. We have to do whatever we can, in our own abilities and capacity to serve the Lord with faith, to be good examples for others that we may not only keep one another in faith but also lead even more souls to the salvation in the Lord.
May He empower us all through His Holy Spirit, that we may indeed bear rich and wonderful fruits of faith, and remain ever firmly attached to Him, Our true Vine and the source of our life and all truth. May God bless us all and our good endeavours, now and always. Amen.
Bishop Patrick this week urged us all to pray for the deeply saddening and worsening situation in India following the alarming outbreak of Covid-19. There are many people living and working within Nottingham Diocese who are from India and whose loved ones are living there today. Please hold their friends, family and the country in your prayers at this devastating time.
2021 2nd May Newsletter – Download
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