Newsletter- 2nd Week of Ordinary Time
It is with great pleasure that we welcome to our Sunday Parish Mass this weekend our local Mayor, Councillor Mark Whittington and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Charmaine Morgan. This will be their first official visit to our Catholic community, and I know you will make them very welcome here.
At all our Sunday Masses this weekend there will be a Diocesan Second Collection as you leave church for The Sick and Retired Priests Fund. This weekend also marks the start of the 2024 First Holy Communion Programme. Do keep our young people and their catechists in your prayers over the coming months ahead as together they prepare for this important day later in the summer.
A reminder that on Thursday 18th January we begin the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity, which lasts until Thursday 25thJanuary, the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul. On Thursday 18th January Mass will be celebrated in the morning at 11 am in our parish for the unity of all Christians. Churches Together in Grantham are planning a special ecumenical service to be held on Thursday 18thJanuary, at All Saints church, Barrowby, at 7pm. I hope to be there myself that evening and I would encourage as many people as possible to come to join me there to support and join in prayer with members of other Christian denominations from our town.
This Sunday, 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time, we break from our reading of Mark’s Gospel (the primary Gospel for our current liturgical cycle, Cycle B) to read from John’s Gospel. As Jesus walks by minding his own business, John points at him and says to those who are with him, ‘Look there is the Lamb of God.’They drop everything they were doing, leave John and go after Jesus. Before they can speak or say anything, Jesus turns, looks at them and asks a very direct and personal question; ‘What are you looking for?’
What a question! Jesus wastes no time in getting to the heart of the matter. They respond with a question of their own, ‘Master, where do you live?This question is not about directions or an address. They really want to know who Jesus is and where he comes from. In response, Jesus does not give them directions or an address. He offers them an invitation, ‘Come and see.’This is a very open and a very challenging invitation. It was then and still is today.
Jesus does not force them to follow him. He does not insist that they go with him. He simply says to them that if they want to know who he is, then they are welcome to go with him and spend some time with him. The best way to get to know a person is to spend time with them. And so, we are told that they went with him, saw where he lived and stayed with him the rest of the day.We can only guess that they ate with Jesus, they spoke to him and that they listened to him. After their time with Jesus, we are told that one of them, Andrew went and told his brother Peter about Jesus and brings him to meet Jesus. Andrew has become a missionary disciple. He shares with Peter what he himself experienced from being with Jesus.
Are we so different from these people in the gospel? Every day Jesus offers us the same open invitation, ‘Come and see.’ Jesus wants to be with us so we too can spend some time with him. The choice of whether we accept this invitation and follow Jesus is ours to make. He will not force us or make us follow him. It must be our own choice. If we do follow Jesus, then we are going to be changed, just as Andrew was. You can’t experience Jesus and stay the same. Andrew didn’t keep to himself the experience of being with Jesus and neither can we. We are called by Jesus to share our good news about him with others. That’s what being a Christian disciple means. Today each of us is being called by Jesus to become his missionary disciples and to make Christ known to others by how we live out our faith every day, and in all the given situations of our daily lives. May Christs love be at the heart of all we seek to be and do.
On the weekend 27th/28th January we will have a retiring collection for the work of SPUC and the White Flower Appeal 2024. The Society for the Protection of Unborn children (SPUC) are currently campaigning to protect Pro-Life speech. Pro-Life witness is being restricted now more than ever before in our society; please be as generous as you can to help SPUC defend unborn babies and their mothers.
With prayer for you and your families during the coming week ahead,
Your Parish Priest and friend,
2024 14th January – Newsletter – Download