Newsletter 30th January 2022
During this past week I have enjoyed a short break in Norfolk taking a little time to relax and unwind by the sea and joined by a friend who is staying with me here in Grantham from overseas. It has been a wonderful and restorative few days after the busyness of Christmas, and I am very grateful to Andrew, and to our Eucharistic Ministers for offering their help and support during my absence by covering some of our weekday services.
Ask any priest who has done weddings for a while, and he will tell you that this Sunday’s Second Reading from 1 Corinthians 13 is far and away the most popular passage for weddings. Brides and grooms love this passage. Taken by itself, it sounds like a beautiful piece of poetry, a hymn to the glories of human love. What many people fail to realise though, as they choose this passage, is that 1 Corinthians 13 isn’t about love between a man and a woman, well not specifically anyway. It’s about love among Church members, struggling as we all do and often stumbling at times through the painful process of trying to be together as the Body of Christ.
Only together though, can we be truly that inclusive community of which Jesus speaks in the Gospel Reading set for this Sunday, that brings salvation to all peoples and is the place in which Jesus dwells today. We do this most authentically when we are a loving and an open community of believers. We do this as a Church when we make our faith community a place of welcome for all, a faith community in which non feel excluded, and where all are made to feel welcome and accepted. Since I became your Parish Priest last September, I have been struck by the great diversity of our parish congregation and the genuine warmth of welcome that is offered to all newcomers to our community. For this I am very grateful, but each of us needs at times to be reminded of this important mandate to love and to care for one another as together we seek to follow Christ and become more fully his modern-day disciples in the world in which we live.
St. Paul reminds us that we need each other’s gifts to effectively proclaim the Gospel, to build up the Body of Christ, the Church, that is open not to a few but to all, and he reminds us that this is the way of love. That is today’s Second Reading from 1 Corinthians 13. But the love of which St Paul speaks of is not romantic love or self-absorbed love but sacrificial love that forgives, heals, restores, and speaks truth and does not envy. Nobody has all the gifts that the Church needs but we all have a gift that the Church needs to fulfil her important mission in the world. Today the Readings at Mass remind each of us that when we work together out of love for one another, accepting our differences, and putting our gifts and talents at the service of Christ and of His Church, so we can most effectively bring Christ, His Gospel and His salvation to others.
First Holy Communion Catechesis: I am extremely grateful to all those who have now kindly offered themselves as catechists and volunteer helpers. We have had a good number of people come forward to offer help and support in this way, and so I am very pleased to be able to announce that we shall now have enough volunteers to support another programme for our young people for this coming year.
With prayer and best wishes for the coming week ahead,
Your parish priest and friend,
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