Newsletter- 31st Week of Ordinary Time
Changes to the weekday Mass schedule for the next two weeks: As many of you will be aware last weekend, I went down with a rather nasty attach of shingles which has affected the left-hand side of my body, face and eye. I am currently on strong painkillers and antiviral medication which are working, and I am making good progress, but I remain in some considerable pain, and I tire very easily. I return for further check-ups on my eye to the eye clinic at Boston Hospital this coming Monday. After which I am hoping I will be allowed to resume driving. I have been asked by my doctors to reduce my workload considerably and to rest as much as possible to hopefully speed up my recovery. This means that I have had to look seriously at all my pastoral commitments in the parish and diocese and the weekday Mass schedule. I am very grateful to Fr John, and Fr Michael and to Andrew for their generosity in offering their time and support where it will be needed. The times of all the weekday Masses will remain the same. However, for the next two weeks only: on Tuesday 7th and 14thNovember Andrew will offer a simple period of Exposition and Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament in church, from 6pm -6.45 pmfollowed by Mass at 7 pm celebrated by Fr Michael who will be assisted at the altar by Andrew. On Friday 10th and 17th November there will be no Mass. Mass will be replaced by a Service of Word and Holy Communion which will be offered by Andrew in church at 9.30 a.m. The rest of the weekday and weekend Masses will remain as normal. I hope to be able to celebrate these for you in the normal way. God willing after two weeks of lighter duties and greater rest I shall be restored to full health and ready to resume a more active role once more!
Our gospel for this Sunday – 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year A – is about leaders. Jesus makes a very public condemnation and criticism of the Scribes and the Pharisees, the religious leaders of his time: ‘do not be guided by what they do, since they do not practice what they preach.’ Strong words indeed. Jesus continues his criticism when he says that they always want to take the place of honour at meals and the best front seat in the synagogues.
What may you ask do these words of Jesus have to do with us as men and women living in the modern world of today? Jesus is warning all of us I believe not to think of ourselves as being better than other people. We must be careful not to say one thing and then do the very opposite ourselves. We are not to speak and act in ways so that people will notice us and tell us how wonderful we are. The Pharisees knew the Law of Moses which came from the Old Testament. They told the people that they had to follow these rules in every detail in their daily lives. They asked the people to do this but were unable to do it themselves. They knew the Law very well; what they lacked was mercy, compassion, and tenderness of the heart. Their actions did not match their words. They made life difficult for people but would not lift a finger to help them or ease their suffering. They expected others to follow the law and to be perfect, but they themselves were far from perfect!
I don’t think that God expects any of us to be perfect. But we are asked by God to be genuine, honest, and authentic with ourselves, with others and with him. When asked by the Pharisees what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied: ‘Love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbour as yourself.’ This is the heart of the Jewish Law, and it is the heart of the Gospel message of Christ. It is I believe Jesus’ message to each of us today. We are called to follow Jesus who came to serve and not to be served. This is the example we are asked to follow and live by in our daily lives. The gospel this Sunday calls each of us to ask ourselves whether we do and say things so that people will notice us. The warning and challenge that Jesus puts to the Pharisees is the same one that he puts before you and me. As we strive to follow Christ, we must ask ourselves honestly: can I also follow his example of what it means to lead? Can I serve others and not just expect to be served by them?
Aid for Chad and Peru: at both the Weekend Masses this Saturday/Sunday 4th/5th November we will welcome again two parishioners from St Joseph’s Oakham who will set up stalls in the Link Room where you will be able to buy a selection of beautiful hand-crafted items made in the shantytowns of Lima to help support the work of the charity: ‘Aid for Chad and Peru.’ Do pop into the Link Room on your way out from Mass this weekend as I feel sure you will find some high quality and beautiful hand-crafted Christmas presents and stocking fillers. All the funds raised from your purchases will go directly to support the work of this small but important charity.
November is the Month of the Holy Souls. You will find in the entrance to church the November Dead List Envelopes, and printed sheets for writing the names of deceased family members and friends to be included in the envelope with a donation. The names of your deceased relatives and friends will then be placed in a basket close to the Altar throughout November. After which I will divide these names up into special Masses for the intentions of ‘The Holy Souls – November Dead List.’ These Masses will be offered by me throughout the coming year.
On Sunday 12th November we keep Remembrance Sunday. The Parish Mass at 9.30 a.m. that day will be a Requiem Mass in anniversario for all who died in the past two World Wars and all subsequent conflicts since. At this Mass there will be an Act of Remembrance, a Trumpeter playing the Last Post, then we will keep Two Minutes Silence, after which the Trumpeter will play the Reveille before we hear the Kohima Exhortation and receive the Final Blessing from the altar. We keep in our prayers on Remembrance Sunday all who died in the service of their country and for our freedom.
On Sunday afternoon, 12th November at 2 pm, I invite you to join me at Grantham cemetery for the yearly Blessing of Graves. This will be a simple liturgy of prayer and blessing with holy water of all our Catholic graves. A chance too to pray for the repose of the souls of family members and friends buried in the cemetery grounds. Please meet at the stone archway as you enter the main cemetery gates.
Please keep me in your prayers, as you and your families remain in my own this coming week,
Your parish priest and friend,
2023 5th November – Newsletter – Download