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Let us to proclaim the good news
of God’s transforming love.

The 14th Sunday of the Year C


    It's sometimes easier for us to understand the Eucharist as 'sacred meal' rather than sacrifice. Christianity calls us to routinely sacrifice, to take some aspect of creation and return it to God as a sign of our thanksgiving, communion, or atonement. It's only through this lens of sacrifice that we can begin to understand what Jesus is doing the night before his death. He institutes the Eucharist to become a re-presentation of his great sacrifice on the Cross, his body offered and his blood outpoured, by which we are reconciled with God. That's what this Feast of Corpus Christi is finally about.

    As Long as God Is First Served - St Joan of Arc

 

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This weeks Sermon

from

Fr. Philip

Next Sunday I will have been a priest for 34 years. And so you will forgive me if I say that when I first read the Gospel for today I thought about my own vocation to the priesthood. “The harvest is rich, but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers into his harvest.” And I want to say that it is the best job in the world.

And as we look at this part of the Gospel we see the fact that God is generous. It is Gods harvest – God has done the planting. We sometimes forget that! Just like it is God’s Church.

And the wonderful truth is that God has decided to invite us to help with his harvest.

Jesus tells the disciples to pray to God that there will be co-workers with God in the proclamation of God's reign. How amazing that the Lord should give us, imperfect creatures that we are, a share in his recreating work!  And more than that our names are written in heaven - just let that sink in - your name is written in heaven - it doesn't say if you are good, it doesn't say if you behave then your name will be written in heaven - no - Jesus said your name is written in heaven and because of that we can pray that the Lord of the harvest will send labourers into his harvest.
We are therefore invited to pray for workers in the Lords harvest.

But if God is asking us to pray for workers what does that say about the shortage of priests.  First of all it might say – we are not praying hard enough. But also it might say to us that if we pray we will understand in a new way the shortage of priests.

Is there a shortage of priests?

In England we have more priests per Catholic than any other country in the world except Malta. In Malta there is 1 priest per 670 Catholics. In England it is 1 per 770. No-where else in the world apart from Malta, has as many priests as we do. So is there a shortage?  – no.
  There is a challenge for us to think of Our Lord’s request for prayer as a call to realise who it is who counts as a labourer.  There is no reason to think that the labourers needed for the harvest are exclusively those called to the ordained ministry.

The Gospel opens with an instruction to the 72 - but we never learn who they are. That's as it should be. The overwhelming number of labourers in the harvest have always been anonymous. Men and women living their faith as spouses, parents, workers, pray-ers, and in innumerable other ways --- all co-workers in the proclamation of the Kingdom.

“The eyes of faith behold a wonderful scene: that of a countless number of lay people, both women and men, busy at work in their daily life and activity, oftentimes far from view and quite unaclaimed by the world, unknown to the world’s great personages but nonetheless looked upon in love by the Father, untiring labourers who work in the Lord’s vineyard. Confident and steadfast through the power of God’s grace, these are the humble yet great builders of the Kingdom of God in history.” (Chapter 17 of Pope John Paul II on the Mission of the Lay Faithful)

It is clear from the Gospel today that Jesus is not saying we should all become Church workers – there is no mention of Church or synagogue. What Jesus says is this:
You job is to carry out your Christian service in the world, in your homes, your streets, in your work places, with your neighbours, in your school, down the pub! And you come to Mass not to be asked to do more, but to be more. Most people who aren’t priests have enormous workloads – they raise families, they work hard, they have a good deal of stress. Your job is not to help Father! Your job is to be out there witnessing to your faith.

So my prayer using the words of Jesus today – Lord send labourers into the harvest – help Mums and dads, help teachers and all those who work in our schools – help grandparents and aunties and uncles, help those who work long hours, help those whose jobs are hard and unrewarding – help us all to play our part where we are, at home, at work, in school, in the street, in the flat. Give us good and holy priests who will inspire us and help us to live the Gospel in our daily lives. And thank you God for the wonderful and inspiring people of our parishes and thank you for inviting us all to be your co-workers.

Alleluia

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Let the peace of Christ control your hearts;
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.
R. Alleluia

 

Image of the  St Benedict Crucifix

The Gospel

Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

 

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others
whom he sent ahead of him in pairs
to every town and place he intended to visit. 
He said to them,
"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;
so ask the master of the harvest
to send out laborers for his harvest. 
Go on your way;
behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. 
Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals;
and greet no one along the way. 
Into whatever house you enter, first say,
'Peace to this household.'
If a peaceful person lives there,
your peace will rest on him;
but if not, it will return to you. 
Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you,
for the laborer deserves his payment. 
Do not move about from one house to another. 
Whatever town you enter and they welcome you,
eat what is set before you,
cure the sick in it and say to them,
'The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'
Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you,
go out into the streets and say,
'The dust of your town that clings to our feet,
even that we shake off against you.'
Yet know this: the kingdom of God is at hand. 
I tell you,
it will be more tolerable for Sodom on that day than for that town."

The seventy-two returned rejoicing, and said,
"Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name." 
Jesus said, "I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. 
Behold, I have given you the power to 'tread upon serpents' and scorpions 
and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice because your names are written in heaven."

Fr Philip

Verbum Dei

Readings at Mass for Today

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Liturgical Colour: White.
First Reading
IS 66:10-14

Thus says the LORD:
Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad because of her,
all you who love her;
exult, exult with her,
all you who were mourning over her!
Oh, that you may suck fully
of the milk of her comfort,
that you may nurse with delight
at her abundant breasts!
For thus says the LORD:
Lo, I will spread prosperity over Jerusalem like a river,
and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing torrent.
As nurslings, you shall be carried in her arms,
and fondled in her lap;
as a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
in Jerusalem you shall find your comfort.

When you see this, your heart shall rejoice
and your bodies flourish like the grass;
the LORD's power shall be known to his servants.

.

Responsorial Psalm
PS 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20

R. (cf. 33) Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
I pray to you, O LORD,
for the time of your favor, O God!
In your great kindness answer me
with your constant help.
Answer me, O LORD, for bounteous is your kindness:
in your great mercy turn toward me.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
"See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not."
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.
For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
The descendants of his servants shall inherit it,
and those who love his name shall inhabit it.
R. Turn to the Lord in your need, and you will live.

Reading 2
GAL 6:14-18

Brothers and sisters:
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world. 
For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision,
but only a new creation. 
Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule
and to the Israel of God.

From now on, let no one make troubles for me;
for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,
brothers and sisters. Amen