Sundays Best - A pick of the readings.
Gospel: Luke 13:22-30
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke.
Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to him, “Sir, will there be only a few saved?” He said to them, “Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed. Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ but he will answer, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will find yourself saying, ‘We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets,’ but he will reply, ‘I do not know where you come from. Away from me, all you wicked men!’ Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside. And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.”
From 10.00am every Tuesday throughout the year.
Thur 29th August 9.30am Said Mass.
Sun 1st Sept 9.30am Parish Mass
Sun 8th Sept Joint Parish Mass. (for the Benefice held at St Andrews at 10.30am)
Next Parochial Church Council Monday 9th September.
WW2 Brass: Thur 5th September. Themed Concert to coincide with the start of the Second World War. Will also include a pictorial presentation. Some music of the period will be played by Worsbrough Brass and song-sheets will be provided for audience participation! See the poster on the previous posting for further details.
The Christmas meal has already been booked for the Rockingham Arms on Monday 9th December.
Xmas Brass: Thur 12th December. Usual mix of seasonal and contemporary music with Worsbrough Brass.
From 10.00am every Tuesday throughout April.
Sun 14th April PALM SUNDAY Joint Benefice Mass held at St Peter's at 10.30am..
Mon 15th April Mass - St Andrew's at 12 noon.
Tues 16th April Mass - St Peter's at 7.30pm.
Wed 17th April Chrism Mass - St Catherine's at 12 noon.
Maundy Thursday Mass of the Lords Supper and Watch - St Peter's at 8.00pm.
Good Friday Liturgy of the Lords Passion and Death - St Andrew's at 3.00pm
Sat 20th April Vigil and First Mass of Easter - St Peters at 8.00pm
Easter Sunday Masses at the usual times in both churches.
Advance Notice - Annual General Parochial Church Council Wednesday 24th April.
aWW2 Brass: Thur 5th September. Themed Concert to coincide with the start of the Second World War. Will also include a pictorial presentation. More details to follow.
Xmas Brass: Thur 12th December. Usual mix of seasonal and contemporary music.
Both concerts will feature Worsbrough Brass.
From Father Richard...
Is it possible to do a good thing for the wrong reason? The Spirit leads Jesus into the desert following his baptism at the Jordan. There we are told that for forty days and nights he fasted and prayed. We are told also that he was tempted – or “tested” as the original version of St Luke’s gospel puts it. Although Jesus might have wanted to go there for some quiet time and to concentrate on what lay ahead, it wasn’t going to be that simple. We are told that the devil presented him with a variety of alternative options. On the surface all of these seemed harmless enough. The problem was that none of those choices was consistent with Jesus’s true vocation.
There are all kinds of choices we can make that are inoffensive on their own terms. There’s the parent who gives his or her children treats in order to keep them quiet instead of as a reward for good behaviour. Or the person who does someone a good turn in order to procure a bigger favour in return. The politician who promises something that needed to be done anyway, but only because there is an electoral payback. All of these things are short-term, expedient courses of action. In the right context all of them would be fine, but the motives are the wrong ones and the integrity is lacking.
There were three ways in which Jesus was put to the test. The first was by the devil telling him to show that he was the Son of God by turning a stone into a loaf. For a hungry person who was missing the kind of meals that Jesus must have enjoyed in his home country, this must have been a very enticing proposition. He could have satisfied his own bodily hunger. Also, if the power of God working in him could have resulted in the poor being fed, then how could this be bad? But Jesus had not been sent to be a benefactor or a charity worker. He had not come to feed people for a time. The bread that he would give was to become spiritual food for the journey into eternal life. So Jesus, the true bread which had come down from heaven, refuses to follow the alternative plan that the devil puts before him. He was to follow God’s way. Instead of opening himself to further temptation by arguing about it, Jesus gives a very simple answer by quoting the words of Scripture: “Man does not live on bread alone.” The devil has no answer to this.
His second temptation came when he was standing on the heights. This was the lure of power and earthly glory. Jesus could have used his considerable talents to become a worldly leader. We are told numerous times during the accounts of his ministry that this was the role that people wanted to give him. But Jesus saw the corruption that so often accompanies earthly power: the desire to have power for its own sake, to seek personal glory and to want popularity rather than to make the right decisions. He was going to have nothing to do with these things. Again he quotes from Scripture: “You must worship the Lord your God, and serve him alone.” This is all that Jesus wanted to do: to put the will of God into action by loving and serving others. He was to pour himself out in service of others instead of serving himself.
The devil has a go for the third time. Now in Jerusalem, Jesus is led to stand on the parapet of the Temple and to be goaded into throwing himself off, knowing that God would keep him safe from harm. But Jesus had not been sent by God to perform cheap stunts in order to impress. His was the way of faith, trusting in God through all the hardships the world would throw at him. This was because he was living a fully human life rather than mocked-up version. In order to identify with each one of us, Jesus had to face struggles, mockery, the cruelty and indifference of other people, knowing that God overcomes all these things. There were to be no short cuts, no easy escape routes. This time the devil himself quotes scripture, but Jesus answers him immediately with a quotation of his own that challenges the misuse of those words: “You must not put the Lord your God to the test.” For the time being, Jesus had come through the test and we are told that the Tempter left him alone.
We are also told that he returned at the appointed time. We see tests throughout the ministry of Jesus: people wanting to make him king, for instance, and Simon Peter trying to talk him out of his journey to Calvary. Above all we see his final temptation on the Cross: to come down from the Cross and to save himself. He would refuse, just as he did in the desert, even though it would cost him his life. He put the love of God at the centre of his life and obeyed the will of God in all things.
What about us? In so many ways we can be tested. The more we try to remain true to our calling in life and the more, as Christians, we try to fashion our lives on the discipleship of Jesus, the more we can feel the pull to choose an easier and superficially more appealing way. But there is no substitute to finding our true calling in life and to remaining true to it. When faced with other choices, Jesus prayed to know his Father’s will more clearly. He returned to the words of Scripture to remind himself of what really matters in life. In the end “The World is not Enough”, to quote the title of a James Bond film. Only God can satisfy our hunger and our thirst. Only God can give us life, not only now, but for eternity. We may have struggles in this world, but like Jesus, when we make the right choices we find consolation and peace. As we prepare to receive the Bread of Life, let us listen to his voice and follow in his ways.
The musings of Robert & Richard
“O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us.”
(Robert Burns: “To a Louse on Seeing One on a Lady’s Bonnet in Church”).
Burns recognised that if we could see ourselves through the eyes of others, then we should be relieved of many a conceit. It would be far less likely that we would be inclined to judge other people or to have an overblown idea of ourselves. But what a painful thing it is to see ourselves not as we would wish to imagine ourselves but through the reality that other people encounter in us!
As a seminarian at theological college in Mirfield, one of the most excruciating things we had to do was to preach to our fellow students and then be given feedback by them. A humbling experience indeed! You would know how to get your own back though. At least we didn’t have to be recorded and then watch the playback, as some unfortunate souls had to do. You would be faced with all your mannerisms in glorious technicolour and there would be no point in denying any of it. Even so, if we can bear the pain, a bit more self- knowledge can never be a bad thing.
None of us likes criticism which is why Jesus’s comments about splinters and planks resonate so clearly with us. Who hasn’t been lectured by someone who thinks they know better? And who hasn’t been hurt by hypocritical speech and behaviour?
Although Jesus’s words remind us of the danger of hypocrisy and of being harshly critical of others, they are actually more about self-criticism. If we look at today’s passage as a whole, then we can see that Jesus is grouping together several different images that say more or less the same kind of thing. As well as warning us of the plank in our own eye, Jesus tells us of the danger of leading other people if we are not properly equipped. He reminds us also that a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
All of these sayings point us to the theme of self-awareness. We need time effort to get to know ourselves properly – our thoughts, our motives, our intentions; our gifts and our failings; our actual knowledge as opposed to our imagined expertise. Only when we have self-awareness can we offer advice and lead other people. Otherwise it is like the image Jesus provides us with: the blind leading the blind and falling into a pit.
All this seems very obvious when we think about it, but there is not always much evidence of self-awareness in public life. This seems especially true at the moment. Those in public life rarely apologise for the ways in which their conceit leads to poor decisions and a trail of damage. We can see examples of it also in the life of the Church. Admitting that we have got things wrong implies vulnerability and the need of other people. We are not always the experts we might imagine ourselves to be. True wisdom in fact makes us aware of the limits of our knowledge and expertise.
Jesus calls us to a place of self-reflection. After all, he himself went through that process as we are reminded at the beginning of Lent. In order to lead other people, Jesus had to know himself first. He had to see himself as he really was in relation to his heavenly Father. His ministry was not a time of seeking admiration from others, but it was a journey to the Cross; a journey of humility and the pouring out of his own self.
This is a way that seems at odds with present-day culture. Everything today shouts at us to turn up the volume on our own personalities; to lay claim to knowledge we don’t really have; to boast of our achievements. The journey to the Cross demands the opposite: as it has been said, in the Christianity, the “I” is crossed out. It is important that we know not only our strengths but also our weaknesses. In the monastic movement the three pillars are: poverty, chastity and obedience. It might seem that the last one would be the easiest, but in fact obedience means being attentive not only to other people but also to our true selves. We might not have taken such vows, but in some ways these are part of an authentic Christian life.
We all have motivations in our hearts that can produce bad fruit if they are not recognised and brought out into the light. God’s love can transform all these things so that instead of doing harm through our words and attitudes we can become a source of life for other people. When this happens, then in the spirit of those words of St Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians, Chapter 15, we find that: “our perishable nature has put on imperishability.”
The upgrade to our lighting has now been completed. The effects are quite dramatic,please see the slideshow. .
I am a rather old Saint.