Mass of 30th Sunday of the year: streamed at 09:30 on 25th October
Attending Mass: Guidance for Parishioners
- Entrance to the church will be through the St James Square doors and exit through the west door leading directly on to Clarence Street.
- When arriving and leaving the church please use the hand sanitising gel provided.
- You will have the opportunity to light a votive candle which is located in front of the font. Please use existing candle as the source of ignition.
- There is no holy water within the stoups.
- 1 metre plus social distancing floor markers will be in situ.
- Please aim to populate the pews alternately (try not to sit directly behind anyone) to maximise use of the available space while maintaining social distance. Stewards will advise you as appropriate: please follow their advice.
- The direction of entrance into the church will be up the nave, as you depart, you are requested to leave via the side aisles. Stewards will assist as required.
- Face coverings are mandatory other than for children under 11 years of age and for some with particular medical conditions. Signage advising seating limitations will be posted on pew ends.
- Those needing to make use of '2 meter social distancing' (including all those who have exemptions from wearing face masks) should use the individual chairs near to the lady chapel.
- The physical veneration of statues and crucifixes is not permitted.
- The maximum safe operating capacity is 245. You may wish to consider attending a weekday Mass.
- Communion will be given silently in the hand only. Parishioners should wait in their pews until advised by a steward to move forward to receive. When approaching the priest you should do so with arms at full stretch with your hands palms upwards, one on top of the other. Move to the side, adjust face covering and receive.
- The seating areas will be cleaned following Mass. If however, you are able to assist by wiping your personal space with a disinfection wipe this would help considerably.
After Mass Socialising
Directly after Mass finishes, heading, which will open a zoom meeting. If you have not ever used zoom before, then it will invite you to install a piece of software for this purpose (a quick and easy install). You will then be able to see and hear each other. Chris Barrell is organising the meeting and can set you up on a virtual coffee table with 4 or 5 other people so that everyone can have a social time. Thus those able to come to church for Mass may also be with those who for whatever reason are either attending a weekday Mass or the on line streamed Mass.
Every evening at 21:00, you may join in a video call, as we say night prayers together:
Click the Parish Music Button to listen to / sing along with Seasonal music from your Parish Organise Deacon David McConkey and the Parish Music Group.
Monday Per Annum 30 (26th October): Ephesians 4.32—5.8; Psalm 1; Luke 13.10-17
Several of the Gospel readings for this week are set on the Sabbath, and it may be helpful to consider the significance of this day.
The first chapter of Genesis narrates creation across a sequence of six days. Chapter 2 opens with the declaration that “On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing. He rested on the seventh day after all the work he had been doing. God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day he had rested after all his work of creating.” [Genesis 2.2-3] Several things may be noted: the seventh day was a day of completion, not a blank, inconsequential day. Further, God’s resting is an act of blessing, a gift. A much later commentator notes that rest is not only a time, but a space. “There must still be a place of rest reserved for God’s people, the seventh-day rest, since to reach the place of rest is to rest after your work, as God did after his.” [Hebrews 4.9-10]
Generations—indeed millennia—later the Torah of God commanded “For six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath for the lord your God. You shall do no work that day, neither you nor your son nor your daughter nor your servants, men or women, nor your animals nor the stranger who lives with you.” [Exodus 20.9-10] That universalised prohibition sets the stage for the Pharisees’ opposition to Jesus’ “work” of healing on the Sabbath. We shall continue our meditation on this theme throughout this week.
Tuesday Per Annum 30 (27th October): Ephesians 5.21-33; Psalm 127; Luke 13.18-21
Obedience to God is a recurring theme in the Bible. The commandments, from the terse ten given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai—said to have been written “by the finger of God” [Exodus 31.18]—to the 613 Mitzvot (Hebrew for commandments), 248 positive and 365 negative, as enumerated by the Medieval Rabbi Maimonides (c1135-1204), form the foundation of Jewish life. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the commandments are essential for spiritual health and growth and form the basis for social justice.
To obey comes a root word meaning “to hear.” (The same root is more clearly seen in words like auditorium or audio-visual.) That is as true of our relationships with other human beings as it is of our relationship with God. “Hear, O Israel” [Deuteronomy 6.4] is the fundamental commandment. God instructs us to hear, to listen to Jesus [Luke 9.35] because he is the perfect embodiment of God’s word, of his purpose. [John 1.1-14] We are to keep the commandments, as Jesus himself instructed us, in order to find life. [Matthew 19.16-19]
Yet obedience for Jesus is never simply legalism or adherence to the “letter” of the law. Jesus plunges to the heart of the law, helping us to understand the fullest implications of each of the commandments. [Matthew 5.20-48] Jesus aims by his teaching to lead us to perfection [cf Leviticus 19.1-2] and thereby to the fulness of life. [John 10.10]
Saints Simon & Jude (28th October): Ephesians 2.19-22; Psalm 18; Luke 6.12-19
Jesus sent out his disciples “two by two” [Luke 10.1] and the Church honours two such pairs (James the Less and Philip, and Simon and Jude) with joint feasts. We know little about Simon, who is only mentioned in the lists of the Twelve and not otherwise in the Gospels, but St Luke notes that he was “called the Zealot”, suggesting that he had been involved in the guerrilla movement set on extirpating the Roman colonial presence from the holy land of Israel. Tradition has it that he was martyred with Jude in Persia.
Jude (called “Thaddeus” in Matthew 10.3) gets a brief speaking part in John’s Gospel [14.22] when he asks Jesus a question at the Last Supper. Apart from that intervention we know little about him. He is the traditional author of the Epistle of St Jude in the New Testament.
Thursday Per Annum 30 (29th October): Ephesians 6.10-20; Psalm 143; Luke 13.31-35
“On the third day [I shall] obtain my end.” Throughout the Gospels, Jesus is portrayed as an observant Jew, obedient to the commandments. It was “his custom” to go to the Synagogue on the Sabbath Day. [Luke 4.16; Mark 1.21] Nevertheless Jesus clearly foretold both his crucifixion and third-day resurrection from the dead. [Matthew 16.21] The resurrection, which was manifested “when the Sabbath was past” [Matthew 28.1], freed Jesus from the boundaries of both space and time which he had voluntarily accepted in his coming to earth in flesh.
Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. [John 20.1] Though some of the first generation of Christians continued to observe the Sabbath, it is clear that before the end of the first century AD most Christians had come to replace that observance with a celebration of the Lord’s Day. [Acts 20.7; Apocalypse 1.10] Jesus’ resurrection occurred on the “eighth” day of a momentous week of sacrifice and prayer, an eighth day which overwhelmed the cycles of human history. (For this reason baptismal fonts are ordinarily octagonal.)
Our Catholic “Sunday obligation” captures the centrality of the Lord’s Day. The remainder of the week flows from the gift of the first day. On this day we are invited to be gathered [Hebrews 10.25] under the protective wings of our heavenly Father. [Deuteronomy 32.11]
Friday Per Annum 30 (30th October): Philippians 1.1-11; Psalm 110; Luke 14.1-6
Two reasons are given in the Old Testament for the observance of the Sabbath: it is at once a weekly remembrance of God’s magisterial act of creation and a weekly thanksgiving for God’s liberation of his people from Egyptian bondage. “Remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the lord your God brought you out from there …; because of this, the lord your God has commanded you to keep the sabbath day.” [Deuteronomy 5.15]
The sabbath was a day of freedom from work for both humans and animals. It was extended into a sabbatical year every seven years when slaves were to be freed [Exodus 21.1-2], and after seven cycles of seven years (49 years), the 50th year was to be observed as a Jubilee, with all debts remitted. [Leviticus 25.8-55] To prevent over-planting, the land was to be kept fallow for one year in every seven. [Exodus 23.10-11] Millennia later, the Babylonian captivity was explained as 70 years of sabbaths for the holy land. [II Chronicles 36.21]
This sense that sabbath rest was God’s gift not only to his people but also to foreigners, slaves, beasts and the land itself forms the background to Jesus’ assertion that the Sabbath day should be a day of healing and the loosing of bonds [Luke 13.16]—the very works he had declared at the opening of his public ministry [Luke 4.18-19] to be the purpose of his Incarnation.
Saturday Per Annum 30 (31st October): Philippians 1.18-26; Psalm 41; Luke 14.1, 7-11
“They watched him closely.” Jesus’ public comments and actions were carefully monitored by adversaries who “wanted to find a way to entrap him” [Matthew 22.15], by those who were determined to kill him. [John 11.53] Yet his ministry was always devoted, both in word and deed, to bringing healing and liberation to all. Because of this fundamental commitment Jesus did not eschew interaction even with his antagonists.
Sabbath wasn’t the ending of God’s work of creation and redemption; as Jesus himself put it “My Father goes on working, and so do I.” [John 5.17] The Evangelist comments that “that only made the Jews even more intent on killing him, because, not content with breaking the sabbath, he spoke of God as his own Father, and so made himself God’s equal.” [5.18] Jesus’ equation of his ministry in one place and time with the ongoing and eternal work of God helps us see the events and choices of our every-day lives sub specie æternitatis, as the arena in which God, still, is working his purpose out.