Author Archives: St Patricks Church

Corpus Christi (A) 2017

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means God is with us.’

‘Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.’

The great desire of my God is that I believe and recognise that God is with me.

This is the message of the Bible.

This is why God the Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity, became a human being and lived and died among us.

God made Man; Jesus of Nazareth, demonstrated to me, by word and example, that his sole concern is my total welfare. My God wants me to have a long, happy and healthy life here on earth before joining Him in Eternal Life.

The world will try and convince me that happiness is getting plastered drunk on Friday night and making a total ass of myself.

The Eucharist; Holy Communion, is the great symbol of Emmanuel. The visible and tangible sign of my God’s presence with me and in me.

Holy Communion – the Eucharist, the Mass – is not given to me so that I can spend time in adoration. It is to remind me that Jesus of Nazareth is with me and in me so that I may go forth and live as he did in Galilee, showing compassion, tolerance and forgiveness, sharing my good fortune with, and helping my fellow human beings,  as and when I can.

A big problem with me is my ability to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament and then go forth as intolerant, unforgiving, selfish, nasty and mean as when I came in.

The latter is comedy; it is a big joke.

So receiving Holy Communion is not about spending a short time in prayer and adoration but about going forth and living as Jesus of Nazareth lived.

‘For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.’

A second aspect of Holy Communion, of the Eucharist, is remembering.

Remembering that on Holy Thursday evening just before his arrest, he celebrated the Last Supper with his Apostles and instructed them to do this in memory of him. This is the Mass, the Eucharist.

So when I receive Holy Communion I remember. I remember not only the Last Supper but also the Passion, execution, burial, and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

I look on the Crucifix and ask myself, can I trust one who is willing to undergo such an ordeal on my behalf?

Trinity Sunday (A) 2017

God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.’

‘God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.’

God loves the world.

What does that mean?

God loves the stars. God loves the galaxies, the nebula, the black holes. God loves the clouds, the rain, the sunshine, the snow the wind, the volcanoes and earth quakes. God loves the insects, the bacteria, the reptiles and the mammals, including human beings.

God created them as they are and loves them as they are. This degree of love is beyond  my comprehension.

God’s plan is the salvation of the world, be it astronomical singularities or great crested newts.

What does Salvation mean?

Salvation is the progression, over time, of primordial matter, by means of the Divinely installed evolutionary process,  into self-awareness and an understanding of the Creator. Culminating in eventual union with the life and being of the Creator.

Why do we believe this?

We believe this because Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be God made man (the Creator) progressed from an initial one cell entity in his mothers womb through the various stages of the evolutionary process (again in his mothers womb) to be born as a human being. Growing in wisdom and understanding like the rest of humanity he accepted the trauma of death and burial but rose from the dead with a glorified body to rejoin the Holy Trinity from whom he originally progressed.

There were many witnesses to this, some of whom left us their witness in writing (the New Testament) and most of whom accepted death rather than deny what they had witnessed.

Today we celebrate the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

The Holy Trinity are the tree separate persons who make up the One God.

Love (which we mentioned above) is the bond uniting the Tree Persons of the Trinity.

True, genuine love is never inwardly focused. It is always outwardly focused. So the love of the Holy Trinity must be outwardly focused. Since, from the beginning, nothing existed but God the Holy Trinity was compelled to create other things so that their love could accomplish its compulsion to move or focus outwards.

So the reason for creation is God’s  love which of its very nature must encompass other things.

For the same reason we can say that nothing that God has created, or will create, will ever be discarded and cease to exist. All creation in some way must be gathered up into the life and being of the Creator – the Holy Trinity.

As St. Paul says in Rom: 8 ;

‘We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.’

What is our place in all this?

We are the only creatures on Earth (maybe in the whole universe) who can know and appreciate all of the above. We are the only ones who can consciously and overtly proclaim the greatness of the Creator  and express our gratitude for existence and salvation. We are the focused voice of creation, able to proclaim gratitude and praise on behalf of all creation.

So let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God!

Pentecost Sunday (A) 2017

Even a cursory examination of the Old Testament will tell you that it is a litany of failure. The repeated failure of the chosen people (the Israelites) to live as people created in the image and likeness of their Creator. Despite the many and repeated disasters which this failure brought upon them they continued on their self – destructive way. Through all this there was the ‘remnant’ who to some extent remained faithful to the One True God. Though this ‘remnant’ had its ups and downs in their faithfulness to God, nevertheless, over and over again, they acted as a small nucleus around which the chosen people could coalesce in times of trouble and defeat. They acted as a beacon of hope to lead the people to the One True God when things were desperate. In the New Testament we see the same trend. The life of Jesus of Nazareth himself is peppered with disappointment, rejection, desertion in times of trouble and even outright betrayal by one of his closest followers. This trend continues today in the Body of Christ – the Church. We are the ‘remnant’ today. Despite our oft forgetfulness and our sometimes unfaithfulness to the One True God, yet we struggle (even if sometimes halfheartedly) to remain loyal to our God and Creator. We are that remnant; that beacon of hope, around whom the scattered people of God can gather and coalesce in troubled times or in their search for meaning and comfort in life. The fact that we are but a fraction of the population of this country or any country, this town or any town, should not bother us unduly. It was always so except where people were under pressure to comply. This is the gift of the Holy Spirit; that there is, was and always will be, the ‘remnant,’ who despite their many and repeated faults and failings, continue the struggle to be faithful to the One True God. To keep the memory of the One True God alive. Like the Israelites of the Old Testament, we the people of God of the New Testament are presented by our God with a daunting (one could say impossible) calling or vocation. In the Old Testament their calling was: ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.’ In the New Testament we are required ‘to be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.’ God my Creator is perfectly aware of my inability to live up to any of these callings. After all he made me and gave me these feet of clay. I can waste my time bewailing my present and past faults and failings, but that is not my vocation. While well aware of my feet of clay I keep my eye on the target. Like the athlete I strive to jump that bit higher or run that bit faster each day and disregard the limitations of yesterday. I refuse to be controlled by past events about which I can now do nothing. Being open to the Spirit of God who dwells within me, I take each day as an opportunity to live out my basically unachievable vocation, trusting in the wisdom of my God. As St. Paul said, ‘God’s power is made perfect in my weakness.’

Traidcraft Sales

Sales last weekend amounted to £92.50.

Many thanks to all who supported our efforts to help the developing countries, and especially to those who bought items for the Food Bank.

The next sales will be on the weekend of 1st/2nd August

Ascension (A) 2017

The instruction Jesus of Nazareth gave to his followers before he was executed was that they should go to Galilee where he would meet them again. Mtt. ‘But after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee.’ And the women who went to the tomb early on Sunday morning were told; Mtt. ‘Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.’ Why must the disciples of Jesus go to Galilee to see the Risen Lord? It was in Galilee, one of the poorest, most backward districts of Palestine, that Jesus of Nazareth exercised his ministry. It was here, among the poor and the dispossessed, that Jesus, we are told, went about doing good, healing the sick, sharing what he had with the hungry and speaking to them of the Good News of the Kingdom of God. So it was in Galilee that Jesus, the Risen Lord, gave his followers their mandate. This mandate was to continue the work he did in Galilee. His followers lived with him for a couple of years in Galilee, witnessing everything he did and said. Now their mandate was to continue this work until the end of time. They were to do this, not just on an individual level but as a community of His followers. This community or Church was the symbol of their being part of the community of God; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Being Baptised was a visible sign of their entry into the unity of this community or church. This community and the work it does is what Jesus of Nazareth called ‘the Kingdom of God.’ They would not be left to continue his ministry on their own. Just as he was physically present with them in Galilee as their mentor, exemplar and guide, so too now he would continue to be with them but not visibly so, except to the eyes of faith. So that is the mandate given to us, the parish of St. Patrick, in Corsham. As one community or church or parish we are to go about doing good, bringing healing to the sick and the grieving, feeding the hungry, and speaking of, and living according to, the Good News of the Kingdom of God.