“He said to one of them in reply, ˜My friend, I am not cheating you. Did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage?
Take what is yours and go. What if I wish to give this last one the same as you? Am I not free to do as I wish with my own money? Are you envious because I am generous?”
For many years of my life I understood religion to be a sort of bargain between me and God. I would try to keep his commandments and he would pay me the usual salary – a place in heaven.
I now know that the above is a totally wrong understanding of religion and of God.
I was created by God in God’s own image and likeness. I share God’s genes, God’s nature. I am made in such a way that I will only find fulfilment, pease of heart and of spirit by living like God. Religion is understanding this and striving to live in this way. Whether there is a heaven or not is irrelevant to this. If God announcer this evening that unfortunately heaven was full up and there was no room for us, nevertheless the best way for me to live will still remain the same.
We are all guilty to some extent of the same attitude of the workers who came first. Everything we have and are is a free gift from God. Yet we keep comparing our lot with that of others. Why can I not be like him or her I complain.
What I am and have been given by my God is totally unique. I try to live like my God while living with, while using, while burdened with, while blessed with what I am and have or have not.
That is religion. That is the best and the happiest and the most fulfilling way to live – all the time being grateful to my God for what I am and have.
The Prophet Jeremiah spoke truth to the people of Israel but their leaders did not want to hear it and tried to murder him.
Jesus of Nazareth spoke truth to the people of Israel but their leaders murdered him.
As today’s Gospel tells us; “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” Speaking or living the truth always brings persecution and conflict. Anyone who knows how, what we call ‘whistle blowers’, are persecuted will realise this.
I am blind to my own faults. My family, my friends, my neighbours see them clearly. I seriously resent being corrected or having even one of my faults pointed out to me. “Mind your own business” I retort angrily.
When I joined the Seminary, the first year was a spiritual year. We did what you might call a crash course in spirituality. It was a conditioning process. Part of it involved four to five hours in church each day performing various forms of prayer.
Another part involved the whole group, supervised by the spiritual director, publicly pointing out each others faults and failings. You can see the thinking behind it seeing as we are all blind to our own faults. Of course we, at the age of eighteen, had very little discernment as to this or understanding of the root causes or motivation for these visible faults. Luckily humour sometimes crept in (although frowned upon) as for example I was once accused of not removing my clerical black hat in the dormitory until I had put on my pyjamas.
The message of today’s readings is that I should be open to correction especially by those who love me and are concerned for my welfare.
I should always be alert to hints and remarks which may be vaguely critical and not resent them and strike back. Thinking later about these hints can be educational and helpful in seeing myself through the eyes of others who always see me more clearly than I do myself. Feeling gratitude for such hints should be my response rather than a hot resentment because they may well be pearls of wisdom.
For the wise, criticism from an enemy can gain one more self knowledge and understanding than floods of affirmation.
Soroptomist International Bath presented a plaque to Father John and John Roger, a very good friend of Beryl Morgan outside the main toilet at St Patrick’s Church in Corsham.
The toilet twinning with a toilet in Africa was done in memory of Beryl who passed away last year. She had been a member of the Soroptimists for a very long time.
Many Congratulations to Alexis and Matteo on making their First Holy Communion on Saturday 20th July.
Will King is embarking on an incredible journey and is looking for sponsorship to help raise £3,000 for his fees to take part in an expedition to Tanzania next year. Tanzania 2020 is a UK National Scout Expedition to Tanzania in the summer of 2020, to work on community projects in remote rural locations.
Will has completed a challenging selection process and will be part of a group of 100 leaders and young people taking part in this amazing expedition.
The Madabadaba Project, where he will spend his time, is responsible for building new teachers accommodation. The accommodation is needed to house teachers, as the closest town is 2 hours away and currently teachers are sleeping on the floors.
As part of Will’s fundraising activities, he will be walking the twenty bridges of London on Sunday 8th Sept. This starts at Richmond Bridge for approximately 22 miles following the Thames footpath and finishes at Tower Bridge. He is hoping to do this in under 7 hours.
Please sponsor Will if you can. This can be done via:
On 4th August, our Parish celebrated Father John’s 80th Birthday with a Parish BBQ. The event also marked Father’s retirement at the end of the month.
We’ll miss you, Father John!
Some numbers from July 2018-June 2019: In 12 months we have seen approximately 715 individuals who have eaten more than 5000 meals and received 3,497 English lessons and taken1,868 food bags home.
We also estimate that we have provided access to interpreters 146 times.
These amazing numbers would not be possible without the help throughout the year of around 140 volunteers, 50% of whom are Borderlands members, and of your generous support. Thank you from Steve
The Strings Incognito Concert on 27th July raised £536 for the parish projects. A splendid result. Many thanks to all who helped in any way.
“Marriage Care” provides Marriage Preparation Courses as well as counselling for couples experiencing difficulties.
Further information on their website:www.marriagecare.org.uk
Today’s readings are about the journey of life and the best way to live it.
Through what we call faith we know where we are going.
Through what we call hope we look forward to journey’s end with confidence.
Through what we call charity (that is mutual respect, mutual forgiveness, mutual tolerance, mutual support) we know how to live, how to journey together.
This whole edifice of my life is based solidly on the tripod of the Holy Trinity – God. Belief in God – the Creator – is essential to support this edifice.
This belief in the existence of God cannot be proved and demonstrated beyond doubt by any physical proof or verbal arguments.
Neither can the existence of God be disproved or demonstrated beyond doubt by any physical proof or verbal arguments.
Our church teaches us that this faith (belief in the existence of God and trust in God’s promises) is a gift from God. Obviously not everyone receives this gift. Why this is so is God’s secret. Just as it is God’s secret why some are born with brilliant minds and some are born mentally impaired.
This is so irrespective of what sort of a person you are.
But all human beings are created in God’s image and likeness. This means that no matter what our stance is vis a vis the existence of God, the law of God is imprinted in our very being. The vast majority of human beings follow this imprinting of God’s law most of the time. It is obviously the only way to live in peace and harmony. Some ignore this imprinting because of upbringing and environmental factors or because of many free contrary choices over a period of time.
For me the most obvious way to live is by following the law of God which is part of my very being and nature. (Does not a child, at a very early age, know or sense or understand the difference between what is right and what is wrong). To me the most pleasant way to live, the happiest way to live, the most fulfilling way to live is the way of mutual respect, tolerance, forgiveness and support; ie the law of God
This being so, we know how we should conduct our lives and affairs irrespective of belief in the existence or non – existence of God.
Belief in the existence of God is the icing on the cake.
Trust and confidence in the promises of God is the honey on the toast.