It has been a difficult week for many people. While the snow initially appears wonderful, the problems, consequences and challenges soon emerge and many things usually taken for granted suddenly become difficult. Every blessing to all those who work in our emergency and public services. They have done a wonderful job and we all thank them. In recent days, older people have recalled previous snow events in 1982 and 2009-10. Such discussions usually began with the words ‘I remember back’ or ‘I remember’. In the gospel this weekend, the disciples suddenly remember the words of scripture and the promises made to them. When Jesus clears the temple, they remember scripture but fail to understand the meaning and purpose of His actions. They remember the words of scripture but fail to see the wisdom behind them and the wisdom of Jesus’ actions. This weekend, help us to remember everything that we have been told and promised through our faith and from our parents and teachers. Help us to see the wisdom and understand that there is a profound meaning to them and to the Mass. We make big efforts to attend in cold temperatures and dangerous surfaces to ‘do this in memory of Me’. As always, we are in the right place, listening to the right words, remembering a deep truth and blessed to be part of a wonderful faith community here in Mayfield.
This weekend, we are already experiencing a bitterly cold easterly wind. Apparently, we are promised even colder days and nights during the coming week. It is unusual to be so cold in late February and early March but hopefully, augurs well for a nice summer when all these cold winds, low temperatures and dark days are exhausted. The gospel on this second Sunday of Lent is always the account of the Transfiguration of the face of Jesus on Mount Tabor. He is accompanied by the ‘inner circle’ of disciples, Peter, James and John. They receive a privileged glimpse of the glory of God. In a sense they are virtually blinded by the light and the glory of Jesus. There is no cold easterly wind for them, but a warm glow radiating from the presence and the face of Jesus. As they do not know how to respond, they revert to their traditional understanding and want to build a tent to capture the moment and the presence of God. In our Mass and our faith, we are brought into that ‘inner circle’ where we can see the possibility of the glory of God, where we can be sheltered by God in a protective cloud and we hear the whisper of God as we ‘listen to Him’. This weekend let the face and glory of Jesus shine on you and warm your life and heart and show you a glimpse of what is possible through faith and the presence of God.
The recurring word in the readings this weekend (Fourth Sunday) is authority. It is used very differently to the words ‘authoritarian’ or ‘authoritative’. The authority of Jesus is fulfilled in his passion and death on the Cross. It is the complete opposite to our understanding of authority. The words of Jesus are completely the same as His actions. His authority is rooted in His identity as the Son of God and our Saviour on the Cross. It is an authority of love rather than control. It is the same authority and integrity that we have received in our baptism and as followers of Jesus Christ. Our authority is to love and to serve not to dominate and control. The readings this weekend strengthen us to live life with this assurance and authority that we are all children of God with a unique dignity and character. These words are crucial in our world where it is increasingly difficult to live the Christian life when truth is relative and everything is changing and in flux. Today we hold fast to the ‘authority of love’ and cherish the Eucharist where it is celebrated. Our baptism is valid and precious and our faith in God gives courage, strength and wisdom in a challenging and changing world. Fr. Michael
Lent 2018 begins during the coming week and it has come around very quickly after Christmas season. Indeed, the cold temperatures and chilling winds of the last few weeks have really impacted on people as if we remain in January and are surprised by the arrival of Lent. Many people have been affected by flu and the cold weather seems to have ‘gotten in’ to people. Spring seems a while away and here we are at a special time of the year. Each liturgical season is a new beginning filled with hope and Lent 2018 is no different. Most certainly many people will come to the church on Ash Wednesday to receive the imprint of ashes as a sign of repentance and conversion. Many people will endeavour to attend weekday Mass during the sacred season and as a way of conversion. Please God, despite many counter attractions and some scepticism in the public space, many people will use this as a personal opportunity to turn our hearts and minds to God. Make Lent 2018 a special time and utilise the opportunity and gift that God gives to each one of us. Time is precious and we thank God for the gift of this sacred time for ourselves, our families, our community and parish.
The month of January has been seasonally cold and wet. It is hard to imagine the emergence of Spring, brighter mornings, longer evenings and warmer temperatures. Reassuringly, there is an inevitable cycle of nature and the seasons assuring us that all these things will happen soon. Nature has its own ‘clock’ which is ticking and promising change for the better. The gospel this weekend proclaims change in the lives of the disciples. It proclaims change and repentance. Like long January days, we may feel that change will not happen and that repentance is simply an attractive word. However, the word of God is more than attractive, it is engaging and transforming. Be assured that change can come and that repentance is real and enduring. This weekend, despite the bleak weather and potentially, the bleak landscape of life and society, we listen carefully to the call to change and repentance. It is more than just a new year’s resolution but the transforming words and power of Jesus Christ.