Divine Mercy Sunday – Homily

Divine Mercy Sunday

This Sunday the Church, in her wisdom, has shifted the focus of our readings at mass. Obviously the Gospels reflect the resurrection accounts. However that which, through the rest of the year, are readings from the Old Testament, give way through the 50 days of Easter to the account of the early church in the Acts of the Apostle. Our second readings also move from the letters of Paul to those of both Peter and John.

Acts of the Apostles is not surprising as we follow the emergence of the Church with its trials, tribulations and triumphs, post the resurrection and ascension of our Lord. 

Peter and John are central players during Holy Week and the resurrection accounts of the Lord. In their epistles we get an insight to their reflections of what they heard, saw and gave their lives too. 

Today we hear from Peter’s opening words of his first Epistle. Peter wastes no time in getting straight to the point. The resurrection of Our Lord has given us a new birth and entry into a new creation that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading. This new creation is eternal as opposed to the corrupted, temporal world that will come to an end. 

This is not to despise the temporal world, which is given by God. However, one mark of the Fall is the great temptation to see worldly things as a means and end in themselves,ignoring the hand from which they came. Those who invest their sense of meaning and hope in that which comes to an end will have their hopes die with it. 

How often have we seen humanity define the worth, meaning and value of themselves and others by their ancestry, social status, wealth, poverty, popularity and honour? How often have we lifted upon a pedestal or dehumanised because of these false values? Human history is littered with the terrible consequences of such tragic folly. 

The world and our lives are beautiful and a gift from God but not that which we should grasp hold off or invest our everlasting hope in. Faith, our trusting in the promises of God in Christ, made manifest in his resurrection, will be revealed in their fullness at the end of time, Peter assures us. 

In the opening 2 verses of his epistles, Peter reflects that those who have responded to the Gospel have a sense of being called, set apart, of being sanctified in the spirit and sprinkled with Christ’s blood. Peter is making clear that the death and resurrection of the Lord are inseparable. It is also this calling to  participate in Christ’s death and resurrection that redefines the sense of the value of the faithful which provides eternal meaning.

This is fundamentally important to the community his epistle addresses and as a consequence to the Church as a whole. This community were facing persecution, suffering and the knowledge that things of this world can be so easily lost or taken away. Peter writes to remind them of where their ultimate security lies in entering into the death and resurrection of Christ that leads to eternal life.

Isn’t it strange that our modern self confidence and sense of control and knowledge of all things has been shaken and humbled by a tiny virus? Our old certainties have given way to doubt, worry and a real sense of loss. Death which we so often seek to avoid, which we ignore or pretend isn’t there has, in this present crisis, demands to be acknowledge. 

We have been made more aware of the fragility of our lives and that anyone of us could die. The question of what we build our hope on, becomes more urgent and demanding. 

It difficult not to mention Paul who himself states; (1 Cor 15:19) ‘If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.’

Christ has however, been raised from the dead and the gospel in dramatic fashion leaves us in no doubt that this is not a hope based on delusions, fanciful or wishful thinking, but a concrete reality. That concrete reality, in sacramental terms, is made present to us, body, soul and divinity in the celebration of the mass.

It is resting more fully in this promise, and this foretaste of what is to be, that enabled Peter and those he wrote to to “rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.” This despite the suffering they were going through. 

It is the very fact that as St Augustine famously put, “we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song,” that enables us even in this time of crisis to exalt with unutterable joy.

things has been shaken and humbled by a tiny virus? Our old certainties have given way to doubt, worry and a real sense of loss. Death which we so often seek to avoid, which we ignore or pretend isn’t there has, in this present crisis, demands to be acknowledge. 

We have been made more aware of the fragility of our lives and that anyone of us could die. The question of what we build our hope on, becomes more urgent and demanding. 

It difficult not to mention Paul who himself states; (1 Cor 15:19) ‘If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied.’

Christ has however, been raised from the dead and the gospel in dramatic fashion leaves us in no doubt that this is not a hope based on delusions, fanciful or wishful thinking, but a concrete reality. That concrete reality, in sacramental terms, is made present to us, body, soul and divinity in the celebration of the mass.

It is resting more fully in this promise, and this foretaste of what is to be, that enabled Peter and those he wrote to to “rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.” This despite the suffering they were going through. 

It is the very fact that as St Augustine famously put, “we are an Easter people and Alleluia is our song,” that enables us even in this time of crisis to exalt with unutterable joy.

Blessings Fr Neil

Cardinal Nichols Media Programmes

Cardinal Nichols has recorded a special radio programme for the BBC on Easter Sunday. This will be broadcast at 0800 on all 39 BBC local radio stations.

Additionally, over the Triduum, the Cardinal will be giving the following interviews:

 

Good Friday

0745 BBC Radio Berkshire

0830 BBC Radio 4 Today Programme

1030 Sky News – Adam Boulton Easter Sunday

 

Easter Sunday

0710 BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme

0730 BBC Radio 2

0930 BBC Radio London

1300 BBC Radio 4 The World This Weekend

 

Additionally, the Daily Telegraph is publishing a reflection by the Cardinal on Good Friday. And the BBC will be covering Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi on Easter Sunday on its news bulletins.

The Holy Triduum

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Holy Triduum Services

Thursday: 7.30pm, Maundy Thursday Liturgy – Facebook Live – Christ the King

Friday: 3.00pm, Good Friday Liturgy – Facebook Live – Christ the King

Saturday:  8.30pm, Easter Vigil  – Facebook Live – St Joachim’s 

Sunday: 11.30 am, Easter Sunday Morning – Live Stream via YouTube – Our Lady of Ransom

The venues may change without notice depending of technology reliability.

Pray with Pope Francis

Statio orbis – Eucharistic Adoration with Pope Francis

 

In order to offer intercession and consolation during this time of exceptional discomfort, the Holy Father will preside over a time of prayer and Eucharistic Adoration in Saint Peter’s Square, without a congregation of the lay faithful, on Friday 27th March 2020 at 5.00pm, London time.

This Statio orbis will be broadcast on mondovision and streamed by Vatican News.

During this time of prayer Pope Francis will impart the Urbi et Orbi Blessing and will also concede a Plenary Indulgence to all those persons who participate in these prayers via the communications media.

 

Money Matters

We live in extraordinary times with being unable to access so much of what we have taken for granted and though would be always available to us.

Who would have though that we would see public masses suspended and churches closed? Normal life has ceased for the time being. Businesses and non-essential shops are closed. We cannot meet up with our friends for coffee and cake.

There are many businesses that are seeing their trade collapse to a point that many wonder if they will be in existence after this crisis is over. People are having to take mortgage and rental breaks for the next 3 months to try and survive financially.

Those who help feed the homeless and the good work of the Foodbank are also being effected quite dramatically. All of which should be a concern for us all.

More than one person has asked about the church’s finances. Inevitably the church will with other take a big hit on its finances and its ability to pay its way in the short term.

Those who normally do their giving through the plate collection obviously aren’t able to at the moment. The loss of this income equals to about £2,000 a month across CTK and St Jo’s. This may not be so dramatic if some are able to find another means of contributing to the churches.

Those who are able to get to the bank or have internet access to their accounts can set up a standing order and the bank details below will help. Other may like to send cheques to the office a 3 princes Road for either church. Cheques can be made out to either;

Christ the King, Catholic Church, Eastbourne

St Joachim’s Catholic Church, Hampden Park, Eastbourne

Bank details:

A&B Diocesan Trust, Eastbourne, Langney, Christ the King.                                                   Sort Code 40-05-20  Account No 91127012

A&B Diocesan Trust, Hampden Park, St Joachim’s.                                                                   Sort Code 40-05-20. Account No 51077058

I am aware that people should be cautious and this post is offered because people have been enquiring about the issue.

Prayers and blessings

Fr Neil

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