Dear friends in Christ. Greetings to all people of goodwill.
We are now in the month of November, a month in which we are invited to pray for all the faithful departed. Although we are in lockdown, no one can stop us praying in our own homes. In this time of isolation, we may be separated physically but we are still members of the Body of Christ.
In his recent letter on fraternity, it is obvious to Pope Francis that all people are equally important. We cannot live in total isolation. Being created in the likeness of God, we need one another. To be a person is a gift from God. People who live in isolation tend to be unhappy. On the other hand, people who mix within the community tend to be happier. As we learn to live with the present lockdown, don’t forget - this will not last forever.
As we approach the Feast of the birth of Our Lord and Saviour, I encourage us all to pray in our homes. God wishes everybody to be saved. While we may be physically separated from one another we ought not to isolate ourselves from God.
Finally, I wish to thank all the wonderful people who made it possible for us to celebrate Holy Mass with dignity and safety since July.
May the Lord Bless you all. Fr Frank.
St Augustine's Church will be doing what we can to help remember those who have died in conflict this Remembrance time.
As we are not able to hold our week of special Masses, we still encourage you to pray for those who have died, pray for those who are suffering as a result of war and violence and pray for veterans who gave so much for our freedoms.
We have created a mosaic display of poppies and, at night, you will see the silhouette of a soldier. Please feel free to come past and see the display for yourself and maybe pause to reflect.
We invite you to place your poppy in our Remembrance garden at any time over the next week if you wish to do so.
In support of the Royal British Legion, please visit their website at www.britishlegion.org to make a donation. Thank you to Martyn Poole for the wonderful soldier display.
Prayer during Lockdown
The Bishop's Conference speaks, during this lockdown, of the need for sustaining each other in our patterns of prayer, joining a national shared moment of prayer each day at 6pm, and observing the Vigil of Christ the King (21 November) as a day of prayer for the ending of this pandemic.
"We encourage you all in your practical service and support of each other and those around you in need. This pathway of prayer and service is the royal road we are to take as a gracious witness in our society today. Despite profound misgivings (about Public Masses ceasing), it is important that we, as responsible citizens, observe these Regulations, which have the force of law: We do this in solidarity with so many others on whom are being imposed restrictions which impact severely on their lives and livelihoods."
Our latest Newsletter is on the Newsletter section of the website.
Reflections for 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time ~ From Deacon Vincent (who we are delighted to hear is now back at home. God bless you Deacon Vincent!)
1st Reading Book of Wisdom 6: 12-16.
The Book of Wisdom envisages an exhortation to Kings and Rulers, then it is addressed to God. The whole work shows a profound understanding of biblical texts, but is also, acquainted with Stoicism and Platonism, great Greek philosophies. It is thought it was directed at Greek speaking Jews living, perhaps, in Alexandria where they were exposed to the dazzling and hi-tech society in which they were living, assuring them that their own religious traditions which were much older, had quite a good selling point.
God the source of all wisdom seeks out those who wish to embrace wisdom, “it is bright and unfading.” God is there for those who seek him beforehand, who long for him. Those who stay awake waiting for God, will soon be free of care. God comes with his wisdom to those who seek him and meets them in their thoughts. Our scriptures are ancient, but not out of date. They are vibrant and living memories of our dealings with the All Wise God.
It is appropriate for us to remember that God is always seeking us, and all we have to do is, to open our hearts to receive him, and he will pour in upon us. God is good and wise and to be trusted, we are not marionettes, but his friends, associates as well as his children. Do not be afraid God is with us, just open our hearts to let him in and he will transform us.
Psalm 62: 2-8.
This psalm recalls David’s struggles in the wilderness and how he is fortified by what seems to have been a vision he saw of God and seen his power and glory. This is what sustains him, and he longs for God like a dry weary land without water. Here he is desolate, but the memory of God does not fade. In these times of renewed lock down, don’t despair look at this psalm, and remember that God is always near to us when we call him. He might not set us free immediately, FREEDOM will come.
2nd Reading St. Paul to the Thessalonians 1st Letter 4: 13-18.
At the heart of Paul’s Gospel is his faith in the Resurrection and it would appear, that he expected an imminent coming of Jesus. It raised the issue as to whether those who had already died, somehow, missed out on the coming of Christ. Paul. He affirms from old Jewish speculation as to how it all happens, First the dead in Christ, are raised then the living snatched up into the heavens to meet the Lord. We are not to worry about such things, those of us who already know the Lord and how he deals with his friends. Be of Good heart.
The Gospel according to Matthew 25: 1-13.
It is an amusing story of missed opportunities; its theme must be about being prepared rather than staying awake. The coming of Jesus was not happening as soon as was thought, so people were wondering whether it was all worth it, just like today, people are becoming impatient with the virus, we have to think like the wise virgins to stay close the bridegroom (Christ) and await him patiently, so that when he comes to feast with us, we can go out full of confidence and greet him.
I have just returned from a frightening time in hospital, the only thing that sustained me was that I knew God wanted to heal me and I was blessed by feeling his healing touch throughout my stay in hospital. It was like living within a monastic order. I was cared for and loved and healed. They had become his hands and his voice of peace and tranquility. He spoke to me through their love. God is Good, take heart, our time in the desert is almost over. Stay strong, and let us all say with Paul, I have kept the Faith to the end, all that awaits us is the crown of Glory.
God Bless you all and Thank you for your prayers and support. Deacon Vincent