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Fr Frank's Post-Christmas Break!
"I really enjoyed my break in London this year. Along with having a good rest I attended the snooker at 'Ally Pally' for 3 different days and also caught up with long-standing friends who live in the area. (See photos attached from my trip to a few football stadiums with my friend Eammon!)

I was blessed with the fine weather and the location of the hotel I stopped in, in Wood Green, made it easy for me to get to Mass in a local church and to get the bus to 'Ally Palace'.
All in all, I had a wonderful time and I'm happy to be back home.
God bless you all."

Thanks to Deacon Vincent for his Reflections for 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C

1st Reading from the Book of Nehemiah 8: 2-6, 8-10.
This book together with the book of Ezra are best considered one book, because they do overlap because they are covering the period of the reconstruction after the Exile. Nehemiah was responsible for building the walls around Jerusalem. He was not a priest, but a layman and appointed by the Persian administration. For Nehemiah this was not a political act but a religious one, for him it was putting God back in the centre. This is the rebuilding of the people, they had restored the blood lines, now they needed to understand where God was in all this. The reading of the Law is because they realised that it was by ignoring what God wanted for them that had led to their disaster, so this is an important part for the people, who have instructed the scribe to read the Law to them. They wish to put that Law back into the centre, which is where God needs to belong to get things right, and it might be a good idea for us, also, to read and study the Law and replace God back in the centre for ourselves as well. It is important to note that the people wanted this and instructed the scribe what to do, not the other way around. In this synod we have before us, that might be of interest for us also, to study the Law and instruct how to get God back in the centre for us today.

Psalm 18: 8-10, 15.
God is revealed in creation and the Law. This song continues the emphasis upon the greatness of God’s Law for us, and indeed the whole of His creation.

2nd Reading from the first letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 12: 12-30.
This image of the Church as Body, he shows his sense of humour here as he teases the people with his comical counter points. We need to notice how the apostles and prophets come first in the listings and the gift of speaking tongues comes last. What really matters is that the body should work as one cohesive unit, striving to d the will of God. This is exactly what Ezra is trying to achieve in the first reading; God at the centre of all that we do, to His Greater Glory.

The Holy Gospel according to Luke 1: 1-4, 4: 14-21.
This is an unusual beginning for a Gospel, as Luke explains in detail why and how he has ordered things in this Gospel and again unusually it appears to be written for a distinguished person. However, the name Theophilus means, “Lover of God”, or “Beloved of God”, so it might mean that the Gospel is addressed any interested Christian. Then we move immediately to Jesus' Ministry in Galilee. Jesus’ teachings have been glorified by everybody and news had spread about him, when he comes to his hometown of Nazareth. Luke uses this story right at the beginning of his Gospel, unlike Mathew and Mark who have this episode later in their Gospels. This is because Luke’s Gospel focuses upon the less fortunate and the lowlier people, and he wants to emphasise this aspect of Jesus’ Ministry right from the start. So, Isaiah’s reading also links Jesus with Isaiah’s other themes of the suffering servant, Isaiah is an important figure in the background of this Gospel. Jesus’ sermon is very brief indeed, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled.” Another interesting point to note is the way Luke uses “Today”, it appears in the annunciation to the Shepherds, and in the Zacchaeus story, and finally at the crucifixion, when one of the thieves recognises Jesus. The Gospel is already spreading among the people, and Jesus is becoming loved and welcomed, which always will produce a counter point of jealousy and envy, which we will observe as we progress through Luke’s beautiful Gospel. Let us soak up the full import of Jesus proclaiming his Ministry for the poor and the downtrodden and align our own thoughts and lives to accord with where Jesus is trying to take us.

God Bless you All and Stay Well.
Deacon Vincent

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