Who am I?
We have all been there, we have all done it and possibly also suffered it. No sooner did we learn how to speak than we bombarded our poor parents with questions. As an average, a child makes up to 40.000 questions between the ages of 2 to 5. This means that if you have a child in your care, depending on their age, you may be lucky enough to be subjected to up to 300 questions in one day! If you are a parent or a schoolteacher and you are reading this, know that you have all my respect.
However, as we grow up, every individual must leave behind the simplicity of the question “why?” to start formulating more complex questions. And I don’t mean questions that use many more words, but questions that are extremely urgent and yet extremely difficult to answer. Questions such as: “Who am I?” “What is my place in this world?” “What have I been created for?” Knowing the world around us is good and necessary but it is also totally unsatisfactory if we don’t know who we are and what our role in this world is.
But no matter how well you think you know yourself that sooner or later suddenly something will open your eyes to the humbling realization that you don’t know yourself at all. And more often than not, it does not come as a result of an exercise of introspection, but surprisingly, as the result of an encounter with the other.
This was surely the experience of Peter and Paul, whose feast we celebrate this Sunday. Peter had his own family, a well-established fishing company and he owned at least two properties. But when he thought that there wasn't more to his existence than being a father a husband and a fisherman, he had an encounter with Jesus that changed that completely. Surely, his new life was not exempt from problems and difficulties, but all in all was an amazing adventure he would have never imagined. So it happened with Paul. He was a very well-educated Pharisee, he also enjoyed Roman citizenship, and earned his living making tents. He thought his vocation was to destroy Christianity, but then he too had an encounter with Jesus who put his life upside down, or rather, the right way up.
This feast of Peter and Paul encourages us all not to be afraid of Jesus Christ, or even to seek him out, who will show us who we truly are, where to find fulfilment, how to reach our potentials and help us occupy the place in this world that God had planned for each one of us.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
From 5th July, our Church opens for public worship, Mass will be celebrated Monday - Saturday at 10am. We will announce the Sunday schedule next week. With social distancing measures in place we will be able to accommodate 100 persons at any Mass. We are working to see how best we can facilitate our safe return to the building. We will need volunteer stewards and cleaners to be present at these Masses. Please consider being a volunteer.
PWe are prone to fear and worry. Many feel today that there is much to fear. Fear is not necessarily a bad thing. We are right to fear violence, cruelty and indifference. Fear can act as a protective function, warning us of the presence of danger. But fear can be a handicap. It can paralyse, it can sap our confidence and our courage.
The apostles were afraid (Matthew 10: 26-33). In telling them not to be Jesus doesn’t underestimate the challenge fear poses. Christ wants to allay their fear to give them the courage they will need to fulfil their mission.
How does he do this. He calls them to trust. Trust in God who values all his creatures even the smallest like the sparrow. Courage is the most important of the virtues. Without courage we can’t practise any other virtue. To be free from fear is a great gift.
How do we learn to trust? We learn to trust in our relationships. Relationships of nurturing, faithful and stable love. How can we become less fearful, more transparent, present to our situation, the now, free? Strong real prayer life. It’s in our prayer we meet God. It is Jesus who teaches us to pray and The Holy spirit who gives us the courage to persevere in the midst of our doubts. There are so many ways we can pray. There is the prayer of the Mass, quiet contemplation or the payer of service. Truly a life of prayer will allow us to live more fully until the time comes to die. It is vital that each one of us discovers a pattern of prayer. A rhythm suited to our state of life. Don’t delay. In prayer we can learn to live with our worries and face our fears.
P.S. Please find here the link to the interview with Revd Dr Paul Haidostian mentioned in the homily on Sunday.
It is full of hope and insight and only 10 minutes long. https://youtu.be/b6FrInlFAoY
P.P.S. Remember that we are open this Sunday for individual prayer from 2pm to 6pm. Thank you to all who volunteered to act as stewards and cleaners this Sunday and on Wednesday.
Happy Father’s day to all our dads.
If you need any spiritual books and items please contact the Pauline Books & Media at:
telephone: 0207 937 9591
Pray with the Pope:
This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. Also known as “Corpus Christi”. A feast that allows us to look back to wonder and thank God for the great gifts with which He has blest humanity throughout history. But most of all, for the gift of His Son Jesus Christ, offered to us every time we celebrate the Eucharist.
Starting from the first reading the Church looks back at the wonders that took place during the Exodus. Without bouts, the single greatest experience the people of Israel had in all their history. It was indeed a time of trial, but it was also the moment when God gave His people two of the greatest gifts they ever received. Firstly, the Manna, that strange flaky stuff “like white coriander seeds” which appeared every morning in the Israelite camp. So strange and alien it was to them that they named it Manna, which means “What is it?” But regardless, it was providential, it kept them from dying of starvation, and the taste was pleasant, “it was like wafers made with honey”. It was a real gift from heaven. So much so that they kept a jar of it to put it in the Ark of the Covenant as a reminder to future generations, together with Aron’s staff. Incidentally, that Ark had been built to contain the second gift they received from God in the desert: the Torah (The Law). That way, both their physical and their spiritual food were kept together, as an everlasting memorial of God’s love and providence.
But God had yet another gift in mind for us, one that would surpass all the gifts of the past: His own Son. He descended to us assuming a human body and a human soul, to offer His whole self – His divinity and His humanity, His soul and His divinised, resurrected and transfigured body – as the ultimate gift and food for us. And, although, this gift of His whole self happened once and for all, He left us the Eucharist, as the sacrament of His death and resurrection so that what happened in past history may become present and real for us once again. That way, all who receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist experience with him His death and resurrection. There is no greater gift, no better food, no stronger encouragement, until we can be with Him for ever, in body and spirit, in heaven.
Traditionally, we have marked this Solemnity with processions, exposition of the blessed sacrament and many other devotions. This year however none of those things will take place. But it should not escape our attention the fact that God, in his providential design, has arranged this Solemnity to mark the reopening of our churches. We won’t be able to celebrate public Mass just yet, but we will be allowed nonetheless, to come and visit the Blessed Sacrament once again*.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
* For more information about the opening of the Church visit the News section of the website.
Black lives matter. No one can be left untroubled by the awful events we have all witnessed in the USA in these last days. As Christians we believe every human being is made in the image a likeness of God. As Pope Francis has forcibly reminded us, there can be no place for racialism in our hearts or communities. In our own nation our Black and Asian citizens have suffer dis-proportionately during the Covid 19 pandemic. This is a cause of concern for us all. We need to understand why this is the case. For when one brother or sister suffers we all suffer in some way.
As we reflect on the mystery of the Most Blessed and undivided Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit we are invited to ponder on the gift of the divine life of grace that lives in us all. Made in the image of the Triune God every life matters. From the unborn child in the womb to the person preparing to die.
When we talk of God we are dealing with the greatest mystery. Yet any child can grasp it in such a way as to be able to pray it and live it. St Augustine wrote If you want to see God you have the means to do so, Look at your neighbour. Your sister or brother.
We can talk of God as our Father. A Father who loves us without reserve. We think of Jesus as our brother who gave his life for us. And we can describe the Holy Spirit as a friend who helps us to live like Jesus, and who binds us together as sisters and brothers in a community of faith and love. As Christians this is the atmosphere in which we live and move and have our being. This is who God is, the ground of our being. We are not souls trapped in matter, but dust breathed in to shape. We are Physical beings with a spiritual purpose and meaning. That purpose is Union with God. That is why we can say every life Matters because God made it matter.
This Sunday we are celebrating the Feast of Pentecost. A feast that, together with Easter, we inherited from our Jewish brothers. For them it was a double celebration; on the one hand it marked the wheat harvest and on the other the gift of the Law (Torah) at mount Sinai. It was on that feast that the small community of disciples gathered in the Cenacle received the Holy Spirit. But we must not understand this feast as a mere celebration of a past event. Some people refer to Pentecost as the “Birthday of the Church”, which, of course, is not wrong, but it does not make justice to the importance of this feast. If we limit the feast of Pentecost to a birthday party, we run the risk of stripping it of its power to speak to us in our current situation.
In fact, I think this feast comes at a very providential moment to offer the Church many answers to our many questions and uncertainties. We are not the only ones who have spent quite some time locked at home. The first disciples of Jesus too were locked down in fear. Surely, they were convinced that God would intervene. After all, Jesus himself before his ascension told them to wait in Jerusalem for the coming of another Paraclete, and so they did. But, what could God do to make things be like they were before, when they first met Jesus, when they could spend the days on the road witnessing so many miracles and wonders? The answer is, that they were not to go back to how things were before. They too were going to make a new beginning. For them too there was a new normality ahead. But this new beginning came accompanied with the most reassuring gift of all: the outpouring of a New Spirit. A Spirit, that removed all their fears and propelled them out, even to the ends of the earth.
So, it does not matter how small, fragile and vulnerable we may feel in front of the uncertainties of the future, because like the first community of Christians, we won’t have to face our new normality on our own. We too have been promised this New Spirit.
Just in case you prefer to hear that from somebody else, listen to how the Prophet Haggai encouraged the Israelites when they came back from Exile to their new normality: “Courage, all you people of the country! – The Lord declares. To work! I am with you – says the Lord – and my spirit is present among you. Do not be afraid!”
Fr Daniel Herrero Peña
The cloud of unknowing is an enduring classic of Christian mystical experience written by an English mystic in the 14th century. The author explains how all thoughts and concepts must be buried beneath a cloud of forgetfulness while our love must rise toward God hidden in the Cloud of Unknowing.
With due respect to the author of that great work. Many of us feel that we know what the Cloud of unknowing feels like. The quarantine is now in its 9th week. The stresses and tensions are begriming to tell. There is still much kindness, but also confusion. Many of us feel displaced. We are longing for former ways, routines and experiences. The nine days, (Novena) in the Church between the Ascension and Pentecost mirror that feeling.
Mary and the disciples are locked down, looking back, waiting anxiously. The new outpouring of the Holy Spirit is yet to come. When it happens the Spirit will give the disciples a new vision of the Glory of the power of God revealed in Jesus Christ. They will leave old ways behind. We too are being asked to look anew at our world. Challenged to embrace a new vision for humanity. The Holy spirit inspires, sustains and animates every Christian. The Spirit is the wind in our sails. No spirit no movement, no change.
While we are focused on the effects of the pandemic in our own back yard there is still a world in need. Below you will find links to many of the Relief agencies and Charities whom you have supported in years past. All of them engaged with promoting the new vision of Gods Church for the world. If you can support any of them just click on the links below. The Author of the Cloud understands the act of contemplation as participating in Christ passion and love for others. Being forgetful of oneself to be caught up in love of God. Laying all preconceptions aside leads us to be open to the needs of others. Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, renew the face of the earth.
FRIENDS OF THE HOLY LAND (Match Funded until 31st May): https://www.friendsoftheholyland.org.uk/
APOSTLESHIP OF THE SEA (STELLA MARIS): https://www.apostleshipofthesea.org.uk/
The Cardinal has sent a pastoral video message to all parishioners, see the News section of the website: News
Live streaming of Mass 11.00 am on Sundays and at 10 am Weekdays. Each Mass is recorded and can be viewed later in the day. So if you miss the live event you can still see Mass later. https://www.churchservices.tv/kensington1
Join us for a hour of Prayer on the Vigil of Pentecost at 7pm Saturday May 30th. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the litany of the Holy Spirit and prayers for the world. It will be live streamed on the same website as Mass. See link above.
“On that day you will understand that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you.” Unity is a big deal in all the aspects of life. At home, at work and even in the political sphere. Everything works better when there is unity, respect, understanding… and everyone knows this. The question is: how do we achieve unity? Where do we get it from? Throughout history many people have seek to achieve unity by imposing some form of uniformity. Communism is a good example. But after wiping well over 100 million people worldwide – that is not in war, but in executions, labour camps, famines, ethnic cleansings… etc – they have achieved nothing! And they are not alone, the Nazi Regime also attempted it. Others, without violence, do the same pushing and financing an extreme globalization, often using international organizations, to expand and impose their own standards.
The fact is, that every human person, every family, every community, every country is unique, and therefore achieving uniformity is simply impossible. So, how then, can we achieve unity? In the gospel today Jesus promises his disciples “another Paraclete”, that is the Holy Spirit. The very binding love between the Father and the Son, is promised to the apostles and to us, to make us one with one another and with God. What will bring our families, our society, our country, our world together, therefore, is nothing other than God´s love.
Remember the sermon that the Episcopal bishop Michael Curry gave at the Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan? “Think and Imagine a world where love is the way,” – he said – “Imagine our homes and families where love is the way, imagine neighbourhoods and communities where love is the way, imagine governments and nations where love is the way, imagine business and commerce where love is the way, imagine this tired old world when love is the way” But, then I would add, when you have finished thinking and imagining do not forget to pray. Pray that with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost the whole world may experience the renewal and the unity which we so much need at this time.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
We are pleased to be able to support this initiative from the local business community.
We wish them all well.
Home is where the heart is . Home may be a challenging place at the moment. The same walls, faces, the quarrels ? Wherever I lay may hat that’s my home. Home is more than familiar faces and routines . Home is where I rest , where I am restored, where I am safe . Home is where I’m secure, known ,loved. Home is where I am nourished . Jesus of Nazareth assures his disciples that there are many dwelling places in his Father’s House. To see Jesus is to See God. Dwelling with God is a key theme of the Gospel of John. To dwell with God, to make our home in the divine heart , to stay doing the work of God is dwelling with the Father. We trust in Gods promise that there are many rooms –mansions, dwellings , the Greek text can also be translated as stopping spaces in Our Father’s Home. When the English singer Charlie Landsborough ,became a Catholic he said, I believe completely. I can’t imagine my life without my faith. But it took me a long time to get there.. there are many stages on the journey home… many stopping places before we arrive .
On Friday May 8th VE day We commemorated the end of World War II 75 years ago in Europe . Millions of civilians died. Many combatants didn’t come home. Europe is covered with monuments to the fallen. Each of them was someone’s child, parent ,sibling, spouse or sweet heart . They helped defeat the evil Nazi ideology that de- humanised and tried to eradicate the Jewish people , Gypsies, those living with disability and so many more. It was a Godless ideology that forced its victims into servitude and fear .
VE day is not remembered by all in the same way . After the end of hostilities Europe was divided into two spheres of influence . East and West. In the East another ideology, atheistic communism was given a free hand . From 1946 for decades many nations were subjugated . Famine, torture and the denial of religious freedom were all used as weapons against the peoples of Eastern Europe . The scars of that period still fester today.
My God grant us all the grace to see each other as a sister or brother, a human being created in the image and likeness of God . Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks was asked where was God? why was God silent when all this happen? He answered God was in the extermination camps, in the suffering. God was in the commandments thou shalt not murder ,thou shalt not bear false witness.. God wasn’t silent. We were.
The believer is called to do the same works as Christ. Can you see those who are doing the works of God breaking the silence?
and building a common home together.
Thursday 14th of May is a Day of prayer, fasting and works of charity: see the news section for further details.
In the gospel this Sunday Jesus uses an image that was very familiar to the people of his time. Many kings and rulers of the ancient Near East described themselves as Shepherds. This implies that part of their task was that of caring for the most vulnerable. So, Jesus used this image to reproach the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders for their behaviour and to remind them of their duty to care for the poor. Jesus was clearly moved by an incident earlier on where he had cured a man born blind. That poor man had spent all his life begging for money. But never did any of the Pharisees ever show any sympathy towards him – probably because in their own words “he was a sinner through and through ever since he was born”. Then it turned out, that the day when he got cured by Jesus, the Jewish leaders did not rejoice with him, and what is worse, as soon as they heard the blind´s man profession of faith in Jesus he was rejected and expelled from the Synagogue.
The reason why this is read to us at Mass, however, is not so that we start pointing fingers at people – and there are lots of people out there that continue to abuse and take advantage of others. We read this passage at Mass so that we, together with all the Christians, also those who have gone before us, profess today our faith in Christ, our Shepherd. And assure one another that with such a loving God leading us we can be certain that we will never lack anything.
This Sunday, also known as the Good Shepherd Sunday, has traditionally been a day of prayer for our Pope, bishops and priests, as well as a day to pray for vocations. Let us spare a prayer for them and ask God to continue providing his Church with good shepherds.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
Westminster Diocese has also written a short article about vocations. If you wish to donate towards the training of new priest you will find the link at the end of the article rcdow.org.uk/news/good-shepherd-sunday/
For updates on First Holy Communion and Confirmation programmes please see News.