Dear Parishioners and Friends ,
It has been said and written that all sorrows can be borne if we can tell a story . Well we will have plenty of stories to tell when we meet up again. There is it seems no shortage of stories on the internet , face book and social media. Not all to be trusted. The two disciples in our Sunday gospel ( Luke 24:13-35) have a sad story to tell. Their dream about the message of Jesus is reduced to rubble their hopes for a new world were in ruins. They couldn’t make sense of his death on the cross. in Jerusalem
When they are joined on the road by another companion . They don’t recognize their friend.The risen Jesus accompanies them on their journey . He asks gentle questions .He allows the disciples to talk about themselves ,their dreams, their hurts. He listens to them .In doing this he opens their minds and more importantly their hearts. Then he begins to explain the Word of God. Eventually they understand, they see . Isn’t that how it is . We live our lives forward, but understand them backwards. We don’t always understand what is happening to us in a given moment we often don’t have perspective, or understanding . We just have enough to cope from day to day, hour to hour. So many of us feel that now. It is only afterwards, perhaps long afterwards that we begin to understand what we have been through .
We don’t expect to find God in pain. We expect to find God in joy. This was the discovery of the disciples on the road to Emmaus. They were walking away from their suffering . Note that Jesus joins them on the journey, walks away with them. They are not alone. Because he accompanies them they begin to see their suffering, his suffering and their disappointment in a different light . The disciples came to understand the suffering they had been through in a new way. Finding a meaning to our pain doesn’t remove the pain. It can however transform it.
On the road to Emmaus Jesus explains the scriptures and reveals himself in the breaking of bread. The same happens when we celebrate the Eucharist today. The crucified and risen Lord is still with us on the journey. Take the opportunity sometime today or this week and look back at your life. Your faith. Can you in the light of what you know now understand better what has shaped your past, made you or others make certain decision’s. Can you see where God was ?
105th commemoration of the Armenian Genocide
You will remember that as parish we had planned mark the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide with a service of prayer, music and reflection. That is not now possible.
Dr Harry Hagopian was to give the reflection. In the spirt of remembering with our Armenian Sisters and Brothers we are able to offer you some reflections on the Genocide through the links below.
1915-2020: A Few Reflections on the Armenian Genocide:
The Armenian Genocide : a 12-minute video-conversation w/ scholar & author Dr Elizabeth S Kassab on the significance of such atrocities for 2020: https://youtu.be/liVSDRruxdo
The Armenian Genocide & COVID-19: > Arm-Wrestling with COVID-19 in London - #14:
Peace be with you.
In the Gospel this Sunday, the first words of Jesus to his disciples after his death on the cross were: Peace be with you. And the disciples who were locked down in fear, disappointed, angry with themselves and with one another, full of regrets, shame… suddenly were filled with joy.
But what is this peace that Jesus offers his disciples? Is this the peace of knowing that everything is now OK? That things will somehow go back to normal? That their betrayal was not so serious after all? Surely not. The marks that Jesus shows, the wounds that the crucifixion left for ever on his body are the clear evidence that things will never be the same again. But at the same time, those precious wounds remain for eternity as a visible sign of God´s unconditional love for us.
And that is what brings the disciples so much peace and joy, not that the past is forgotten, but that God´s love is stronger than our faults. No wonder Thomas was so keen on seeing and touching Jesus´ wounds! For he too was full of fears, anger and regrets and needed to find some peace.
And like Thomas all of us, need to experience again and again that forgiveness and love from God. Even more so at this time, when many of us are afraid that our lives will never be the same. We can still live in peace knowing that God´s love for us has not changed.
St Theresa of Avila used to keep these words in her prayer book. They are the best commentary of the Gospel today:
“Let nothing disturb you, nothing frighten you, all things are passing, God is unchanging. Patience gains all; nothing is lacking to those who have God: God alone is sufficient.”
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I heard a marvellous insight into this Easter from a speaker on the radio. Maybe this Easter is like the first, the voice said . The first disciples were locked down. They were anxious about the future. They felt disorientated . What an invitation to us to enter into this Easter as if it were the first! Jesus Christ, true God and true Man is risen from the dead.The tomb which the living did enclose has no power over him now. From the shell of the old a new life is born. From death God has brought forth Life. Just as from the virginal womb of Mary, God brought forth The Word of Life.Jesus. Everything new emerges from the shell of the old. If we are to be changed by the experience of the current pandemic, we need to embrace that change now. We need to see things differently now. Otherwise it will be business as usual. The work of rebuilding our own lives, communities and Church begins now, in the midst of the ruins. Easter calls us to embrace the life we have received in baptism the life of faith. This life which wells up in us like a refreshing fountain.
The signs of new life are all around us in the western hemisphere. Creation is alive with bird song and the scent of blossom. We can join that a great song of Gods creation .We can Make the Easter Alleluia our own. As us one young person put in we may be in lock down,but we cant be kept down. That is our Resurrection hope.
Happy Easter, Christ is Risen ,He is risen indeed Alleluia
Follow Easter Sunday Mass at 11.00 am on our Facebook page
The risen Christ abides in the hearts of believers born generations after his days in Jerusalem.
We reconnect with him in the rituals of Holy week. We are invited into the emotional experience of loss, fear and redemption which so many are living in this crisis. We reconnect with one who died for us. We journey with him discovering anew our love for the one who was lost-and the joy of one who returns.
How can I Worship and pray during Holy week?
Palm Sunday: Join us for Mass via face book ; Olv kensington at 12 noon form Our Lady of Victories . Read the gospel account in Matthew. Chapter 27 Verses 11-54
Maundy,(Holy) Thursday Mass of the Lord supper via Face book at 6 pm from OLV . At home consider having a meal with bread and wine encourage every member of the household to make a prayer of thanksgiving for something or someone . Read St Paul's First letter to the Corinthians Chapter 11 verses 23-26 .
There will be watching at the Altar of repose from St Chads Cathedral in Birmingham :www.stchadscathedral.org.uk
Good Friday Join us via face book at 3pm for prayers and adoration of the cross. If you cannot join us gather around a cross or Crucifix sit in silence with each other or alone. Read From the prophet Isaiah Chapter 52 v. 13 - to Ch 53 v 12.
Holy Saturday. We join Our Archbishop at Westminster Cathedral for the Easter Vigil at 8.30pm
Easter Day Mass via Face book from OLV at 11.am. At home : Make breakfast different.Have flowers on the table. Fresh bread or another treat ( If you can). For the adults as recommended by Fr Freddie have a mimosa or… Sing Christ is risen Alleluia. Read the Gospel of John Chapter 20: verses 1-9. Join the Pope for the Easter Blessing Urbi et Orbi On BBC TV and Vatican TV (ctv) at Noon. (11am UK time)
web sites that might help
pause for faith: Fr Stephen Wang on you tube ideal for students and young adults. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbrIxeH2TSwEc8eVwwMGv8w
Arm-Wrestling with Covid- 19 (A different view). On you tube
Dear First Sacraments Catechists, Parents and Children it seems so very strange that we are not all together in the parish doing all the things we normally do at this time. Please God you are all keeping safe and well.
As we come near to the great Feast of Easter I wish you all the blessings of Our Risen Lord, Jesus. May we know His peace and His love.
I also include especially the adults who have been part of our RCIA group who will be received into the Church as soon as possible. May each one of you know the peace and love of Our Risen Lord.
With love and prayer