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.