If you told your teenage child to ask for anything, the single thing they want the most, how likely is it that they will ask for wisdom? And if now I asked you, how likely is it that you will ask for wisdom? It is not a secret that life with all its experiences shapes who we are, orders our priorities and makes us value certain things more than others. In the first reading this Sunday we have the example of Solomon. According to some sources, he was only 12 when, quite in a hurry, he was anointed king. You can almost visualize the horror in Solomon’s face when he found out he would have to lead a whole nation at such a young age. But then God spoke to him in a dream and told him: “ask what you would like me to give you”, and Solomon, who had no time to beat around the bush, answered right away: “give me wisdom”. As a teenager, wisdom was probably not his number one priority, but, hey! things had changed quite rapidly and there was nothing else he needed more. However, his choice was not just forced by the circumstances, it is also the result of an enormous spiritual effort and courage, that took young Solomon deep within his heart in search for the one thing he desired and needed most. And he must have got it right because God was “pleased” – which does not happen many times in the Old Testament.
Like him, there is a whole horde of men and women in the Bible who left what they loved and made them feel secure to go in search for something that was much better, more valuable and that deep down they desired more. An act of courage and faith that Jesus also demands of his disciples in the Gospel today. And, it is not that riches and material things are incompatible with the Kingdom of God. The issue here is that once you realise the incalculable value of the Kingdom of God, riches and possessions will appear as mere trinket and knick-knack. As St Paul himself wrote to his community in Philippi from Rome while he was in prison: “But what were once my assets I now through Christ Jesus count as losses. Yes, I will go further: because of the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, I count everything else as loss. For him I have accepted the loss of all other things, and look on them all as filth if only I can gain Christ” (Phi 3:7-8). So, this isn’t really about choosing between wisdom and riches or between the Kingdom of God and possessions because there isn’t a real choice. To choose something other than the Kingdom is to choose nothing. So, this is about discovering the real value of things, or rather the lack of value they have once you have encountered the Kingdom of God.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
For details of Fr Freddie Jackson's funeral rites follow this link.
Dear parishioners, dear friends
The word of God this Sunday suggests that if our lives are barren it can only mean that we have not allowed God’s word to take root in our hearts. Yet God never gives up on us. When we are gathered up into God’s loving arms we shall see and understand ourselves fully for All in the end is harvest.
On the afternoon of Friday 17 July Fr Freddie died peacefully in The Kensington Care Home, Ladbroke Road where he had been living these last weeks. At the beginning of the lock down Fr Freddie went for respite care to Nazareth House East Finchley. He had been living for many years with Parkinson’s. This year he received a diagnosis of cancer. He was so happy to be back in Kensington. He had served the parish for 20 years.
On Thursday 16 July Fr Freddie’s health took a sudden turn for the worse. I went to see him. I prayed with him and for him. He also received the Last Rites of the Church for his final journey home. Close family members were able to spend time with him. He died with Peter his brother by his bedside.
We have so much to be grateful for in Fr Freddie. I think of his preaching, kindness, learning, empathy and joie de vivre. A little sparkle has gone from our lives and the parish. He was in so many ways the hidden glue that helped to hold so much together.
It was while Fr Perry Sykes was Parish Priest of OLV that Fr Freddie learnt of his Parkinson’s. With Fr Perry’s support and God’s grace Fr Freddie found the courage to continue his priestly ministry. He was a man of great courage.
Fr Fred was born in Liverpool on 27 September 1943 and ordained to the priesthood in Westminster Cathedral on 28 June 1997 by Cardinal Basil Hume. He had served as an Anglican priest for many years before his reception into the Catholic Church. Sr Maureen, Fr Daniel and I wish to thank parishioners who gave so much of their love, support and company to Fr Fred. It meant so much to him. We will announce the funeral arrangements shortly. Our condolences and prayers are with his brother Peter, sister in law Joan, nephew Andrew and nieces Gemma and Joanne.
I want to leave the last word to Fr Freddie with words preached at a parishioner’s funeral:
“So farewell, but never goodbye. For God will gather us together again in the joy of His Kingdom.…God who understands and cherishes in a special way those who are fractured and broken by life. So thanks for this noble friend who so loved the Lord under the forms of bread and wine, and to whom in the stillness of His healing voice that same Lord must now be saying well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter the joy of thy Lord.”
May Frederick George Jackson, Christian, pilgrim and priest of the Most High God, rest in peace and rise in glory
This pandemic has revived many theories about the end of human life on this planet and has certainly given a lot of credibility to those who claim a virus will end up destroying humanity. In my opinion, it could well be the case, but I am quite sure this won’t happen the way most scientists believe. The risk humanity faces every time we suffer a crisis or a catastrophe, is not only the massive loss of human lives but the loss of the whole human society. And when will that happen? Well… we won’t have to wait for all humans to be exterminated, as many apocalyptic predictions of the future show. It could happen a lot earlier, because, in fact, you only need society to become inhuman, and that can happen as early as the day we all start CALCULATING. It is common – and to certain extend understandable – that in the face of suffering and loss our most basic instincts kick in, we switch to “survival mode”, we deploy all our self-defence mechanisms and all we care about is our own benefit. What do I gain? How much do I need to give? How much can I afford? When that day arrives though, we will stop giving freely. We won’t smile. We won’t greet each other. We won’t go an extra mile. That day the weak, the elderly and whoever is in need will matter no more. That day, human society will have disappeared, and that will be the beginning of the end.
The readings of this Sunday, however, shed a ray of light. Despite human’s cold heart, God remains faithful and generous. Because he never holds on to debts nor calculates loss, he continues to give freely and abundantly. Like the rain on the earth, he does not calculate where it falls, he does not ask permission, he does not measure. Or like the sower who throws the seed to right and left, convinced that if only a few, a little “rest”, falls on good soil they will compensate for all the others.
So, when you look out into the world and see the society decomposing, don’t worry, it might not be the end just yet. For there might be a little “rest”, a little remnant of people who hear the word of God, and like him they do not count the loss nor hold on to debts and so they can still give themselves freely and generously. A little “rest” who will compensate for the others. They will be the few whose love will overpower the darkness and chaos of the hatred of others. They, in fact will be the oasis, for the others. In them, human society will survive, love will still survive somewhere, in some place on this earth, and within it, humans will flourish and thrive.
Now stop for a moment, be quiet, listen. Can you hear it? God might be calling you to be part of that little “rest”.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
See the Home page for this week's Mass times. Given the restrictions in numbers, if you intend to come to Mass, please book in advance so that we can accommodate you. https://parish.rcdow.org.uk/kensington1/events/
Dear Parishioner, dear friends,
From Monday 6th July we will open the Church for Mass’s with a congregation. In line with Public Health requirements and diocesan guidance there will be a limit to how many can attend.
We are not yet in the new normal. The Covid-19 virus is still among us. We are living though a time of transition. It is important that we remember this and continue to care for each other.
We need to know if you intend to come to Mass. This will enable us to ensure everyone’s safety.
To facilitate this, you can let us know by pre booking (Letting us know) on the https://parish.rcdow.org.uk/kensington1/events/
Or email the parish office or Telephone
Our Bishops have removed the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday during this emergency. We are encouraged to attend Mass on any day we can. It does not have to be Sunday for the moment.
These are the Mass times for the week of 6th to 10th July
Monday to Thursday 10.00 am
Friday 6.30 pm
Sunday 9.30 am
11.am Live streamed only Mass (no public congregation) Join via our Parish website.
Sunday open for individual prayer only 3.00 pm to 5.00 pm
Please note all the celebration of Mass will be lived streamed
These times will be reviewed and changed as we monitor the response and need. At Mass celebrated with a congregation the following will be observed:
Finally could you volunteer to clean the Church after Mass and/ or act as steward?
We will be in touch with further updates Thank you to those who have helped open the Church for individual prayer
Yours sincerely in Christ
Monsignor Jim Curry