Deacon Tony reflects: All are welcome

There are times in life when personal ambition can get the better of us and we look at ways of elevating ourselves instead of putting others first. We hear in the Gospel today that even saints were not immune from this. St Mark tells us that they failed to understand the message which Jesus was giving them; was this because they were distracted by thoughts of who would become leader once Jesus was no longer with them?

The message today is, if we want to be the greatest then we need to be the servant of all. Jesus gave the perfect example of that on the cross and calls on us to serve. Jesus gives us the example of a little child, not that children are immune to jealousy of course. Jesus used the example of the child; in the society Jesus was living in, children had no standing or status. Jesus wants us to embrace service and humility. This is what He was asking the apostles to do.

In the Gospel we also hear that when the apostles did not understand they were afraid to ask. There are many things in this world which have happened because people were afraid to ask. There is an expression that ‘for evil to triumph it needs good men (and women) to do nothing’. Are there things going on today, that we are afraid to ask about? We need to look at what we are afraid of and challenge ourselves. There are many examples of tyranny and war that could have been averted if people had been prepared to speak up.

Jesus challenges us to welcome children in His name. Do we see that welcome in the world today?

Do we see that welcome in our country for the children fleeing war and seeking a place of safety?

Do we see that welcome in our schools, with dedicated teachers and support staff, trying to shape the future for our young people?

Do we see that welcome in our hospitals, with doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals striving to help sick children?

Do we see that welcome in our Parish, with the catechists and parents looking to pass on the Faith to children and young people as they prepare for the sacraments?

Do we see that welcome in the volunteers who support sports clubs, associations and after school clubs, helping children to learn and develop healthy lifestyles?

Where do you see that welcome? Where do you provide that welcome?1

If you’re looking for a real opportunity to put YOUR welcome into action, why not join us at the Tea & Cake session due on Sunday 26th September @ 3pm; at which we have invited all of the families planning to have their children Baptised in the coming weeks!

The book of Wisdom gives an example of how evil will actively look to test the resolve of virtuous people. The example given appears to be a personal attack on the virtuous; I would suggest that a virtuous person is tested more when they see someone else under attack. Are they prepared to put themselves at risk to speak up on someone else’s behalf?

The evil one looks to sow discontent, mischief, disharmony and jealousy among God’s people. The Apostles were not immune to it and neither were the people St James was writing to in the letter we read in the second reading today. And yet, all of these people were aware; some first-hand; of the teachings of Jesus.

St James’s letter also talks about prayer and tells us that if we pray for something and don’t get it then we have not prayed properly, possibly because we have prayed for something to indulge our own desires. How often do we think about the reason behind our prayer? What motivates our requests in prayer? God is not a magician who we turn to purely in times of need. God wants us to have a deep and personal relationship with Him.

Can I suggest that in our prayer-time this week, we spend some quiet time looking at the things which cause disharmony in our lives and look at what is behind the disharmony. Offer this up in prayer, ask for help with whatever is causing your personal disharmony and start to restore the peace within us which allow the seeds sown to start to bear fruit.

The Pastoral Area course on Metanoia started last week, Metanoia is a change of heart, which allows us to focus on what is real and important. If we can put God at the centre of our lives, then everything else starts to fall into place. This is true freedom, this is true peace, and this is truly life giving.

Further Reading

Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)2

CCC 539, 565, 600-605, 713: Christ, obedient Servant of God
CCC 786: to serve is to reign
CCC 1547, 1551: priestly ministry as service
CCC 2538-2540: the sin of envy
CCC 2302-2306: safeguarding peace

Please keep in your prayers

  • The people of Afghanistan, Haiti and other crisis areas of the world, that they receive the help they need.
  • God’s creation, that mankind will become better stewards of this world which has been entrusted to us by God
  • Those who are sick, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
  • All those seeking a place of safety, that they will be welcomed in Jesus’ name.
  • The Year of the Eucharist, which has now started, that this will lead to a fresh outpouring of love by the people of God for the Body and Blood of Christ.
  • All the clergy and parishes affected by the clergy moves.
  • The Metanoia programme, which continues on Monday (20th), for a Spirit led programme and all those attending.

Deacon Tony 18th September 2021

1 Leslie J Francis, Personality Type and Scripture – Exploring Mark’s Gospel, as referenced in Windows on Mark, by Ronald W Dale (Kevin Mayhew Ltd, Stowmarket, 1999)185.

2 Catechism of the Catholic Church (