Do you ever look at what needs to be done and think, I really don’t know how I am going to get through all of this? This was one of those weeks for me. So, I have had to dig deep and pray that I manage to get the important things done; helping me to prioritise and maximise the time I have had available. It is at times like this that we need to turn over our tasks and our burdens to Jesus; in the knowledge that He will help us.

Our first reading, from the prophet Zechariah, gives us a description we are very familiar with. We have a king riding in triumph and humbly on a donkey. A great paradox, to be in triumph and humble at the same time; many of our sports stars could do well to learn from this. A donkey, a beast of burden is banishing the horses and chariots which were traditionally used for war; abolishing weapons proclaiming peace for all.

The psalm continues the theme, the Lord will support all who fall and raise all those who are bowed down. This is not a king who crushes or lords it over his subjects; this is a king who wants to elevate the meek and bring everyone hope.

In the second reading we are reminded by St Paul, that we are to think of spiritual things and how we can live a spiritual life. Like some other parishioners I have been on the Life in the Spirit course which is being run in the diocese and this has been giving me a weekly and daily reminder of how God has sent his Holy Spirit to accompany us on our journey. We are called to be filled with as much of the Holy Spirit as we can and sharing it with those we meet, one analogy given was to think about a sponge soaking up water until it is totally saturated as you go to move it, the water starts to leak out of it. This is just like us; we need to continually find ways of soaking up the Holy Spirit because we leak; when we sin, when we turn away from those who need our help, when we choose ways to live outside of Christ’s teachings.

St Paul encourages us to live our lives in a spiritual way; putting other first before our own needs, keeping Christ at the centre of everything we do. We will all have the opportunity to learn more about how the Holy Spirit wants to use us in the Called and Gifted day; which takes place at St Bede’s on 21st October, please put this date into your calendar as it would be brilliant to experience this day with you.

In the Gospel we hear that Jesus tell us that this is not complicated, because God chose to reveal ‘these things to mere children’ the original Hebrew word was ‘nepioi’ which means ‘infants’ or ‘unlearned’. This is another paradox, because most human cultures have the learned discovering, interpreting and discussing important things; but yet again we hear that God does things differently to man. This mighty king who entered the world as a baby in a stable, who rode humbly and triumphantly on a donkey into the Holy City, who allowed himself to die so that we might live; broke all conventions and defied all human wisdom. Man could only think that the Messiah would restore the Chosen people by giving them back their city; God’s plans were not about bolstering a people here on earth. God’s plan was much more far reaching. God’s plan was to conquer death so that all those who believe can live forever.

So when worldly things start to get the better of us, Jesus encourages us to come to him; strap ourselves onto his yoke [which has space for Jesus and us] and He will carry our burden as we share the load. Some of the times when I have felt overburdened and have asked for help; I have found that meetings get cancelled, opening up gaps to allow me to complete most of the tasks I needed to do, removing some of the pressure I have felt.

This Sunday is Sea Sunday, a day when we are asked to reflect and pray for those who earn their living on the sea.

For seafarers, life at sea can be extremely challenging. They are often far from their families and loved ones for long periods of time, working long hours, and facing the threats of accidents, piracy, and harsh weather conditions. And when they come into port in a foreign land, they know no one.

Amid these challenges, Stella Maris provides a beacon of hope and support to seafarers. Its chaplains and volunteers offer the hand of friendship and listen to the concerns of the seafarers they meet. They help seafarers to contact their families back home, take them to Mass, or arrange for a priest to come on board, provide transport to local shops, and help to resolve problems of missing pay or sub-standard conditions.

Just as Jesus offers rest to those who are burdened and weary, Stella Maris offers refuge and support to seafarers who are facing the challenges of life at sea. Its chaplains and volunteers are the hands and feet of Jesus in this world, bringing comfort to seafarers.

Being an island nation, a large proportion of what we buy will have reached us by sea. Today, being Sea Sunday, is a chance for us to recognise the sacrifices these sea farers make and to support the work of Stella Maris, which some may remember being called Apostleship of the Sea. Please support the special collection this weekend as best you can and also pray for all who work on the sea and those who support those who work on the sea. Touching back to the 1st reading it reminds us that ‘His empire shall stretch from sea to sea’, the men and women who work at sea are part of that empire, in fact they unite the lands at either end of the seas. They deserve our help and our prayers.

Further Reading

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

CCC 514-521: knowledge of mysteries of Christ, communion in his mysteries
CCC 238-242: the Father is revealed by the Son
CCC 989-990: the resurrection of the body.

Please keep in your prayers this week

  • The success of the Diocesan Life in the Spirit programme which is running online on Thursdays.
  • Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn.
  • All those struggling to feed their families at this time.
  • Those working to help others who are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
  • Those discerning a vocation.
  • Francisco and Tony who were ordained to the Diaconate on 8th July 2023 and Deacon David who is preparing for priestly ordination on 22nd July.
  • All those employed and who volunteer for Stella Maris.
  • The 9 families starting Baptism Preparation on Sunday 9th July.