I may have shared before that I am trying to read the whole Bible this year using guided material from the team behind the Alpha Evangelisation programme. I receive an email everyday and follow the prescribed sections and read the commentary. Up until Easter I was bang on target with this, but currently I am a few days behind, which I hope to catch up on this weekend. If I am honest, I have to admit, that I really struggle with some of the Old Testament readings, especially the very prescriptive and repetitive texts where Moses is relaying the instructions from God about how the Jewish people are to worship, offer sacrifices and build the tabernacle.
In my struggles I need to remember the text from today’s Gospel reading, where Jesus says, “This is what I meant when I said, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets and in the Psalms, has to be fulfilled.” Jesus then taught the disciples, helping them to understand the meaning behind the scriptural texts and highlighting to them the parts of scripture which they were living through and witnesses to. Today’s Gospel calls us to an intimate relationship with Jesus. He calls us to that relationship and tells us that we can learn more about Him by reading the Scriptures; reflecting on the words and meditate on them allowing Jesus to speak to us.
The words of the Gospel Acclamation today could be used as a daily prayer – “Lord Jesus, explain the scriptures to us. Make our hearts burn within us as you talk to us.” The scriptural texts used today are a strong link to the Hebrew texts, St Luke; the author of the Acts of the Apostles, as well as his Gospel; is primarily writing to a Hebrew community, urging them to follow Jesus, the Jesus some of them had rejected. Quoting the words of Peter, he highlights that they may have rejected Jesus out of ignorance of the truth and emphasising that this was the way God had promised it would be done and that everything which had happened could be linked to the words of Moses, the prophets and found within the psalms.
When we enter into a relationship, we want to know everything we can about the person we are getting involved with. When it is an intimate relationship, we find that we have a deepening desire to find out even more and we invest time and effort into this. Often you will hear couples say that they stayed up all night just talking, getting to know each other. If we want an intimate relationship with Jesus, it is exactly the same. As God, He already knows everything about us, He has already invested the time in us from way before we were born. We need to invest time in Jesus; read the scriptures, reading commentaries which explain the scriptures; spend time with Jesus in front of the Blessed Sacrament, join prayer groups, sign up for courses, the choice is endless.
A quick look at this week’s Newsletter for Holy Ghost Parish has information about spending time getting to know Jesus through Mary with the Let it Be Course, which starts a week on Monday (26th), there is also a Scripture and Spirituality Course advertised for July and a day getting to know more about being Baptised in the Holy Spirit which will be held next Saturday (24th). We have plenty of opportunities to deepen our faith, to enter fully into the relationship Jesus is calling us to. Do we want to be like the people who knocked on the door at the banquet only to be told to go away as the Bridegroom does not know us?
As Christians we have a faith which demands action; we are called to tend to the needy and not to walk on by when we see someone in need. As a Community in North West Hampshire, we see more and more people who come from countries other than the UK, as a Church we are all the richer for these people. Last year we were approached at the back of the Church by a young woman and her daughter who did not speak English, she was Spanish and needed some help, we struggled to find someone who was able to help her, and it took us a couple of weeks before we were content that we were giving her the support she needed. This prompted a thought that this lady would not be the only person to find herself in this position.
We have therefore started an initiative to compile a list of volunteers with language skills to help us to help anyone else in this position. We already have the volunteers to compile the list, now we need people who will be able to help. So, I am asking YOU who speak other languages to come forward and be prepared to help. This is a Ministry; it is God’s work. How wonderful would it be if by the time we reach Pentecost in a few weeks’ time; when we hear of how the Disciples were able to communicate with people of so many different languages; if we in our Parish could have a list of people who are able to help us as a Community to communicate with those who need our help? If you are able to help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In our second reading today, we are reminded that as followers of Jesus we need to demonstrate we are followers by keeping His commandments. Jesus summed up the Commandments by telling us to love God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind and all our strength and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves. If one of your strengths is to speak other languages then why not use that strength; which is after all a gift from God; to help us as a Community to love our neighbour?
Please keep in your prayers this week
- All those who are sick, all those who care for them and all Key workers who are striving to keep us safe.
- Those who do not believe in God, that this Eastertide will open their eyes to the magnificent wonder of our Creator.
- All of those preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this Pentecost, that they will prepare themselves diligently to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
- Liam, who is being baptised in St Bede’s on Sunday 18th April and the five families who will complete the Baptism Preparation Course on the same day.
Deacon Tony Darroch, 16th April 2021.