Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Christ with us



Today we hear (Lk 24:13-35) of the appearance of the risen Lord by some disciples on the road to Emmaus. We learn not only of this amazing encounter between the two disciples and the resurrected Jesus, but also at another level how it is a model of what the Church does for us.

The Church does for us what the risen Jesus did for the disciples on the road. First He walked with them. Secondly He gave the ‘interpretation of Scripture’. Thirdly He celebrated the Eucharist  (He took bread; He said a blessing; He broke it and gave it).

Through the Church our risen and ascended Lord walks with us. Our pilgrim journey as disciples is not a lonely one, but one in which we are accompanied by the Lord through His Church. The Church gives us the ‘interpretation of Scripture’, through the Church’s teaching authority (the magisterium). We do not need to wrestle alone with understanding the Scriptures but have the wisdom of all those who have been guided by the Holy Spirit to teach with authority. And, the Church celebrates and most truly is the Church when she celebrates the Eucharist.

We can come close to Jesus in the conversation of personal prayer and meditating on His words. We find Him present in our fraternal meetings, for when “two or three are gather in my name, there am I in your midst.” But our risen Lord makes Himself known to us in a wholly and qualitatively different way when we share the Bread of Life, His Body and His Blood.

Fr Ian


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Noli me tangere



“Do not cling to me,” are words that might seem quite harsh to those, like Mary Magdala, who love Jesus so much and were filled with intense grief, but at his risen appearance are asked to hold back. Jesus has not, all of a sudden, become like an Englishman, who prefers not to be so demonstrative with regard to affections! So what is happening here?

Well of course the Resurrection has occurred! And this is not just a resuscitation of Jesus’ body (like Lazarus being raised from the dead) but a wholly new way of being human. So of course the way in which people relate to the risen Christ is now different. Yes it will be a human way of relating but it will necessarily be a spiritual way. Eventually of course, after the Ascension, the risen Lord will not be seen until the end of time, but only seen through the sign of the Sacred Body and Precious Blood of the Eucharist. The disciples must relinquish the physical presence of Jesus with which they were so comfortable. From now on the disciples of Jesus must embrace Him in a secret and marvellous way through prayer and faith. Mary Magdalene here may well represent the contemplative spirit of the Church and thus shows us how we are to embrace the whole of Christ.


Fr Ian

Monday, 21 April 2014

Peter's joy at the Resurrection


Both the joy and the import of the Resurrection are imbued in the words of St Peter as he preaches the first papal sermon in Jerusalem on Pentecost Sunday. Peter is of course filled with joy – who would not be? His Master and Saviour who had become a victim of the Jewish authorities and then a victim of the Roman authorities even to a brutal death, was not overcome by death, but had risen. For Peter personally, his sin against the Lord, of denying his Master three times, had been forgiven. This is the joy we have too when we confess grave sin and experience the release from bondage in the absolution. It is a joyful resurrection experience – we were dead to sin, now we are alive to Christ! St Peter had been dead to the grave sin of denying Christ – now he was alive to the risen Christ!

And his joyful message for the Jews listening to him is that this Resurrection joy, through the forgiveness of their sins, can be there’s too. And of course, St Peter is addressing all of us in our sin; we too can receive the forgiveness of sins and experience the joy of the Resurrection life.

We who experience the Resurrection in this way, making use of the sacrament of penance, also have a duty to share it with others. Not necessarily like St Peter preaching in the streets of course, but nevertheless the joy of the Resurrection is not to be kept to ourselves.

Let us pray this Easter, that all of us may have the courage to proclaim in one way or another the joy of the Resurrection with those who do not know it.

Amen.

Every Easter blessing be yours this Easter time.
Fr Ian


Friday, 18 April 2014

Maundy Thursday at the Abbey

Some photos of the Maundy Thursday celebration this year:









Thursday, 17 April 2014

Easter message from our Ordinary

 
Easter Message from the Ordinary
 
In her liturgy from Palm Sunday until Easter Day, the Church gives us the opportunity not only to hear the story of the Lord's passion, but also the experience of participating in it. We are there, watching with excitement, as He enters into Jerusalem on a colt. We are there in the upper room as He gives His disciples His body and His blood. We are there as He prays in the Garden of Gethsemane to be delivered from His fate. And we are there as He enters into His passion and dies for us on the cross.
 
But we are not mere spectators. Whilst we might cry "hosanna", we also cry "crucify Him". Whilst we are His disciples, like Judas and like Peter, we betray Him. We too can be indifferent to the suffering around us. Each time we separate ourselves from Christ , we help to drive in another nail.
 
Yet from the sin and suffering of the cross springs hope. The reaction to the teaching and example of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, reminds us that there is a world which is yearning for the good news of Jesus Christ.
 
My prayer for you this Eastertide is that, through the Holy Spirit, the joy of the resurrection will fill your hearts and the hearts of those whom you love. 
 
Monsignor Keith Newton

Sacred Triduum 1: the Lord's Supper


Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of The Sacred Paschal Triduum. These three solemn days celebrate the greatest mysteries of our redemption. The Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church gathers and with special celebrations keeps the memory of our Lord’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

On Maundy Thursday the Holy Church begins the Triduum with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. When our Lord was about to be handed over to death, He entrusted to His Church a sacrifice which was New for all eternity. This was the New Covenant in His blood; the banquet of His love.

The central act of Christian being is the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. Everything we seek to do, seek to be, all the other Sacraments, all church ministries, and the works of the apostolate, are all bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented towards it. It is in the Holy Eucharist itself that is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, because it contains Christ Himself, our paschal lamb.

The most sacred Eucharist is both a giving and a receiving. In this great mystery of salvation God gives Himself to us, and, if we are in a state of grace*, we receive and consume Christ the paschal lamb, who sacrifices Himself for us on the Cross. Albeit in a much lesser way, we also give; we give ourselves in worship and prayer to God, uniting our sufferings and trials with His on the Cross, and if we have done this worthily, He receives us into that communion in the divine Life by which the Church is kept in being.

By the Eucharistic celebration we unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy. We anticipate eternal life when God will be all in all.

So the Eucharist, the Mass, is the sum and summary of our Faith, our Christian life, and it is the most sacred and most mysterious act of the Church, in which we have the greatest privilege of participating, in one way or another.

Thanks be to God for His most ineffable Gift.

Fr Ian

* If we are in a state of mortal sin (by committing a grave sin without coercion and with knowledge) then we cannot receive the Eucharist until we are reconciled to God by the Sacrament of Penance. If we receive the Eucharist unworthily we profane Christ and commit a further grave sin.