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The Parish of the Good Samaritan Burnley

including the churches of

Christ the King with St Teresa's, St John the Baptist and St Mary of the Assumption

 

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ChristTheKing

StMarys

StJohns

 

Thought for the Day
Previous Days' Thoughts
(Most Recent First)

 

Thought for the day ~ Friday 1st September 2023

Today is the feast of St Edmund Arrowsmith who was born in 1585 in Haydock in Lancashire. His father was a yeoman farmer and his mother was a member of an important Lancashire Catholic family. At the age of 20, he left England and went to the English College at Douai, in France, to study for the priesthood. He was ordained in Arras on 9th December 1612 and sent on to the English Mission a year later. He ministered to the Catholics of Lancashire without incident until around 1622, when he was arrested and questioned by the Anglican Bishop of Chester. Edmund was released when King James I of England ordered all arrested priests to be freed. In 1624 Edmund joined the Jesuits. In the summer of 1628, he was denounced to the authorities, put on trial and sentenced to death and executed at Lancaster on 28 August in that year.

The Gospel at Mass today is the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. It’s a Gospel at one level, that speaks about the wisdom of being pragmatic and planning ahead for a worst case scenario, in anything that we do. When a child is baptized, a candle is lit for them from the Paschal Candle which is then presented to the parents and godparents, to which the following prayer is addressed: “…may they keep the flame of faith alive in their hearts, so that when the Lord comes they may go out to meet Him with all the saints in the Heavenly Kingdom”. Our parents and godparents are entrusted to look after our faith until we are old enough to take responsibility for it ourselves. The Gospel speaks of making sure the light of our faith never goes out.

Fr David

 

Thought for the day ~ Thursday 31st August 2023

Today we keep the feast of St Aidan and the Lindisfarne Saints. King Oswald invited the monks from Iona to his kingdom of Northumbria to evangelise his people. After initial difficulties, Aidan was made a Bishop and sent with a group of other Irish monks to begin this task. He established his monastery on the beautiful island of Lindisfarne, which became the major centre of missionary activity for the North of England. The monastery also became a valuable centre of learning and an important training ground for the education of English boys who would continue the work of evangelisation. From Lindisfarne, Aidan would travel mainly on foot throughout Northumberland. According to St Bede, Aidan was a man of great gentleness and moderation. He was also outstanding for his energetic missionary work. His influence on the North of England was enormous, and his wise promotion of Christian education among the native English, laid the solid foundation for the spread of the Gospel in the centuries that followed his death.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses the analogy of a master entrusting a steward to look after his property and his servants ~ when he returns he expects to find him at his duty, if he does find him about his duties, the master will give the steward more responsibility. If the steward is not doing what he should be doing, when his master returns, then he will lose all his privileges.

Jesus is telling us to always be alert and be about our duty. We are not to ever rest on our laurels. We are to put our heart and soul into serving the Lord and each other every day the Lord gives to us. May we also be attentive to our relationship with God through a life of service and prayer. May Saint Aidan and the Lindisfarne saints guide us by his example and prayer to be faithful and zealous in the way we live our lives.


Fr David

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Wednesday 30th August 2023

Margaret Clitherow was born in York and lived there all her life. At the age of 15 she married a butcher, John Clitherow, and three years later became a Catholic. Imprisoned for her non-attendance at the Protestant church, she taught herself to read, and on her release ran a small school for her own and her neighbours’ children. Her husband, although he remained a Protestant himself, allowed her to hide priests in the house. In 1586 the secret hiding places were discovered and Margaret was put on trial. As the law then stood, to be found guilty would have meant destitution for her children, so she refused to plead: thus she could not be tried, and instead was crushed to death with a heavy stone, on 25 March 1586.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus criticises the Religious leaders of his day for being preoccupied with image and appearance rather than what was within. Jesus invites us to look a little deeper at people and at our own life, as we too are urged to look at the “heart” of a person. This implies looking at their substance and at their character. We are to also ensure that our own hearts are sincere, pure, and free from hypocrisy. We all admire down to earth people, who come across as authentic and genuine rather than false and shallow. We can ensure we are open to this by a regular examination of Conscience and regularly celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

May St Margaret Clitherow help us in such times to remain strong and steadfast in our commitment to the Lord.


Fr David

 
 
 

 Thought for the day ~ Tuesday 29th August 2023

Today we remember the Passion of John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said, that he was greatest born of men. John’s task was to proclaim the fulfilment of all prophecies and in doing so, to make himself obsolete. He had to work out himself through his own faith, what his mission and his role were. He had to find the humility to accept that there was one who was greater than him, for whom he had come to prepare the way. With incredible courage, he announced the coming of the Incarnate God and spread the news that he was the least in the kingdom of Heaven and he was unworthy to undo the Lord’s sandal straps. He rightly has his place and his glory in Heaven.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the account of the martyrdom of John. John, who was totally humble and courageous falls victim to King Herod’s foolishness and pride. We ought to learn from the king, the danger of getting carried away with ourselves when we are in states of elation as he was after seeing the daughter of Herodias dance. We should be aware of the danger of making open-ended promises that might expose ourselves to committing to do something that compromises our conscience. This was certainly the case with the request made of king about John the Baptist. When this happens, innocent people can inadvertently end up becoming the victims of our rashness.

Because of his innocence and goodness, like Our Lord, John was always going to find himself in confrontation with the rich and powerful. May John the Baptist inspire us to be trusting of and loyal to Christ in responding to the God’s love for us.


Fr David

 
 
 

 Thought for the day ~ Monday 28th August 2023

Today is the feast of St Augustine of Hippo. He was brought up a Christian but left the Church and went on a spiritual journey in search of the truth. Eventually through the prayers of St Monica, his mother and the teaching of St Ambrose, of Milan, he converted back to Christianity and was baptised in 387, shortly before the death of his mother. Augustine had a brilliant legal and academic career, but after his conversion he returned home to Africa and led an ascetic life. He was elected Bishop of Hippo and spent 34 years looking after his flock, teaching them, strengthening them in the faith, and protecting them strenuously against the errors of the time. Among his significant writings were his “Confessions” which are considered a landmark of world literature. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1308.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the “woes” of Jesus against the Pharisees and religious leaders because they are not practising what they preach. He accuses of them of being hypocrites ~ which comes from the Greek word ”hypokrites” which means an actor. He is accusing them of having double standards ~ telling people what they should be doing but not actually doing it themselves. They are only playing a part because they not being true to themselves.

Let us pray for all those in positions of authority that they are able to practise what they preach. May St Augustine us to avoid double standards in our life by living a devout life free from all hypocrisy.


Fr David

 
 
 

 Thought for the day ~ Saturday 26th August 2023

Blessed Dominic of the Mother of God was born Dominic Barberi in Viterbo in 1792. He became A Passionist and travelled to England in 1841; here he worked tirelessly establishing four Passionist houses and brining many people into the Church by his preaching and writing; he received St John Henry Newman into the Church. He died at Reading in 1849.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is challenging the Pharisees about the spirit of intention behind their actions. He suggests that by enjoying privileges that draw attention to themselves like taking the best seats in the synagogue and wearing the longest tassles etc. that they are doing it for themselves and not for God. He suggests that they are full of proud and not being humble enough. He accuses them of not practising what they preach.

This challenges also us to look at the intention behind our own actions. Our main motivation for anything we do, should always be in response to God’s love for us. This purity of intention is a major aspect of the Kingdom ~ Jesus says that those who are pure in heart are happy because they shall see God.

Fr David

 
 

 

Thought for the day ~ Friday 25th August 2023

Today is the feast of St Louis, who was born in 1214 and became King Louis IX of France at the age of 12. He was baptised in the church at Poissy and always used to sign state documents “Louis of Poissy” rather than “Louis Rex”. He said he did this because it was more important to be a child of God even than to be a ruler of a nation. He was married and had eleven children, to whom he gave an excellent upbringing. He was noted for his spirit of prayer and penitence and for his love of the poor. He made the spiritual needs of his people as high a priority as providing economic stability and peace for them. He was a friend of St Thomas Aquinas and he founded the famous Sorbonne University. He died near Carthage in 1270, while unsuccessfully trying to liberate Christ’s burial-place.

In the Gospel today, Jesus answers the question about which of the commandments is the greatest. He replies by putting two different commandments together. By putting love for God and love for others together, Jesus is saying that the two are inseparable: because when we show love for our neighbour, we are also showing love for God.

Jesus gives us a great example of how to live the commandments by the fact he was always firstly obedient to the Father’s will, but showed love to all the people he encountered, even his enemies. This obedience ultimately led to the Cross.

By being obedient to God and serving lovingly our neighbours, we will also embrace the cross in our own lives. In putting the spiritual needs of his people first, and providing for the poor, St Louis certainly got his priorities right. May we, like him, show our faith in God through being fair in our dealings and generous with our forgiveness when dealing with the transgressions and weaknesses of our brothers and sisters.


Fr David

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Thursday 24th August 2023

 

Today is the feast of St Bartholomew the Apostle, also known as Nathanael. He was born in Cana in Galilee and brought by the Apostle Philip to meet Jesus. Nothing much else for certain is known about him. Eusebius speaks of him being in India, but the Roman Martyology has him martyred in Armenia. Because his relics were enshrined in the beautiful church bearing his name on the island in the Tiber, in Rome, (which is principally used as a hospital), he has become a patron saint of the sick.

Jesus heaps mighty praise upon Bartholomew in today’s Gospel; “Here is an Israelite incapable of deceit”. This showed that Jesus admired his openness and honesty. Bartholomew shares his prejudices about Nazareth and also declares his faith in who Jesus for him, after the conversation about being seen under a fig tree. Jesus then gives him the promise of Heaven; “you will see angels ascending and descending…” Although not much is known about this Apostle, the most important thing we know about him is that he was a witness to the Resurrection of Christ and responded to the call to be sent out to proclaim the Gospel, and as a result he laid down his life for his faith in Christ.

May we also strive also to be like Bartholomew by being genuine, straightforward, honest and pure in heart in all our conversations, our thinking and in our dealings with others.


 

Fr David

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Wednesday 23rd August 2023

 

Today we keep the feast of St Rose of Lima who was born in Peru in 1586 and entered the Third Order of St Dominic and became known as a great mystic, all the time living at home. She died aged 31 in 1617.

In today’s Gospel Jesus tells the parable of the workers in the vineyard, who all get paid the same wages regardless of how many hours they had worked during the day. I only started to properly understand today’s Gospel, when I saw it through the eyes of those who feel overlooked and marginalised. Seeing this Gospel parable through their eyes, gets me to see the significance for the Church of trying to reach out to everyone , especially the poor, the sick and those who have made bad choices in life.

Central to understanding this parable is an appreciation of God’s grace. It is freely given to those who receive it. There is no one more deserving of God’s grace than anyone else. In the parable, the Vineyard owner, who represents God, says in answer to complaints: “why be envious because I choose to be generous?”. The Gospel tells us that God wants no one to be rejected , forgotten or overlooked, because everyone matters to him.

By the actions of our lives, may we strive to be channels of God’s mercy and love. May we ensure that everyone knows that they matter by making a priority of those who are likely to be forgotten or overlooked by our society.


 

Fr David

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Tuesday 22nd August 2023

 

One week after the Assumption we celebrate the memorial of Our Lady, Mother and Queen,. We remember that the Blessed Virgin reigns in heaven together with her Son. She reigns not because she is in any way equal to God but because she is the mother of Christ the King. Her privileges come from her willingly agreeing to become the Mother of God and make our redemption possible.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is talking to his disciples after the encounter with the rich young man that we heard about in yesterday’s Gospel. He tells them that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. He is speaking of the impossible, however he tells them that everything is possible for God.

 

There are times when we are all put to the test and face really difficult and challenging circumstances. These are occasions when we really cannot see a way to navigate them, but somehow we find the strength to get us through. I believe that the strength we receive is God-given grace and it is real and it really does transform the impossible into the possible.

 

Let us always bring the Lord into the our “impossible” situations and confidently trust that he will help us find the way to the other side of them.


 

Fr David

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Monday 21st August 2023

 

Today we celebrate the feast of St Pius X, who was born in the village of Riese, near Venice, one of ten children of a very poor family. He was ordained to the priesthood at the age of 23. After being Bishop of Mantua then Venice, he was elected Pope, against his wishes in 1903. His mission as Pope was to restore all things to Christ. He insisted on the separation of Church and State. He revised the Code of Canon Law, founded an institute for scriptural studies and initiated the revision of the Latin translation of the (Vulgate) Bible and the reform of the liturgy. He lived in great poverty even when he was Pope and in his simplicity and goodness of heart, he performed miracles even when he was alive. The call for him to be canonized began immediately after his death on 20th August 1914, broken hearted at the outbreak of WW1.

 

In today’s Gospel we encounter the rich young man who asks Jesus “What more do need I to do? The young man goes away sad because Jesus challenges him to get rid of all his wealth and then follow him. What Jesus asked of the young man was very radical and very challenging. The young man’s response implies that he found great comfort and strength in his wealth and riches. This was something that he felt he could not live without. Clinging to his wealth was perhaps the very thing that was holding him back from discovering what God was asking him to do with his life. He is one of the few people in the Gospel accounts that leave Jesus sad. Even after meeting Jesus it seems he still hasn’t found what he is looking for in life.

 

Whenever we come before the Lord in prayer, we can dare to ask the Lord “What more do I need to do?” If we do this, we too should be prepared for a challenging response.


 

Fr David

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Saturday 19th August 2023

 

Today is the feast of St John Eudes who was born in 1601, became a priest and Missioner, travelling to many parishes in France. He propagated devotion to the Sacred Heart and founded a congregation to promote the formation of priests; he also founded the Congregation of Our Lady of the Refuge, to rescue women and girls trying to escape from prostitution. He died in 1680.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples to let the little children come to him for it is such as they that the Kingdom belongs. May we be open to build the Kingdom of God, by thinking and acting like children who operate out purity of intention and also know that they need God and others in their life.

 

Fr David

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Friday 18th August 2023

 

In today’s first reading Joshua reminds the Jewish people all that God has done for them. He particularly tells them that they live in towns they did not build and enjoy the fruits of vines and olive-trees they did not plant. It would be good for us to remember all the good things in our own lives that are freely given to us by God.


In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives a statement on marriage which is really the basis of the Church’s teaching on marriage and divorce. He makes the statement that when a man and a woman get married, the two become one; therefore they are united by God and so they no longer two but are one body. The couple becomes 2 halves of the same whole. We call this the “bond of marriage” which though invisible is binding. We therefore believe that divorce is not strong enough to break this bond. Let us give thanks for all those who enjoy lasting and healthy marriages. Let us pray for those whose marriages have caused the couple heartache and pain.  


Fr David

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Thusday 17th August 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the unforgiving servant in answer to Peter’s question about how many times we are to forgive others when they wrong us.


The answer given to Peter by Jesus is simply to say that God will always forgive us for our sins if we repent but we should also always forgive others time after time too. It is not easy to forgive and forget when we have been wronged but it is healthy for us if we do. The parable shows that if we want to be forgiven the huge debt of our sins by God, then we in turn need to be prepared to forgive the sins of those who have treated us badly.


Granting forgiveness to someone is sometimes painful and it is often costly too. For the Christian, our focus is always the Cross. Christ was totally innocent and yet freely endured that terrible suffering and cruelty through his Passion and Death in order to forgive our sins. In the spirit of the Cross we are called to be generous and to keep forgiving without counting the quantity or the cost. Let us remember that it is always the right thing to forgive. 


Fr David

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Wednesday 16th August 2023

 

Today is the feast of St Stephen of Hungary, who was born in 969, the son of a pagan father and a Christian mother. He worked hard for the conversion of his country to Christianity setting up both episcopal sees and monasteries. He was crowned the first King of Hungary in 1001. St Stephen is the patron of Hungary where his feast day is a public holiday marked on 20th August.

In today’s first reading we hear of the death of Moses. He has the Jewish people to the brink of the Promised Land, which God shows to Moses. but will not enter it himself. We hear that there has never been a prophet in Israel like him before. He lays hands on Joshua who will be the one to take the people of Israel into the Promised Land.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us good practical and spiritual advice about what to do when someone has wronged us. Jesus tells us that firstly we should make the logical but challenging step of confronting the person who has offended us with what they have done. If they listen to us, we have won back our brother or sister. We are advised not to involve anyone else until we have first approached the one who wronged.


Today is the 13th anniversary of my good friend Fr Michael Ryan who died at the age of 47 years old. Let us remember Fr Michael for his sense of fun, his creative ideas, his commitment to being a priest in the Diocese of Salford, his family and the difference he has made to many peoples’ lives and especially my own.


Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the Feast of the Assumption

 

Tuesday 15th August 2023

 

Today we celebrate that at the end of her earthly existence, the Blessed Virgin Mary was taken up (assumed), body and soul, into heaven. All Mary’s greatness comes from her relationship with Jesus. We cannot understand her or appreciate her vital role in salvation history without keeping this fact at the forefront of our minds. Jesus is the image of God but it was through Mary that he came to birth among us. Mary cared for him during all the years in which he remained in the shadows; the hidden years, while he was still unknown and unrecognised. When at last he began his public ministry, he did not meet with public acclaim: and the religious authorities refused to believe in him. Mary however continued to believe in him and stood by him to the end, being there at the foot of the cross when he died.

In today’s Gospel, Mary shared her joy at being told she was to be mother of the Lord by putting herself out and journeying a long way in order to share her good news with Elizabeth . The spirit of Mary is to put ourselves out for others and share our joy. In sharing our joy, we receive joy in turn. Elizabeth greets Mary by saying “blessed is she who believed that the promise made to her by the Lord will be fulfilled”. In today’s feast we are celebrating the joyful promise that if we model our lives on Mary then where she is, we will follow. Mary intercedes for us with her Son and she helps us in our struggle with understanding the full meaning of our faith. With the grace of God and help from Our Lady we can also hope to share in her glory and the glory of her Son in Heaven.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 14th August 2023

 

St Maximilian Kolbe, whose feast day we celebrate today, was born in 1894 in occupied Poland and joined the Franciscans in Lwow in 1910 and was ordained in 1918. This attracted many lay people and became self supporting publishing periodicals and running its own radio station. In 1936 he returned to Poland. After the occupation by Germany in 1939, the community at Teresin, which Maximilian had founded, sheltered thousands of refugees mostly Jews. In 1941, he was arrested and taken to Auschwitz where he helped the inmates. Maximilian volunteered to take the place of a married man who had been chosen for extermination by starvation. He spent his last days comforting his fellow prisoners. The man whose life he saved was present at his canonisation.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the encounters about payment of the temple tax involving Peter and Jesus. Using a miracle Jesus resolves the potential conflict in order not to give offence. I think the scenario gets us to think about the trivial things in life that sometimes get us worked up and stressed and result in us expending a lot of unnecessary energy and effort. Jesus wisely gets us to not get ourselves too worked up about such situations and gives us clear guidance about such things.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 11th August 2023

 

Today is the Feast of St Clare, who was born circa 1193 at Assisi and came under the influence of Saint Francis. She left home at the age of 18 and, under Francis’s guidance, began a community that grew to become the order of the Poor Clares (she was later joined both by her sister and by her widowed mother). In its radical attachment to poverty the Rule of the order was much more severe than that of any other order of nuns. In 1215 Clare obtained from the Pope the privilege of owning nothing, so that the nuns of the order were to be sustained by alms and nothing else. Such a rule was (like the Franciscan rule) both a challenge to established structures and a risk to those who followed it, and successive Popes tried to modify it.. Clare was a noted contemplative and a caring mother to her nuns. She died at Assisi in 1253.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives a statement on marriage which is really the basis of the Church’s teaching on marriage and divorce. He makes the statement that when a man and a woman get married, the two become one ;therefore they are united by God and so they no longer two but are one body. The couple becomes 2 halves of the same whole. We call this the “bond of marriage” which though invisible is binding. We therefore believe that divorce is not strong enough to break this bond. Let us give thanks for all those who enjoy lasting and healthy marriages. Let us pray for those whose marriages have caused the couple heartache and pain.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 10th August 2023

 

 

Today is the Feast of St Clare, who was born circa 1193 at Assisi and came under the influence of Saint Francis. She left home at the age of 18 and, under Francis’s guidance, began a community that grew to become the order of the Poor Clares (she was later joined both by her sister and by her widowed mother). In its radical attachment to poverty the Rule of the order was much more severe than that of any other order of nuns. In 1215 Clare obtained from the Pope the privilege of owning nothing, so that the nuns of the order were to be sustained by alms and nothing else. Such a rule was (like the Franciscan rule) both a challenge to established structures and a risk to those who followed it, and successive Popes tried to modify it.. Clare was a noted contemplative and a caring mother to her nuns. She died at Assisi in 1253.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives a statement on marriage which is really the basis of the Church’s teaching on marriage and divorce.

He makes the statement that when a man and a woman get married, the two become one ; therefore they are united by God and so they no longer two but are one body. The couple becomes 2 halves of the same whole. We call this the “bond of marriage” which though invisible is binding. We therefore believe that divorce is not strong enough to break this bond. Let us give thanks for all those who enjoy lasting and healthy marriages. Let us pray for those whose marriages have caused the couple heartache and pain.

.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 9th August 2023

 

 

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was born in 1891 as Edith Stein into a practising Jewish family. After a long journey, she entered a Carmelite monastery in Cologne and took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Her order moved her to the Netherlands to keep her safe from the growing Nazi threat. After retaliation to condemnation by the Dutch Catholic Bishops, Teresa Benedicta was taken to Auschwitz and killed with her sister Rosa on 9 August 1942 and is a Patron of Europe.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the parable of the ten bridesmaids waiting for the bride-groom to arrive, so they could escort him to the wedding feast. These represents believers who are waiting for Christ the groom to come. The five wise bridesmaids bring extra oil, the others do not. Life is full of uncertainty so we should be always ready for the Lord to come. The Lord can call us to himself at any moment and expects us to be ready at all times. We are acting like the wise bridesmaids if our lives are always focused on serving Christ. This means always being alert to what God is asking of us and to never be complacent. It also requires us to be focused on the needs of others and not just on ourselves.

May St Teresa Benedicta inspire us to change our way of thinking and acting. And make us always centred on Christ by remaining faithful to his Gospel, no matter how challenging it might be.

.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 8th August 2023

 

 

St Dominic was born in 1170 in Spain. He became a priest and after strenuous preaching against the Albigensians, he founded the Order of Preachers also known as the Dominicans to continue his work. Dominic died in 1221.

In today’s Gospel we hear the account of Jesus walking on water. Our Lord is the Eternal Word and therefore we can rightly call him the Lord of the sea and the sky. It is for this reason that he is able to show who is by walking upon the waters of the rough sea towards the Apostles in the boat. Amazingly Peter impetuously gets out of the boat in the middle of the storm and starts walking on the water towards Jesus. It is only when his fears get the better of him that he begins to sink, but he rightly calls out to Jesus to help him.

It is the same for us who try to live the Christian life, whenever we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord then all will be well, however when we get distracted, and we home in on our fears and failings then we find ourselves in trouble. Jesus promises to stay with us on our journey through the trials and crises of life.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 5th August 2023

 

Today is the feast of the dedication of the Basilica of St Mary Major in Rome. At the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Church decreed that Mary the mother of Jesus was the Mother of God. Shortly afterwards the Basilica of St Maria Maggiore (St Mary Major) was built on the Esquiline hill in Rome, to celebrate her motherhood. This is the oldest church in the West dedicated to Our Lady. The title of Mary Mother of God emphasizes the central truth of the Incarnation, that Jesus Christ was not only a true man but true God also: and not only God but born of a woman.

In today’s Gospel, we hear of the martyrdom of John the Baptist. It seems quite trivial that John should be martyred because of the careless promise to Salome made by King Herod which is taken advantage of by the girl’s mother who disliked John because he spoke out about her marriage to the King. This episode teaches us to be careful about making open ended promises, when our defences are down, that may leave us exposed to do things that go against our consciences.

.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 3rd August 2023

 

Today is the feast of St John Vianney, the Cure of Ars. Born in 1796 of peasant farmers, he was not the ideal candidate for the priesthood as he had missed out on a lot of his schooling. Therefore he really struggled with all the studies which were in Latin. However on the strength of his devoutness he was eventually accepted. In 1818 he was sent to the isolated village of Ars en Dombes, quite a distance from Lyon, where he remained there for the rest of his life. He was a noted preacher and a celebrated Confessor. People in their thousands came from everywhere to see him and receive his wisdom and guidance. He lived very simply and spent up to eighteen hours a day in the Confessional. Because of this, Ars became a place of pilgrimage, a status it still enjoys today. Given John Vianney’s difficult start to his priestly life, it is amazing that he has become the patron of all priests and thereby the model for us all to follow. This is a perfect example of the Church’s doctrine given by St Thomas Aquinas hat the Grace of God builds on nature. At the core of this great saint was a natural goodness that was blatantly

In today’s Gospel, Jesus goes home to Nazareth but faces rejection by the people he knew and grew up with. They felt they knew who he was and that he could not possibly be the promised Messiah. Because of their lack of faith, he could not do many miracles there. This must have been very hard for Jesus to be rejected by the people he knew best. However, he remained resolute because he knew that for many people accepting who he is and the Kingdom he had come to proclaim would be very challenging. This was all part of his mission and part of the human condition he had come to redeem.

We pray today for the priests and people of the Deanery of St John Vianney on this our feast day. May we model ourselves on our patron in his love for Christ and his selfless dedication to the Church.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 2nd August 2023

 

Today is the feast of St Peter Eymard who was born in France in 1811 and ordained in 1834. He founded the priests of the Blessed Sacrament and was dedicated to fostering devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. He died in 1868.

In today’s Gospel Jesus encounters a Canaanite woman who pleads with him for her daughter who is sick. He initially seems to ignore her than when she blatantly confronts him, He seems to be at first quite harsh then almost playful in his comments about the housedogs and the food of the children. However she is insistent and ultimately impresses Jesus with her faith and so he grants this pagan woman what she asks for her daughter.

May our prayer be like that of the Canaanite women and be persistent, confident, and directed sat the needs of others. May St Peter Eymard inspire us to have a love the great gift of the Blessed Sacrament.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Sat 29th July 2023

 

Today is the feast of St Martha and now extended to include Mary and Lazarus her sister and brother. Significantly they are seen as close friends of Jesus. This implies that He would have spent time at their house and felt comfortable around them.

In the Gospel for today’s feast, Jesus comes to see Martha and Mary four days after Lazarus has died. Even though suffering from grief, her faith and trust in Jesus is unwavering. In conversation with Martha, Jesus tells her that he is the resurrection and the life and that anyone who believes in him, even though they die will live and whoever lives and believes in him will never die. In response to his question about this ,she responds amazingly with a deep profession of who Jesus is for her. She expresses her faith by saying that believes in Jesus to the point of knowing for certain that it is true. She is the epitome of a person of deep faith. She more than redeems herself for her impatience with her sister in the other Gospel story about her.

May St Martha teach us the importance of hospitality of visitors. May she encourage us to welcome all guests to our homes in the spirit in which she welcomed Jesus. Finally may we imitate this woman of faith who even in the darkest of times held on to her faith in Christ being the Son of God, the one who was to come into the world. May we imitate Mary in her dedication to the Lord and Lazarus in his trusting friendship with Christ.

Sincere thanks to everyone who came to the Deanery Holy Hour for the Synod with Bishop John on Tuesday. It was a very powerful and prayerful experience. We are grateful to it being so well supported by priests and people from the parish and the Deanery. Let us commit to dedicating time to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking to the Church of our own day.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Friday 28th July 2023

 

In today’s first reading we hear God gives to Moses the ten commandments. Most of these commandments would not have been new to the Hebrew people, because the ones relating to how to relate to our neighbour are based on “Natural Law”, what feels the right thing to do as regards showing respect and dignity to one another.

In today’s Gospel Jesus explains the parable of the sower to his disciples: He tells them that there are many obstacles that can be in the way of the Word of God taking root within us so that we can grow in holiness. He spoke of initial enthusiasm which peters out when trials come; distractions and worries of this world can also be barriers to a good spiritual life; he spoke of the lure of wealth and possessions also being an obstacle to a productive spiritual life.

May we naturally follow the commandments of God so that our lives bear an abundant harvest for the Lord.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Thursday 27th July 2023

 

In the Mass we gather to listen to the Lord in the Gospel and we see and receive him a special way in the Eucharist. He is to be seen and heard in other ways too such as the encounters with each other, and especially in those who are most vulnerable.

In today’s Gospel Jesus is asked about why he uses parables. The parables back up his teaching in a powerful way because although they use situations that were especially relevant to the people of his time, they are easily transferable into modern day life. They often have a punchline that leaves the hearer surprised but with a reaction that is left with them.

Let us make the words of the Lord our own in praying for eyes to see and ears to hear. Let us also recall one of the parables today and reflect on what is the message for our modern day lives.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Wednesday 26th July 2023

 

Today is the feast of Ss Joachim and Anne who are the names traditionally given to the parents of Our Lady and the grandparents of Our Lord. In today’s First Reading, the Lord responds to the complaints of the Chosen People by providing quails and manna from heaven to sustain them during their time in the wilderness. This providence is a sign of God’s faithfulness, love and care for his people.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the people the parable of the sower. By using examples from their everyday lives, he wants his words of hope to make a difference to their lives. In order for this to happen their hearts need to be like the rich soil on which some of the seed fell. He is also telling us to listen to him ~ there are some many other voices and distractions vying for our attention, so it is important we prioritise time to listen to Jesus in prayer each day.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 25th July 2023

 

Today is the feast of St James the Apostle. He is the brother of St John and like him, a fisherman. He was one of the witnesses of the Transfiguration. He was the first of the Apostles to be martyred, being beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I to please the Jewish opponents of Christianity. He was buried in Jerusalem but from the 9th century it is believed his relics were brought to the shrine bearing his name of Santiago de Compostella in Galicia in North West Spain. This shrine of St James grew in importance to such an extent that it became the greatest pilgrimage centre in Western Europe. There are pilgrim routes heading towards Santiago in many other countries. The scallop shell is the emblem of St James and this is the emblem of pilgrims generally.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells James that he will drink the cup that he must drink. The cup Jesus is speaking of is the cup of martyrdom; James will go on to be prepared to witness for his faith in Jesus by being put to death. Jesus uses the conversation initiated by a request for greatness for her sons by the mother of John and James to spell out that true greatness involves modelling ourselves on his own humility and service.

This evening we will welcome to St Mary’s Bishop John, the priests and people of the Deanery of St John Vianney. This is for the purposes of praying together at a Holy Hour for the Diocesan Synod which was called by the Bishop in April this year. The Synod is a time to listen to the Holy Spirit speaking through the voices of a variety of people. We hope that many blessing will result from this time of communal prayer on the feast of St. James.

May St James the Fisherman encourage us all on our pilgrimage of life to safely reach our eternal home in Heaven.


Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Monday 24th July 2023

 

In today’s first reading, we hear of the liberation of the chosen people from slavery in Egypt who are being pursued by Pharoah and his army and their lives are in danger. We hear that they complain and question God who will, through Moses, part the Red Sea to protect them from the imminent danger of death and destruction they face.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls himself greater than the reluctant prophet Jonah and also greater than the wise king Solomon. In saying this Jesus is being truthful not boastful because He is the very Word of God and He is also the Wisdom of God. Through our baptism we share in the mission of Jesus to bring the word of God to others and thereby lead them to his Wisdom.

May we always put our trust in God’s word and his wisdom however precarious and challenging our situation seems to be.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Sat 22 July 2023

 

Today is the feast of St Mary Magdalene, who was healed by Jesus of “Seven devils”. She ministered to him In Galilee and was present when He was on the cross. Mary was also in the group of women who were the first to discover the empty tomb. It was to Mary that the Risen Lord Jesus first appeared. She is therefore a unique and important character in the story of the Resurrection; chosen by Christ as one of the first witnesses of the event that changed the world.


In the Gospel Mary is still distraught with thinking, on seeing the empty tomb, that the body of Jesus has been stolen or taken away and so is weeping outside near the tomb. She does not recognise the Risen Jesus when he approaches her and mistakes him for the gardener. It is only when Jesus calls her by her name that she recognises that it is truly Jesus. He has an important message for her to give to the disciples.


If we like Mary have got to know the Lord through a life of service and prayer, then the Lord will know us and we should recognise his voice when he speaks to us. He has an important message for us too and we need to be ready to catch this message. This is all possible because of Easter. The best way we can be missionary disciples ourselves is to have an authentic and faithful relationship ourselves with the Risen Christ.

 

On this her feast day, may St Mary Magdalene gently guide us closer to the Risen Christ, who yearns for us to make him known to a needy world.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Friday 21st July 2023

 

In today’s Gospel , Jesus is challenged by the Pharisees for the actions of his disciples whom they accuse of breaking the law of the Sabbath by picking corn, which they saw technically as “work”. Jesus gives examples from their history about David and his men eating the loaves of offering, in a time of great need, as well as the regular actions of the Temple priests. Both these situations seemed to have been conveniently overlooked by the Pharisees.
Jesus tells them that God wants mercy not sacrifice: so He implies then that the Sabbath is better celebrated by doing things that are life -giving rather than always rigidly sticking to rituals.

May the Lord help us to see with his eyes all the opportunities for showing mercy to each other, that regularly present themselves, and may we receive his blessing and his encouragement whenever we act in his name.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 20th July 2023

 

In today’s first reading we hear of the rest of the conversation between Moses and God from the burning bush. In giving the mandate to Moses as well as the promise of showing his mighty wonders, God reveals himself as the God of Abraham , of Isaac and of Jacob. By this name the elders of Israel from their exile in Egypt will know to trust Moses.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls the weary and overburdened to him and assures them of rest for their souls. The message Jesus gives is often very demanding on his followers with what he asks of them. , However he reassures us that if we listen to him and learn from him, his love and gentleness will make life easier and lighter for us.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Tuesday 18th July 2023

 

In today’s first reading from the Book of Exodus, we hear of the rise to power of Moses who at childbirth was saved and drawn out of the water and brought up as by Pharoah’s daughter. The account ends with him fleeing to the land of Midian. The scene is then nicely set for God to call Moses to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt.

In the Gospel, Jesus addresses the subject of sin and repentance and reminds us that we are called to this. We all to repent and have a change of heart because we are all sinners. In turning back to God, the Spirit will lead us to discover anew that God is full of mercy and compassion.

May we see our need for God and also the need to turn away from our sins and humbly seek his mercy.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day -  Saturday 1st July 2023

 

Today is the feast of St Oliver Plunkett who was born in County Meath in 1625. He was ordained as a priest in Rome in 1654 and was professor of the Propagnada Fidei and appointed Archbishop of Armagh and primate of All Ireland from 1668. Oliver was in authority at a time when there was great civil and religious unrest after the interventions of Oliver Cromwell. Nevertheless he still held synods and visitations and promoted reforms introduced at the Council of Trent. Titus Oates implicated Oliver in the non existent “Popish Plot” against the English Government which gave the authorities an excuse to act against prominent Catholics. Oliver was arrested in Ireland but taken to London for trial and was hanged at Tyburn and his remains were taken to Downside Abbey. On the occasion of his canonisation in 1975, his casket was opened and some of his remains were donated to the cathedral at Drogheda in Ireland.

In today’s Gospel. Our Lord is amazed at the faith and trust that the pagan Centurion puts in Jesus in the way he responds to Jesus’ offer to come and heal the centurion’s servant. For the centurion the word of the Jesus that something would happen was more than good enough. Jesus says that he has never seen faith like it in all Israel. Let us also be open to be surprised at seeing expressions of faith in unlikely places and people.

May the Holy Spirit help us to remain faithful to the Word of Christ even in times of trial and uncertainty.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day -   Monday 26th June 2023

 

In today’s first reading we hear of the trust and obedience of Abraham. God tells him to leave his home and take his family to a land that he will show to him. This shows the depth of faith that Abraham had to do this. Some of us know what it is like to have to leave behind all that is familiar and settle in a new place. It takes time to get settle down again and re establish yourself.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns us not to judge others. He tells us to sort our own faults out before we even try to help someone else with their failings. We should therefore be quick to judge ourselves and slow to judge others. I think it is wiser to leave the judging to God, who sees the full picture, because we only see part of it. It is always better to be balanced in our thinking about others because we ourselves would not want to be judged just on our failings; we would want our strengths to be considered too.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day -   Saturday 24th June 2023

 

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Birthday of John the Baptist. As a prophet John was a sort of bridge between the Old Testament and the New Testament. Essentially through his preaching and baptism John prepared people for the coming of Christ by repenting of their sins and changing their lives.

Just as the circumstances of Our Lord’s birth were foretold to Mary by an Angel, so too with the birth of John. This time it was told to his father Zechariah but unlike with Our Blessed Lady who believed the angel. Zechariah expresses doubts to the angel and as a result loses his power of speech up until the day the child John is presented in the Temple to God. There is great astonishment among those gathered when John is given his name. It is at this moment that John’s power of speech returns.

The first words Zechariah uttered we are told were a prayer of praise to God. This prayer of Zechariah is known as “The Benedictus” and we use it as part of the Morning Prayer every day. Part of his prayer is addressed to John: “you shall go ahead of the Lord to prepare his ways before Him.” This is because of the pivotal role John went on to play in our salvation story, how could we not want to celebrate the birth of this humble, yet powerful prophet of God the Most High?

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day -   Friday 23rd June 2023

 

Born in Suffolk in the early 7th century, St Etheldreda, whose feast we celebrate today, remained a virgin despite being married twice. She became a nun and a year later founded a monastery of men and women, which she ruled as abbess on the site of what is now Ely cathedral. She died there in 679. She was much venerated and renowned for her dedication to a life of chastity and for the austere regime she imposed upon herself in her latter years.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that: “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. This means that the things we treasure are signs of what we hold dear in hearts and therefore love. We might all have different things that we see as treasure: some of us will treasure money, status, reputation and power: others will put more value on less worldly things than those. This might include family, friends and faith. Jesus is telling us that what we invest in is a sign of our love. He urges us not to love things that will let us down or act as a barrier between ourselves and God.

May we discern into what we should invest our lives, our energy and our love. May we conclude that the desire for eternal life with God should be our highest priority.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -   Thursday 22nd June 2023

 

Today is the feast of St John Fisher and St Thomas More. John Fisher was Bishop of Rochester and refused to assent when the King Henry VIII divorced, married Anne Boleyn and declared himself supreme Head of the Church in England. A month after being made a Cardinal by the Pope, he was executed on this day in 1535. Thomas More made Lord Chancellor by King Henry in 1529. Like Bishop John Fisher he opposed the King in his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Even though he had by then already resigned from public office, he refused to swear an oath to endorse the Act of Succession, which effectively repudiated the authority of the Pope. He was executed on 6 th July. His last words were; “I remain the king’s good servant, but God’s first”.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns his disciples that they will suffer persecution, torture and hatred on account of his name. He warns then them that they will even face death. However he tells them that those who stay firm until the end will receive salvation. How those words would resonate with the difficult circumstances in which Ss John and Thomas found themselves. They however saw loyalty to Christ as their number one priority and so the choices they made, although costly, were clear and simple.

We thank the Lord for these high profile English martyrs, for the courage and inner strength that they showed in standing up for what they believed in. May their courage in standing up for Christ also act as a signpost for the choices we have to make in life.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -   Monday 19th June 2023

 

Today is the feast of St Romuald who was born around 951 and joined a Benedictine monastery but made himself unpopular there by trying to get the lax monks to mend their ways and so, with the permission of his abbot, became a wandering hermit. In a constant fight against the degenerate monasteries of the day, he founded hermitages and monasteries where a life of prayerful solitude could be truly lived. The monastery at Camaldoli, which he founded and where he remained as abbot for a number of years, became the first house of an order of hermits which still exists. But Romuald took to his wanderings once more, and died in 1027 in a monastery he himself had founded at Val di Castro – as he wished, alone in his cell.

In today’s Gospel Jesus asks his disciples to be merciful and generous even with those who make life hard for them. The phrase “Go the extra mile” is inspired by the Lord’s words about going two miles if someone orders you to go one mile. This phrase speaks of willingly putting ourselves out for others and of being utterly kind. The Lord Jesus himself epitomises his own words and teaching in many instances in his life. In gratitude may we imitate Our Lord by digging asdeep as we possibly can in showing love to
all those we encounter.

May St Romuald help us to be trusting and obedient to God and balanced and compassionate in our interpretations of the actions and behaviour of others.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -   Tuesday 13th June 2023

 

Today is the feast of St Antony of Padua. He was born in Lisbon in 1598 and there he is known as St Antony of Portugal.. He was initially an Augustinian then changed to become a Franciscan friar so he could become a missionary. He travelled to Morocco but became ill so he had to leave Africa. On his way home his ship was diverted by a storm to Sicily so he found himself taking part in the General Chapter of the Franciscans in 1221 where he met St Francis of Assisi himself. His preaching career then took him to Northern Italy and Southern France. Later he returned to Padua in Italy where as an outstanding preacher, he became the first Franciscan theologian. Statues of St Anthony show him in a Franciscan habit with child Jesus in one hand and a bible in the other hand. He is the patron of the lost and found.

In today’s Gospel, we are called by Our Lord to be salt of the earth. Salt is a great preservative and it most importantly adds flavour to food. Salt therefore makes a difference. It is still a great compliment to call someone the salt of the earth ~ to do so means we recognise that they are genuine, decent, reliable and worthy. In inviting us to be salt of the earth, the Lord is asking us to make a difference with our lives. He means that we are to put our gifts, our time and our resources at the service of the Lord.

The Lord also tells us that we are to be light to the world. A light in the darkness is so welcoming and reassuring. Light helps dispel fear that can enshroud us and stifle our progress in life. We are let our light shine in the sight of all, so that seeing our good works, we may give praise to our Father in Heaven. By keeping faith in God and continuing to live out our lives in accordance with the Gospel, we are also bearing witness to having Jesus the Light of the World at the centre of our lives.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -   Friday 9th June 2023

 

Today is the feast of St Columba (or in Gaelic Colm Cille), who was born in Gartan in County Donegal ca 521. Columba was of royal lineage and studied under Finnian of Moville and Finnion of Clonard. He founded monasteries at Derry, Durrow and possibly Kells. He then left Ireland to become a missionary. He is most famous for his foundation on the island of Iona, from where he converted much of western Scotland. His followers took the Gospel as far as Northern England. He was to die on Iona in 597. He was an accomplished poet as well as being a scribe and spiritual guide. He is renowned in Gaelic Literature for his great love for all God’s creatures. Good missionaries, like Columba accepted people where they were at and by showing the good example of a life of prayer and service. They , would encourage people to share for themselves in the blessed life that they were witnessing.

In today’s first reading, we hear that through the guidance of Raphael the angel, Tobit’s sight is restored after losing it for several years. He is then able to set eyes again upon his family and for the first time his son’s bride, Sarah. Tobit’s reaction was to make a prayer of blessing to God to whom he rightly credited his healing from blindness. Like Tobit, we also should be grateful to God for all the blessings in our life. We should like him also humbly accept any sufferings and trials as opportunities to grow in grace.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus discusses with the scribes the identity of the long awaited-Messiah. In agreeing that the Messiah is to be the son of David, Jesus quotes from one of the psalms to show that the Messiah is to be alsO David’s Lord. This illustrates why the Church believes Jesus to be fully God and fully human. We are called to live our lives under the Lordship of Christ and place ourselves at the service of His Kingdom.

May we be grateful for the continuing supportive and encouraging presence of the Knights of St Columba here in Burnley. May the Lord continue to bless their members and all that they do for love of the Lord.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -   Tuesday 6th June 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is being tested. The denarius that Jesus is given would have had a picture of the Emperor Tiberius on it. By Jesus saying ‘Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar’s and to God what belongs to God”, He makes a clear distinction between God and Caesar; between divine power and earthly power. Jesus was able to turn the question back on the Pharisees and Herodians. He reminded them that God is greater than Caesar. The whole world and everything in it belong to God. What belongs to God? Examples of what belongs to God are trees, air, the seas, the land, animals, people – yes, even Caesar! God is over and above everything and his portrait is stamped all over creation.

The whole of our lives should be involved in giving back to God what belongs to him ~ we do this essentially by living faithful lives ~ authentic Christian living is the best form of witness. We can be missionary and attract others to share in what we have, because with God in our life, we are made whole and therefore our lives are complete and make sense.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -   Saturday 3rd June 2023

 

Today we keep the feast of St Charles Laweanaa and companions. Many Christians, Catholic and Protestant, were killed by the Ugandan king Mwanga. Some of them were servants in the king’s palace or even his personal attendants. Charles Lwanga and his twenty-one companions (the youngest, Kizito, was only 13) were executed for being Christians, for rebuking the king for his debauchery and his murder of an Anglican missionary, for “praying from a book,” and for refusing to allow themselves to be ritually sodomised by the king. They died between 1885 and 1887. Most of them were burned alive in a group after being tortured. Within a year of their deaths, the number of catechumens in the country quadrupled. St Charles Lwanga is the patron of Catholic Action and of black African youth, and the Ugandan martyrs’ feast day is a public holiday in Uganda.

In today’s Gospel Jesus is challenged by the religious leaders about his authority for acting the way that he has done, particularly as regards his action in cleansing the temple. He answers by asking them about whether John’s baptism was divine or human. As followers of Christ, we should have no problem is accepting that Jesus is the Son of God and therefore John’s baptism also comes from God. Let us reflect on the Wisdom of Christ and ask that the Holy Spirit gives us that same wisdom when we are challenged about our faith and our relationship with God.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -   Thursday 1st June 2023

 

Today is the Feast of Jesus Christ Eternal High Priest. At the heart of Christ’s Priesthood is sacrifice and generosity and a desire to give of himself. In the Gospel we hear of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane preparing for his forthcoming Passion and Death. In a spirit of generosity he prays for the Father’s will to be done, not his own. He will give of his all for the sake of everyone. He gave everything and took nothing for himself.

May Our Lord Jesus Eternal High Priest continue to bless all the acts of generosity and giving, known and unknown, large and small. May our prayer always be in imitation of him; “Thy will be done”.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -   Tuesday 30th May 2023

 

Ecclesiasticus in today’s first reading speaks of the need to have Generosity to the Lord. We are to show our gratitude to him by being faithful and charitable to the poor. We are urged to smile as we give and to be cheerful as we give to God . We are to simply to give to God generously and wholeheartedly as he given to us. We do this by offering everything we do to God. This involves also us making a real priority for the poor whom we should always remember to help.

In today’s Gospel, Peter asks Jesus about what is going to happen to those who have given up everything to follow him. Jesus tells Peter that he will be repaid many times over for the sacrifices he has made. As we reflect on what we do for the Lord I am sure we would all agree that we ger repaid many times over by what we receive compared to what we give. May our giving always be genuine, sincere and joyful and then we know we are being pleasing to God and on the right road for eternal life.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -   Thursday 25th May 2023

 

Today is the feast of St Bede the Venerable. He was born in the north of England, near the monastery of Wearmouth, in 673. He joined that monastery, and spent all his life there or at Jarrow, teaching and writing. He was the outstanding ecclesiastical author of his time. He wrote commentaries on Scripture; an ecclesiastical history of the English people, which is a unique and irreplaceable resource for much of early English history; and the first martyrology (collection of saints’ lives) to be compiled on historical principles. He was also the first known writer of English prose, though this has not survived. He died at Jarrow on 25 May 735: he taught and worked until the last moments of his life, which are narrated by Cuthbert in today’s Office of Readings. He is venerated as the “light of the Church” in the Dark Ages, and as a forerunner of the 8th and 9th century renaissance of the Western Church.

In today’s first reading we hear of the courage of Paul when summoned before the council in Jerusalem to speak of his faith in the Resurrection of Jesus. We hear that the Lord tells him that he must go to Rome, where he will ultimately die. Pentecost, which we mark this weekend, is when we celebrate the beginning of the Church. The Church consists of people with the Holy Spirit, which first we receive at Baptism. It is also called the birthday of the Church. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, the Apostles went on to spread the good news and therefore build the Church throughout the world. So the Church unites virtually every country in the world and people who speak every language. It is through the Church, built by God himself that people can journey towards salvation and be on the path to God, and Heaven.

Holy Spirit, come and fill my heart with your love.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -  Tuesday 23rd May 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear an extract from the High Priestly prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper, during which he prays for those he is leaving behind. He affirms in his prayer to the Father, the faithfulness of his chosen disciples. At the heart of his prayer is the desire for the Father to protect them and for them to be united.

In today’s first reading, St Paul summons the elders of the Church in Ephesus and reflects on his commitment to “finish my race”, and complete the mission to witness to the Good News of God’s grace which the Lord Jesus gave to him. He also reminds that the Spirit is constantly telling him to prepare for the persecution and imprisonment that lie ahead for him. May we heed the advice of both Our Lord and Paul, and like them, resolve to face the future with its challenges and uncertainties, with the same trust and calmness of his Easter peace.

Come Holy Spirit fill my heart with your love.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -  Tuesday 16th May 2023

 

In today’s first reading, following the dramatic earthquake which opens the gates of the prison to where Paul and Silas were being kept, Paul calms down the jailor who was on the point of taking his own life ,briefly instructs him in the faith and baptises him and his household. It was amazing how God brought a lot of good out of a bad situation.

Like Paul, we too need spiritual help to deal with the crises that we face. These difficulties can be a test of our character and our faith but also they can be opportunities for us to renew our trust in the Holy Spirit. Just as he helped bring good out of a difficult scenario for Paul and Silas, the Lord can truly bring a happy outcome for our own crises.

In these days leading up to the Ascension, let us reflect on the mission of the Church today and see how the Holy Spirit continues to inspire and guide the followers of Christ and help us to keep our faith strong.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -  Monday 15th May 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, in his farewell words to his disciples , Jesus prepares them for life without him. He promises to send them “the Advocate” from the Father. By this he means the Holy Spirit, who will help them and support them to cope with the opposition and challenges they will face. At Pentecost, the disciples will grow in their understanding and appreciation of this great gift from Jesus. They will never look back and be totally faithful to the mission with which the Lord has entrusted them.

In today’s first reading, we hear of the mission of Paul and Timothy in Macedonia and of the baptism of Lydia and her household, from the city of Thyatira. This was significant and exciting because she was they were the first Europeans to be baptised. Out of gratitude and a sign of her new faith, Lydia extends an invitation to Paul and companions to stay with her and receive her hospitality. This is a great example of how God blesses and helps us when we do his work. It is healthy to desire to show appreciation and reciprocate when we have received graces through the kindness and generosity of others.

May we always trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit as to how we can practically give from what we have received from the Lord.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -  Saturday 13th May 2023

 

In the First reading, we hear of how Paul felt guided by the Holy Spirit to cross the sea to Macedonia. Bringing the Gospel to Europe marked a major landmark in the direction the Church was taking as it confidently moved forward on its mission.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns his disciples that they will face the same opposition that He himself would face. He foresaw clearly that his followers would face resistance from non-believers. He called his disciples to respond to such behaviour with the same love and compassion that he showed.

May the Spirit continue to guide us to those who he wants to us to reach with the Good News of the Gospel. Like the disciples in the early Church, we must also rely on the Holy Spirit to enable us to continually show love and compassion to all, even those who are enemies to us.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day -  Friday 12th May 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples that he no longer calls them servants but friends. He goes on to tell them that they were chosen by him for this role. He has also called each of us to enter into friendship with him.

He tells his disciples, that he will lay down his life for them. He is speaking of his death on the Cross, out of which will come the new life of Easter and the promise of eternal life to all his faithful friends.

We have been hearing this week how the Early Church made important decisions about the nature of its mission. In today’s first reading, we hear of the letter composed as a result of the meeting held in Jerusalem addressing how to accept Gentiles into the Church. We hear that when the Gentile Christians received the letter, they were delighted because it reassured them in their new faith. The call to be friends with Christ is not easy because he is a demanding friend, wanting those he calls to follow him in a life of service, prayer and mercy. May we grow joyfully in our friendship with Christ each day that he gives to us and never tire of imitating Christ in his love.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 11th May 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is speaking of his joy to his disciples at the Last Supper, just hours before he faces the terrible ordeal of his Passion and Death. It seems strange for Jesus to be talking of experiencing joy in the knowledge of the imminent suffering he was about to face. The joy Jesus experiences comes from him knowing of the Father’s love for him, no matter what. It also comes to him from sharing that same love with his disciples and with us. He tells his disciples that they will remain in his love if they keep his commandments. He says that he has told them this so that his own joy may be complete.

May we also desire to pass on the Lord’s joy to others in this Easter season by expressing our love for each other as Jesus asks us too.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Wednesday 10th May 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus describe Himself as the Vine and his followers as the branches. When you look at a vine is very hard to separate the vine from its branches. This illustrates perfectly the idea that the Church is united to Christ like a bride and groom, so they are one. We receive the Lord’s strength and goodness from our encounters with him in the Sacraments, in our personal prayer and in listening to him in the Sacred Scriptures.

In today’s first reading, we are reminded of some the serious challenges and questions that the Early Church had to grapple with. We hear of the growing tensions regarding welcoming and receiving Gentiles and how that fitted into the Jewish traditions and practices.. It was agreed that a gathering of the Apostles and elders would assemble in Jerusalem in order to resolve this increasingly divisive issue.

The Holy Spirit continues to clearly guide and inspire the Church as He always has done. May Christ the True Vine and Risen Lord continue to feed us with His Divine love and urge us to remain humble and grateful to him.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Tuesday 9th May 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is at the Last Supper when he tells his closest friends, his disciples, that he is bequeathing to them a gift. This is the gift of his peace. He says it is a peace that the world cannot give. Like all bequests this can only be received after his death.

What better parting gift can any one give us than the gift of their peace. We all desire to find peace, to be at peace with ourselves and others, whatever that may mean for us. This for me implies that Jesus was happy with the disciples he had chosen but wanted to give them something that they needed and they would appreciate.

This will be a peace that is hard won, at great cost to the Lord, through his Passion and Death. The first words that the Risen Lord will say to his gathered disciples on Easter Sunday are; “Peace be with you”. The Mission for the Early Church was dangerous because of the persecution they faced.
We hear in today’s first reading that Paul was stoned and left for dead butt he seemed to just bounce back from this and carry on with his work. Paul faced much suffering and encountered many dangers and threats when he was carrying out his work for the Lord. He remained totally focused in what he was about so he never lost heart or trusting the Lord.

May we always treasure the gift of the Lord’s peace that he promises to us as a reminder of his love and his appreciation for us.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Monday 8th May 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to his disciples at the Last Supper of the Holy Spirit (The Advocate) who will come upon them. Jesus tells them that the Spirit will teach them everything and will remind them of all that Jesus
said to them. We are now in the second part of the season of Easter and we are preparing to celebrate Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles fifty days after Easter.

The Holy Spirit is in the Church and has continued to guide the Church on its pilgrimage through time. The Spirit teaches us in a variety of different ways. The Spirit certainly is the one who gives us the desire to pray and to want to worship God. The Spirit also helps us to belong to the family of the Church. It is also the Holy Spirit who enables us want to keep the commandments and especially Christ’s new commandment to love one another as He has loved us.

Let us take the time to see how the Spirit is at work within us helping us to stay faithful to the Lord, to prayer and worship and to his Church.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Saturday 6th May 2023

 

Today is an historic day for our country. Like myself for many of us this is the first Coronations in our lifetime. On Friday evening we offered Mass in the parish to mark this important event. At Mass we prayed for King Charles III that he might in imitation of Christ become poor in spirit” in order to inherit the Kingdom of God.

Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel exactly who he is. In answer to Philip’s request about seeing the Father, Jesus says that to have seen him is to have seen the Father. He says that the Father is in him and he is in the Father. So he is telling his disciples categorically that he is Divine. He is telling them that to have seen him is to have seen the God. Therefore, if we want to know what God is like, we just to need to look at what Jesus was like. So in seeing Jesus being compassionate and merciful with the sick and the sinner, we know that God is like that too. In seeing Jesus passionate to his parables, his teaching and his miracles, we see something of the passion that God has for us. We know that because everyone matters to Jesus, then everyone matters to God too. It tells us that God cares about all humanity and he wants all of us to be with him forever in Heaven.

On this day of Easter, may the Risen Lord Jesus guide us and help to grow in knowledge and understanding of God through our appreciation and love for Him.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Tuesday 2nd May 2023

 

Today is the feast of St Athanasius who was born in Alexandria. He assisted Bishop Alexander at the Council of Nicaea and later succeeded him as bishop. He fought hard against the heresy of Arianism all his life, undergoing many sufferings and spending a total of 17 years in exile. He wrote outstanding works to explain and defend orthodoxy. He died in 373.

In today’s first reading, we hear of the progress being made by Stephen one of the first deacons of the Church. We are told that he was working miracles and great signs. He was filled with the Spirit and so those who wanted to debate with him could not get the better of him. Sadly this leads his opponents to procure false accusations of blasphemy against him which lead to his arrest and being brought before the Sanhedrin. Before the Sanhedrin, we are told the face of Stephen appeared like that of an angel.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus the Good Shepherd calls his followers, his sheep. He tells us that those who belong to him listen to his voice. This means that we are to listen to what he says to us and follow his example. If we do this he will grant us eternal life.

In today’s first reading we hear about Barnabas (originally named Joseph) from Cyprus, who did listen to the voice of the Lord. We are told that he was a good man and was filled with the Holy Spirit. His nick-name means “son of encouragement”, which implies he was supportive and great at bringing out the best in others. Following his conversion, Paul had been sent back to his home town of Tarsus, where he was doing very little. However we hear that the Holy Spirit guided Barnabas to go to Tarsus to seek out Paul and bring him back to Antioch, where the Church was thriving. Putting Paul into such an environment would thereby transform the whole missionary energy of the Church.

Like Barnabas, we too have opportunities to play our part in bringing others into the family of the Church where they might be encouraged to put their gifts at the service of the Good Shepherd.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 28th April 2023

 

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Saul a well-educated devout Jewish Pharisee, believed that he was pleasing God by keeping the Jewish Laws. He is thus called by Christ on his way to Damascus in a vision, to become a transformed man. He is quickly baptised and goes on to become the great Apostle to the Gentiles. We are told that after his baptism, he began preaching in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. What an amazing transformation that the Risen Christ has on Saul’s life , who will dramatically change from being the Church’s main persecutor to St Paul its chief missionary.

The Lord continues to be at work transforming people’s lives and allowing them to change the direction they are heading in. It’s not always as dramatic as it was with St Paul, as it might sometimes happen gradually and subtly. We are all called to continued regular conversion away from selfishness and sin. We are called to constantly seek the new horizons that Our Lord asks of us.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 27th April 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls himself the bread of Life and goes on to say that whoever eats this bread will live forever. We take this as the root of the teaching behind the Eucharist. Central to our Catholic faith is our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is a foretaste and promise of the Heavenly Banquet.

We are told in today’s first reading that Philip was guided by an angel to meet the Ethiopian who was riding home in his chariot on the Gaza road after making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Philip then baptises the man, who he has been brought to faith in Christ. The Ethiopian was just in the “right place” spiritually to receive appropriate instruction from Philip that would lead him become a Christian. We sometimes get opportunities or seemingly “chance” encounters with others whereby the Holy Spirit is at work. May the Holy Spirit give us the wisdom to know when such opportunities present themselves and the courage to act on them in the most appropriate way. May we grow in this Easter season in our appreciation and understanding of the gift of the Eucharist whereby Jesus the Bread of Life nourishes us with his grace and love.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Wednesday 26th April 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus, as the Bread of Life promises eternal life to all those who believe in him. As we know there is often a price to pay for being a follower of Christ. The promise of eternal life is given to us at our baptism when we die to ourselves and rise to new life in Christ.

In the first reading we hear of the aftermath of the death of St Stephen that resulted in much persecution of the early Church. In the midst of persecution, we hear that Philip did lots of preaching and healing in Samaria. It is amazing to hear of the Spirit at work in the life of the first Christians. We are making progress with this year’s group of young people who are preparing for their confirmation in June. We had the second of the preparation sessions last night and I continue to be amazed at their enthusiasm and desire to know more about their faith and their willingness to share where they are at on their faith journey.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 21st April 2023

 

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, Gamiliel speaks wisely to the Sanhedrin when he said that if the “enterprise” involving Jesus is of divine origin, then it will be impossible to prevent it from flourishing. The Sanhedrin heeded this wise advice, and after admonishing the disciples and having them flogged, released them and effectively gave freedom for the Church to begin to grow. The disciples were so full of God’s love that they felt privileged to have suffered for their faith in Christ.

In today’s Gospel, we hear of the feeding of five thousand people by Jesus near the Sea of Galilee. This has resonances with the Eucharist, so central to the Church. Our Easter faith proclaims that Christ is alive and so in the Eucharist the Lord can feed us with his own Body and Blood. The Eucharist unites believers, re-presents the love shown on Calvary and nourishes us with Christ himself.

May the Lord bless all who are carrying out acts of devotion, prayer and kindness in the name of His Holy Church.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Tuesday 18th April 2023

 

In today’s first reading we hear of how the early Church was a great community where there was unity and everything was held in common. Those with property or land would sell it and give the proceeds to the Apostles so they could help the needy with it. The Holy Spirit dwells within a true community and so can really get to work and thrive where generous hearts are united in love for the Lord.

We are given the example of the generosity of Barnabas from Cyprus who gives the proceeds of the sale of his land to the Apostles. This is a sign of his faith and that he wants to belong to the Church himself. He will go on to be a great missionary himself and in particular as a companion to St Paul.

May Barnabas, and all the saints continue to foster in our parish community this spirit of the early Church in helping each other to stay strong in faith and hope.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Easter Thursday 13th April 2023

 

In today’s Gospel from St Luke, we hear the follow up to the story of the Road to Emmaus, whereby Jesus appears to his disciples and they are initially terrified. His first words are “peace be with you” which He says to reassure them that He really is alive again. He then proves He is truly risen by showing them his wounds and eating some fish in their presence. He goes on to patiently explain to them that His Passion, Death and Resurrection were all prophesied and had to happen in order to fulfil the Scriptures.

The Resurrection of Our Lord was quite shocking for the first witnesses, however once they got over their initial surprise, their fear turned to sheer joy. Easter is at the very core of our Christian faith and one of the key roles of the Apostles was to be witnesses to the Resurrection of Christ. The Church is founded on their faith. May we who share their Easter faith never grow tired of sharing the hope and joy that the truth of the Resurrection brings to us.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Easter Wednesday 12th April 2023

 

Today’s Gospel is known as the Road to Emmaus.. Two disciples on Easter Sunday are going away from Jerusalem where all the drama has taken place. They are joined by the Risen Jesus and their hearts burn within them as he explains all the scriptures to them as they walk along the road. They don’t recognise He is with them. This is understandable as they have been traumatised by the events of Good Friday, with all its horrors, and now reports that he is risen have left them very confused. So effectively they are running away,rhaps to take time out in order to make sense of it all.

It’s the same with us, we are often blinded by getting too caught up in the busyness of life, or other things that blind us to the presence of the Risen Lord, to recognise He is with us on our Journey. It is good for us to stop and reflect on the richness and meaning of what the implications of the Resurrection is for life and death. Easter is at the very heart of our Christian faith and it is why we celebrate every Sunday as our Sabbath day. Easter changes everything for us because once and for all, God has conquered even death, which is the one thing that is certain about life and something that hovers over in this life, like a dark cloud.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Tuesday 11th April 2023

 

Like the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, whose story we will hear tomorrow, in today’s Gospel account, Mary Magdalene also is unable to recognise the risen Jesus. Maybe she is blinded by confusion, grief and tears but she mistakes him for the gardener. It is only when he calls her by her name that she recognises that it is indeed the Lord himself. The Lord knows each of us by our name; our name was most likely given to us by our parents and for that we should be grateful. There are often lots of reasons why we have been given the name we have.

At our baptism the Lord, through the Church affirms that name we have been given. Our name makes us unique: imagine the Lord calling you today by your name! He desires to know us personally and for us to grow in friendship with him. This is all possible because of Easter.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 6th April 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus has just finished the Last Supper and takes the role of a servant, kneels on the floor and washes the feet of his disciples. He does this to give the disciples a visual aid as to what he means by his new commandment to; “love one another”. He is Our Lord and God and yet he does an act of humble, loving kindness for his disciples. Incredibly he does this just hours before he is going to handle the rough wood of the Cross to which his hands are then attached by being savagely pierced through with huge nails.

However for me, the most important point of Maundy Thursday is loving service. We are to put ourselves at the service of others ~ not literally washing feet but willingly and quietly carrying out any other little acts of kindness that we can do for another person from washing the dishes: making a cup of tea for someone, phoning up someone who lives alone or even polishing their shoes. Whenever we do these acts of service for another person, we are obeying the Lord’s command to love one another.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Saturday 1st April 2023

 

Today’s Gospel goes behind the scenes to the plotting that is going on as regards getting rid of Jesus. At the meeting of the religious leaders, Caiaphas, the high priest suggests that it is better for one man to die than for the whole of Israel to be destroyed. Behind this prophecy was the truth that good will come from the Lord’s death, not just for Israel, but for the whole of humanity. From that moment they had decided that he must be killed. Being aware of this resolution, Jesus keeps a lower profile and goes to the town of Ephraim with his disciples. This lines us up perfectly to commemorate Holy Week which begins tomorrow with the joyful entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, where he will be crucified.

At the heart of the Passion is the generosity of God. God so loves the world that he gives his only Son. It is kind to give what is superfluous to our requirements but real generosity involves giving what is precious to us. God could not have given us anything more precious than His Son. We are called to give what is of value to us and be generous with each other because God is extravagantly generous with us.

May we enter into Holy Week ready to mark this great week by humbly acknowledging our appreciation for such a precious gift with a huge price tag, costing not less than everything for Jesus..

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 31st March 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is facing much opposition, He has worked many signs and spoken quite openly about who He is but his hearers cannot accept that he is God’s Son. He has said that the Father is in him and he is in the Father. However they do not believe him so they accuse him of blaspheming. They say to him: “You are only a man and yet you claim to be God”. They determined to kill him, however although the time for his death is fast approaching, his time has not quite arrived. His life is in danger and his opponents try to arrest him but he escapes and goes off to a quiet place.

As Holy Week draws very near, let us affirm our belief in who Jesus is for us. As we prepare to commemorate the events that lead to the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, may we gratefully grow in faith and appreciation in the One who lifts back the veil on the mystery of who God is.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 24th March 2023

 

In today’s first reading, some people do not like to have their faults and failings pointed out to them by the just man, who claims to be a man of God. We hear they look for opportunities to persecute him and rid themselves of him. Malice against the good foreshadows the Passion of Jesus.

There are lots of resonances from that first reading in today’s Gospel; the Jewish leaders think they know where Jesus comes from and that thus they think they know everything about him. Jesus rightly claims to come from God and that is his authority for his ministry and for the way he has criticised the religious leaders. This is one of the reasons why they seek ways of killing him. Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus is in control, therefore no one lays a finger on him at that stage because “his hour had not come”.

Lent is a journey of discovery of Jesus really is for us. May we continue this journey towards Easter and beyond in order to strive to know the Lord more fully and more deeply.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 23rd March 2023

 

St Turibius of Mogrovejo was born in 1538 and trained as a lawyer and became Professor of the University of Salamanca; in 1580 he was chosen as Archbishop of Lima in Peru. Despite his resistance, he was an excellent choice, controlling the abuses of the clergy and using his authority to protect the poor. He made special efforts to learn the native Indian dialects, so that as he visited his Diocese he could talk directly with his people. He died in 1606.

In today’s Gospel Jesus is again facing the arguments of his critics following the healing on the Sabbath of the man who was lame, Inner conviction and letting ourselves be directed by God are the right approach to such situations. Like with Jesus, our greater aim should always be to win hearts over to God, not just winning arguments.

On our Lenten journey may we strive for the resolve to attain serenity in the midst of adversity and criticism.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Saturday 18th March 2023

 

Cyril was born in 315 of Christian parents and succeeded Maximus as bishop of Jerusalem in 348. He was active in the Arian controversy and was exiled more than once as a result. His pastoral zeal is especially shown in his Catecheses, in which he expounded orthodox doctrine, holy Scripture and the traditions of the faith. They are still read today, and several of the Second Readings of the Office of Readings are taken from them. He died in 386. He is held in high esteem by both the Catholics and the Orthodox, and he was declared a Doctor of the Church by the Pope in 1883.

In the first reading, Jeremiah is aware of lots of plotting going on behind his back and sees himself as a trustful lamb being led to the slaughter. Despite this he was totally open to what the Lord wanted to reveal to him. Jesus, like Jeremiah is subject to plotting to kill him as well ~ though the life of this innocent lamb will not be spared. Jesus was getting lots of different reactions to who he was. In today’s Gospel we hear that some of crowd thought he was the Christ or a prophet. We are told the police said they couldn’t arrest Jesus because they had never heard anyone speak like him before. Nicodemus speaks up for Jesus reminding his fellow Pharisees that they could not pass judgement according to law without giving Jesus a fair hearing.

We are called to say who we believe Jesus to be. Just as in all previous periods of history, it is still quite challenging to stand up and say that we believe Jesus to be the Christ. To do this calls for courage because we risk receiving ridicule or doing this. May St Cyril and all the saints gently urge us have the courage and confidence to place Christ firmly at the centre of our lives.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 17th March 2023

 

Today is the feast of St Patrick, who just before he was 16 years old, was taken captive by Irish slave traders from his own people and his home, to work in the Antrim hills. He was not particularly religious as he grew up in Roman Britain but when his life was turned upside down , he was able to find new dimensions which allowed him to see that God was very close to him. After his eventual escape after six years of slavery, he felt called by Christ and returned as a Bishop and a missionary to Ireland to preach Christ’s Gospel to those who had held him captive. Through all of this, Patrick’s faith sustained him and he saw clearly the hand of God in all these events of his life. Patrick had no bitterness or resentfulness about his experiences as a slave In Ireland as it had completely changed his outlook on life.

He was not materialistic but was a friendly and humble man with a great capacity to forgive. He was driven by a love for people and a desire to share his faith with others. He was full of goodness and this led to him winning many people over to the Christian faith.

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus sending out the 72 disciples ahead of him as missionaries, equipped only with his approval, his love and his teaching. The missionary zeal of Patrick has always been an intrinsic part of the Irish Church, believing that faith is not something to be kept to ourselves. Let us pray for the people of Ireland today on their feast day. Let us also model our lives on St Patrick by being living examples of the Gospel ourselves and imitate his desire to share the treasured gift of our faith.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 16th March 2023

 

In today’s first reading, Jeremiah calls us to be more consistent in the way we show our faithfulness to God. Lent is a time for us to find more time to listen to God and to become more consistent in our response to his love for us.

The Psalm reminds us of the need to listen each day to the voice of God: “O that today you would listen to His voice, harden not your hearts”. May our Lenten journey be a time to allow the Lord to soften our hearts so that by hearing his loving words, we are moved to more compassionate with one another.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks out against those who see his signs and miracles as the work of the Evil One. All that Jesus did was good; he healed people, he helped the sick and the poor and he gave hope to those who had been written off by society. How could anyone possibly think that what he was doing was not good or not from God?

Lent is a time for us to open our eyes to see our lives as Jesus sees us. In so doing may we grow in gratitude for the many varied ways in which God blesses our lives each day that he gives to us.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Wednesday 15th March 2023

 

 

In today’s first reading we hear Moses tell the people about the importance of keeping God’s commandments. In keeping and observing the laws of God, they will be considered wise and knowledgeable. He tells them to never forget all the good things that they have seen God do for them. They are to treasure all these things in their hearts and pass on the commandments to future generations.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that he not come to take anything away at all from the commandments and the teachings of the prophets. He says he has simply come to complete the Law and the Prophets. He says this because he is totally obedient to the Father and his mission is the fulfilment of the Prophets. He also completes the Law by giving us a new commandment and this is the commandment to love one another as he has loved us. This means that the reasons we keep all of God’s commandments is that we act out of love.
On our Lenten journey may we grow close to Christ by our faithfulness to his commandment to love God and one another. May our Lenten commitments enable us to grow stronger through our desire to be pleasing to God.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Tuesday  14th March 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, prompted by a question by St Peter, Jesus takes up the theme of forgiveness. This is a good reminder that at the heart of the reason for our Lenten journey is the call to be perfect.. In telling Peter we are to forgive 77 times means there is to be no limit to our willingness to forgive others. In the parable of the unforgiving servant, a man is let off a gigantic debt by the king who represents our merciful and loving God. In the parable, even this fortunate person could not forgive his brother a much smaller dent. In hearing of this, the furious king tells him he was bound to have pity on his fellow servant as He had pity on him. The Parable speaks of renewal which is also an important aspect of our Lenten journey. Our Lenten journey should get us to think of the mercy we have received in our lives. We are to open our hearts to let the Lord in more fully and to remove any hardness of heart against others. Jesus calls Peter and us to be like His Father in our readiness to forgive. May we reflect today on all those who have wronged us and against whom we hold a grudge or a grievance. May the Lord give us the generosity to let go

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Monday 13th March 2023

 

In today’s first reading, we hear the account of Naaman, the Syrian army commander who is cured of his leprosy by Elisha the prophet. Naaman initially has to overcome his anger and his pride when asked by the prophet via a messenger, to bathe himself in the river Jordan seven times. It is only when one of Naaman’s servants reasoned with him, that he calmed down and instead of storming off home in a rage, asked the army officer to trust the words of the Lord spoken by the prophet. Naaman then agreed to do what Elisha had asked of him and was cured by the Lord. Lent is a great time for us to set aside our anger and pride in order to trust the Lord to heal us and cleanse us.

In today’s Gospel, while in his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus challenges the people’s narrow view that God belonged only to Israel by referring to the story of the healing of Naaman the Syrian as one example of where God favoured the Gentiles. This does not go down well and angers his former neighbours and town folk. They reject Jesus and intend to kill him by throwing him off the cliff. This foreshadows his brutal rejection in Jerusalem which will lead to his death. May our Lenten journey broaden our outlook of God, whose love and compassion is offered to people of all nations.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 10th March 2023

 

This evening I will be at St Alban’s church in Blackburn to celebrate the golden Jubilee of Canon Jude Harrison, who hails of course from Burnley. As we mark his fifty years of faithful priestly ministry within the Diocese, we thank the Lord for all the blessings that come for the people Canon Jude has served.

In today’s Gospel Jesus addresses the parable of the tenants of the vineyard to the chief priests and elders, which results in the rejecting and killing of the landlord’s son and heir. This clearly refers to the Passion, death of Jesus himself at the hands of the religious leaders. Jesus then quotes the psalm that we have at Easter: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”. He is referring to his Resurrection from the dead which will result in the joyful promise of salvation for many people. It will culminate in the establishment of the “New Israel”, the Church, whereby one family of God will result. Like with Joseph whose story we heard in the first reading, out of what was evil God does good that will benefit all people.

Our faith tells us that God continues to provide for us and work for us, even through our struggles, weaknesses and sins. God’s Grace has the power to transform what is evil and destructive into something that is life-giving and full of goodness.

May we use our Lenten journey as an opportunity to regularly reflect on our lives in awe and wonder at what God does for us. May we remember how God has used challenging circumstances to bring about growth and renewal in our lives.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Tuesday 28th February 2023

 

Today’s first reading speaks of the word of God bearing fruit just like the snow and the rain that visit the Earth have a purpose and achieve results. Lent is a time for us to perhaps reacquaint ourselves with the Word of God found in Scripture.. When we have read the Word of God its always important and useful to take some time to reflect afterwards about what God is trying to tell us through that reading.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples not to babble in their prayers. Instead he gives them a structure which we know as the Our Father. This begins by acknowledging God as Father, whose name is to be sacred. We are then to pray for all our daily needs including food and drink, love, friendship, shelter rest and sleep. We are then reminded that forgiveness is an essential part of prayer; we pray that we can forgive others if we want to be forgiven by God. The prayer finishes with asking the Lord to free us from the temptations and evil of Satan.

May our Lenten journey be punctuated with seizing the many opportunities each day presents to us to connect with the Lord in prayer.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Saturday 19th February 2023

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem and therefore to the Cross. He has just told his disciples about his forthcoming Passion, Death and Resurrection. He leads his inner sanctum of disciples: Peter, James and John, up a high mountain where they experience the transfigured Jesus as he will be after his Resurrection. This was an experience of great joy
wherefor a moment in human time, Jesus disclosed and unveiled his divine glory, confirming Peter’s confession that He is the Christ. The disciples also hear the affirming voice of God the Father say to them that “this is my Son the Beloved” and asking them to listen to him. This would surely give the three disciples at least a little light in the darkness of Good Friday.

In our own darkest moments where we may be filled with fear and despair, may the promise of eternal life shine its light upon us and fill us with peace and hope.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 17th February 2023

 

Today we keep the feast of the seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order. They were born in Florence and lived as hermits founding the Order in 1304. We pray for their work throughout the world including their presence in the Diocese of Salford.

In today’s first reading we hear of our people tried to get their own way to Heaven by foolishly building the Tower of Babel. It will be God himself, not ourselves, through his own Son Jesus who will grant us salvation,

In yesterday’s Gospel we heard the Lord telling his disciples that he will suffer and die but will be raised up on the third day. We know that this means the cross which is symbol of love and hope for those of us who believe in him.

We are told by Jesus in today’s Gospel, that to be his followers we need to take up our own cross and follow him. This means being generous with our time, our gifts and our love, just as Jesus was. The Christian is called to a life of service and of love for our neighbour. To reach out and help someone in their hour of need is indeed the way of the Cross because it is also Christ’s way.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 16th February 2023

 

 

In today’s Gospel, Peter first excels himself by answering Jesus’ question about who He is by confidently declaring that He is the Christ. However, when Jesus tells the disciples that he is going to suffer and be put to death then rise on the third day, Peter remonstrates with Jesus. Jesus rebukes him and accuses Peter of not thinking like God thinks.

May we always strive to be obedient to the Lord’s commandment to love by treating everyone as Jesus treated them. May we always look for God’s will in all the different situations in which we find ourselves especially in times of trial and suffering.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 10th February 2023

 

In today’s Gospel a deaf man who also has an impediment in his speech was brought to Jesus. . Just as taste and smell are linked, our hearing and speech relate to each other. Quite often those who are deaf also have difficulties with their speech. Jesus first opened the man’s ears, and then he could speak clearly. This perhaps gets us to think that the quality of our hearing is revealed in the quality of our speech. We can take that to another level and say that the better we are at listening, the better we may be at speaking.

In today’s first reading we hear of the account of Original Sin. Adam has been clearly been told by God not to eat of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and evil. However Eve listens to the voice of Satan disguised as a serpent who tempts her to disobey God and she takes the forbidden fruit and gives some to Adam. There are lots of voices competing for our attention ~ some of them are speaking the truth, others are speaking falsely. It takes real wisdom and understanding to be able to differentiate between what we should listen to and what we should ignore. A life of faithful prayer and a love for Scripture should tune our ears to be able to clearly hear the Word of God trying to catch our attention. If we do this we will remain on the road to Paradise.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 9th February 2023

 

I have had a couple of unfortunate episodes with my car this week. Early on Monday morning when I went out to defrost the car, I discovered that my car has been broken into and the driver’s side window was smashed. Thanks to the kindness of parishioners the effects of the set back on me faded very quickly. I was enabled to go about my ministry while the car was fixed so that by tea time it was all as if nothing had happened. On Tuesday I had a puncture on my car while at the Crematorium to conduct a funeral and this time the kindness of the funeral directors ensured everything was resolved including the fitting of a new tyre and it being kindly brought back to the presbytery in good working order. May we always allow the goodness of others to keep us positive and happy even on those occasions when things go wrong.

In today’s Gospel, we hear of the encounter between Jesus and Syro Pheonician woman. After some playful banter with the woman Jesus is impressed enough with her perseverance and humility to grant her request and heal her daughter. This episode perhaps reminds us of the need to also be humble and determined in our intercessionary prayer.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 3rd February 2023

 

 

Today is the feast of St Blaise who was bishop of Sebaste and was martyred, probably early in the fourth century. Devotion to him spread throughout the Church during the Middle Ages. He is particularly invoked for disorders of the throat, of which the tradition is to have the blessing of throats on this day.

In today’s Gospel we hear of the account of the death of St John the Baptist, set at Herod’s Banquet. This turns into a Banquet of Death, whereas Christ invites us to a Banquet of life through his death and Resurrection. St John the Baptist is basically put to death for his courage to speak the truth about Herod’s marriage which he declares to be immoral. Both John and Jesus will be put to death for speaking the truth. They both show deep courage so that they are prepared to face death rather than compromise their faith in proclaiming the truth and obeying God’s will.

We like Our Lord, St John the Baptist and St Blaise are called to have a courageous faith ourselves. Nourished by the foundations of a loving relationship with Christ, we are enabled to stand firm and endure even stormy times in our lives especially on those occasions when our faith is challenged.

We strive for a courageous faith for ourselves modelled on John’s approach to life and death

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 2nd February 2023

 

 

Today we celebrate the beautiful feast of the Presentation when we recall Mary and Joseph bringing the infant Jesus to the Temple to dedicate him to God and in thanksgiving make the required sacrifice to God. In bringing the Lord into the Temple, God has entered his own house. It is still a dark time of year, so we have the blessing of candles on this feast day to remind us that Christ is the light who has come into the darkness of the world to redeem us from sin and death.. Jesus, Mary and Joseph meet the elderly Simeon, who had been promised that before he died he would set eyes on the promised Messiah. The Holy Spirit has led him to meet the baby Jesus on this occasion. He responds in gratitude with a short prayer which called the “Nunc Dimittis” which is used daily at Night Prayer of the Church (Compline). In this prayer, he speaks of Jesus being the “light to enlighten the Gentiles and give glory to Israel your people”.

Simeon responded by praising God in prayer. May Simeon inspire us to be people who give praise and thanks to God in prayer and encourage us to keep witnessing to having the Lord in our lives, by both our words and our actions.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Wednesday 1st February 2023

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus goes home to Nazareth with his disciples. The people of his hometown saw him grow up and felt that they know him well and are astonished at his teaching. They cannot see beyond him being the carpenter and the son of Mary. It was a case of familiarity breeding contempt.

He was too ordinary and familiar to them for God to be at work in him so they cannot accept him. Their lack of faith resulted in him being unable to work any signs there.

We are called to see God at work in the familiar and ordinary aspects of our lives. God is present everywhere and therefore the Gospel invites us to see what is familiar and ordinary with eyes of faith. If we do this, then we are giving the Lord the scope to work among us in new ways. May the Lord enable us to see in the ways that he wants us to.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Monday 30th January 2023

 

Today’s Gospel comes immediately after the calming of the storm by Jesus. As they get out of the boat, Jesus and the disciples are approached by a man whose life was severely disturbed by an unclean spirit which made him howl and gash himself against the rocks. As has happened before, the spirit (“Legion”) in the man declares that Jesus is “the Son of the Most High”. This affirms what the miracle on the sea had already got the disciples to think who Jesus must be; “ that even the wind and the sea obey him”. The man’s life was a constant “storm” and with authority, he commands that the Legion of unclean spirits go into the huge herd of pigs and they all charge into the lake and perish. Freed by Jesus of his evil spirits, the man is calm again. He wanted to stay with Jesus but Jesus told him to go home and witness how his life had been transformed by God.

Whenever we encounter Jesus in prayer or in the sacraments, like with the man in  today’s Gospel he will confidently calm the storms of our lives which can result when sinful and evil forces control our lives. destructive forces control us. We are also called to witness to the way that our faith in Jesus brings calm, healing and peace to our lives.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Saturday 28th January 2023

 

St Thomas Aquinas was born of a noble family in southern Italy, and was educated by the Benedictines; but even against severe opposition from his family he decided to become a Dominican instead.  He studied in Paris and in Cologne under the great philosopher St Albert the Great. It was a time of great philosophical ferment.  Into this chaos Thomas brought simple, straightforward sense. Truth cannot contradict truth: if Aristotle the great, infallible pagan philosopher appears to contradict Christianity (which we know by faith to be true), then either Aristotle is wrong or the contradiction is in fact illusory. And so Thomas studied, and taught, and argued, and eventually the simple, common-sense philosophy that he worked out brought an end to the controversy. Out of his work came many writings on philosophy and theology, including the Summa Theologiae, a standard textbook for many centuries and still an irreplaceable resource today.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calms the storm and thereby gets the disciples to ask the question: “Who can this be?” Their response to that rhetorical question can surely only get them to conclude that this must be God, because only God would be obeyed by the wind and the sea. Like the Baptism of the Lord, this is another “Epiphany” moment lifting the veil for a brief moment to reveal who Jesus is.

We have all experienced times of crisis which we could describe as stormy. In the Gospel story the disciples quite naturally panic in the storm when their boat looks like sinking but Jesus remains calm and comes to their rescue. Jesus questions the disciples about their faith which seemed to be overwhelmed by their fear.

Let us ask the Lord who is always at our side to reassure us of his loving presence, which we believe in through our faith. May we know he will be with us through the “stormy” times of our lives, calmly reassuring us that all will be well.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 27th January 2023

 

Today we keep the feast of St Angela Merici who was born in Desenziano, in Lombardy, in about 1470. She became a Franciscan tertiary and set up a school to instruct girls in Christianity and good works. In 1535 she founded
the Ursulines, an order of nuns devoted to giving a Christian education to girls from poor families. She died in 1540.

It is largely a mystery how plants and trees grow because its very growth is largely hidden. It’s the same with people, because we can’t see them growing but we know that they do. It is only with the benefit of time that we can see how things and people have grown.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks us to see His Kingdom as the seed scattered by the farmer which mysteriously grows day and night without us being able to see this growing or fully understanding how this happens.

May we trust in the Lord present in our lives night and day enabling us to grow spiritually. Let us also regularly give time to reflect with gratitude on the quiet and gentle ways in which the Lord at work


Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 26th January 2023

 

Coming the day after the feast of the Conversion of St Paul, today is the feast of Ss Timothy and Titus were converted to Christianity by St Paul, and became his companions and helpers. Paul entrusted Timothy with the care of the Christians in Ephesus, and sent Titus to Crete to look after the Christians there. He wrote them the so-called “pastoral” epistles, giving advice for pastors and people alike.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the crowd to listen to him. Pure listening free from distraction call for great concentration and a great generosity. Let us find time for the Lord in the coming days to be still and truly listen in the silence to what the Lord may be trying to tell us.

In today’s first reading, Paul tells Timothy to fan into a flame the gift of faith God has given to him. Let us be grateful today for the many gifts that God gives to us particularly the gift of this new day, our faith and our friends.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Wednesday 25th January 2023

 

Today is the feast of the Conversion of St Paul. The most important factor in all of Paul’s life was his faith in God. As a well-educated devout Jewish Pharisee, Saul of Tarsus believed that he would be pleasing to God by keeping the Jewish Laws. When after the Church began, he felt he was also pleasing God in calling the early Christians to account by arresting them and punishing them.

In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear of how Christ appears to him in a vision and reprimands him for persecuting him through his persecution of Christians. He is thus called by Christ on his way to Damascus in a vision, whereby he loses his sight for a few days and then becomes a transformed man. He is quickly baptised and goes on to become the great Apostle to the Gentiles. As the great Missionary of the Church he is able to bring the Gospel to many people, Jews and Gentiles and to help establish the Church throughout Europe and Asia Minor.

In today’s Gospel Jesus commands his followers: “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News”. Like St Paul, we are called to be missionary about faith and to bring the Good News of the Gospel top those we encounter. We are also called to continued regular conversion away from selfishness and sin.. May St Paul help us and inspire us on our journey to daily renewal and conversion.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Saturday 21st January 2023

 

Fame and celebrity status seems to restrict your ability to live a normal life and restrict our freedom. Therefore although the thought of fame might be attractive, could question its attractiveness because of these and other disadvantages. When Jesus began his public ministry of preaching and healing, he quickly attracted attention and drew the crowds, because he was in demand for what he had to offer.

In today’s Gospel, we learn that was so dedicated to his life-giving ministry that there were times when he barely had time to eat. His reputation for the new life and hope that he offered to the poor and needy spread very quickly. Jesus was visiting his home town and his popularity was such that at that stage, even his own relatives thought he was going out of his mind and they seemed want to lock him up. We know that Jesus knew exactly what he was doing with his ministry and his generous spirit enabled him to keep giving his all to people.

Most of us are not rich or famous so let us value the freedoms that life offers to us. Let us think of some the many gifts we have been given by God and make a prayer of thanksgiving to God for them.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Wednesday 18th January 2023

 

In today’s first reading we hear of King Melchizadek who offered bread and wine to God and is seen as a priest for ever. His name will be familiar to you as he is mentioned in the First Eucharistic Prayer. The author of the Hebrews concludes that Jesus is also a priest forever and he has a life giving power that can never be destroyed.

In today’s Gospel Jesus cures a man with a withered hand in the synagogue on the Sabbath Day. He is criticised for doing this by the Pharisees who we are told immediately set about plotting his death. The Parable of the Good Samaritan tells us it is always the right thing to do to help someone who needs our assistance. Through his actions in the synangogue Jesus is telling us that we should do good for others even on the Sabbath. He also highlights that we should also share in his mission to bring healing and life to others whenever we can.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Tuesday 17th January 2023

 

Today we keep the feast of St Anthony, Abbot, who was inspired by the words of Jesus which he heard proclaimed in the Gospel at Mass and retired to the Egyptian desert at the age of 20 years old. He attracted many others to the monastic life and died in the year 356.

In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees criticise the disciples of Jesus for picking and eating corn on the Sabbath which they interpret as being work and therefore prohibited under the Law. The Lord teaches and enlightens them by telling them using a famous story from the Scriptures about King David at a time of hunger. He tells them that the Sabbath was made for people not people for the Sabbath. He asks us to see the Sabbath as blessing upon us as well as a help to us.

May St Anthony help us to be patient and to discover God in silence and prayer. May we see that the Sabbath is a gift to us from God to give us a day of rest and an opportunity to have a change of routine

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Saturday 7th January 2023 

 

In today’s Gospel, St Matthew refers to the impact of all the activities of Jesus as “the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light! “ Jesus reached out with compassion to those in need:, the poor, the sick, the outcasts and those who have messed up in life. He is a like a great light to all the people of his day through his miracles, parables and his teaching that gives great hope to everyone. We hear he was very popular because people travelled from near and far to hear what he has to say and to be in his presence.

In our own day, we have the presence of Christ in the Gospels and in the Sacraments as well. His message of hope for us can be as powerful and nourishing for us as it was for the people of 1 st Century Palestine. As we move forward through our own times of darkness, our faith in the reassuring presence of the bright light of Our Lord should help dispel our fears and fill us and those we encounter with confidence and hope.

Today we are celebrating our Mass of thanksgiving with those who have a role or ministry through the three churches in the parish. May the Lord bless everyone who plays their part in so many different ways to build the Kingdom in this part of the Diocese.

 

Fr David 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 6th January 2023 

 

Today is the feast of the Epiphany. Epiphany means showing, revealing or manifestation. We celebrate the moment when Christ the new born king is “shown” to the whole world in the form of the wise men/kings. God allows him to be made known first to the shepherds of Bethlehem and then to the Magi/ pagan kings. In many ways the Magi represent us; the Gentiles ,the non-Jews and that this child has come as a redeemer, a Saviour for all people.

They have followed the star because they are learned and wise and they come to adore the new born king and bow down before him. They come with amazing gifts that are so appropriate and reveal they fully understand who he is. They brings gold because Jesus is a king. They also brings frankincense which is the scented resin that we burn at the altar in church, this speaks of the child being God. They also bring Myrrh which is a perfumed ointment used to put on someone who has died this serves to show he is human, mortal and will die. This showed that the wise men had extraordinary faith as well as wisdom and intelligence.

In parts of Ireland, in honour of the wise men bringing gifts. Today’s feat is called; “Little Christmas” as it still a very important part of the Christmas season and the Christmas story. So I would like to wish you all a very happy Little Christmas.

 

Fr David 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 5th January 2023 

 

In today’s Gospel account we hear of the calling of Philip from Bethsaida. Philip will then go on to tell Nathanael that they have found the promised Messiah. After overcoming some initial prejudices about Nazareth, Nathaniel goes on to make a major leap of faith declaring Jesus to be the Son of God and the King of Israel.

Jesus promises eternal life to Nathanael, whom he has described as being incapable of deceit, so without guile. Like all the Apostles, apart from John he will show his love for the Lord by being prepared to die for his faith. At the core of our faith is salvation. The child whose birth we herald at Christmas is our Redeemer. He will be rejected despite all the wonderful signs he gives and will die on the Cross in order to forgive us of our sins. In this life we do not see God but with eyes of faith we can see his presence all around us. Our main yearning is surely for Heaven where we can see God face to face.

Let us also strive to be like Nathanael and stay away from what is not true and genuine and then we can be sure that we are on the path to salvation.

 

Fr David 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Wednesday 4th January 2023 

 

In today’s Gospel John points Jesus out to two of his own disciples; they will know that John has clearly said that he is not the Messiah and that he has been preparing everyone for someone greater than he is. Therefore they immediately understand what he means when he points out Jesus to them as the Lamb of God. It must have been hard for John to allow his disciples to leave him and follow Jesus instead, however he knew this was right and it was meant to be.

We then hear that one of the disciples is called Andrew and having responded to the invitation of Jesus “to come and see” by spending time with the Christ, he is then totally convinced about who Jesus is. He goes on to introduce his brother Simon Peter to Jesus who after looking hard at Peter gives him the name “Cephas” which means rock. This was obviously an important encounter as Jesus will make Peter the rock on which the Church is built.

Like John and Andrew, we also have to take seriously our role of bringing others to Christ. Like them we need to be initially convinced about who Jesus is for us. Through spending quality time with the Lord ourselves in prayer and our love for the Gospel, may we grow in our appreciation and understanding of what being a disciple of the Lord really implies for us.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 19th December 2022

 

Today's O antiphon for 19th December:

O Stock of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations; kings fall silent before you whom the peoples acclaim. O come to deliver us, and do not delay.

In today’s Gospel we hear of the Angel’s visit to Zechariah to foretell the news of the coming of John the Baptist who is the forerunner for Christ. Because Zechariah and his wife has been unable to have children, Zechariah doubts the possibility of this marvellous prophecy happening in reality, and therefore is left unable to speak. Only at John’s presentation when 8 days old, is Zechariah able to speak again. His first words after many months of silence are words of praise that comprise the “Benedictus” prayed at Morning Prayer of the Church daily: “Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel, he has visited his people and redeemed them”.

In these remaining days of Advent, we ponder afresh in our own day, the unravelling of the mysteries at the heart of the Incarnation we celebrate at Christmas. Let us find some time for silent reflection in companionship with the silence of Zechariah. May we yearn more than ever for each of us to welcome the Kingdom of God into our hearts. "Come, deliver us, and do not delay".

 

Fr David

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Saturday 17thth December 2022

 

 

Today marks the start of the second part of Advent. During the first part of Advent we have been focusing on Christ’s coming at the end of time. In Advent II, we focus on the coming of Jesus at Christmas. In our anticipation there is a yearning and a longing for a Redeemer. One of the lovely things we have in the Church to convey this yearning, are the “O antiphons” which are used at Evening prayer of the Church (Vespers) as the antiphons to the Magnificat prayer used on each of the seven days from today until 23 rd December. The word “O” illustrates our longing and our desire for Christ to come into our lives. Each of the O Antiphons home in on one aspect of who Jesus is.

Today’s O Antiphon.

O Wisdom you come forth from the mouth of the Most High. You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong yet gentle manner. O come to teach us the way to the truth.

In today’s Gospel, Matthew answers the question of who Jesus is and what his purpose is, by giving us the genealogy of Jesus right at the start of his Gospel. He describes Jesus as the son of David and the son of Abraham. He goes on to say that through his marriage to Mary, Joseph is related to Jesus whom he calls the Christ. Some of characters in the genealogy have quite a colourful story, but they are included to show that God’s salvation even works through human imperfection.

During the second part of Advent may we grow in our need and our desire for the Wisdom of God that Jesus brings to us. May Christ lead us to gently but firmly discover the right way to our Eternal home. May we grow in our conviction and certainty of who Jesus is for us and his place in our lives.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Friday 16th December 2022

 

 

In today’s First reading, Isaiah broadens God’s perspective of those who can receive his favour and his salvation. He says that this includes foreigners who serve the Lord and become his servants. He also speaks of those who respect the sabbath and cling to his covenant . He goes on to say “my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples”. In Jesus, we know that all who believe in him, regardless of their nationality, and are part of the New Jerusalem”, that is the Church, will be invited to take their place among those who are redeemed.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of John being like a lamp which was alight and shining. We think of John’s message asking people to repent of their sins and change the priorities in their lives. People were drawn to John because of his passionate message brought them hope. In times of darkness we love to be drawn to the light for comfort and reassurance. Our Lord goes on to say that his own testimony is even greater than John’s because He is the Eternal Word of God.

Today is the last day of the first part of Advent, when we have been thinking about getting our lives on track for Christ second coming and for us being called at the end of our lives. Let us continue to bring Christ more central into our lives on our Advent journey.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 15th December 2022

 

Elizabeth of Hungary was born in 1217 and  also known as Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia who was a princess of the Kingdom of Hungary, Landgravine of Thuringia, Germany, and a greatly venerated Catholic saint who was an early member of the Third Order of St. Francis, by which she is honoured as its patroness.

Elizabeth was married at the age of 14, and widowed at 20. After her husband's death she sent her children away and regained her dowry, using the money to build a hospital where she herself served the sick. She became a symbol of Christian charity after her death at the age of 24 and was canonised on 25 May 1235.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus laments over Jerusalem where he knows he will face his death as the ultimate rejection of his message of good news. Jesus would never force himself upon others so accepts the rejection with dignity and humility. As his followers, there are times when we also face rejection by others and when that happens we are to have the same humble and dignified approach as Our Lord.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Wednesday 14th December 2022

 

 

Today we keep the feast of St John of the Cross, who was born in Fontiveros, in Spain, in about 1542. He spent some time as a Carmelite friar before, in 1568, Saint Teresa of Ávila persuaded him to pioneer the reform of the Carmelite order.

This was a difficult task and a dangerous one: he suffered imprisonment and severe punishment at the hands of the Church authorities. He died at the monastery of Ubeda in Andalusia on 14 December 1591: the monks there had initially treated him as the worst of sinners, but by the time he died they had recognised his sanctity and his funeral was the occasion of a great outburst of enthusiasm. His works include two major mystical poems – he is considered one of the great poets of the Spanish language – and detailed commentaries on them and the spiritual truths they convey. He was canonized in 1726 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1926..

In today’s Gospel we hear of some of John the Baptist’s disciples approaching Jesus to ask him if he is the one who is to to come. John is currently in prison and although very sure in his faith, he seems to be seeking clarification that Jesus is indeed the one he had been preparing the people for. John perhaps asks this because Jesus does not seem to be as judgemental or dramatic as John had foretold. The arrival of Jesus is indeed good news for everyone. Jesus performs miracles and healings in the sight of John’s disciples and then tells them to go back and reassure John by telling them what they have seen him do. They will tell John that Jesus is the fulfilment of the prophet Isaiah who foretold that the Messiah would cleanse lepers, give sight to the blind and raise the dead to life. John would have no problem in identifying this image of the one who is to come, with what Jesus was doing. In order to further reassure John, Jesus finally tells John’s messengers: ‘happy is the man who does not lose faith in me’.

In this time of Advent, let us renew our faith in Jesus as the promised one who is to come and continues to send us out each day. As we use this season to reflect on the life of Christ in the Gospels, by doing so, let us be reassured, that Jesus is the one that we are waiting for. He comes to us each day and he is one we yearn for and the one whom we need to give us life and hope.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Tuesday 13th December 2022

 

Today we keep the feast of St Lucy, who was a Sicilian martyr who died in the persecution of the 5 th century under the emperor Diocletian. She is an example of faithfulness and innocence, and her cult was very popular in the early Church.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses the parable of the two sons who are asked by their father to work in his vineyard to illustrate his teaching about the Kingdom. The first son in the Gospel is like the religious leaders who have committed their lives to God but refuse to accept the message of John the Baptist. There are times when we truly keep our word to see through our commitments and promises. However, there are times when we have let people down by promising to do something and something prevented us from keeping our word. I am sure we can also think of a time when someone has let us down and of how it feels to be treated like that. Inevitably in all those scenarios, the delicate bond of trust gets broken and it is very difficult to restore that in a relationship.

The second son in the parable is like the public sinners such as tax collectors and prostitutes who have lived a life contrary to the ways of God, but have taken on board the message of John the Baptist calling them to repent and change their way of life. We like broad-minded people who are prepared to think about what they hear and have the courage and humility to admit they were wrong and are willing to do something about it.

In these Advent days let us resolve to continue to be faithful to the Gospel but also be willing to joyfully encourage and accept those who have turned back to God or discovered him for the first time.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 12th December 2022

 

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe, near Mexico City, is one of the most celebrated places of pilgrimage in North America. On December 9, 1531, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to an Indian convert, Juan Diego, and left with him a picture of herself impressed upon his cloak. Devotion to Mary under this title has continually increased, and today she is the Patroness of the Americas.

In today’s Gospel, which is set not long after the cleansing of the Temple by Jesus; the religious leaders ask Jesus by what authority he was acting, in respect of the purging of the Temple. We believe and therefore know that Jesus is the Son of God so we have no problem in accepting that Jesus has the right to cleanse the Temple, which is the House of God. Jesus replies with a question of them about the origin of John’s baptism came from, which they choose to answer by they saying they don’t know. Again we do know the answer to that question : we trust and believe like many people who were baptised by John, that his ministry was given to him by God.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 8th December 2022

 

Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. This feast celebrates the purity of Mary who was without sin and thus from the first moment of her existence she belonged to the Kingdom of God. This is a pure gift from God and today we celebrate the fact it was given for the purposes of our salvation. This is why she was chosen to be the Mother of the Son of God.

In today’s Gospel we get the account of the Annunciation through the eyes of St Luke. The opening words of the Angel Gabriel “Hail full of grace” highlight what we are celebrating in today’s feast day: Before she was asked to be the Mother of God, Mary was already without sin and in a complete state of grace. Our Lady, like all of us was given the gift of freewill by God, which means that she was free to choose between good and evil. Most of us from time to time do make wrong choices but it is only right that we celebrate today that Mary remained sinless.

We are also called like Mary to make good choices and to choose to grow in holiness through obedience to God’s will. On this important feast day within the season of Advent, may Immaculate Mary inspire us to allow the Lord to win the daily battle for our hearts and minds.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Tuesday 6th December 2022

 

In today’s first reading we hear of God being like a shepherd who will feed his flock and gather the lambs in his arms. In today’s Gospel, we hear the parable of the lost sheep. This parable goes to the very heart of the Incarnation which is what we are preparing to celebrate at Christmas. The shepherd is prepared to leave 99 of his sheep in order to go searching for just one sheep that has gone astray. Whenever we commit sins we wander away from God, like the lost sheep wandered away from the care of the shepherd.

The parable speaks of the mercy of God that reaches out and seeks out the sinner. God wants no-one to be separated from his eternal love, because to God each person is of infinite value. He gives us every opportunity to be discovered and redeemed by his merciful love and compassion made manifest in his Beloved Son. This parable highlights that everyone matters to the Lord. This gets to the very heart of our faith; that we need a Redeemer because we cannot save ourselves from our sins.

During Advent, may we take the time to we reflect to what extent we value each other as much as the Lord values us.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Friday 2nd December 2022

 

In todays’ first reading, Isaiah looks forward to a time when there will be great rejoicing when: “the deaf will hear the words of a book and after shadow and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see”. On our Advent journey, we know that the longing that Isaiah speaks of is the coming of Christ. The longed-for Christ will come to transform everything with his majesty and power. .Our Advent journey calls us to be patient in our yearning to set our eyes on God, who will reveal himself to the world as an innocent child on that first Christmas.

In the Gospel, Jesus shows he is the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy by responding to the yearnings of the two blind men and giving them back their sight. Because they were able to see who Jesus really was through their eyes of faith, he then enables them to set their eyes upon their Lord and Saviour.

As we come towards the end of the first week of Advent, let us ask ourselves what it is that we really yearn for in our lives. If in some part this includes our desire to see the face of God, then we know that we are on the right track.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Tuesday 29th November 2022

 

 

In the first reading we are reminded of the promise made to King David that one of his ancestors would have an eternal kingdom. Isaiah sees that kingdom in tatters, calling it “the stump of Jesse”, who was David’s father. Living and writing in a time of exile following the devastation of the holy city, the prophet dreams idealistically about the promise of the Messianic age. We then get the beautiful vision of Isaiah about all of creation being in peace and harmony with itself. This is an image of great hope and faith in a loving God who will keep his word but might bring it about in an unexpected way.

Through St Joseph, Jesus is of course related to David and will be the fulfilment of this promise. The Gospel tells his disciples how happy they should be to witness his presence and his ministry: “For many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see and never saw it: to hear what you hear and never heard it”. Jesus ushers in an age where accepted values are turned on their head; those now rejected will be welcomed; the downtrodden will be restored to dignity and the lowly exalted.

In our own day, in the uncertain times in which we live may we also be ambassadors of hope through our Christian faith. May all the saints inspire us to have the courage to stand up for our faith in challenging times, to build the Kingdom through our faithfulness to the Gospel, and to be ever trustful of God’s promises made to us.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 28th December 2022

 

Advent began on Sunday with the blessing of the Advent wreath and the lighting of the first purple candle. Toady’s first reading from Isaiah finishes by speaking of walking in the light of the Lord. Advent coincides with the darkest time of the year, when there is not much natural light. Light is another important dimension of Advent where there is a longing for light which should lead us to yearn for a Saviour who will bring us his merciful light and lasting peace.

The Gospel today gives us the powerful story of the Roman Centurion who asks Jesus to heal his paralysed servant but asks the Lord to just give his word as he does not feel worthy of having Jesus come to his home. Jesus afterwards comments that he has not seen such faith in the whole of Israel. Remarkably and unexpectedly this quality of faith was witnessed in a pagan.

May we use this time of Advent to reflect on the quality of our own faith in Christ. May we desire to be fervent in our longing for the coming of Jesus the Light of the World.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Saturday 19th November 2022

 

Jesus is in conversation with the Sadducees in today’s Gospel. They do not believe in life after death. They dispute with Jesus giving a far-fetched scenario which Jesus deals with both swiftly and easily. Jesus challenges their presumption that life after death would be simply a continuation of earthly life, by stating that those who belong to the resurrection no longer die but enter into eternal life.

I was privileged to be involved in the interfaith day on Friday at Blessed Trinity. I loved talking to the young people and answering their questions about my journey of faith and my life as a priest. In order to make it engaging for them I formatted my into a True or False quiz, which I am sure will come as no surprise to those who know me! The students seemed to engage quite readily with the format and the challenge.

May our lives always be centred on our faith in the Resurrection, so that the promise of eternal life with God is always our goal and our hope.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Friday 18th November 2022

 

Today we keep the feast of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul Already in the twelfth century there was being celebrated today the anniversary of the dedication of the basilicas of St Peter at the Vatican and St Paul in the Via Ostiense by Pope St Silvester and Pope St Siricius in the fourth century. More recently this commemoration has been extended to the whole Church, honouring the two greatest apostles of Christ just as the anniversary of the dedication of St Mary Major (5 August) celebrates the motherhood of the Virgin Mother of God.

In today’s Gospel Jesus purifies the temple of the sellers. He says of the temple: “My house will be a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a robbers’ den”. A temple is the house of God and therefore is indeed to be a house of prayer ~ for communication with God. The commercialisation of the temple did not enhance the role of the temple as a house of prayer. He aroused a lot of opposition for driving out the sellers that day. They would have questioned by what authority he carried out this act of purification. We are told that the religious leaders would have their

Thanks for all your greetings for my birthday which I celebrated yesterday. They are greatly appreciated and warmly received. I have now reached the age of the Beatles Song which contains the lines: “Give me your answer, fill in a form, mine for evermore. Will you still need me, will you still feed me…”.!!

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 17th November 2022

 

Elizabeth of Hungary was born in 1217 and  also known as Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia who was a princess of the Kingdom of Hungary, Landgravine of Thuringia, Germany, and a greatly venerated Catholic saint who was an early member of the Third Order of St. Francis, by which she is honoured as its patroness.

Elizabeth was married at the age of 14, and widowed at 20. After her husband's death she sent her children away and regained her dowry, using the money to build a hospital where she herself served the sick. She became a symbol of Christian charity after her death at the age of 24 and was canonised on 25 May 1235.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus laments over Jerusalem where he knows he will face his death as the ultimate rejection of his message of good news. Jesus would never force himself upon others so accepts the rejection with dignity and humility. As his followers, there are times when we also face rejection by others and when that happens we are to have the same humble and dignified approach as Our Lord.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Tuesday 15th November 2022

 

St Albert the Great was born in 1206 at Lauingen on the Danube, in Germany, and studied at Padua and Paris before entering the Dominican Order. He taught in a number of places including the University of Paris, where St Thomas Aquinas studied under him He was one of the greatest philosophers of the Middle Ages, coming at the beginning of the great flowering that came with the rediscovery of the works of Aristotle.

He had a great interest in science and astronomy and his learning gave him the title, as a Doctor of the Church, of Doctor Universalis, the “Universal Doctor.”   In 1260 the Pope made him Bishop of Regensburg, a post that he held for three years before resigning it. He made great efforts to secure peace between people and between cities. He died at Cologne in 1280.

In today’s Gospel we get the wonderful story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. I really like the last line of this section of the Gospel: “The Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was was lost”. The Lord did the seeking out of this rich yet sad and lonely man who really was lost, by literally noticing him up a tree. Zacchaeus was not the only sinner in the town, but he was one of the most high profile. The most important thing is that he seized the opportunity that meeting Jesus gives to him and promises actions in his behaviour that show he desires to change. May we like Zacchaeus also take the opportunities to change the direction of lives when the chance of offered to us. May we do this by regularly examining our conscience in a time of prayer so that we can repent of our sins before God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 14th November 2022

 

In today’s first reading we hear the complaint made that “you have less love now than you used to”. If that was really levelled against us, we would probably be quite concerned. It is possible that the knocks that life invariably throws at us from time to time can potentially make us a bit cynical. The danger of this is that then we can then be potentially less loving towards each other than we ought to be. The author goes on to say that on such occasions we ought to have a change of heart and repent. This can enable us to revert to how we once were.

In today’s Gospel, a blind man seeking help from Jesus calls out: “Jesus son of David, have mercy on me”. This shows that although physically blind, the man has great insight because in connecting Jesus as related to David, he recognises Jesus as the Messiah. In asking for Jesus to show mercy on him shows he has great faith and trust in God. Jesus does indeed restores his sight and tells him that his faith has saved him. The man we are told gives praise to God and follows Jesus.

May we have the faith and insight of the blind man to recognise our need for Christ in our own lives. This will enable us to see the presence of Christ all around us and especially in the poor and needy.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Friday 11th November 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Martin of Tours who was born in the Roman province of Pannonia (approximating to the western half of modern Hungary) in about 316 and was educated at Pavia in Italy. He was baptized, left the army and after spending some time as a hermit on an island off the Ligurian coast, founded a monastery at Ligugé in western France, where he lived a monastic life guided by St Hilary. Later he was ordained priest and became bishop of Tours. In his actions he gave an example of what a good shepherd should be. He founded other monasteries, educated the clergy, and preached the Gospel to the poor. He died in 397.

In today’s Gospel Jesus also gets us to think about how we live our lives. He says that eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting, building, marrying and maintaining our relationships are all central to life but there are other things that are even more important . Therefore we must see that there is more to life than just these activities, important as they are. We are to look for the presence of God in all his creation and see through our eyes of faith that he is at work in them all.

Today is Armistice day and so we remember all those who died in two World Wars and other conflicts. It is a good thing to remember to be thankful today for the peace we enjoy thanks to the generosity of those who fought for our freedom.

May we ensure therefore that Our Catholic faith drives us to desire to have love at the heart of all that we do. Like St Martin may we also trust in the presence of the Lord in our daily lives, constantly urging us to see Christ in the poor and needy as he did.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 10th November 2022

 

We celebrate today the feast of Pope St Leo the Great who was born in Etruria and became Pope in 440. He was a true shepherd and father of souls. He constantly strove to keep the faith whole and strenuously defended the unity of the Church. He repelled the invasions of the barbarians or alleviated their effects, famously persuading Attila the Hun not to march on Rome in 452, and preventing the invading Vandals from massacring the population in 455.  Leo left many doctrinal and spiritual writings behind and a number of them are included in the Office of Readings to this day. He died in 461.

In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees ask Jesus about when the Kingdom of God will come. Jesus says that “the Kingdom of God is among you, and that God was at work among them but many people including the Pharisees could not see it. The Kingdom of God is already in our midst and it finds its home within us. Establishing the Kingdom within our hearts prepares us for the promise of eternal life. The Kingdom is about centring our lives on Christ because the Kingdom is wherever Jesus is. So if we want to be close to the Kingdom then we need to be close to Jesus and being close to Christ involves modelling our lives on him and the Gospel.

On this feast of St Leo may we look for signs of the Kingdom all around us and may we encourage those who are struggling to the Lord at work in their lives by our example and prayers.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Tuesday 8th November 2022

 

In today’s first reading, St Paul urges Titus to ensure that the younger women in his community are to be sensible and gentle. Being sensible means to be able to make wise decisions which does always mean choosing the easy or obvious choices. To come across as gentle means we have to be very strong on the inside. These are of course values that we genuinely value when we find them in others.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us we are to be humble in our acts of service. He says we see ourselves merely as servants, doing “no more than our duty”. We should not be carrying out our acts of service and kindness with a view to receiving gratitude. However we should carry out our duties for the Lord and be grateful ourselves for all the blessings we have received and continue to receive.

This evening we are celebrating a Deanery Mass at St Mary’s, Clayton le Moors for the deceased clergy of the Diocese. This is a good opportunity to reflect on those priests who have served us over the years and to lovingly remember their dedication and commitment to their vocation.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Friday 4th November 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Charles Borromeo, a leading figure of the Catholic Reformation.  He was born in 1538 in a castle on the shores of Lake Maggiore in northern Italy, to a powerful family. He was related to the Medici through his mother. As the second son, he was destined for a career in the Church from an early age. He received a doctorate in civil and canon law at the University of Pavia, and when his uncle was elected Pope Pius IV in 1559 he was summoned to Rome and made a cardinal. Among many other responsibilties he was made administrator of the vacant diocese of Milan and protector of the Catholic cantons of Switzerland and of the Franciscans and the Carmelites.

He played a large part in the diplomatic efforts that led to the re-opening in 1562 of the reforming Council of Trent, which had been suspended since 1552. Eventually, in 1563, he was secretly ordained priest. He was soon consecrated as Archbishop of Milan, but the Pope would not let him leave Rome because he was needed there. He worked on the catechism, the Missal and the Breviary, and reformed his own diocese as well as he could from a distance through trusted deputies. He was very kind to the poor and the sick and helped establish catechesis of children. He faced much opposition including threats in his attempts to reform the Church but this did diminish his resolve to see things through.  Charles died on 3 November 1584 at the age of 46.

The parable in today’s Gospel can be a little confusing at first hearing. Surely Jesus is not advocating us to be dishonest? However he is trying to highlight how we can be astute and cunning as regards our dealings with money. He admires the dishonest steward for his quick thinking in being able to use money something that is tainted to help him win friends and trust in the future.

He says that worldly people put their energy, intelligence, and desire in an intense way into achieving popularity, wealth and comfort. It is that same intensity of desire that he urges his followers to have in pursuing spiritual pursuits. Jesus urges us channel our ingenuity and intelligence into things that have eternal value to us, rather than invest our energy into material wealth which is only of value to us in this life.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 3rd November 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Martin de Porres, who was born in Lima in Peru in 1579, the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a black ex-slave. His mother gave him a Christian education and he became a pharmacist and a nurse. Despite his father’s opposition he entered the Dominican Order as a lay brother in 1603 and spent his life working for the sick and the poor. Many people of all ranks would come to him for advice. He had a great devotion to the Holy Eucharist. He died in 1639 and has been named as a patron saint of those of mixed race

In today’s Gospel Jesus gives two parables in answer to the question from the Pharisees as to why he welcomes and eats with sinners. They are both about searching for something that was lost; a sheep and a coin and both parables conclude with the deep joy felt by the successful searcher that they wanted to share the good news with their friends and neighbours. God wants none of us to be lost from him; he is constantly yearning to seek us out when we wander away from him through selfishness and sin. He will give us every opportunity to repent of our sins and come back to him. He is overjoyed when we turn back to him and are restored in his love. Jesus says that there is more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety nine virtuous men”. As humans we can tend to be searching for meaning in life and we often look in the wrong places and will end up disappointed. If like St Martin our searching leads us to serving God we will find rest and peace for our weary heart.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Tuesday 1st November 2022

 

Today is All Saints Day, when we celebrate all those who to a certain extent imitated Christ by living the Beatitudes to arrive at heavenly peace. On the feast of All Saints the Church invites us and encourages us to imitate the lives of the saints by embracing the teachings of Christ ourselves and putting on love.

Essentially, I believe that Heaven is where we see God and we bathe in his light and love. Today’s celebration gives us a glimpse into our eternal destiny, our glorious goal and our purpose, whatever we might think Heaven is like. Today’s Gospel tells us what we need to do to reach Heaven. In the Beatitudes, Jesus gives his followers a self portrait in words of how he is. Every one of these words of Jesus ring true and are illustrated by actions from his life. They are like a mirror for us to look at and to see how closely the way we live, resembles the life of Jesus. Among other things we are also to be gentle, pure in heart, peacemakers and poor in spirit. If we want to be truly happy then as his followers, we are to imitate and put these words into practise through our faithfulness to Christ.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 31st October 2022

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges the Pharisees about their motivation in inviting people round for dinner. He challenges them about only inviting their friends and suggests strongly that they only do so in the hope of having the favour returned to them. He tells them that to be pleasing to God, they really should be reaching out to the poor and needy who will be unable to reciprocate the invitation themselves. Jesus also questions our whole attitude to being generous.

When we give we should give without expecting to be repaid at all. Jesus is calling us to unconditional love which is what motivated him whenever he did anything for someone else.

Let us reflect on our motivation for all our acts of kindness and generosity. How can we respond to the challenge that Jesus presents us with by extending our generosity to include those who cannot repay us?

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Saturday 29th October 2022

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is having a meal at the house of a Pharisee and he told the parable about seats at wedding feast. This is very practical advice and if we follow it we know that the chances of us being embarrassed for assuming we are more important than others is greatly reduced.

Putting others first is a good philosophy to adopt and one that resonates very much with the commandment to love our neighbour. Everyone is equal in the sight of God so it is wise to remember that and avoid situations where our pride risks taking a tumble.

This week I have attended a couple of funerals of Diocesan priests as well the Diamond Jubilee of Mgr John Allen. Spending time with my brother priests of the Diocese has been an uplifting and enjoyable experience. I am grateful for these opportunities to come together to support and encourage each other in our priestly ministry.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Friday 28th October 2022

 

Today is the feast of two of the lesser known Apostles Simon and Jude. Simon is eleventh in the list of the twelve Apostles. He is known as Simon the Zealot, but nothing else is known about him.. St Jude, also called Thaddaeus, is the apostle who at the Last Supper asked the Lord why he showed himself only to the disciples and not to the world. For many centuries he was scarcely venerated because people confused him with Judas Iscariot. He is the patron saint of lost and desperate causes and many of us have turned to him for help when situations seem hopeless.

Despite the little we know about these two saints, the most important thing about them is that as Apostles they are part of a building that has the Apostles and Prophets as its foundation. We hear in today’s Gospel, that they were chosen by Jesus after he had had spent the whole night in prayer. Essentially, they were chosen by Jesus to be witnesses to his Resurrection and sent out by Him to proclaim the Gospel, build the Kingdom of God and establish his Church. Like Jesus we should also turn to God in prayer at key moments in our lives. It is always wise to bring the Lord into such moments in our lives especially before we make important decisions.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 27th October 2022

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is very focused on Jerusalem where the Cross await him. Using the image of a hen and her chicks, he laments that he is will not succeed until after his Resurrection to gather, unite and nurture those who do not feel they have anything in common with each other. He really pines for the unity that he knows he can achieve but that it will come at the cost of His Passion and painful Death.

Perhaps we can think today of people that we do not feel we have anything in common with because they are different to us. We think of those of other nationalities, generations, and faiths. These differences can make us a bit fearful of others, but they should instead fill us with great joy. Let us celebrate that God knows each person intimately and deeply loves all of them even though they are quite different to us.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 24th October 2022

 

Today we keep the feast of St Anthony Mary Claret, who was born at Sallent in Catalonia in 1807.  After becoming a priest he spent several years preaching to the people throughout Catalonia and also in the Canary Islands. Returning to Spain, he established a missionary order, and founded a great religious library and publishing house in Barcelona which published millions of cheap copies of ancient and modern Catholic works. In 1851 the Pope appointed him Bishop of Santiago de Cuba. The diocese was in a terrible state and everything needed reform and renewal. He reorganised the seminary, enforced clerical discipline, and regularised thousands of marriages. He built a hospital and many schools. This was not done without opposition and he was the subject of fifteen assassination attempts. Recalled to Spain in 1857 by Queen Isabella II to act as her confessor, he did further great work for the Church. His health began to fail, and he died in 1870 at the Cistercian abbey at Fontfroide.

Today’s extract from the letter to the Ephesians speaks of living as “children of light”. We are to do this by staying away from greed, impurity and vulgar talk. Instead we are called to be kind, tender-hearted and forgiving of each other. When someone is baptised, they have a candle lit from the Paschal Candle which speaks of them being given the promise of eternal life. The prayer that goes with this ritual calls the newly baptised “a child of the light” and bids them to “ keep the flame of faith alive in their heart” so that when the Lord comes they may go out to meet Him.

In today’s Gospel, much to the annoyance of the synagogue leader, Jesus heals on the sabbath, a woman who has been bent double for years by his words and his healing touch. Jesus, without doing a disservice to the sacredness of the sabbath day, does this act of mercy to show that God can be at work doing good at anytime.

Today is the 28 th Anniversary of Fr Humphrey McMahon who was my Parish Priest at St Herbert’s, Chadderton, where I was appointed as a newly ordained a priest. He died unexpectedly aged 59 yo. I have very fond memories of this lovely hospitable man. May St Antony Maty Claret encourage us on our road to join all the saints in eternity through ourselves bringing light to those in darkness through our faithfulness to the Lord and our loving service to one another.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Friday 21st October 2022

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the crowds that just as we use our eyes to observe signs in the weather which enables us to respond appropriately, so too we are asked to interpret the signs of our own times. Jesus is asking us to prayerfully reflect in his presence on what is of God and what is not.

I am really looking forward to the Strung Sung Supper event in Accrington tonight. One of the songs we are doing is the “Sound of Silence” which is a bit poignant for me because until yesterday lunchtime I was living in virtual silence for the last few weeks because my ears were blocked with wax. I feel so liberated now that they are unblocked and the frustration of missing much of what was being said is over because I can hear properly again. I have to admit there was something powerful about the silence that got me to reflect on what it is like to permanently not be able to hear.

Let us pray for all those who are deaf or have hearing difficulties that they may feel appreciated and valued.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 20th October 2022

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus is fully caught up in the doing the Father’s will. The language Jesus uses shows that he clearly thinking about his coming passion and death.

He was “firmly resolved to go to Jerusalem” where he would meet his fate. When he is eventually arrested, Jesus was experienced his great “agony”. He prayed in Gethsemane that the cup could be taken away from him, but ultimately concludes: “Thy will be done”. This is the context for his words about conflict involving his followers. Jesus points out that faith can lead to division within families. However we know that such divisions need not last, because Jesus has a unique ability to break down barriers and even to unite Jew and Gentile, male and female, servant and free into one people. This is the way in which his God’s plan of salvation will be fully accomplished.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Saturday 15th October 2022

 

St Teresa of Ávila was born in 1515 in Ávila in Spain and entered the Carmelite convent there at the age of 20, not because of any great attraction to the religious life but because it seemed the most sensible thing to do. At this time Carmelite convents were comfortable places. The sisters were well looked after, had as much contact with the outside world as one wanted, and could keep one’s own possessions. With time, and despite ill-health, she made great progress in contemplative prayer and had a number of mystical experiences, which she treated with great suspicion since she felt that she was not nearly holy enough to be accorded them by God.  Teresa’s prayer life led her to seek a more perfect life, and in 1562, in the face of much opposition, she founded a convent of Discalced Carmelite nuns in Ávila. “Discalced” (“shoeless”) signified their devotion to poverty.   At length, in 1580, and with the support of King Philip II, the Discalced Carmelites were made independent and St Teresa was able to found more new convents. She died, worn out by her efforts, on 15 October 1582.  St Teresa is an outstanding example of how the contemplative life can well up and overflow into action. In addition to all this, she wrote much on the subject of contemplative prayer and her writings are still standard works today. She was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970.

We are called as disciples to witness to our faith in Christ. It takes courage to do that and sometimes we risk being ridiculed or even rejected because of our faith. We are told in today’s Gospel, by Jesus that when we are being persecuted for our faith then the Holy Spirit will give us the words we need to say. May we always put our trust in the Lord to be at our side whenever we speak up for him.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Friday 14th October 2022

 

Today we keep the feast of third century Pope St Callistus who was a young slave who rose to be archdeacon, and had charge of the Roman catacomb on the Via Appia which now bears his name, and ended up as Pope. Not much is known about how Callistus died. He is the earliest pope found in a fourth-century martyrology, but details are scarce. Since he lived in a time of peace under the emperor Alexander Severus, whose mother was a Christian, he may have been killed in a riot.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that God cares about every aspect of creation. He tells us that even cares about the common sparrow, which does not fall without God knowing about it. He tells us that if God cares about sparrows, then how much more does he care about us. He tells us that God loves us so much, so much that even every hair on our head has been counted. Knowing that God is so interested in us and so involved in our lives and is so close to us, should change the way we relate to him and approach him.

 

May St Callistus inspire us to endure hardship as he did and trust in God’s providence to guide us and help if we, like him, make faithfulness to God our top priority.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 13th October 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Edward the Confessor who was born in 1003 became King of England in 1042. He was regarded as a saint during his lifetime, renowned for his generosity to the Church and to the poor and for his readiness to listen to his subjects’ grievances. He died on 5 January 1066, the last of the old Anglo-Saxon line, and his death precipitated the dynastic quarrels that led to the conquest of England by William of Normandy later the same year. On 13 October 1163 his relics were translated to a new shrine in Westminster Abbey.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus continues to criticise the Pharisees and Religious leaders. He feels they are misinterpreting the Law and thereby putting unnecessary burdens on others. It is important that we follow in the footsteps of the great saints who were always more concerned about working on overcoming their own faults weaknesses and failings rather than dwelling on the faults of others.

May we strive for the humility of St Edward the Confessor, being aware of our failings and so regularly visit the sacrament of Reconciliation to receive the grace of God. May we always look for ways to lift the burdens that others have to carry.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Wed 12th Oct 2022

 

St Wilfrid was born in Northumbria circa 634. As bishop he was the first English bishop to appeal to the Pope. Although reinstated in York, the fell out again with the king and the other bishops and ministered in the East Midlands and finally at Hexham. He died in 709.

 

In Today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they do good things for the wrong reasons. The good that they are doing is to attract attention. He tells them that for all the good they do they are lacking in justice and in the love of God. They are too full of their own importance. As his followers, we are to ensure that any good works that we do should be done for the glory of God and not to receive acclaim and praise from other people.

 

May St Wilfrid teach us to do everything out of love of God and in faithfulness to his holy Church.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Tuesday 11th October 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Pope John XXIII who was born in 1881 Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli in the village of Sotto il Monte, near Bergamo, in 1881. At the age of 11 he entered the seminary at Bergamo and later pursued his studies at the Pontifical Seminary in Rome. He was ordained priest in 1904. He was secretary to the Bishop of Bergamo but from 1921 onwards he served the Holy See directly in various posts, both in Rome and in Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece, culminating as Apostolic Nuncio to France from 1944 until 1953, when he was created cardinal and made the Patriarch of Venice. He was elected Pope in 1958. He convoked the Roman Synod, instituted the revision of Canon Law, and called the Second Vatican Council, which opened on 11 October 1962. He died while the Council was still in session, on the evening of 3 June 1963.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is invited to the house of a Pharisee but the kindness and welcome seems to disguise more sinister intentions. The Pharisees were concerned about appearances and externals like washing rituals, but seemed to ignore the interior and the heart. Jesus strongly confronts these double standards. We are to ensure that our hearts are pure and free from the corruption of selfishness and sin. The way to do this is to ensure we make a priority of love for God and our neighbour. May we always strive to stay away from double standards and practise humility so that we do not get carried away with ourselves.

Today I am thinking about my brother Gerard and my Sister in Law Joanne as they celebrate their 25 th wedding anniversary. We give thanks for all the joys and blessings that have come through their lives together.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 10th October 2022

 

Paulinus was a monk from Rome sent to England by St Gregory the Great in 601. We have an idea of his appearance. St Bede describes him as ‘tall, with a slight stoop, black hair, a thin face, a slender aquiline nose, at once venerable and awe-inspiring in appearance’. In 625 he played a large part in the conversion of Northumberland which by then had become the most powerful of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms,. He accompanied Ethelburga (sister of the King of Kent) when she went north to marry the pagan King Edwin of Northumbria. On Easter Sunday 627 Edwin was baptised along with ‘all the nobility and a large number of humbler folk’ in a wooden chapel in York. He was appointed Archbishop of York by Pope Honorius I in 632. Almost at the same time, his work was cut short by the death of King Edwin while fighting the pagan leader, Cadwallon. Paulinus was persuaded to take the widowed Queen Ethelburga and her children, by sea, to safety in her native Kent. He himself spent the remaining twelve years of his life as Bishop of Rochester. He died there in 644.

In today’s Gospel we contrast the request of the Jewish people who ask Jesus for a sign with the faith of Gentiles. He tells them that the only sign they are to be given is the sign of Jonah. In saying this, Jesus is referring to the conversion of much loathed and feared Assyrians of Nineveh who repented when God spoke to them through the prophet Jonah. By the sign of Jonah he perhaps also refers to his Resurrection. Jesus also refers to the Queen of Sheba, who was most likely from Ethiopia, who represents someone from the far ends of the earth as far the Jews are concerned. Yet she came from a great distance to experience the God-given Wisdom of King Solomon. As we know Jesus to be God, he rightly asserts that his presence is greater than Solomon and Jonah.

May we in this coming week we rejoice at the opportunities we have to grow in our Christian faith and to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to express this faith in witness and in action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 29th September 2022

 

Today is the feast of the Archangels: St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael. Angels are God’s messengers but when a message of huge significance is needed then an Archangel with a name was sent. St. Michael is one of the principal angels; his name means one who is like God ~ his name was the war-cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against the enemy and his followers. Four times his name is recorded in Scripture. Michael is sent whenever an act of wondrous power needed to be carried out. We should call upon the help of St Michael when sin seems to be getting the better of us in the daily battle between good and evil for our souls

St Gabriel whose name means the strength of God, appears in the book of Daniel to explain some of the prophet’s visions, and was also the bearer in Luke’s Gospel, of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the news to Zacchariah about John the Baptist. We think of how like with Mary, God is constantly inviting us to say yes to his Son and to respond daily through a life of faithfulness and love.

St Raphael is found In the Book of Tobit, he is the angel who heals Tobit of his blindness. His name means God heals. The Good Samaritan brought healing to the man he found dying by the side of the road with his healing oil and wine ~ at the core of the Church, is the mission to bring salvation through healing and forgiveness of sin.

May the Archangels make us like God, bring us strength and in these challenging times especially his healing.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Wednesday 28th September 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Wensceslaus who was born in Bohemia in 907 and was a Christian in a pagan land. He became king and encouraged the faith, bringing back priests, building churches and practising a life of charity and care for the poor. His brother became jealous of him and had him killed in 935.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus highlights some of the attributes required of a disciple. In the conversation with the man who says he will follow him wherever he goes, Jesus speaks of the uncertainty of life that goes with being a disciple. This lack of certainty and comfort is overcome by putting our trust in Christ. The second and third men were both invited by Jesus to follow him. They both give reasons as to not yet being ready to follow him: “bury the dead” or “say goodbye to family”. Jesus is telling us that the call discipleship is a call to be always open to do the will of the Lord and to serve him and in one another. Discipleship, he tells us is costly, in fact it costs us not less than everything.

May St Wenscelaus who faithfully served the Lord in so many ways, enable us to be willing to pay the price for being a Christian; may we be ever ready and willing to trust in the promise of help from Jesus and continue to look forward with Him at our side and not look back.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Tuesday 27th September 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Vincent de Paul who was born in Aquitaine and became a priest. He devoted his whole life to the service of the poor. He founded a congregation of priests for missionary work, groups of laymen to help the poor and galley-slaves, and, with St Louise de Marillac, the Sisters of Charity.

 

We are blessed to have in our parish the presence of the very active St Vincent de Paul Society who work to serve the poor and needy across the parish. As we thank the Lord for all the good things that they do, may we look at ways that we can practically support their invaluable work.

 

We reach a key stage in the life of Jesus in today’s Gospel as we hear that he resolutely heads towards Jerusalem, where he knows he will face his Passion and Death. This speaks to us of Jesus’ obedience and faithfulness to his mission and should encourage us to persevere with our commitments even if the personal cost is high. Because he is heading to Jerusalem, he is refused entrance into the Samaritan village where he planned to stay. Such rejection of Jesus angers the disciples but Jesus however gives us a great example of how to handle rejection. He retains his serenity and his dignity, showing great patience by simply accepting their choice and walking away to proclaim the Kingdom elsewhere.

 

May we too, imitate St Vincent de Paul in his commitment to serve the poor and vulnerable and ask the Lord’s blessing upon the great work done by our wonderful parish SVP Conference.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 27th September 2022

 

Today is the feast of the Martyrs Ss Cosmas and Damian who are buried at Cyrrhus in Syria, where a basilica was constructed in their honour. In the fifth century their cult spread rapidly through the entire Church. Nothing whatever is known about them, and many extravagant legends have grown up; but despite the fact that many pagan mythological stories have attached themselves to them, it is certain that they did really exist. In the first reading, we get the beginning of the Book of Job, to whom we are told a whole spate of terrible misfortunes all happened to his livestock, his staff and his family. However, we are told that throughout all this tragedy Job remained resolute and strong in his faith in God.

In today’s Gospel the disciples tell Jesus that they tried to stop a man who was not of their number acting in the name of Jesus. This prompts Jesus to come out with the powerful words: “Anyone who is not against you is for you”. I think this urges us to look at what we have in common with other people of different faiths and none, as we can always find common ground with everyone. And as regards our fellow Christians of other denominations we should also look at ways we can work together and pray together, rather than concentrate on our differences.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Friday 23rd September 2022

 

St Pius of Pietrelcina was born in 1887 in the small village of Pietrelcina in southern Italy, and joined the Capuchin friars at the age of 16. He became a priest seven years later, and spent fifty years at the monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he was very much sought after as a spiritual advisor, confessor, and intercessor. Many miracles were popularly ascribed to him during his lifetime. He died a few days after the fiftieth anniversary of his receiving the stigmata, and over 100,000 people attended his funeral.

 

Today’s first reading about there being a time for everything in life, does ring true with me because we do find ourselves doing all these different activities at different times in our life. These activities include; “a time to throw stones away and a time to gather stones” and “a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking”. I think the reading asks us to treasure each of the different activities that we have to carry out at different times in our lives and to put our heart and soul into doing them to the best of our ability.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus ask the disciples who they say that he is and we eter say that he believes Jesus to be the Christ the Son of the Living God. At very difficult times in our lives such as the death of a loved one, we will be greatly helped if we too can put Peter’s profession of faith on our own lips.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 22nd September 2022

 

In the First reading we hear of the Book of Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun. This is a bit cynical and implies there is no point in trying to be creative or original; but the author is urging us to pursue wisdom in this life. If we pursue wisdom this will surely lead us to God and then all our activities in life are worthwhile and have a purpose.

In today’s Gospel, we hear that King Herod was curious about who Jesus was and desired to meet Him. In the Gospels, Herod is portrayed as being rather shallow ~ his curiosity will sadly not lead him to faith in Jesus. This should urge us away from being cynical and strive instead for wisdom. If our desire for Wisdom is deeper than mere curiosity then it should lead us to deeper faith in who Jesus is for us and will hopefully result in us wanting to know Him more deeply and be more faithful to his Gospel.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 19th September 2022

 

St Theodore of Tarsus was born in 601 in Tarsus, in modern Turkey. A Greek by birth, he became a monk in Italy. He was not ordained priest until at the age of 65 he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by Pope Vitalian. He arrived in England in 669 and spent the rest of his life reorganising and reforming the life of the Church throughout the country, holding visitations and synods, establishing new dioceses and a great school at Canterbury, and reconciling divisions between the Celtic and Roman ecclesiastical traditions. He died at Canterbury on 19 th September 690. He is remembered for his scholarship and for bringing unity and organisation to a divided church.

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus talks of a lamp lighting up the whole of a room. He says that you wouldn’t cover up such a lamp as this would prevent the lamp from doing what it is intended for. He says that in a similar way, the light of our faith should also be allowed to shine out and not be concealed or hidden. The way we allow the light of faith to shine brightly is by living lives that are in accordance to the Gospel. It should also reflect the way we live our lives. We are to be people to hear the word of God gratefully and listen to it and live it out lovingly and faithfully.

 

Today is a poignant day for our country as we celebrate the funeral of Queen Elizabeth. May we be filled with gratitude at the well-kept promises she made when she came to the throne and ask the Lord to keep his promises to have mercy upon her soul and welcome her into his eternal kingdom.

 

May St Theodore who let his faith in Christ shine brightly in difficult times, pray for us and inspire us to listen to the Gospel and to live it out to the best of our ability.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Saturday 10th September 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Ambrose Barlow, who is a patron of our Diocese. Ambrose was born at Barlow Hall, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, near Manchester in 1585. He was the fourth son of the nobleman Sir Alexander Barlow and his wife Mary. His family suffered for adhering to the Catholic faith. In 1597, Ambrose was taken into the stewardship of a relative who would care for him whilst he served out his apprenticeship as a page. However, upon completing this service, Ambrose realised that his true vocation was for the Catholic priesthood, so he trained at both Douai in France and at Valladolid in Spain. In 1615, he returned to Douai where he became a member of the Order of Saint Benedict and was ordained as a priest in 1617. He then returned to Morley’s Hall, Astley. From there he looked after the local Catholics. He would often visit his cousins, the Downes, at their residence of Wardley Hall and celebrate Mass for the gathered congregation. He was arrested several times during his travels. On 25 April 1641, Easter Sunday, Ambrose was arrested for the last time and taken to Lancaster Castle. He appeared before the presiding judge, Sir Robert Heath, on the 7 September when he professed his adherence to the Catholic faith and defended his actions. On 10 th September, he was taken from Lancaster Castle and executed.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to his disciples of the persecution that will be inevitable for his followers. He himself will face his Passion and death. He prophesied that most of the Apostles will be martyred, to bear witness to their faith in him. He tells them that they will have to face having to give an account of themselves as “they will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness…”. He reassures them not to worry about what to say when they are in such situations because the Holy Spirit will speak in them. As we know, St Ambrose confidently professed his Catholic faith when held to account.

 

May we never forget the faith of the English martyrs who like St Ambrose Barlow bravely helped to keep the faith alive in what is the Diocese of Salford. May we feel united today as a Diocese with Bishop John and all the priests and people of our Diocese.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Friday 9th September 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Peter Claver, who was born in Catalonia in 1581 and studied at the university of Barcelona. He became a Jesuit and was encouraged to evangelise the New World. He arrived in what is now Columbia in 1610 and worked to meet the spiritual and materials needs of the slaves for some thirty three years. He brought fresh food to the slave ships and baptised them in the faith. He followed their progress and kept track of them even when they were sent to the mines and plantations. He also defended them as best he could from oppressive slave-owners. He organised teams of catechists who spoke the many languages that the slaves spoke.

He worked in hospitals and prisons and was particularly caring to the lepers. His work attracted criticism from within and outside of the Church. At the end of his life, he fell ill with a degenerative disease and for four years was treated neglectfully and brutally by the servant whose task it was to look after him. He died in 1654.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about how blind we can be to our own sins but be readily able to notice the faults of other people. He says that if we do not notice our own sins but instead home in on the sins of other people, then we are “blind guides” and therefore have no right to be doing such things unless we are first prepared to get our own act together first. He says we are trying to be the blind leading the blind. He says that if we really want to be pleasing to God and helpful to others, then we need to firstly work on our own weaknesses and failings first. Only then can we see clearly enough to help someone else with overcoming their own sins.

Let us pray this day on this 21 st anniversary, for all the victims of the 9/11 atrocity. We also pray for all who are blind that they may receive the help and respect they deserve. May St Peter Claver urge us to be faithful to the Lord’s teaching by showing love to all those we encounter regardless of their status or position in society so that we may be counted among the saints ourselves.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Tuesday 6th September 2022

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls his Twelve Apostles. They all seemed quite ordinary men but they would go onto do extraordinary things. None of these men at the time seemed particularly remarkable but they did prove themselves to be extraordinary once they had received the Spirit at Pentecost.

 

The significance of the twelve is that where Israel was founded on the twelve tribes, they rule over the New Israel which is the Church. So the twelve Apostles become the foundations of the Church. The word Apostle actually comes from the Greek Word “Apostello” which means “to send out”. The Apostles therefore are sent out by Christ into the world to proclaim the Good News as witnesses to the Resurrection. The successors to St Peter and the Apostles are the pope and bishops. They too have been called by Christ and also “sent out” to the world to proclaim the Gospel. Our bishops continue a lineage that goes right back to Jesus and the Apostles.

 

May the Lord help our bishops to serve Him with humility and holiness and may they be given the strength and courage to always resist temptation.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Saturday 3rd September 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Gregory the Great, who was born in 540 in Rome and followed the career of public service that was usual for the son of an aristocratic family. He eventually became Prefect of the city of Rome, a post he held for some years. He founded a monastery in Rome as well as some others in Sicily, then became a monk himself. After being ordained a deacon, he was sent as an envoy for 5 years to Constantinople. On this day 590, he was elected pope and thus became the first monk to attain this office. He brought about reforms in the Church’s administration and was especially kind to the poor and prisoners. He sent Augustine and his monks to England in 596 and provided them with ongoing support and advice. He died on 12 th March 604. Gregory chose St Augustine of Canterbury to be generous and give totally of himself, when he sent him and his monks to England. For this reason, Gregory is often called the Apostle to the English.


May we be grateful to him for his consideration and vision in desiring to evangelize our country. The successors of Peter are also given the Lord’s authority to be the rock for the Church. They are given the keys of the Kingdom to loose and to bind just as Peter was, as we heard in today’s Gospel.

 

May we be also inspired by St Gregory in the way we proclaim the Gospel by the example of our daily lives and my our generosity in being willing to give totally of ourselves for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Thursday 1st September 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Edmund Arrowsmith who was born in 1585 in Haydock in Lancashire. His father was a yeoman farmer and his mother was a member of an important Lancashire Catholic family. At the age of 20, he left England and went to the English College at Douai, in France, to study for the priesthood. He was ordained in Arras on 9 th December 1612 and sent on to the English Mission a year later. He ministered to the Catholics of Lancashire without incident until around 1622, when he was arrested and questioned by the Anglican Bishop of Chester. Edmund was released when King James I of England ordered all arrested priests to be freed. In 1624 Edmund joined the Jesuits. In the summer of 1628, he was denounced to the authorities, put on trial and sentenced to death for being a Roman Catholic priest in England. He was executed at Lancaster on 28 August 1628.

 

Today we give thanks for 150 years of the presence of the Sisters of Mercy in Burnley. We give thanks to the Lord for their powerful witness to our Catholic faith in our town. In doing so we think of the individual sisters who responded to the Lord’s call to serve him in the Religious Life. We give thanks for all that the community have given to and received so much from the people of Burnley during that long period.

 

In today’s Gospel we hear the Lord tell his disciples not to worry about what to say when they face trials and persecution for their faith. He says the Spirit will give them the words that they need at such times.  May St Edmund Arrowsmith inspire us and guide us during our difficult times to remain faithful and steadfast in faith and trusting in the words of Our Lord.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Tuesday 30th August 2022

 

Margaret Clitherow was born in York and lived there all her life. At the age of 15 she married a butcher, John Clitherow, and three years later became a Catholic. Imprisoned for her non-attendance at the Protestant church, she taught herself to read, and on her release ran a small school for her own and her neighbours’ children. Her husband, although he remained a Protestant himself, allowed her to hide priests in the house. In 1586 the secret hiding places were discovered and Margaret was put on trial. As the law then stood, to be found guilty would have meant destitution for her children, so she refused to plead: thus she could not be tried, and instead was crushed to death with a heavy stone, on 25 March 1586.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus goes to his home village of Nazareth where he cannot do very much because they do not have faith in who he is. In his address in the synagogue he also highlights his mission to everyone in need regardless of their nationality, social status or religion. He identifies with the words of the prophet Isaiah as one who bring good news for the poor . He also identifies with Elijah and Elisha whose ministry involved reaching out to Gentiles. At first, they seem delighted, but they still don’t accept what he is saying or believe who he is and in the end want to kill him. The whole episode would surely have been very challenging and disappointing for the Lord.

 

As Christians from time to time we will face similar resistance and opposition from those who do not welcome the Lord and his Goodnews. May St Margaret Clitherow help us in such times to remain strong and steadfast in our commitment to the Lord.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Saturday 27th August 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Monica who was born in 331 in Thagaste in Africa, of a Christian family. She married Patricus, when she was quite young and although a difficult marriage, Monica persevered and tried to love her husband as best as she could. Among her children was St Augustine. who had a brilliant intellect but uncertain morals and he was all over the place spiritually. She prayed unceasingly to God for her son’s conversion and her prayers were answered shortly before she died. She had a deep faith and outstanding virtues, and is a wonderful example of the virtue of patience in a Christian mother.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the talents. Two of the three characters in the parable prove successful with the talents entrusted to them by their master and use them wisely thereby affirming the trust the master put in them The third man, however out of fear of his master, did nothing with his one talent and simply buried it in the ground and returned it as it was to its owner. The master is very happy with the first two recipients of his trust but is disappointed and angry with the third one.

We are all trusted by God with the gift of life and he wants us to make something of it. We come into the world with nothing but we are capable of making a huge difference with our lives if we choose to do so. This is because we are called to live according to Jesus’ law of love and he wants us to show love in return. We are called to get to know Jesus and to listen to him and to respond to his message in order to be pleasing to God and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Saturday 27th August 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Monica who was born in 331 in Thagaste in Africa, of a Christian family. She married Patricus, when she was quite young and although a difficult marriage, Monica persevered and tried to love her husband as best as she could. Among her children was St Augustine. who had a brilliant intellect but uncertain morals and he was all over the place spiritually. She prayed unceasingly to God for her son’s conversion and her prayers were answered shortly before she died. She had a deep faith and outstanding virtues, and is a wonderful example of the virtue of patience in a Christian mother.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the talents. Two of the three characters in the parable prove successful with the talents entrusted to them by their master and use them wisely thereby affirming the trust the master put in them The third man, however out of fear of his master, did nothing with his one talent and simply buried it in the ground and returned it as it was to its owner. The master is very happy with the first two recipients of his trust but is disappointed and angry with the third one.

We are all trusted by God with the gift of life and he wants us to make something of it. We come into the world with nothing but we are capable of making a huge difference with our lives if we choose to do so. This is because we are called to live according to Jesus’ law of love and he wants us to show love in return. We are called to get to know Jesus and to listen to him and to respond to his message in order to be pleasing to God and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Friday 26th August 2022

 

Blesssed Dominic Barberi was born near Viterbo, Italy, in 1792 and joined the Passionist Order, urged on by an inner assurance that God called him to work as a missionary in England. He was ordained a priest in 1818 and worked in Italy and Belgium before coming to England in 1841. His first foundation was at Aston Hall in Staffordshire; he established four Passionist houses in all, and received many Anglicans into full communion, the most famous being John Henry Newman, who was received at Littlemore near Oxford on 9 October 1845.. He favoured a higher profile for the small Catholic body in England. He died at Reading on 27 August 1849 and was beatified by Pope Paul VI in 1963.

 

The Gospel at Mass today is the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. It’s a Gospel at one level, that speaks about the wisdom of being pragmatic and planning ahead for a worst case scenario, in anything that we do. When we are baptised the baptismal candle speaks of keeping the flame alive in our hearts. Our parents and godparents are entrusted to look after our faith until we are old enough to take responsibility for it ourselves. The Gospel speaks of making sure the light of our faith never goes out.

 

We are to always be alert and ready like the five wise virgins for the Lord to call us and he expects us to be ready for him with the light of our faith proudly shining forth.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Monday 21st August 2022

 

The doctrine of the Assumption was promulgated in 1951, with its feast on 15 August. As was normal for the greater feasts, this celebration was echoed for a week afterwards, and today’s memorial of Our Lady, Mother and Queen, marks the conclusion of that period of celebration.

We remember that the Blessed Virgin reigns in heaven together with her Son. She reigns not because she is in any way equal to God but because she is the mother of Christ the King. Her privileges come from her willingly agreeing to become the Mother of God and make our redemption possible.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the “woes” of Jesus against the Pharisees and religious leaders because they are not practising what they preach. He accuses of them of being hypocrites ~ which comes from the Greek word “hypokrites” which means an actor. He is accusing them of having double standards ~ telling people what they should be doing but not actually doing it themselves. They are only playing a part because they not being true to themselves.

Let us pray through Mary Queen and Mother for all those in positions of authority that they are able to practise what they preach.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Friday 19th August 2022

 

Today is the feast of St John Eudes, who was born in Normandy in 1601. He founded a congregation of priests dedicated to running seminaries. The setting up of seminaries ensured the proper education of priests was seen as really essential to counter the issues that the Church faced at that time. He actively encouraged devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Encouraging devotion to the Sacred Heart at the time was seen as quite necessary and really radical. He died in Normandy in 1680.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is asked about which of the commandments is the greatest. He replies by putting two different commandments together. By putting love for God and love for others together, Jesus is saying that the two are inseparable: so when we show love for our neighbour, we are also
showing love for God. Jesus gives us a great example of how to live the commandments by the obedience he showed to His Father and the love he showed to everyone, especially the poor and needy.

By being obedient to God and serving lovingly our neighbours, we will also embrace the Cross in our own lives. May we ask the guidance of St John Eudes upon all who are involved in running our seminaries. May we be inspired to live in such a way that the Lord’s light may shine through our words and actions each day.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Thursday 18th August 2022

 

In the first reading at Mass, we hear the Lord speaking through Ezekiel of removing our heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh. To call somebody “stoned-hearted” means they lack compassion and mercy. The reading speaks of God’s desire for us to repent and turn to him through the mercy and forgiveness being offered to us by him.

The Gospel builds on this, with Jesus telling the parable of the wedding Feast. The message is that if those who are expected to come to Heaven refuse to respond to the invitation, then the Lord will widen his net and invite those least likely to respond.

May we be lead us closer to Christ and urge us in a gentle way to have a change of heart and turn away from sin and turn back to God.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Wednesday 17th August 2022

 

At first hearing of today’s Gospel we are tempted to sympathise with those who grumble at the fact that all workers are paid the same regardless of how many hours they have worked. Jesus is here putting the spotlight on envy which is basically a feeling of sadness at the good fortune of others. Let us reflect on occasions when we have been envious of what others have, and let’s ask for the grace to be able to transform that envy into gratitude to God.

 

I find it helpful to see today’s Gospel through the eyes of someone who has experienced the pain of feeling rejected or overlooked. It gets me to see the significance for the Church of trying to reach out to everyone , especially the marginalised. There are many people who are “11th hour workers” just waiting for their opportunity in life. The Gospel tells me that God wants no one to be rejected, forgotten or overlooked, because everyone matters to him.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Tuesday 15th August 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Stephen of Hungary, who was born in 969, the son of a pagan father and a Christian mother. He worked hard for the conversion of his country to Christianity setting up both episcopal sees and monasteries. He was crowned the first King of Hungary in 1001. St Stephen is the patron of Hungary where his feast day is a public holiday marked on 20th August.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is talking to his disciples after the encounter with the rich young man that we heard about in yesterday’s Gospel. He tells them that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. He is speaking of the impossible, however he tells them that everything is possible for God. These are occasions when we really cannot see a way to navigate them, but somehow we find the strength to get us through. I believe that the strength we receive is God-given grace and it is real and it really does transform the impossible into the possible. Let us always bring the Lord into our “impossible” situations and confidently trust that he will help us find the way to the other side of them.

 

Today is the 12 th anniversary of my good friend Fr Michael Ryan who died at the age of 47 years old. We did not have much in common as regards interests, , however despite this, we somehow struck a bond as friends and I am so grateful for all that we shared together in over 20 years of friendship. Fr. Michael said to me just a few days before he died; please offer Mass for me each year on my anniversary. I will once again this year mark his anniversary by remembering him fondly at the altar. Let us remember Fr Michael for his sense of fun, his creative ideas, his courage in the face of suffering, his commitment to being a priest in the Diocese of Salford, his family and the difference he has made to many peoples’ lives.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Monday 15th August 2022

 

In today’s Gospel we encounter the rich young man who asks Jesus “What more do need I to do?”. The encounter suggests that that the young man is restless and is searching for something more. Jesus suggests that he is looking for perfection. The young man goes away sad because Jesus challenges him to get rid of all his wealth and then follow him. What Jesus asked of the young man was very radical and very challenging.

 

The young man’s response implies that he found great comfort and strength in his wealth and riches. This was something that he felt he could not live without. Clinging to his wealth was perhaps the very thing that was holding him back from discovering what God was asking him to do with his life.

 

Whenever we come before the Lord in prayer, we can dare to ask the Lord “What more do I need to do?” If we do this, we too should be prepared for a challenging response. The Lord will surely remind us of any barriers that may be in the way of attaining perfection. And being totally prepared to give of ourselves in service of God and others.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Saturday 13th August 2022

 

Hippolytus was a priest and a learned man, the most important writer of the Church at Rome in the early third century. He strongly attacked the popes of the time, and was set up as a rival Pope to St Callistus. Some time later, in Maximin’s persecution, he was sent to labour in the quarries of Sardinia. There he met the then Pope, Pontian, and was reconciled with him. Pontian was made Pope in 231, and was sent to the quarries in 235, where he resigned the papacy and died.

Pontian’s successor, Fabian, had both bodies brought back to Rome for burial, and Pontian and Hippolytus were already being venerated by the Roman Church by the start of the fourth century.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples to let the little children come to him for it is such as they that the Kingdom belongs. Adults like to be independent, we can sometimes be less than straightforward in our dealings and we like to be self sufficient , which can lead to us thinking we can do without God and other people. On the other hand, Children operate out of purity of intention and also know they need God and others in their life. May we child-like in our approach to life and thereby become pleasing to Jesus

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Friday 12th August 2022

 

Today we celebrate the feast of St Jane Frances de Chantel, who was born in Dijon in France in 1572 and married a nobleman called de Chantel by whom she had six children, whom she brought up in the faith. When her husband died, she placed herself under the guidance of St Francis de Sales and progressed rapidly along the road of perfection. She performed many good works for the poor and the sick. She founded the Order of the Visitation and was a wise guide to the Order.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives a statement on marriage which is really the basis of the Church’s teaching on marriage and divorce. He makes the statement that when a man and a woman get married, the two become one ; therefore they are united by God and so they no longer two but are one body. The couple becomes 2 halves of the same whole. We call this the “bond of marriage”, which though invisible is binding. We therefore believe that divorce is not strong enough to break this bond. Let us give thanks for all those who enjoy lasting and healthy marriages. Let us pray for those whose marriages have caused the couple heartache and pain.

.


Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Thursday 11th August 2022

 

Today is the Feast of St Clare, who was born circa 1193 at Assisi and came under the influence of Saint Francis. She left home at the age of 18 and, under Francis’s guidance, began a community that grew to become the order of the Poor Clare. In its radical attachment to poverty the Rule of the order was much more severe than that of any other order of nuns. In 1215 Clare obtained from the Pope the privilege of owning nothing, so that the nuns of the order were to be sustained by alms and nothing else. Such a = rule was both a challenge to established structures and a risk to those who followed it, and successive Popes tried to modify it.. Clare was a noted contemplative and a caring mother to her nuns. She died at Assisi in 1253.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the unforgiving servant in answer to Peter’s question about how many times we are to forgive others when they wrong us. The answer given to Peter by Jesus is simply to say that God will always forgive us for our sins if we repent but we should also always forgive others time after time too. It is not easy to forgive and forget when we have been wronged but it is healthy for us. The parable shows that if we want to be forgiven the huge debt of our sins by God, then we in turn need to be prepared to forgive the sins of those who have treated us badly. Let us simply remember that it is always the right thing to forgive.

On Tuesday we had our parish trip to St Anne’s on sea and Fr Damien was really taken at the sense of community that the trip generated and how everyone cared for each other. A neighbouring parish priest accompanied by a businessman friend came to visit St Mary’s church on the same Tuesday afternoon during church cleaning time. After his visit he rang me to say how inspired he had been by the sense of community that he witnessed in the welcome they received and the dedication and sense of ownership that he sensed in witnessing the team at work. It was very heartening to hear such comments from two of my brother priests, so clearly we are doing something right.

.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Wednesday 10th August 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Lawrence who was one of the seven deacons of the Church of Rome and was executed on this day in 258, just four days after the death of Sixtus II and his companions. Not much is known for certain about him, but he is believed to come from Toledo in Spain. Fifty years after his death, the Emperor Constantine had a basilica built over Lawrence’s tomb. The anniversary of his martyrdom was kept as a solemn feast and by the 6 th century, it was one of the most important feasts throughout much of western Christendom.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of the need to be generous with the giving of our time in service of one another. He speaks of the grain of wheat falling to the ground and dying and yielding a rich harvest. He is referring to his own death; how he has to give of himself in order for him to rise from the dead. His Resurrection will result in the abundant harvest of the salvation of so many souls.

In today’s first reading, St Paul tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. He also tells us that we should be generous with our gifts and resources and be prepared to willingly and joyfully share them with others. We all know the pleasure we get when we give something which is genuinely needed and appreciated. God will always bless in abundance all the good that we do, and we will always receive more than we give when we do it with a glad and generous heart.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Tuesday 9th August 2022

 

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was born in 1891 as Edith Stein into a practising Jewish family. She had a distinguished career as a philosopher and received a doctorate at the University of Freiburg. She entered a Carmelite monastery in Cologne and took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Her order moved her to the Netherlands to keep her safe from the growing Nazi threat. Teresa Benedicta was taken to Auschwitz and killed with her sister Rosa on 9 August 1942.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the parable of the ten bridesmaids waiting for the bride-groom to arrive, so they could escort him to the wedding feast. These bridesmaids represent believers who are waiting for Christ the groom to come. The five wise bridesmaids bring extra oil, the others do not.

Life is full of uncertainty so we should be always ready for the Lord to come. The Lord can call us to himself at any moment and expects us to be ready at all times. If our lives are centred on serving Christ then we are going to be ready for the Lord at all times. It requires us to be focused on the needs of others and not just on ourselves.

May St Teresa Benedicta inspire us to centre our lives on Christ and remain faithful to his Gospel, no matter how challenging it might be.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Monday 8th August 2022

 

St Dominic was born in 1170 in Castile and became a canon of the cathedral in Osma. He joined Bishop Diego de Azevedo in a mission of preaching against the Albigensian heresy that was pervading southern France at the time. He always tried to live simply and always resorted to preaching and persuasion in his arguments. In 1216 he founded the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) dedicated to saving souls by this same preaching and persuasion technique.

The Dominicans put great importance on poverty, both of the community and the individual. They believed in the need to be involved directly in the world while living some form of monastic life. Dominic died at Bologna on 6 th August 1221.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the encounters about payment of the temple tax involving Peter and Jesus. Using a miracle Jesus resolves the potential conflict in order not to give offence. I think the scenario gets us to think about the trivial things in life that sometimes get us worked up and stressed and result in us expending a lot of unnecessary energy and effort.

Jesus wisely gets us to not get ourselves too worked up about such situations and gives us clear guidance about such things.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Thursday 4th August 2022

 

Today is the feast of St John Vianney, the Cure of Ars. Born in 1796 of peasant farmers, he was not the ideal candidate for the priesthood as he had missed out on a lot of his schooling. Therefore he really struggled with all the studies which were in Latin. However on the strength of his devoutness he was eventually accepted. In 1818 he was sent to the isolated village of Ars en Dombes, quite a distance from Lyon, where he remained there for the rest of his life. He was a noted preacher and a celebrated Confessor.

 

People in their thousands came from everywhere to see him and receive his wisdom and guidance. He lived very simply and spent up to eighteen hours a day in the Confessional. Because of this, Ars became a place of pilgrimage, a status it still enjoys today. Given John Vianney’s difficult start to his priestly life, it is amazing that he has become the patron of all priests and thereby the model for us all to follow. This is a perfect example of the Church’s doctrine given by St Thomas Aquinas hat the Grace of God builds on nature. At the core of this great saint was a natural goodness that was blatantly.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples “Who do you say that I am? “ It is a question that is so powerfully answered by Peter who says that he sees Jesus as the Christ the Son of the Living God. Jesus responds that such an answer could only be given to Peter by the Father. This is a moment of pure Grace. Grace is the freely given gift from God that helps us at certain times in our lives and gives us the strength and confidence to understand the depths of our faith and who God is for us. Grace helps to deepen our faith and understanding of it. We receive grace when we read the Scriptures, the Sacraments and in prayer. It can also be granted to us spontaneously and unexpectedly to equip us for our pilgrimage of life.

 

May St John Vianney, the patron of our Deanery, encourage all our priests to shine in humility and love for the Lord. May they share the humble saint’s zeal for the Sacrament of Reconciliation through which priests are channels of God’s mercy and compassion.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Wednesday 3rd August 2022

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus encounters a Canaanite woman who pleads with him for her daughter who is sick. He initially seems to ignore her than when she blatantly confronts him, He seems to be at first quite harsh then almost playful in his comments about the housedogs and the food of the children. However she is insistent and ultimately impresses Jesus was impressed with her faith and so he grants this pagan woman what she asks for her daughter.

I think that the Lord was also taken with the woman’s humility as well as her faith. She was able to accept humbly the truths that Jesus was telling her and yet this made her more determined to persevere with her request of Jesus. The result of this combination of humility and faith enabled Jesus to show divine mercy upon her and grant the help she was requesting.

May we imitate this woman in our humility and our confidence in approaching the Lord in faith for our needs. If we do this then we are unlikely to be disappointed.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Tuesday 2nd August 2022

 

Today we remember St Peter Julian Eymard who was born in 1811 in the town of La Mure in France. He was ordained a priest in 1834 and having a great devotion to the Eucharist he founded the Priests of the Blessed Sacrament, who dedicated themselves to encouraging love for Holy Eucharist. He died in La Mure on 1 st August 1868.

 

In today’s Gospel we hear the account of Jesus walking on water. He is able to reveal his divinity by walking upon the waters of the rough sea towards the Apostles in the boat. Amazingly Peter gets out of the boat in the middle of the storm and starts walking on the water towards Jesus. It is only when his fears get the better of him that he begins to sink, but he rightly calls out to Jesus to help him.

 

We too can do amazing things if we remain focused on Christ. Jesus promises to stay with us on our journey through the trials and crises of life.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Mon 1st August 2022

 

St Alphonsus Liguouri was born in 1696 near Naples. He was from a large family of nobility. He was gifted at many things including music and wrote many hymns. After university he gained a Doctorate in both civil and canon law and began his career in the legal profession. Despite opposition from his father, in 1723 he entered seminary and was ordained a priest in 1726 aged 30 years old. He spent his first years as a priest with the homeless and marginalised young people of Naples. He did much other missionary work among the poor and needy within the Kingdom of Naples. In 1932 he funded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (CSSR) better known as the Redemptorists. Their purpose was to bring the Good News of the Gospel to the poorest and most abandoned people. He wrote many works on spirituality and theology. However he is perhaps most greatly appreciated for his contribution to Moral Theology within the Church. He was made a Bishop in 1762 and died in Pagini on this day 1787. He is Patron of Confessors and Moralists.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus feeds a multitude with just a few loaves and a couple of fish. He does this out of compassion for the huge crowd of people who find themselves through their desire to hear what he had to teach them in a lonely place a fair way from home. He also did it to give authenticity to all that he had been teaching them about God’s love and care for them. The 12 baskets full of scraps simply highlight the fact that the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish had really taken place.

I am happy to be back after having a few days away from the parish last week. It gave me a chance to spend time with my friend Fr Martin in Newcastle and also to visit my Uncle Peter (my dad’s brother) and Aunty Kathleen (my mam’s sister) in the North East. We also had a couple of days walking in the beautiful Scottish Borders which is a lovely part of the world. The experience has refreshed and re-energised me.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Sat 23rd July 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Bridget of Sweden, Patroness of Europe. She was very much attached to Christ. She was married to Ulf, a nobleman and they had 8 children. At the age of 30, she was summoned to the court of the King of Sweden and served as a Lady in Waiting to the queen. After a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella in Spain, she and her husband decided to spend the rest of their lives in monasteries. Bridget founded a double monastery for men and women as the start of a new monastic order. In 1350 she travelled to Rome for the Holy year and spent the rest of the year there caring for the poor and the sick, denouncing the excesses of the aristocracy and firmly telling the Pope to return to Rome from Avignon.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the farmer who allows the weeds to grow alongside the wheat. The farmer is seen as tolerant and patient. We can see our lives of being a mixture of wheat and weeds, virtues and vices, light and darkness. We are involved in a daily struggle for the wheat of our lives to grow strong as it competes for survival with the weeds. This also calls us to be patient and keep trusting in the goodness of God. This Gospel should fill us with hope that despite our failings and sins, God gives us every chance to overcome them and repent of them.

We remember this day, the joyful Brigitine sisters on this their feast day. We give thanks for their mission and ministry of service and hospitality, which I have personally benefitted from on a number of occasions over the years. Saint Bridget should inspire us to take the time to reflect on the direction our lives are taking. May the Lord strengthen us in our daily battle with temptation to sin and allow the virtues of our lives to outgrow the vices.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Fri 22nd July 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Mary Magdalene who was healed by Jesus of “Seven devils”. She ministered to him In Galilee and was present when He was on the cross. Mary was also in the group of women who were the first to discover the empty tomb. It was to Mary that the Risen Lord Jesus first appeared after his resurrection. She was chosen therefore to have unique and important role in the story of the Resurrection.

Today’s Gospel is the one we have on Easter Sunday. Mary does not recognise the Risen Jesus when he approaches her but she mistakes him for the gardener. It is only when Jesus calls her by her name that she recognises that it is truly Jesus. He has an important message for her to give to the disciples.

If we, like Mary, have got to know the Lord through a life of service and prayer, then the Lord will know us and we should recognise his voice when he speaks to us. He has an important message for us too and we need to be ready to catch this message. This is all possible because of Easter. The best way we can be missionary ourselves is to have an authentic and faithful relationship with the Risen Christ.

On this her feast day, may St Mary Magdalene gently guide us closer to Christ, who yearns for us to make him known to a needy world.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Thurs 21st July 2022

 

St Lawrence of Brindisi was born in Brindisi in 1559 and joined the Capuchin Friars, and studied at the University of Padua, where he learned a number of languages and acquired a deep knowledge of the Bible. His principal vocation was preaching. He preached all over Europe, not just to Catholics but to Protestants (because of his knowledge of Scripture) and to Jews (because of his knowledge of Hebrew). He wrote many sermons, commentaries, and works of controversy in support of this vocation.

His administrative talents meant that he also held a number of high administrative offices in the Capuchin order. He was also entrusted with many important diplomatic missions, which included being engaged in a delicate mission, to plead the cause of the oppressed people of Naples to King Philip III of Spain, when he died in 1619 in Lisbon.

In today’s Gospel Jesus is asked about why he uses parables. The parables back up his teaching in a powerful way because although they use situations that were especially relevant to the people of his time, they are easily transferable into modern day life. They often have a punchline that leaves the hearer surprised but with a reaction that is left with them. Let us recall one of the parables today and reflect on what is the message for our modern day lives.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Wed 20th July 2022

 

Today we remember Saint Apollinaris, who was bishop of Ravenna, probably in the late second century, and was probably martyred there. Devotion to him was already common in the seventh century. Martyrs are those who have witnessed to Christ through their obedience God. Most of us learn obedience at home from our parents. We quickly learn that the disobedience of children towards our parents is unacceptable. Disobedience to God was central to Original Sin (the sin of our first parents) and was at the heart of why we need a Redeemer.

 

Today we remember Fr Damien who today celebrates his third anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. We rightly give thanks to the Lord for the blessings that we receive from his priestly ministry. We are grateful for his dedication, thoughtfulness, generosity and humour that he brings in his service to the people of this parish.

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear the parable of the sower. By using examples from their everyday lives, Jesus wants his words of hope to make a difference to their lives. In order for this to happen their hearts need to be like the rich soil on which some of the seed fell. He is also telling us to listen to him ~ there are so many other voices and distractions vying for our attention, so it is important we prioritise time to listen to Jesus in prayer each day.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Tuesday 19 July 2022

 

In today’s first reading, Micah tells us that God is like a shepherd leading his people to pasture. He is also forgiving and merciful. We will see this especially in Jesus who comes to bring us the message and become the means of our salvation through his life, Death and Resurrection.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that if we really want to be like a family to him then we need to do the will of the Father. As disciples we are part of the family of the Church which is the family of Jesus. We become part of this family through Baptism. What distinguishes us as the family of Jesus is the desire to do God’s will as Jesus revealed to us by his teaching and his life. This is why in the “Our Father”, the family prayer, we say: “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.

 

Mary his Mother is of course first and foremost a perfect disciple of the Lord because she always puts obedience to God first. We can therefore have no better role model to follow than Our Blessed Lady. Jesus tells us that joyful obedience to God brings many rewards and blessings to us and binds us with Christ’s relationship with the Father.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Monday 18th July 2022

 

In today’s first reading, the prophet Micah explains what God means by doing what is right and good in His sight. “This is what the Lord asks of you, only this; to act justly, to love tenderly and walk humbly with your God.” Let us reflect on each of these three requests in relation to the last week.

 

Firstly we think of acting justly; so we can think of all the people we have encountered and consider if we have treated them fairly: have we listened to them, have we refrained from judging them, have we shown them respect and treated them well.

 

Secondly we reflect whether we have shown love to everyone we have encountered: not just towards those who love us, but also to those we find hard to get on with, those who make life difficult for us,. We need to ask ourselves before the Lord if we have shown tender love towards them.

 

Thirdly we reflect on whether we have walked humbly with our God? We reflect on the quality of our prayer lives and if we have made God central to our lives. Have we had moments when we let pride get the better of us and put ourselves before God and others? Have we allowed fears and worries to get the better of us instead of handing them over to the Lord?

 

May the Lord bless us in this his new week may the example of the saints help us be committed to Christ through our faithfulness to the Gospel by being fair, loving others tenderly and walking with God in humility.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Friday 15th July 2022

 

In today’s Gospel , Jesus is challenged by the Pharisees for the actions of his disciples whom they accuse of breaking the law of the Sabbath by picking corn, which they saw technically as “work”. Jesus gives examples from their history about David and his men eating the loaves of offering, in a time of great need, as well as the regular actions of the Temple priests. Both these situations seemed to have been conveniently overlooked by the Pharisees. Jesus tells them that God wants Mercy not sacrifice: so He implies then that the Sabbath is better celebrated by doing things that are life -giving rather than always rigidly sticking to rituals.

On Wednesday I had a wonderful day off : I went to Southport where I attended my first county cricket match for 50 years where remarkably the opening Lancashire batsman scored over 300 runs against Somerset. In the evening I concelebrated at Holy Family parish in Southport the Silver Jubilee Mass of Fr Kevin McLoughlin, who has been a great help to me these last few years. All in all it was a truly memorable day.

May the Lord help us to see with his eyes all the opportunities for showing mercy to each other, that regularly present themselves , and may we receive his blessing and his encouragement whenever we act in his name.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought Thurs 14th July 2022

 

Saint Camillus of Lellis was born in 1550 in Italy of a noble family. He became a soldier but his taste for gambling and riotous living eventually lost him everything. At the age of 25 he converted as the result of hearing a sermon. He twice tried to join the Capuchin friars but was rejected because of his poor health. Having had experience of hospitals from the inside, he determined to improve them, and he devoted the rest of his life to the care of the sick. He offered himself to the hospital of San Giacomo in Rome and eventually became its bursar.. He introduced many reforms and founded a congregation of priests and lay brothers, the Servants of the Sick (later known as the Camillians) to serve the sick both spiritually and physically. He was ordained priest in 1584. He resigned as head of his congregation in 1607 but continued to look after and visit the sick almost until the day of his death.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls the weary and overburdened to him and assures them of rest for their souls. This message is very welcoming when we are sick or burdened with problems or worries. He asks us to come to him with all our troubles and he will transform them with his grace and love.

The message Jesus gives is often very demanding on his followers with what he asks of them. However he reassures us that if we listen to him and learn from him, his love and gentleness will make life easier and lighter for us.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought ~ Wed 13th July 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Henry, who was born In Bavaria in 973 and succeeded to the dukedom at the age of 22. He became Holy Roman Emperor in 1014. Henry was renowned for his support behind the reform of the Church. He also greatly encouraged the Church in its missionary activity. He established a good number of Bishoprics and together with Cunegunda, his wife, founded many monasteries. Henry died in 1024 and was canonized in 1146 by Pope Eugenius iii.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus praises his Father for revealing the truths of the Kingdom of God to mere children and keeping them from the learned and clever. I think he is referring to those who are open with a childlike mind and heart to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

 

We all face many challenges in life, but if through a life of prayer and openness to the Holy Spirit, we bring God into every aspect our lives, then we are right to trust that even the seemingly impossible is attainable.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought ~ Tues 12th July 2022

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus has harsh words for the people of the towns where he had worked miracles but they refused to change their ways. The whole purpose of Our Lord’s miracles was to get people to see who He really is, and to turn back to God. His whole mission centred around the forgiveness of sins and to get people to repent and so be able to receive eternal life.

 

We should see Jesus’s rebuke as an act of mercy and love ~ he is expressing his deep desire that the people who have received the Gospel will benefit from it and repent of their sinful ways. Sometimes people point out to us the things that we do that they don’t like or find problematic. Quite often we might be obvious to that fact that our action cause difficulties for others. When this happens we should see this as an act of kindness and mercy that should lead us to at least reflect on what is said and after reflection if necessary to try to change.

 


Fr David

 

 

 
 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 11th July 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Benedict, who is a co-patron of Europe. Benedict was born in Umbria in Italy in 480. He studied in Rome but did not like city life, so he became a hermit at Subiaco. He organised and set up various small communities of monks and nuns in different places including the great monastery of Monte Cassino. He created what is known as the Rule of St Benedict, which is seen as a balanced and wise guide to monastic life. The Rule recognises that although we strive for perfection we often fall short of it. The Rule gives all people a chance to grow spiritually.


Today I also celebrate my 29th Anniversary of ordination to the priesthood. Although I have only been in Burnley for four years out of those twenty nine, they are without doubt very important and significant years for me. This parish is my seventh appointment as a priest in this Diocese. I thank the Lord for all the love, kindness, honesty, encouragement and support I have received from the people of Burnley in the last four years. I also thank the Lord for all the people of the parishes I have served, through those twenty nine years; Chadderton, Withington, Oldham, Blackburn, Moston and Urmston.


In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells Peter that those who have followed him will be repaid a hundredfold and inherit eternal life. Even though Salford Diocese is relatively small geographically, each of those places has been unique and life-giving and have brought me many joys as well as presented me with various challenges. I know that I have received far much more than I have given by serving the people of the Diocese entrusted to my care. All of these appointments have helped me to grow in confidence and love for the Lord.

 

Fr David

 

 
 
 
 


Thought for the Day -  Saturday 9th July 2022

 

In today’s first reading, after having his lips cleansed and purified with a burning coal, Isaiah responds to the call of the Lord by saying: “Here I am, send me”. We are also invited to respond to God’s call to serve by saying yes each day to what the Gospel asks of us.

 

In my capacity as Rural dean I am currently on a tour of the deanery, visiting the priests in their parishes. In the last week, I have been to Rawtenstall and Accrington and was made very welcome by both Fr Simon Stamp and Fr Francis Wadsworth. It is good to spend time with our brother priests and I think these visits are proving to be quite fruitful for myself and hopefully for the hosts too.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus assures us that God cares for all his creation, including ordinary creatures such as sparrows. He tells us that one such creature does not fall from the sky without God knowing about it. How much more therefore does God care for people. Jesus says that God takes such a personal interest in us that he has even counted the number of hairs on our head. Even though it is hard to take in, Jesus is simply reminding us that every detail of our lives matters to God. This is possible because as Christians we are invited to have the sane intimate relationship with his Father than he enjoys.

 

Fr David

 

 

 
 
 


Thought for the Day -  Friday 8th July 2022

 

In today’s first reading we hear in the prophet, Hosea we hear of the highly charged emotions around being reconciled after his wife was found to have been unfaithful. Hosea’s wisdom and patience will ultimately bear abundant fruit. We are reminded of the need for ourselves to show sincerity, mercy and patience in the difficult relationships in our own lives.

Jesus in today’s Gospel, warns his followers that they will face opposition and that faith in him may bring hostility and persecution even within families and communities. He tells us to keep calm and remain confident and trusting in him. Jesus tells us that we face opposition to our faith and feel rejected, then we need to remember that we are never alone because the Holy Spirit is near and will be our support and our help.

We need the Holy Spirit to inspire our witness to the Lord because the Lord needs his friends to speak out for him more than ever in our world today.

 

Fr David

 

 

 
 
 


Thought for the Day -  Thursday 7th July 2022

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is instructing his 12 disciples; telling them how to approach their mission when he sends them out. He tells them: “You received without charge, give without charge”. This should get us to think of all the blessings we receive freely each day from the Lord; especially the gift of life. We also think of our family, our friends and our faith. All the things we are given we are to use to give glory to God.

 

Jesus is also is telling them to be generous and not to think about the cost; He is also telling them to trust in him and his teaching rather than to be reliant on material things like money, status, reputation and privilege.

 

May we too desire to be faithful to the Lord in his response to his love for us by being generous and by putting our lives and our own gifts and our very lives at the service of Christ and his people.

 

Fr David

 

 

 
 
 
 


Thought for the Day -  Wednesday 6th July 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Maria Goretti was born in 1890 ion Ancona Italy. She was from a very poor family. To make ends meet her father entered into a partnership with a man called Serenelli and shared a house with him and his two sons one of whom was called Alessandro. At the age of 10 her father died and Maria remained living with the Serenellis. She was renowned for her natural purity, kindness, helpfulness and faithfulness. Alessandro tried to rape her but she resisted and she ended up seriously wounded by his stabbings from which she did not recover. She forgave Alessandro before she died aged 11 years, which was on this day 1902.

 

It always strikes me as very honest when we hear in the Gospels of the naming and calling of the disciples by Jesus and we hear mention of Judas Iscariot and they tell us he is the one who betrayed Jesus. The word Judas has become synonymous with betrayal and to call someone who was your friend a Judas is a very powerful insult. The fact is that Judas was indeed chosen by the Lord and Judas initially said yes to this invitation to follow him. We do believe in free-will and we are always free to make choices and some of them may turn out to be bad choices. This was clearly the case with Judas. Being chosen by the Lord however requires a response and we respond daily to our own calling by saying yes to the Lord illustrated by our commitment to his Gospel and his commandments.

 

I hope you don’t have any one in your life that you could call a Judas. That’s because it implies that it would need to be someone like Judas was to Jesus who was once close to you. Let us remember in our prayers today all those who were once our friends and who now for various reasons, no longer play a part of our lives.

 

Fr David

 

 
 
 


Thought for the Day -  Tuesday 5th July 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Maria Goretti was born in 1890 ion Ancona Italy. She was from a very poor family. To make ends meet her father entered into a partnership with a man called Serenelli and shared a house with him and his two sons one of whom was called Alessandro. At the age of 10 her father died and Maria remained living with the Serenellis. She was renowned for her natural purity, kindness, helpfulness and faithfulness. Alessandro lusted after her, and after escaping from one serious sexual assault from him ; he tried again a month later and this time she ended up seriously wounded by his stabbings from which she did not recover. She forgave Alessandro before she died aged 11 years, which was on this day 1902.

 

I am sure the people in today’s Gospel who witnessed the healing of the man who could not speak, would always remember witnessing that wonderful event. We are told that they were amazed and said: “nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel”.

 

We are also told that Jesus took out the demon that was in the man. We all have our own personal “demons” that we have to live with: these might manifest themselves in weaknesses that we regularly have to struggle with; perhaps we have a short fuse, or struggle with impatience or maybe depend too much on drink, drugs or other unhealthy things. We might be tempted to think that nothing can be done about such “demons”: however whatever our particular demon maybe, we know that if we allow the Lord more fully into our lives then these demons are going to have their hold over us considerably weakened!

 

Fr David

 

 
 
 
 


Thought for the Day -  Monday 4th July 2022

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus heals a woman who had a haemorrhage for twelve years after she simply touched his cloak. She had such great faith in Jesus that she believed that that was all she had to do to become well again. We are told that Jesus simply encouraged her in her faith and trust in him.

 

The healing of the woman happens while Jesus is on his way to raise the young daughter of an official who shows tremendous faith in Jesus and asks him to lay hands on her and save her life even though she had died. These two people had great faith and trust in Our Lord and because of that, Jesus was able to perform these two miracles to show the woman and the official were very right to have trust and faith in him.

 

In times of illness or death of those we love may we also turn to the Lord to bring hope where there is despair and light where there is darkness.

 

Fr David

 

 

 


Thought for the Day -  Saturday 2nd July 2022

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of the new life that He brings through faith in him. He uses the analogy of patches on a cloak as well as talking about new wine. Jesus brings a new kind of joy; a new cloak rather than one with old patches on it is far more appealing. We must seek and pray to be worthy disciples that we became through our Baptism. This was when we were clothed in a white garment to remind us of the new life in Christ that we are called to. This garment also speaks of being in a state of purity on the day of our baptism, having being cleansed of Original sin. So we are challenged to keep our “White garment” uncontaminated from the stain of sin by resisting the temptation to put our own ways before the Lord’s.

 

This weekend we have a number of children throughout the parish celebrating Holy Communion for the first, in small groups. These are really special and joyous occasions for the families. Let us pray that many blessings come from this occasion.

 

May Our Lady inspire us to be Christ-like in our own lives through faithfulness to the Gospel and to wear the cloak of righteousness with humility and love.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 


Thought for the Day -  Friday 1st July 2022

 

Today we keep the feast of St Oliver Plunkett, who was born in Co. Meath in 1625 and died at Tyburn in 1681. He was ordained in Rome and appointed Archbishop of Armagh in 1669. He held synods and visitations and promoted the reforms of the Council of Trent. He was imprisoned in Dublin in 1679 and was tried, condemned and executed in London, being a final victim of the “Popish plot” and the last to be executed for the faith in England.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus chooses Levi a tax collector as one of his disciples. We believe this to be Matthew, who goes on to write the Gospel. In choosing a tax collector Jesus was certainly practising what he preached. In answer to hearing the Pharisees criticising him for associating with tax collectors and sinners, Jesus responds by saying that it is the sick, not the healthy who need a doctor. He is telling us that he has come to redeem us of our sins. We are all sinners in need of forgiveness, but for some the need for forgiveness is more obvious than for others. Jesus was constantly wanting people to take the opportunity to change and become better people. Jesus finishes by saying that what he really wants is mercy, not
sacrifice. This means he wants his followers to show the same love and compassion to others as he does.

 

May we be pleasing to the Lord by the compassion and mercy we show to those who have seemingly taken the wrong road in life.

 

Fr David

 

 
 
 

 

 


Thought for the Day -  Thursday 30th June 2022

 

Today we keep the feast of the First Martyrs of the See of Rome. When the city of Rome had been devastated by fire in the year 64, the Emperor Nero launched a persecution against the Christians, who were thrown to the wild beasts in the arena or soaked in tar and used as living torches. Their deaths are documented in the writings of the Roman historian Tacitus and in Pope St Clement’s letter to the Corinthians. Their feast is celebrated the day after the feast of Saints Peter and Paul.

 

As Christians we don’t just have a private faith, we have a one that is encouraged and nurtured by others. Our commitment to practising our faith by coming to Mass and celebrating the other sacraments encourages and strengthens others on their journey of faith. As Christians it is natural for us to seek a communal dimension to our faith as well, because we depend on each other on the journey of life.

 

In today’s Gospel a man who is paralysed is brought to faith in Jesus by his friends who carry him to the Lord on a bed. The man depended at that key moment in his life on the faith of his friends. The Lord goes on to forgives the sins of the paralysed man and then to prove that his sins are forgiven heals the man who is then able to get up and walk home.

 

Let us reflect today on all the people who have brought us to faith in Christ and those who sustain us on our journey of life through their commitment to their faith. May we also reflect on how our commitment to our faith can have a positive influence on others.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 


Thought for the Day -  Wednesday 29th June 2022

 

Today is feast of Ss Peter and Paul, two great saints chosen by Christ to form the very foundations of the Church and its mission in the world.

 

Simon Peter was a fisherman from Capernaum, near the Sea of Galilee. He was with Jesus from the outset of his ministry. His name was changed by Jesus to Peter to be a rock for the Church because Jesus saw within him his strong faith. His faith was a great source of strength for the Early Church.

 

Saul of Tarsus was a Jewish Pharisee, a skilled tent-maker, well educated and very devout in his religious practise. He never actually met Jesus but was persecuting the early Christians because he believed they were a threat to his Jewish faith. He became Paul the great missionary after his conversion experience on the Road to Damascus. He became a missionary whose main aim in life was to share the Good News that had transformed his life so dramatically. They both were martyred in Rome for their faith, so we give thanks for the faith of these two great heroes of the Church. Today we celebrate the gift of our faith, which has the Apostles as its foundation.

 

We pray that we may, like Ss Peter and Paul be open to be called by the Lord to respond to his invitation ~ to be formed by his love, to change the direction of our lives accordingly: and to be sent out into the world to spread the Good news that everyone matters to God.

 

Fr David

 

 

 


Thought for the Day -  Monday 27th June 2022

 

Today is the feast of St John Southworth, who was ordained priest in the English College, Douai in France in 1618 and after returning to the English Mission was arrested in Lancashire in 1627, but the initial death sentence was commuted to that of imprisonment. In 1637 when plague was ravaging the city, he was arrested for visiting an infected house as only a priest would have made such a visit. However, it was not until 1654 that he was finally put on trial for being a priest, where he pleaded “guilty” to the charge. The judge at the trial openly wept because he knew John was an innocent man. After his martyrdom, his body was bought from the executioner by the Spanish Ambassador and taken to Douai for burial. After his beatification in 1929, his relics were enshrined in Westminster Cathedral.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus responds to a man who wants to follow him, that the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. Jesus is on one level speaking of the fact his three years of ministry comprised largely of sleeping rough and staying with friends! He is saying that he was living very simply and trusting in His Father to provide for him through the offers of hospitality and kindness that he received.

 

When we strip away all the comforts of home that we often take for granted, it is good to be like Our Lord and humbly depend on the kindness and generosity of strangers, but no-one is of course a stranger to God.

 

Fr David

 

 

 


Thought for the Day -  Friday 17th June 2022

 

In the first reading we hear how Athahalia committed immoral deeds in order to attain the crown. She then tries to secure her power by corrupting the morals of the people. If they follow her lead they will enjoy immoral pleasures in the temple she had made in honour of the false god Baal. However the people kept faithful to their inbuilt decency and the only one who escaped death from Athalisa was crowned king. Athalia’s reign of terror ended in ruin. This is a great example of what building security on false values will lead to.

 

Jesus tells us that: “where our treasure is, there will your heart be also”. This means that the things we treasure are signs of what we hold dear in hearts and therefore love. We might all have different things that we see as treasure: some of us will treasure money, status, reputation and power: others will put more value on less worldly things that those. This might include family, friends and faith. Jesus is telling us that what we invest in is a sign of our love. He urges us not to love things that will let us down or act as a barrier between ourselves and God.

 

Yesterday’s confirmation celebration all went beautifully and we were really delighted at how it all went. The young people were a real credit to their families and to their parishes. It was great to welcome Bishop John to the parish for such a joyful occasion.

 

May we discern into what we should invest our lives, our energy and our love. May we conclude that the desire for eternal life with God should be our highest priority.

 

Fr David

 

 

 


Thought for the Day -  Tuesday 14th June 2022

 

Today is the feast of the dedication of our Diocesan Cathedral in Salford which is under the patronage of St John the Evangelist. Today we give thanks for our Bishop John, all the priests, religious and people of the Diocese.

 

In today’s first reading we hear the prayer of King Solomon as he dedicates the temple that he has had built in Jerusalem. In his prayer he bids that the Lord may watch over the house.

 

In today’s Gospel we hear of the Lord saying that the Church is built on the solid rock of St Peter’s faith. Our Cathedral connects us with the whole of the Diocese and in turn connects us with the Universal Church too, centred as it is on the Bishop of Rome, the successor to St Peter.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 


Thought for the Day -  Monday 13th June 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Antony of Padua. He was born in Lisbon in 1598 and there he is known as St Antony of Portugal. He was initially an Augustinian then changed to become a Franciscan friar so he could become a missionary. He travelled to Morocco but became ill so he had to leave Africa.

 

On his way home his ship was diverted by a storm to Sicily so he found himself taking part in the General Chapter of the Franciscans in 1221 where he met St Francis of Assisi himself. His preaching career then took him to Northern Italy and Southern France. Later he returned to Padua in Italy where as an outstanding preacher, he became the first Franciscan theologian. Statues of St Anthony show him in a Franciscan habit with child Jesus in one hand and a bible in the other hand. He is the patron of the lost and found.

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus asks his disciples to be merciful and generous even with those who make life hard for them.. The phrase “Go the extra mile” is inspired by the Lord’s words about going two miles if someone orders you to go one mile. This phrase speaks of willingly putting ourselves out for others and so being utterly kind. The Lord Jesus himself epitomises his own words and teaching in many instances in his life. In gratitude may we imitate Our Lord by digging as deep as we possibly can in showing love to all those we encounter.

 

May the gentleness and compassion of St Antony of Padua bring us closer to Christ. May he especially guide us on those occasions when we feel lost and our lives are heading in the wrong direction.

 

Fr David

 

 

 


Thought for the Day -  Friday 10th June 2022

 

In today’s first reading from the First Book of Kings, God makes himself present to Elijah the prophet not in the window or the earthquake or even a fire: instead he is present a gentle breeze. Elijah senses God’s presence in the breeze and covers his face with his cloak in order to meet the Lord.

 

Gospel, Jesus is speaking of himself in relation to David. We believe that Jesus is Lord and Son of God. Through Joseph, He is an ancestor of King David. He is therefore the fulfilment of the prophecy made to David, that one of his relatives would have an eternal kingdom. Jesus Christ eternal king is therefore also able to be called Son of David. Therefore Jesus is the one who can bring alive the words of the psalm “The Lord, said: “sit on my right, your foes, I have put beneath your feet”.

 

Let us like all the saints desire to make known the Son of God and Son of David to those who do not yet know him.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 


Thought for the Day -  Thursday 9th June 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Columba (or in Gaelic Colm Cille), was born in Gartan in County Donegal ca 521. Columba was of royal lineage and studied under Finnian of Moville and Finnion of Clonard. He founded monasteries at Derry, Durrow and possibly Kells. He then left Ireland to become a missionary. He is most famous for his foundation on the island of Iona, from where he converted much of western Scotland. His followers took the Gospel as far as Northern England. He was to die on Iona in 597. He was an accomplished poet as well as being a scribe and spiritual guide.
He is renowned in Gaelic Literature for his great love for all God’s creatures. Good missionaries, like Columba accepted people where they were at and by showing the good example of a life of prayer and service, would lead people to want a share for themselves in the blessed life that they were witnessing.

 

May we be grateful for the continuing supportive and encouraging presence of the Knights of St Columba here in Burnley. May the Lord continue to bless their members and all that they do for love of the Lord.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns us that at the root of wanting to kill someone is the feeling of anger. He tells us therefore to deal with our anger against another person in the right way. He tells us to seek reconciliation with those who have wronged us before we come and stand before God in prayer and worship. This is quite challenging advice but it is nevertheless very wise. Many of us might think that the last thing we want us that to do this is just and fair and is likely to have the most beneficial result on all parties involved.

 

May the Lord guide us to deal appropriately with our anger. May he give us the courage and confidence to continually seek reconciliation with all who wrong us.


 

Fr David

 

 

 


Thought for the Day -  Wednesday 8th June 2022

 

In today’s first reading we hear how Elijah the prophet is helped through his faith and trust in God to vanquish the priests of Baal.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that he has come to complete the Law and the Prophets ~ this he does by giving us a new commandment; the commandment to love.

 

We are called to be open to what God asks of us. We are called to be clear in our response to the choices that we sometimes have to face. We are to essentially to follow the commandment of Christ to love. Our task is to prayerfully discern what God requires of us each day that he gives to us.


 

Fr David

 

 

 


Thought for the Day -  Tuesday 7thth June 2022

 

For the first time since 28 th February, we are once again wearing green vestments to denote we are back in Ordinary Time. After the exhilaration of Lent and Easter, there is something calming and reassuring about being back in Ordinary Time.

 

In today’s first reading, the prophet Elijah is sent by God to a Sidonian town where there is a drought and a famine. In asking a widow to share the last of her food with him, the prophet reassures her that she will not die. In giving her last the widow trusts God and she is proved to be right to do so. May we imitate the widow in her trust in God and in her generosity.

 

In the Gospel, the Lord taches that our light must shine in the sight of men and that we are to be light to the world. A light in the darkness is so welcoming and reassuring. Light helps dispel fear that can enshroud us and stifle our progress in life. We are let our light shine in the sight of all, so that seeing our good works, we may give praise to our Father in Heaven. By keeping faith in God and continuing to live out our lives in accordance with the Gospel, we are also bearing witness to having Jesus who is the Light of the World, at the centre of our lives.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 


Thought for the Day - Monday 6th June 2022

 

Today is the feast of Mary, Mother of the Church. It is a relatively new feast instituted by Pope Francis and is celebrated the day after Pentecost. Pentecost marks the beginning of the Church, which is the community of the baptised who have the Holy Spirit in them. In the first reading we hear from the book of Genesis that Eve is the mother of all people. Eve and Adam both sinned, so as a result, just by being born we all inherit Original Sin. However when we are baptised, Original Sin gets taken away and we are able to receive God’s Holy Spirit. This enables us to belong to the Church.

 

In today’s Gospel, we are with Mary at the foot of the Cross. Before he breathes his last, Our Lord utters beautiful words to Mary and to John, the Beloved Disciple. To Mary his mother, says; “Mother, behold your son and to John he says; ”Son, behold your Mother”. By these words, the Lord is entrusting the care of all his followers, including us, to the care of His Blessed Mother. Mary is the new Eve, but unlike the first Eve, Our Lady is without sin. Therefore Mary is the perfect disciple and the Mother of all the redeemed. It is right that on the day after Pentecost that we honour Our Lady as the Mother of the Church.

 

May Our Lady, Mother of the Church continue to help us to stay close to her Son, to stay away from temptation to sin and to show love, care and compassion to all those we encounter.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 


Thought for the Day - Friday 3rd June 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Charles Lwanga and his companions Many Christians, Catholic and Protestant, were killed by the Ugandan king Mwanga. Some of them were servants in the king’s palace or even his personal attendants. Charles Lwanga and his twenty-one companions (the youngest, Kizito, was only 13) were executed for being Christians, for rebuking the king for his debauchery and his murder of an Anglican missionary, for “praying from a book,” and for refusing to allow themselves to be ritually sodomised by the king. They died between 1885 and 1887. Most of them were burned alive in a group after being tortured.

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear the Risen Jesus speaking to St Peter and asks him three times whether he loves him. These three affirmations of Peter’s love for Christ effectively wipe out Peter’s three denials of Jesus just before his Passion and death. Three times Peter affirms his love for the Lord and Jesus entrusts him as the shepherd of his sheep and lambs, in other words confirming him in his role as leader of the fledgling Church.

 

In today’s first reading we hear the Roman Tribune bring Paul’s case to King Agrippa who is visiting Caesarea, where he is holding Paul. This will lead to Paul (being a Roman Citizen) being sent to Rome in order to appear before Caesar.

 

As we prepare for Pentecost this weekend, which marks the birth of the Church based on the faith of both Peter and Paul. May we strive for the gifts of courage and perseverance which the Spirit brings to us so that may we may play our part in building the Church.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 


Thought for the Day - Thursday 2nd June 2022

 

Today is the feast of the martyrs Marcellinus and Peter. Pope St Damasus I dedicated his life to establishing and strengthening the Church after the great persecutions, and took much care over the restoration of the Roman catacombs and the proper burial of the martyrs there, including Marcellinus and Peter.  As a boy, Damasus had heard the story of these martyrs from their executioner. Marcellinus was a priest, Peter was not. They were beheaded during the emperor Diocletian’s persecution, and buried on the Via Labicana outside Rome.  After the persecutions, a basilica was built over the site of their tomb.

 

In today’s Gospel we hear a part of the priestly prayer of Jesus at the Last Supper,. We hear him pray for his followers that they may be one. It is very powerful to think that just before his death he prayed for the great gift of unity and peace for the Church. In today’s first reading we hear of the courage of Paul when was summoned before the Sanhedrin to speak of his faith in the Resurrection of Jesus. We hear that the Lord tells him that he must go to Rome, where he will ultimately die.

 

Pentecost, which we mark this weekend, is when we celebrate the beginning of the Church. The Church consists of people with the Holy Spirit, which first we receive at Baptism. It is also called the birthday of the Church. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, the Apostles went on to spread the good news and therefore build the Church throughout the world. So the Church is now found in virtually every country in the world and people who speak every language are united.

 

It is through the Church, built by God himself that people can journey towards salvation and be on the path to God, and Heaven.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 


Thought for the Day - Tuesday 1st June 2022

 

Today is the feast of St. Justin who was born at the beginning of the second century in Nablus, in Samaria, of a pagan Greek family. He was an earnest seeker after truth, and studied many systems of philosophy before being led, through Platonism, to Christianity. While remaining a layman, he accepted the duty of making the truth known, and travelled from place to place proclaiming the Gospel. In 151 he travelled from Ephesus to Rome, where he opened a school of philosophy and wrote defences and expositions of Christianity, which have survived to this day and are the earliest known writings of their kind. In the persecution of 165, in the reign of the emperor Marcus Aurelius, he was denounced as a Christian, arrested and beheaded.

 

In today’s Gospel we hear an extract from the priestly prayer of Jesus, delivered at the Last Supper. He prays for unity for his disciples and therefore for us. He is praying for them to remain faithful and to receive the strength to stand up to the power of the evil one. In today’s first reading, Paul is addressing the elders of the Church in Ephesus and tells them that before he leaves them for good he is commending them to God.

 

May St Justin who strove to find the truth inspire us to trust in Our Lord through good times as well as in the challenging times.


 

Fr David

 

 

 


Thought for the Day - Monday 31st May 2022

 

Today is the Feast of the Visitation. This celebrates the visit of Mary from her home in Nazareth to the hill country of Judah to share the news that she was with child with her cousin Elizabeth, who was also expecting a son, who would become John the Baptist.

 

In this scene we think of the spirit of Mary who generously puts herself out to kindly and courageously make a long journey to see her cousin. She has come to share her news but also to share her joy, her time and her love. She will remain with Elizabeth for three months, where they will both grow in faith and love for the Lord.

 

We are also invited to ponder upon the mystery of God being unveiled before us in today’s feast: We hear that the child inside Elizabeth leaps for joy and that Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit. We also hear the greeting of Elizabeth who says; “Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of My Lord?”. This expresses her belief and understanding that the child whom Mary is carrying is truly the Son of God and our Redeemer.

 

May we today be filled with the spirit of Visitation and be inspired by Mary’s generosity to share our love, our time and our faith with someone who would appreciate it and hopefully be open to receive graces from it.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 


Thought for the Day - Monday 30th May 2022

 

In the first reading today we hear of the Holy Spirit continuing to be at work in the Early Church. St Paul is in Ephesus and his preaching leads to twelve men being baptised and receiving the Holy Spirit. We hear of the change in them and of the new gifts that they were able to use as a result of receiving the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is always at work in the Church gently guiding us and helping us.

 

We are really looking forward to Bishop John coming to St Mary’s on 16th June to confer the sacrament of Confirmation on the young people of our Deanery. In all my years as a priest this is the first time that I have been involved in preparing young people for Confirmation because until now it had been celebrated for younger children, so the preparation had been with parents. The course we have used for their preparation has been based on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are received at Confirmation. Our young people have been delightful to work with, because they really engaged with their preparation and have taken it very seriously. We have also had a good team of catechists from across the parish who have also really enjoyed working with the young people.

 

In these days of waiting for Pentecost to come this year, let us allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to want to pray and fill us with his love. May the Holy Spirit also enable us to be confident like St Paul in speaking about our faith in the Risen Lord.


 

Fr David

 

 
 
 


Thought for the Day - Friday 27th May 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Augustine of Canterbury, who died around 605. Pope Gregory the Great decided to send thirty monks from Rome to evangelise this country. These missionaries chose Augustine, prior of the monastery of St Andrew in Rome to be their leader. They landed here in 597 and were welcomed by King Ethelbert who along with many of his subjects became Christian. Augustine was consecrated Archbishop in France and returned to Canterbury to set up his see. He achieved great success as a missionary here because of his faithfulness to Christ’s message of peace.

 

Today’s Gospel tells of the sending out of the first missionaries. Jesus sends out the 72 ahead of him to all the towns and villages he himself was to visit. They were being sent out; “like lambs among wolves”. He equipped them only with his trust and his confidence in them. He tells them, to be prepared for some people to reject them, but to be essentially His ambassadors of peace.

 

We should be grateful to St Augustine for bringing the faith to our land. He trusted that his mission to England was desired by God and was guided by the Holy Spirit. May he inspire us to be courageous in speaking of our Christian faith, by being first be as authentic as we can be about our faithfulness to Christ and His Church.


 

Fr David

 

 
 
 

 Thought for the Day - Ascension Day - Thursday 26th May 2022


Today’s feast is as much about ourselves as it is about Jesus. His Ascension shows us the goal of our earthly journey. Where Jesus has gone, we are to follow. It is a goal and a destiny which defies even our imagination. It gives an eternal dimension to our lives.

 

Jesus tells his disciples that they are witnesses to his life, death and Resurrection and they are to be his witnesses in the world. They are to do this by preaching the Gospel to the world with the help of the Holy Spirit. We are also called to be witnesses to this through the example of our own lives. This calls us to a life of service and faithfulness to the Gospel.

 

As well as our actions, we are also called to be witnesses by our words, because sometimes we have to speak up for what we believe in. This might involve us taking the time to study and understand our faith, putting ourselves out by asking questions to improve and deepen our knowledge of our faith. Then we can be more equipped to explain and defend our faith. The witness of our words are part of the road to salvation.

 

We live in the hope that the words of Jesus will come true ~ “Where I am, you too shall be”. In the meantime, we are to involved in the task proclaiming the Good News of the Gospel and to be getting on with the mission entrusted to us.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Wednesday 25th May 2022


Today is the feast day of St Bede the Venerable, who was born in 673 in what is now Sunderland. He joined the monastery at Wearmouth and spent his whole life between there and Jarrow, where he taught and wrote. He was the most outstanding Church author of his time . As well as commentaries on Scripture, he also wrote a history of the English Church. He was also the first known writer of English prose, though this has not survived. He is venerated as the “light of the Church” in the Dark Ages. He is also seen as the forerunner to the renaissance of the Western Church.

 

In today’s first reading, we hear of St Paul’s famous address at the Areopagus, in Athens made his famous address to the assembled Council, as detailed in today’s first reading. Curiously there is only a very small plaque marking the spot where this event took place. Paul only had relatively small success in convincing the Athenians about Christ being the same one they already venerated. A lot of his hearers were curious as to what Paul had to say until he mentioned the Resurrection of Jesus, at which laughter broke out because they found it difficult to take seriously. This illustrates that it does take a big step in faith to accept the Resurrection.

 

We know that Easter makes sense of everything that we believe in about Christ. It leads to an invitation to enter into a personal relationship with the Living Lord Jesus. It also makes sense of life and of death. In this Easter Season, let us continue to find new ways of celebrating our faith in the Resurrection.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 24th May 2022


In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples at the Last Supper that they may be sad that he will be leaving them, but that it is a good thing that he is going to the Father because then he will be able to send the Holy Spirit which will be a big help to them.

 

In today’s first reading, following the dramatic earthquake which opens the gates of the prison to where Paul and Silas were being kept, Paul calms down the jailor who was on the point of taking his own life ,briefly instructs him in the faith and baptises him and his household. It was amazing how God brought a lot of good out of a bad situation. Like Paul, we too need spiritual help to deal with the crises that we face. These difficulties can be a test of our character and our faith but also they can be opportunities for us to renew our trust in the Holy Spirit. Just as he helped bring good out of a difficult scenario for Paul and Silas, the Lord can truly bring a happy outcome for our own crises.

 

In these days leading up to the Ascension, let us reflect on the mission of the Church today and see how the Holy Spirit continues to inspire and guide the followers of Christ and help us to keep our faith strong.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Monday 23rd May 2022


In today’s Gospel, in his farewell words to his disciples , Jesus prepares them for life without him. He promises to send them “the Advocate” from the Father. By this he means the Holy Spirit who will help them and support them to cope with the opposition and challenges they will face. At Pentecost, the disciples will grow in their understanding and appreciation of this great gift from Jesus. They will never look back and be totally faithful to the mission with which the Lord has entrusted them.

In today’s first reading, we hear of the mission of Paul and Timothy in Macedonia and of the exciting and significant development with the first baptism of a European in the person of Lydia and her household, from the city of Thyatira. Out of gratitude and a sign of her new faith, Lydia extends an invitation to Paul and companions to stay with her and receive her hospitality. This is a great example of how God blesses and helps us when we do his work. Having received from the Lord it is good to want to give back from what we receive. It is healthy to desire to show appreciation and reciprocate when we have received graces through the kindness and generosity of others.

May we always trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit as to how we can practically give from what we have received from the Lord.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Saturday 21st May 2022


In the First reading, we hear how Paul and his companions felt guided by the Holy Spirit. We hear of how Paul invited young Timothy from Lystra to become his companion on his missionary journey. As they travelled from town to town they delivered the letter containing the outcome of the Council of Jerusalem as regards what was expected of Gentile converts to the faith. We also hear of how Paul felt guided away by the Holy Spirit from going to Bythinia but through a dream was drawn to go across the sea to Macedonia. Bringing the Gospel to Europe marked a major landmark in the direction the Church was taking as it confidently moved forward on its mission.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns his disciples that they will face the same opposition that He himself would face. He foresaw clearly that his followers would face resistance from non-believers. He called his disciples to respond to such behaviour with the same love and compassion that he showed.

May the Spirit continue to guide us to those who he wants to us to reach with the Good News of the Gospel. Like the disciples in the early Church, we must also rely on the Holy Spirit to enable us to continually show love
and compassionto all, even those who are enemies to us.


 

Fr David

 

 
 
 
 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 20th May 2022


St Bernardine of Siena was born in 1380 in Tuscany. His parents died when he was a child. While still a student at the University of Siena he took charge of the hospital there when an epidemic killed most of the staff. Later he looked after a bedridden aunt until her death; and then, at the age of 22, he became a Franciscan. Inspired by St Vincent Ferrer, he was an energetic and popular preacher and spent years travelling on foot through Italy preaching to enormous audiences. He denounced usury, promoted peace among the warring Italian cities, and worked hard for the reform and discipline of the Franciscan order, and for church unity.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says to his disciples that he no longer calls them servants but friends. He goes on to tell them that they were chosen by him for this role. He has also called each of us to enter into friendship with him. He tells his disciples as he told us that will lay down his life for them. He is speaking of his death on the Cross, out of which will come the new life of Easter and the promise of eternal life to all his faithful friends.

 

We have been hearing this week how the Early Church made important decisions about the nature of its mission. In today’s first reading, we hear of the letter composed as a result of the meeting held in Jerusalem addressing how to accept Gentiles into the Church. We hear that when the Gentile Christians received the letter, they were delighted because it reassured them in their new faith.


Bernardine’s achievements before he became a Franciscan show what the young can achieve if given the chance. May we encourage our young people to give to others whatever they have been called into this world. May we be grateful for our friendship with the Risen Lord Jesus, which nurtures us and affirms us with his love.


Fr David

 

 

 
 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 19th May 2022


Today is the feast of St Dunstan, who was born in circa 909 in Baltonsborough, near Glastonbury, Somerset. and where he started his life as a monk in the monastery there. He later became abbot of Glastonbury, whereby he had to recreate monastic life, established a school for the locals, and literally rebuilt the ruined abbey. He was renowned as a musician, illuminator and metalworker. Dunstan personally inherited a fortune which he used to foster and encourage monastic revival in England.


He was a stateman and an advisor to kings. Dunstan’s coronation ceremony which emphasises the bond between church and monarch, still forms the basis of royal coronations to this day. He used his time there however to good use and brought back with him many ideas for the reform of monasticism in this country. As well as being Bishop of London, Dunstan was also made Bishop of Worcester. Dunstan ended up as Archbishop of Canterbury, where he is buried in the Cathedral there after his death there in 988. This important position enabled him to bring about great reforms in the English Church.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is speaking of his joy to his disciples at the Last Supper, just hours before he faces the terrible ordeal of his Passion and Death. It seems strange for Jesus to be talking of experiencing joy in the knowledge of the imminent suffering he was about to face. The joy Jesus experiences comes from him knowing of the Father’s love for him, no matter what. It also comes to him from sharing that same love with his disciples and with us. He tells his disciples that they will remain in his love if they keep his commandments. He says that he has told them this so that his own joy may be complete.

 

Today is my mother’s birthday. It was always lovely when I was parish priest at St Dunstan’s in Moston, Manchester having a double celebration on this day. May we also desire to pass on the Lord’s joy to others in this Easter season by expressing our love for each other as Jesus asks us too.

 

Fr David

 

 

 
 

 Thought for the Day - Wednesday 18th May 2022


Pope St John I was born in Tuscany and elected pope in 523. It was a time of high political and religious tension. Theodoric the Ostrogoth, the ruler of Italy, was an Arian, while many of his subjects were Catholics. Initially tolerant, he became increasingly suspicious of the Catholics’ influence and political allegiance – above all, because they naturally had strong links with the Catholicism of the surviving eastern Roman Empire in Constantinople. Moreover, Arians in the eastern Roman Empire were being persecuted by the Catholic emperor, Justin, and they appealed to Theodoric for help.

 

Pope John I was sent on an embassy to the emperor, to ask for better treatment for the Arians. In this he succeeded; but the enthusiasm with which he was greeted in Constantinople excited Theodoric’s suspicions, and when he returned to Italy Theodoric had him imprisoned and he died from ill-treatment there a few days later.

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus describe Himself as the Vine and his followers as the branches. When you look at a vine is very hard to separate the vine from its branches. This illustrates perfectly the idea that the Church is united to Christ like a bride and groom, so they are one. This is a lovely warm image for us to have of the Risen Lord, who nourishes us and feeds us with love and his strength. We receive this goodness from our encounters with him in the Sacraments, in our personal prayer and in listening to him in the Sacred Scriptures.

 

In today’s first reading, we are reminded of some the serious challenges and questions that the Early Church had to grapple with. We hear of the growing tensions regarding welcoming and receiving Gentiles and how that fitted into the Jewish traditions and practices.. It was agreed that a gathering of the Apostles and elders would assemble in Jerusalem in order to resolve this increasingly divisive issue.

 

The Holy Spirit continues to clearly guide and inspire the Church as He always has done.. May Christ the True Vine and Risen Lord continue to feed us with His Divine love and urge us to remain humble and grateful to him.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 
 

 Thought for the Day - Tuesday 17th May 2022


In today’s Gospel, Jesus is at the Last Supper when he tells his closest friends, his disciples, that he is bequeathing to them a gift. This is the gift of his peace. He says it is a peace that the world cannot give. Like all bequests this can only be received after his death. What better parting gift can any one give us than the gift of their peace. We all desire to find peace, to be at peace with ourselves and others, whatever that may mean for us. This for me implies that Jesus was happy with the disciples he had chosen but wanted to give them something that they needed and they would appreciate.

 

This will be a peace that is hard won, at great cost to the Lord, through his Passion and Death. The first words that the Risen Lord will say to his gathered disciples on Easter Sunday are; “Peace be with you”.

 

In today’s first reading, we hear how Paul cures a man who was crippled but consequently the locals began to treat him and Barnabas as gods and want to offer sacrifice to them. Paul and Barnabas are obviously horrified at this and remind the people they have come to brining them Good News about the Living God.

 

May we always treasure the gift of the Lord’s peace that he promises to us as a reminder of his love and his appreciation for us.

 

Fr David

 

 
 
 

 Thought for the Day - Monday 16th May 2022


In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to his disciples at the Last Supper of the Holy Spirit (The Advocate) who will come upon them. Jesus tells them that the Spirit will teach them everything and will remind them of all that Jesus has said to them. We are now in the second part of the season of Easter and we are preparing to celebrate Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles fifty days after Easter.

 

The Holy Spirit is in the Church and has continued to guide the Church on its pilgrimage through time. The Spirit teaches us in a variety of different ways. The Spirit certainly is the one who gives us the desire to pray and to want to worship God. The Spirit also helps us to belong to the family of the Church. It is also the Spirit who enables us want to keep the commandments and especially Christ’s new commandment to love one another as He has loved us.

 

Let us take the time to see how the Spirit is at work within us helping us to stay faithful to the Lord, to prayer and worship and to his Church. On Saturday we held a Deanery event at St Mary’s that differed in many ways to what was planned from the outset. It was intended originally for people to walk to Burnley from around the Deanery. As it turns out it was a very enjoyable gathering for all who came who enjoyed tea, home-made cakes and sandwiches and it finished with a time of prayer for the priests and people of the Deanery. The Spirit was definitely present in the course of the afternoon.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 
 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 13th May 2022


Today is the feast of Our Lady of Fátima Which commemorates the visions of Our Lady seen near Fátima in Portugal in 1917 by three shepherd children, Lúcia dos Santos and her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto. The visions occurred on the 13th day of each month from May to October, and by October huge crowds were gathering at the site of the visions and reporting visions and miraculous occurrences themselves. Pope John Paul II was devoted to Our Lady of Fátima and attributed his survival of an assassin’s bullet on 13 May 1981 to her intervention. Jacinta and Francisco Marto, who died in the great Spanish Flu pandemic of 1919-20, were beatified on 13 May 2000.

 

Today’s Gospel Jesus is peaking at the Last Supper, and he tells his disciples not to be devastated when he dies (the next day) but to keep trusting God and his own words. He tells them that He is really just going back to His Father. He promises us that we too will make that journey after him. Jesus came to show us the way to the Father’s house. He tells those who follow Him that he is way to the Father. We travel the Way by imitating Christ in his love, trust, his compassion and mercy. In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear Paul addressing the synagogue in Antioch in Pisidia (in modern day Turkey). Yesterday we heard him preparing his listeners by referring to the Patriarchs and Moses which leads him to Joh the Baptist who prepared the way Jesus. Today Paul tells the people that all of the Scriptures lead to Jesus, whose life, death and resurrection gives full meaning to each event and occurrence.

 

May we continue to faithfully travel the road to the Father’s house through our faithfulness to Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 
 

 Thought for the Day - Wednesday 11th May 2022


In yesterday’s excerpt from the Acts, we heard of the encouragement given Paul by Barnabas which led him to make an enormous impact upon the Church in Antioch. In today’s first reading we hear that the Holy Spirit asks for Paul and Barnabas to be set apart, and so began their first missionary journey together.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says: “I, the light have come into the world, so that whoever believes in me need not stay in the dark anymore”. Jesus calls us to believe in him who tells us he is the light of the World. Therefore our Christian faith helps to shed light on all the different situations in life that we encounter especially the ones that worry us and frighten us.

 

We are to trust that Christ is always at our side which should enable us to feel safe even in the face of danger. May the light of the Risen Lord Jesus continue to cast his reassuring light upon us all in the Easter season.

 

Fr David

 

 
 

 Thought for the Day - Tuesday 10th May 2022


In today’s Gospel, Jesus the Good Shepherd calls his followers his sheep. He tells us that those who belong to him listen to his voice. This means that we are listen to what he says to us and follow his example. If we play our part in doing this then the Lord can carry his role in bringing us to salvation.

 

A great example of someone who did listen to the voice of the Lord is Barnabas. In today’s first reading we hear about Barnabas, from Cyprus. We are told that he was a good man and was filled with the Holy Spirit. His name means “son of encouragement”, which implies he was supportive and great at bringing out the best in others.  Following his conversion, Paul had been sent back to his home town of Tarsus, where he was doing very little. However we hear that the Holy Spirit guided Barnabas to go to Tarsus to seek out Paul and bring him back to Antioch, where the Church was thriving. Putting Paul into such an environment would thereby transform the whole missionary energy of the Church.

 

Like Barnabas, we too have opportunities to encourage others to play their part in the Church. We are to play our part in the family of the Church where we are also encouraged to put our gifts at the service of the Lord.

 

Fr David

 

 
 
 
 

 Thought for the Day - Saturday 7th May 2022


In today’s extract from the Acts of the Apostles, Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit shows the depth of his faith in Christ. In Joppa, Peter raises from the dead, Dorcas a charitable and kind disciple of the Lord, who made beautiful tunics and other garments, which she gave to the poor and needy. We are told that this sign of the power of the Risen Lord brought many to believe in Christ through the faith of the Apostles.

 

In the Gospel today, Jesus has been speaking of being “the Bread of Life”. After hearing this, many of his listeners abandoned Jesus as they mistakenly thought that in speaking of “Eating my flesh” he was advocating cannibalism. The Apostles however remained faithful to the Lord. It is Peter, who when asked by Jesus if they are also going to desert him, profoundly says: Lord, where else could we go to, youHave the message of eternal life”.

 

We also get chances like Dorcas to show practical help to the poor and needy by using our own God-given gifts and talents to brighten up their lives. May we share Peter’s faith in remaining loyal to the Lord and his Church by remaining focused on the message of eternal life.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Friday 6th May 2022


In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear of how the Risen Christ appears to Saul of Tarsus in a vision and reprimands him for persecuting him through his persecution of Christians. As a well-educated devout Jewish Pharisee, Saul believed that he would be pleasing to God by keeping the Jewish Laws. He is thus called by Christ on his way to Damascus in a vision, to become a transformed man. He is quickly baptised and goes on to become the great Apostle to the Gentiles. We are told that after his baptism, he began preaching in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. What an amazing transformation that the Risen Christ has on Saul’s life ~ he will dramatically change from being the Church’s main persecutor to being its chief missionary.

 

The Lord continues to be at work transforming people’s lives and allowing them to change the direction they are heading in. It’s not always as dramatic as it was with St Paul. As it might sometimes happen gradually and subtly. We are all called to continued regular conversion away from selfishness and sin. We are called to constantly seek the new horizons that our baptism asks of us.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 5th May 2022


We are told in today’s first reading that Philip, whose feast day we celebrated on Tuesday was guided by an angel to meet the Ethiopian who was riding home in his chariot on the Gaza road after making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He is then able to answer the man’s questions about the “Suffering Servant” found in the prophet Isaiah whose texts he was reading. Philip was then able to patiently and gently lead the man to faith in Christ, who we see as the same “Suffering Servant”. The man then asks Philip to baptise him in a pool of water that just happens to be nearby. Philip then baptises the man, who he has been brought to faith in Christ.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls himself the Bread of Life and goes on to say that whoever eats this bread will live forever. We take this as the root of the teaching behind the Eucharist. Our belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist is one of the things that distinguishes Catholics from other Christians. Holy Communion is a foretaste and promise of the Heavenly Banquet. May we grow in this Easter season in our appreciation and understanding of the gift of the Eucharist whereby Jesus the Bread of Life nourishes our souls and our bodies with his love.

 

Like Philip we sometimes get opportunities or seemingly “chance” encounters with others whereby the Holy Spirit is at work.. May the Holy Spirit give us the wisdom to know when such opportunities present themselves and the courage to act on them in the most appropriate way.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Monday 2nd May 2022


Today is the feast of St Athanasius who was born in Alexandria. He assisted Bishop Alexander at the Council of Nicaea and later succeeded him as bishop. He fought hard against Arianism all his life, undergoing many sufferings and spending a total of 17 years in exile. He wrote outstanding works to explain and defend orthodoxy. He died in 373.

 

In today’s first reading, we hear of the progress being made by Stephen one of the first deacons of the Church. We are told that he was working miracles and great signs. He was filled with the Spirit and so those who wanted to debate with him could not get the better of him. Sadly this leads his opponents to procure false accusations of blasphemy against him which leads to his arrest and being brought before the Sanhedrin. Before the Sanhedrin, we are told the face of Stephen appeared like that of an angel.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus has just fed a multitude of people with only a few barley loaves and two fish, and the crowds are searching to find Jesus. However, Jesus is aware that they are seeking him out only to witness more of the spectacular. He urges them not to work for food that will not last. He tells them to believe in the one whom God has sent. He wants the signs he has given to draw them more deeply into a relationship with God.

 

May we recognise the goodness and purity in others and not let that threaten us or lead us to jealousy. May we strive to work for food that lasts by making our faith in Christ and his real presence in the Eucharist central to our lives.

There were two special celebrations over the weekend : the first Bereavement Mass at St John’s since the Pandemic which was beautiful and appreciated. Then on Sunday afternoon, we gathered at Christ the King for an hour before the Blessed Sacrament reflecting on our lives and praying for peace. My thanks to all those involved in those two special events.

 

 

Fr David

 

 
 
 
 

 Thought for the Day - Saturday 30th April 2022


In today’s first reading, the Apostles are asked to address an issue that has arisen in the Early Church. They wisely and compassionately address them. The Hellenists of the Early Church feel that their widows were being neglected as regards the daily distribution of food. The Apostles feel that they should continue to give priority to preaching the Word of God. They resolve the matter by asking the community to choose seven devout and upright men to assist them with this important work. The Apostles then lay hands on these men and they become the first Deacons of the Church. Deacons in the Church today model themselves on serving the community.

 

In today’s Gospel, the disciples are in the boat without Jesus and they are experiencing a storm which makes progress very difficult and hard work. When Jesus gets into the boat with his disciples the wind drops and they are enabled to make good progress and move forward.

 

May we also look at all the different ways in which we can serve the community, be offering our time and gifts. By the grace of the presence of Christ in our midst, may we hope to influence others to adopt our trust in his example of loving and sacrificial service.

 

 

Fr David

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 Thought for the Day - Thursday 28th April 2022


In today’s first reading, we hear the testimony of Peter and John who are brought before the Sanhedrin to explain why they went against the warning they had received, forbidding them to preach of the crucified and Risen Jesus. Peter says that they must first and foremost obey God. They were the principal witnesses to the Resurrection of Christ and they were therefore obliged to tell everyone what they had seen. This obedience shows the powerful effect of the Holy Spirit upon Apostles. They are demonstrating great courage in being willing to testify to Christ as they did. This proves how right Jesus was to choose these particular men to found his Church.

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear the words of John the Baptist that the Father has entrusted everything to the Beloved Son, who is Jesus. To have faith in Jesus, he tells us, will bring us eternal life. We are therefore to trust in Jesus who speaks to us for the Father.

 

May our Easter faith also help us in our searching for meaning in life. May our obedience to Christ and His Gospel lead us to find peace and tranquillity

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 
 

 Thought for the Day - Wednesday 27th April 2022


In today’s Gospel, we hear : “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life”. These words spoken to Nicodemus are so powerful and would surely have touched the heart of Nicodemus in pursuit of answers to his questions about who Jesus really is. This generosity by God is going to manifest itself in Passion and Death of Our Lord. Eternal life for those who believe will result from the Lord’s Resurrection.

 

The Apostles in today’s first reading responded to the Angel’s instruction by going to the Temple and confidently preaching about Jesus. As inheritors of the gift of faith handed onto us by theApostles, we are called to live the new life of Grace that the Holy Spirit calls us to follow. This new life invites us to respond to our own Baptismal calling to live as children of God.

 

Let us reflect today on God’s great love for us. We can show that we are also children of God by listening to Jesus and be faithful to his teachings. We do this whenever we stand up and proclaim our faith in the Risen Lord. We do this by making sacrifices for each other or whenever we perform little acts of kindness and generosity.

 

Fr David

 

 
 
 
 

 Thought for the Day - Tuesday 26th April 2022


Today is the feast of St George, the patron of England. The image of engaging in battle against an enemy is echoed in the image we have of St George in the slaying of the dragon. The dragon represents Satan. Like all the martyrs, St George stood up to Satan by being prepared to give his life because as we heard in the first reading: “even in the face of death, they would not cling to life”.

 

We know that because of His Death and Resurrection, Jesus has once and for all won the war with Satan over sin and Death. Satan is still at work and he is constantly engaging us in the daily battle for control of our hearts and minds. However we need to engage in this victory by ensuring each day that we are faithful to Christ and allow him to be our Lord and our King.

 

On this feast of St George, may we thank God for our beautiful country and all that is stands for. May we be proud of our Patron who was prepared to die for his Lord and Saviour rather than give into the temptations of Satan. May we be proud of our Catholic faith that declares that Christ who died for our salvation has risen and is very much alive in his Church.

 

Fr David

 

 

 
 
 

 Thought for the Day - Monday 24th April 2022


Today is the feast of St Mark the Evangelist. Mark was born in AD 5 in Cyrene, Libya. He travelled with St Barnabas and St Paul on many missionary journeys and went on to establish the Church in Alexandria, where he is believed to have died around this day 68AD. Interestingly he is the patron of Egypt, barristers and Venice.

 

It is commonly agreed that his was the earliest of the four Gospel accounts that we have. It is the shortest of the four Gospels, having only 16 chapters and it was written for the Church in Rome that at the time was facing great persecution and many of its members were facing the prospect of martyrdom. There is a sense of urgency about this Gospel, which makes sense when we bear in mind who it was written for. He starts his Gospel with the account of John the Baptist telling people to repent and prepare a way for the Lord. The symbol for Mark’s Gospel is the winged lion. A lion is renowned for its courage which is surely what Mark was trying to give to his first readers.

 

We give thanks for St Mark’s Gospel account of Our Lord. May we find some time today to allow the Lord to speak to us through these sacred pages and most importantly listen to the message we will find there. May St Mark inspire us to have courage and to continue to trust Our Lord in these challenging times.

 

Fr David

 

 
 
 
 

 Thought for the Day - Easter Friday 22nd April 2022


In today’s Gospel, Peter and some of the disciples returned to Galilee where they go fishing but they are not able to catch anything. The Risen Jesus appears on the shore and invites them to put out their nets again but this time from the other side of the boat. This would have felt familiar to them, as a similar scenario had occurred some three years earlier, when Jesus had called the fishermen the first time. They heed Jesus just as they had when he had first called them to follow him at the beginning of his ministry. Just as on that occasion, they again catch an abundance of fish.

 

In the first reading we hear the continuing reaction to the healing of the crippled man by Peter and John in the name of the Lord Jesus. The two Apostles are arrested and brought before a meeting of the religious leaders for them to be questioned. Peter tells them that he and John cured the crippled man in the name of the Crucified and risen Jesus, whom he calls the stone rejected by the builders which has become the keystone. The courageous words and actions of Peter and Johns how the Holy Spirit very much at work in the Apostles after his coming at Pentecost.

 

As he did with the disciples, may the Risen Lord also affirm us in his love and mercy when we fall short of what he asks of us. May the joy of Easter transform our hearts towards a renewed desire to serve to Christ and proclaim the Gospel.

 

 

Fr David

 

 
 
 

 Thought for the Day - Easter Wednesday 20th April 2022


In today’s Gospel two disciples are on the road walking away from Jerusalem. It is the first Easter Sunday, and they are still full of grief and shock but the reports of Jesus rising from the dead have left them confused. Therefore, they are walking away from it all to try to put things into perspective. As they do so, we hear that the Risen Jesus walks by their side and how he talks to them and explains to them how his Death and Resurrection fulfil the scriptures. This lifts their spirits so that “their hearts burned within them”. However it is only at the familiar “breaking of bread” at the supper table in the evening that they recognise it is Jesus.

 

As well as our meeting the Risen Lord in prayer, we can also encounter Christ in the Sacraments because He has Risen. Every encounter with the Lord should open our eyes to his presence, to the reality that the Living Christ journeys with us by guiding us, encouraging us and urging us on to be faithful to him and to not lose heart.

 

Easter changes everything for us and it especially changes our view of death. For those who have no faith, it must be terrible to think that this life is it! Without faith, you would be like the disciples on the road, confused, down-cast, miserable, devastated, grieving and in a state of shock. Easter helps us to discover our own purpose in life, but it also helps us to understand and appreciate life after death for those we love.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 
 

 Thought for the Day - Easter Tuesday 19th April 2022


There is always joy in discovering in the middle of a conversation with a stranger that they are someone we already know but had failed to recognise them. It is often something familiar that triggers our recognition of who they are.

 

In today’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene is weeping by the empty tomb and encounters the Risen Jesus, but something prevents her from recognising who it is and she mistakes him for the gardener. We were told she was weeping so maybe she was grieving so much that she was not thinking clearly. As soon as Jesus calls her by her name, Mary recognises who it is and she is overjoyed. She was then entrusted with telling the disciples that he would be ascending to His Father.

 

Like Mary, may our searching for Christ also bear fruit. Jesus told Mary to go and tell his message; may also we eagerly receive the joyful Easter message with which we are entrusted by the Lord. We are called personally by name to go and tell those we encounter that Jesus is Risen and this is
good news for all who believe it and respond to it.

 

 

Fr David

 

 
 
 

 Thought for the Day - Easter Monday 18th April 2022


We hear in today’s Gospel, that the women who were the first ones to be told the Good News of Easter that Jesus is risen, are filled with awe and great joy. To the disciples and the followers of Jesus, it is joyful news and after the sorrow and heartache of Good Friday, its significance begins to sink in.

 

For the Religious leaders, the news is very disturbing as their worst fears about Jesus have been realised. So we are told by Matthew, that they bribe the soldiers with a large amount of money to cover up the story by saying that his disciples took the body of Jesus away while the soldiers guarding the tomb were asleep. The risen Jesus will make a number of appearances to disprove this cover up story. We will learn of these appearances each day during Easter Week. The Resurrection is news that should bring us great joy and fill us with hope. Because of Easter, we believe that Jesus is alive and therefore we can have the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the other sacraments. May the Risen Lord continue to bring us the hope, joy and peace of Easter.

 

We have had a very joyful and well supported Easter Triduum and Easter Sunday Masses. I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has made our services so beautiful and uplifting.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Good Friday 15th April 2022


Yesterday was Maundy Thursday and In the afternoon I encountered some of the youngsters on our car park some of whom have been causing problems for us over the last few months. I asked them to move on and after speaking kindly to them for a couple of minutes one of them spat in my face. That is the first time that has ever happened to me and I was quite shaken by it and I think it was totally undeserved. However on the eve of the Lord’s Passion it was a stark reminder of what happened to Our Lord on that first Good Friday. He was spat at and insulted and definitely did not deserve to be treated like that. He endured all this out of love for us in order to redeem us of our sins.

 

In today’s Gospel we hear the Passion according to John. In this account, Jesus is very much in control. He allows everything to happen to him in obedience to His Father and to fulfil the scriptures. Among the final words of Our Lord, St John tells us Jesus said: “it is finished” by which he announces that his mission is accomplished. This illustrates that Jesus is in control throughout.

 

On this day of sacrifices, may we renew our love and appreciation for Our Lord. As we re-live the Passion, may we be filled with awe and wonder at Our God who was prepared to show such love for me. This is the day of the Cross, when we rejoice that a symbol of torture and death can be glorified by God.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Maundy Thursday 14th April 2022

 

Yesterday I travelled on the Deanery coach to the Chrism Mass at Salford Cathedral the first one since 2019. It was great to catch up with priests and people that I had not seen since then. At the Mass all the priests present renewed before the Bishop the promises they made on their ordination day. The Bishop also blessed the three Holy Oils , including Sacred Chrism, that are used in the Sacraments throughout the coming year.

 

It is a great privilege to be called to serve in the Church by Christ, but we are to model our lives in living out this great gift in imitation of Christ himself. In this evening’s Gospel, Jesus shocks his disciples by kneeling down before them which is a great sign of humility. This is symbolic of humble and obedient service. At the time of Jesus, the roads were dusty and so feet would get very dirty.

 

Jesus washed the feet of his disciples in order to show us we need to be generous and see no task as beneath us regardless of our position or status in society or in the Church. Throughout Lent we have sought obedience to Christ by looking out for opportunities to give of ourselves. This included sharing our resources with the needy, but also essentially seizing every chance we get to give something of ourselves.

 

Let us imitate our Lord and Master by carrying out little acts of kindness and service wherever we see a chance to give our time and show a bit of love to whoever may need our care and our help.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Wednesday of Holy Week

 

In today’s Gospel set at the Last Supper, Jesus tells the gathered disciples that one of them is going to betray him: It is significant in today’s Gospel from Matthew, that mingled in with the grace and sacredness the Last Supper, is sin in the form of the deceit and betrayal of Judas. This means that God’s grace will always abound even in the midst of sin. Because of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, the darkness of sin can never put out the light of God’s grace at work in the Church. Pride is often at the heart of the reason why we sin and do things that we really regret. However we are able to move forward and out of the darkness caused by our sins because of the grace of God’s mercy attained at great cost by Our Lord’s Passion and Death.

 

Tomorrow we will begin the Triduum for Easter, and commemorate the key mysteries in the life of the Lord. As we do so It is important first and foremost to realise that Jesus died for our sins to be forgiven. Most importantly it is vital that we are able to forgive ourselves. God is all merciful and he will always forgive us, but we must also be prepared to forgive ourselves.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Tuesday of Holy Week

 

Today’s Gospel is set at the Last Supper. Peter tells the Lord that he would lay down his life for Jesus. He tells Peter, whom he trusted, that he was going to deny he even knew Jesus three times before Dawn the next day. As a result, Peter is then not around on Good Friday for Jesus at a time when he really could have done with a friend.

 

It is hard when someone you love lets you down. It must be even harder when, like Jesus, you know they are going to let you down. Jesus is compassionate and forgiving with Peter because He knows and understands all about human weaknesses and fears. He knew Peter would have his moments of weakness but he also fully trusted him and knew he would recover from this setback. After the Resurrection, Jesus will give Peter a second chance and he will never look back from that opportunity to receive the Lord’s love and dedicate his life to serving the Lord and the Church. He indeed to go on to show he would lay down his life for Jesus.

 

Thanks to the Lord’s mercy, Peter would have to learn to live with his denials. However we also need to find ways of living with our sins and failings with the help of the Lord’s forgiveness and love that we are available to us especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day - Monday of Holy Week

 

In today’s Gospel, we continue with the theme of contrasts begun by Palm Sunday’s events. Firstly we learn about Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who anoints the feet of Jesus with a very expensive perfume which is a great act of love and service. Mary is kind and generous, she is humble and thoughtful, she is full of goodness and love. She shows the warmth of true friendship to Jesus. The anointing will be essential preparation for his forthcoming death.

 

In contrast we see the true colours of Judas who has been a disciple of Jesus for some three years, living very close to Christ. Yet despite his closeness to Jesus he disapproves of the extravagance of Mary. He comes across as mean, cold heart and ungrateful. He is supposed to be a close friend of the Lord but he seems to despise money being lavished on Christ. He says that the ointment could have been sold and the money given to the poor.

 

True friends do not count the cost of friendship. May we think about our own friends and use this time to thank God for the gift of our friends. Let us reflect on how we treat our friends and whether we treat them like Mary treated Jesus. May we also reflect on our friendship with Jesus and consider how loyal we are to him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Friday 1st April 2022

 

I am proud of coming from the North East and am always pleased when someone with a discerning ear can spot my native accent, which has been “corrupted” by all the different places I have lived in. We can never fully know another person ~ if we discover where they come from, we might think we know them, but there so much more to it than that.

 

In today’s first reading, some people do like to have their faults and failings pointed out to them by the just man, who claims to be a man of God. We hear they look for opportunities to persecute him and rid themselves of him. Malice against the good foreshadows the Passion of Jesus.

 

There are lots of resonances from that first reading in today’s Gospel; the Jewish leaders think they know where Jesus comes from and that thus they think know everything about him. Jesus rightly claims to come from God and that is authority for his ministry and for the way he has criticised the religious leaders. This is one of reason why they seek ways of silencing him and killing him. Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus is in control, therefore no one lays a finger on him at that stage because “his hour had not come”.

 

Lent is a journey of discovery of Jesus really is for us. May we continue this journey towards Easter and beyond in order to strive to know the Lord more fully and more deeply.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 31st March 2022

 

In today’s first reading, Moses pleads on behalf of the people to God after they committed apostasy by worshipping a calf they have made themselves of gold. God listens to Moses and stands by his people even though they have rebelled.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus rebukes the Jews for not accepting him or the message he has come to bring them. He tells the Jews that all the good works he has done are to testify that he has been sent by the Father. Both Moses and Jesus receive criticism from their respective audiences about their respective missions. Jesus had to argue with his critics about his reasons for healing people on the Sabbath.

 

Let us always trust that Jesus shows us the way to God. If we model our lives on the life and teachings of Christ, this will be a sure and certain road map for us to follow on our pilgrimage of life.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 30th March 2022

 

In today’s first reading, just as a mother cherishes the child in her womb and gives life to her child, even more does God cherish us his children, with whom he works to bring us life to the full.

 

In today’s Gospel, John considers the equality of the Father with the Son. He speaks of the perfect harmony they enjoy He is also highlighting the unity of the Father with the Son. May our Lenten journey purify us of all the narrowness of our view of life and of the world. May we rid ourselves of greed and fear so that we may grow in awareness of the wonderful grace of God and his gift of life to us. May we also strive to be in unity and in harmony with the will of God for us.

 

Last night we had the second of our five preparation sessions for Confirmation with our young people. The programme centres on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, two of which we looked at this week. We firstly were talked about our understanding of who Jesus is and what he is asking of us. We were also asked to think of our knowledge of our Christian family salvation history all of which culminates in the Death and Resurrection of Our Lord which to bridge the chasm caused between humanity and God by our sins.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 29th March 2022

 

In today’s first reading, Ezekiel prophesies that the waters flow from the holy of Holies in the temple bringing life and hope. It flows like a river with God’s mercy and brings life everywhere it goes. Ezekiel is getting us to think of being purified by God on the inside. In today’s psalm, we are told there is a stream whose waters gladden the city of God. God is the provider of water and it brings life and hope to all.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus cures a paralysed man near the Sheep Pool of Bethzatha on the sabbath. The waters of the pool stirred periodically and had healing properties. This man had patiently waited for such healing for many years. Without taking him into the pool, Jesus brings healing to him by simply asking him to pick up his mat and walk. The man seizes the offer of mercy offered to him, obeys Jesus and is healed. It is through the healing waters of baptism that we received the promise of new life in Christ. On our Lenten journey may we patiently wait for the Lord’s mercy that comes through cleansing ourselves of all that is not worthy of God.

 

Today there will be a big crane outside of St Mary’s. It is being used to lift the large coping stones that are on the top of the church roof. It will only be there for the day but it represents a significant point in the roof repair work.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 26th March 2022

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. He is asking us to have the right attitude and approach in prayer. The Pharisee is aware of his own virtues full of pride and then compares himself to sinners like the tax collector, whom he looks down on. Jesus tells us that self-righteousness and pride in our approach to prayer will not be pleasing to God. It was the humble approach of the tax collector who simply says; “Have mercy on me a sinner”.

 

On our Lenten journey, we can do far worse than use the “Jesus Prayer” which is given to us from the Eastern Church. This is very much based on the parable in today’s Gospel. It goes like this: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, be merciful to me, a sinner”. During our Lenten journey, may we be more aware of our need for God’s mercy in our lives. May we focus on eradicating selfishness and sin in our lives rather than judging the unworthiness of others.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Friday 25th March 2022

 

Today is the feast of the Annunciation which is another of the beautiful feasts which often fall in the season of Lent. In today’s first reading we hear the prophecy of Isaiah who says that the sign that God will give is that a maiden (virgin) will have a child and name him Emmanuel which means God is among us.

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear the account according to Luke of how the Virgin Mary is asked by the Angel Gabriel to fulfil Isaiah’s prophecy and become the Mother of God’s Son. In addressing Mary’s question about how this is possible because she is a virgin: the angel says that “nothing is impossible for God”.

 

May we hand over today all our difficult and challenging situations into the capable hands of Our Lord and know that because nothing is impossible there is always a way forward if we bring God into it.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 24th March 2022

 

The Psalm reminds us of the need to listen each day to the voice of God: “O that today you would listen to His voice, harden not your hearts”. May our Lenten journey be a time to allow the Lord to soften our hearts so that by hearing his loving words, we are moved to more compassionate with one another. Lent is a time for us to find more time to listen to God and to become more consistent in our response to his love for us.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks out against those who see his signs and miracles as the work of the Evil One. All that Jesus did was good ~ he healed people, he helped the sick and the poor and he gave hope to those who had been written off by society. How could anyone possibly think that what he was doing was not good or not from God?

 

It is easy to home in on what is wrong with our lives and what we lack or cannot do. Lent is also a time for us to open our eyes to see our lives as Jesus sees us. In so doing may we grow in gratitude for the many varied ways in which God blesses our lives each day.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 23rd March 2022

 

 

St Turibius of Mongrovejo was born in Spain in about 1538 and studied law at the university of Salamanca. He was named bishop of Lima in 1580 and sailed to America. Full of apostolic zeal, he traversed his gigantic diocese three times, generally on foot, baptizing, teaching and confirming the natives.

He assembled many synods and councils to make the Church strong, organised, and above all holy; and he strongly defended the rights of the natives, who were Spanish citizens according to the law but who were nevertheless being oppressed by the colonists and the provincial governors. He died in Lima on 23 March 1606.

In today’s first reading, Moses tell the people that it is important to keep God’s commandments. In keeping and observing the laws of God, they will
be considered wise and knowledgeable. He tells them to never forget all the good things that they have seen God do for them. They are to treasure all these things in their hearts and pass on the commandments to future generations.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that he not come to take anything away at all from the commandments and the teachings of the prophets. He says he has simply come to complete the Law and the Prophets. He says this because he is totally obedient to the Father and his mission is the fulfilment of the Prophets. He also completes the Law by giving us a new commandment , which is the commandment to love one another as he has loved us. This means that the reasons we keep all of God’s commandments is that we act out of love.

On our Lenten journey may we grow closer to Christ by our faithfulness to his commandment to love God and one another. May our Lenten commitments enable us to grow stronger through our desire to be pleasing to God.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Monday 21st March 2022

 

 

In today’s first reading, we hear the account of Naaman, the Syrian army commander who is cured of his leprosy by Elisha the prophet. Naaman initially has to overcome his anger and his pride when asked by the prophet via a messenger, to bathe himself in the river Jordan seven times. It is only when one of Naaman’s servants reasoned with him, that he calmed down and instead of storming off home in a rage asked the army officer to trust the words of the Lord spoken by the prophet. Naaman then agreed to do what Elisha had asked of him and was cured by the Lord. Lent is a great time for us to set aside our anger and pride in order to trust the Lord to heal us and cleanse us.

 

In today’s Gospel, while in his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus challenges the people’s narrow view that God belonged only to Israel by referring to the story of the healing of Naaman the Syrian as one example of where God favoured the Gentiles. This does not go down well and angers his former neighbours and town folk. They reject Jesus and intend to kill him by throwing him off the cliff. This foreshadows his ultimate rejection in Jerusalem which will lead to his death.

 

May our Lenten journey help to broaden our impression of God, whose love and compassion is offered to people of all nations. May the Lord be at the centre of our own lives so that we can reach out mercifully and compassionately to all those we meet who are in need.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 23rd March 2022

 

 

In today’s first reading, we hear the account of Naaman, the Syrian army commander who is cured of his leprosy by Elisha the prophet. Naaman initially has to overcome his anger and his pride when asked by the prophet via a messenger, to bathe himself in the river Jordan seven times. It is only when one of Naaman’s servants reasoned with him, that he calmed down and instead of storming off home in a rage asked the army officer to trust the words of the Lord spoken by the prophet. Naaman then agreed to do what Elisha had asked of him and was cured by the Lord. Lent is a great time for us to set aside our anger and pride in order to trust the Lord to heal us and cleanse us.

 

In today’s Gospel, while in his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus challenges the people’s narrow view that God belonged only to Israel by referring to the story of the healing of Naaman the Syrian as one example of where God favoured the Gentiles. This does not go down well and angers his former neighbours and town folk. They reject Jesus and intend to kill him by throwing him off the cliff. This foreshadows his ultimate rejection in Jerusalem which will lead to his death.

 

May our Lenten journey help to broaden our impression of God, whose love and compassion is offered to people of all nations. May the Lord be at the centre of our own lives so that we can reach out mercifully and compassionately to all those we meet who are in need.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 17th March 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Patrick. Just before he was 16 years old, he was taken captive by Irish slave traders from his own people and his home, to work in the Antrim hills. He was not particularly religious as he grew up in Roman Britain but when his life was turned upside down , he was able to find new dimensions which allowed him to see that God was very close to him. After his eventual escape after six years of slavery, he felt called by Christ and returned as a Bishop and a missionary to Ireland to preach Christ’s Gospel to those who had held him captive. Through all of this, Patrick’s faith sustained him and he saw clearly the hand of God in all these events of his life. He was driven by a love for people and a desire to share his faith with others. He was full of goodness and this led to him winning many people over to the Christian faith.

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus sending out the 72 disciples ahead of him as missionaries, equipped only with his approval, his love and his teaching. The missionary zeal of Patrick has always been an intrinsic part of the Irish Church, believing that faith is not something to be kept to ourselves. Let us pray for the people of Ireland today on their feast day. May St Patrick inspire us to new friends for the Lord through our missionary zeal and love for the Gospel.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 16th March 2022

 

In today’s first reading, Isaiah simply tells us to turn away from evil and learn to do good. Ceasing to do something that is habitual and sinful can seem to be impossible for us ~ however bringing God into the situation will make a big difference, because everything is possible for God. Moving away from what is not life-giving for us has to begin with us admitting that what we are doing is wrong. It takes humility to be able to admit that we have a problem and this means we have to deal with the sin of pride. Lent is a time to use the disciplines of prayer, fasting and giving as aides to tackle head on the sin of pride which gets us to focus on ourselves and instead to focus on Christ.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus criticizes the religious leaders for laying heavy burdens upon people and not doing anything to help them to cope with their struggles. He calls them hypocrites because they seem to enjoy the privileges of their status but do not really keep the laws themselves. Jesus reminds us that authentic Christian living calls for fairness and humility.

 

During our Lenten journey may we encourage one another to change and move away from areas of selfishness and sin. May we also strive to lead better more virtuous lives that allow us to become fairer and wiser in our dealings with each other. May the Lord help us overcome our pride and be humble enough to admit our need for God in our lives.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Monday 15th March 2022

 

Our Lenten journey is to focus us more closely on Christ and on Easter. Yesterday’s Gospel of the Transfiguration reminded us to keep Jesus central to our Lenten journey. Whatever commitments we have taken on for Lent we are to remember that we are doing them out of love for Our Lord and to unite us more fully to him. The voice of God the Father told the disciples from within the cloud on the mountain to that they are to listen to His Son, the Chosen one. One of the Lenten disciplines is prayer which is not only about speaking to the Lord but it is also about listening.

 

In today’s Gospel as we listen to Jesus, we hear him tell us that we are to not judge others, not to right anybody off but instead we are to be compassionate because God is compassionate. These are important words but not easy words to listen to, because the call to be compassionate involves being generous with our forgiveness and love and to share it with everyone including those who have wronged us.

 

However as our Lenten journey continues if we are uniting ourselves to Jesus and listening to him in prayer and the Gospel, we should become more like Christ each day of this journey.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Friday 11th March 2022

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches the importance of dealing with feelings that can lead to anger and resentment against others. Such feelings and emotions are at the root of things that can well up inside of us and risk making us feel angry. We can sometimes let such strong feelings get the better of us. Anger can eat away at us and can urge us to feed it with our energy and our attention. Jesus says that feelings of anger and resentment can be at the heart of what leads some people to break the 5 th commandment: “Thou Shalt not kill”.

 

Jesus tells us to ensure we try to find ways to move on from disagreements with one another. He places great emphasis on the need for reconciliation and healing. He urges us to seek reconciliation with those against whom we bear a grudge, even before we come to worship before God. Talking things through with someone who has wronged us is not easy but can often be fruitful in achieving reconciliation.

 

On our Lenten journey, may take the time to reflect on what makes us angry and so avoid bearing grudges. May the Lord give us the courage and confidence to seek reconciliation with those who have wronged us. May we also regularly reflect on our own actions and words to others and have the humility to admit if we have not been as loving or as kind as we should have been.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 10th March 2022

 

In today’s first reading, we get a short extract from the book of Esther. Esther was a secret Jewess, married to king Ahasuerus, a pagan; and when her fellow Jews were threatened with death, she took the risk of going to her husband to plead on their behalf. She knew that this was dangerous and could cost her own life. Before she carried out her intentions, Queen Esther prayed about it. In her prayer we hear her say that she believed only God alone could help her. Because of her heartfelt prayer, God intervened to save her people from death and destruction.

 

Esther’s example and approach to prayer is exactly what Jesus means when in today’s Gospel he tells us the approach to have in prayer. We need to be clear, confident and determined in what we ask for. Jesus says that his Father is kind, generous and compassionate, just as any good parent would be towards their children. He tells us that if we adopt this confident, but humble approach in prayer then surely God will answer favourably.

 

I am sorry to report after a quiet spell of no incidents at St Mary’s in the last two months, in the last couple of days some smaller windows have been smashed in the parish rooms and sadly three small stained glass windows above the baptistry in church have also been smashed. As already announced, work on the church roof has begun this week. Please pray for rapid end to this thoughtless vandalism.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 9th March 2022

 

In today’s First reading: Jonah is asked by God to go in one direction but because he did not feel up to the challenge God asked of him, he went in a completely different direction. Eventually he did do what God asked of him and the people of Nineveh repented and they changed the direction of their lives.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus refers to the sign of Jonah. By this he means that we too are asked to repent of our sins and turn back to God. We have many signs in the Church and in our lives that can ensure we can stay in the right direction, i.e, towards God, and towards salvation. This includes: the Lord’s teachings in the Gospels, the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation as well as our personal relationship with the Lord through prayer, We also have the Church’s own teachings inspired by the Holy Spirit that have come from the Apostles. Our guidance also comes from our own personal response to living out of the Gospel particularly the way we have shown practical love to the poor and under-privileged.

Lent is about asking ourselves are we on the right path of life and are we heading in the right direction? The Lord points us closer to him through our Lenten commitments and promises. As followers of Christ, the sign that points us all Christians in the same direction is the Cross. Before we get to the joys of Easter, our Lenten journey will take us through the horrors of Good Friday and the Cross. We are headed towards the Cross, which is the greatest ever sign of love, sacrifice and service. It is through the power of the Cross that we can get to the glory of eternal life with God.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 8th March 2022

 

St John of God was born in 1495 to a poor but devout family in Portugal in 1495. After serving as a soldier under the Emperor Charles V he devoted his life wholly to the service of the poor and the sick. He founded a hospital in Granada and a circle of disciples formed round him, which later became the Order of Hospitallers. He died on 8 March 1550, his 55th birthday. Today’s first reading speaks of the word of God bearing fruit just like the snow and the rain that visit the Earth have a purpose and achieve results. Lent is a time for us to perhaps reacquaint ourselves with the Word of God found in Scripture. Although the Lenten readings vary from day to day, we are generally currently in the year of Luke so perhaps reading a little of St Luke’s Gospel could be a useful daily exercise. When we have read the Word of God it is always important and useful to take some time to reflect afterwards about what God is trying to tell us through that reading.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples not to babble in their prayers. Instead he gives them a structure which we know as the Our Father. This begins by acknowledging God as Father, whose name is to be sacred. We are to pray that God’s will should prevail not only in Heaven but here on Earth too. We are then to pray for all our daily needs including food and drink, love, friendship, shelter rest, and sleep. We are then reminded that forgiveness is an essential part of prayer; so we pray that we can forgive others which is essential if we want to be forgiven by God. The prayer finishes with asking the Lord to free us from the temptations and evil of Satan.

May our Lenten journey be punctuated with seizing the many opportunities each day , the Lord presents to us to connect with him in prayer.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Monday 7th March 2022

 

Saints Perpetua and Felicity were martyred at Carthage in 203 during the persecution of Septimius Severus. With so many martyrs of the third and fourth centuries we have to say “they were martyred but nothing else is known about them.” That is not the case here. We have a detailed contemporary account of their arrest, trial, sufferings and martyrdom, written partly by the saints themselves and partly by an eye-witness. Devotion to them spread rapidly and they are mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass.

 

Today’s first reading reminds us of the root of the commandment of Jesus to love your neighbour as you love yourself. Building on the Ten commandments Leviticus speaks of the need to show justice and compassions in our dealings with each other. The people called to make allowances that could help the poor and the outcast. Jesus builds upon this teaching in his parable of the sheep and the goats that we hear in today’s Gospel where he identifies himself with those who are in critical need, like hunger, thirst, naked or imprisonment. He invites us to regularly examine our consciences to ascertain whether we have shown compassion, justice and generosity towards others, especially the needy and vulnerable.

 

May our Lenten journey enable us to unite ourselves more fully with Christ so that we can more naturally see the needs of others.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 5th March 2022

 

 

In today’s first reading we hear the prophet Isaiah say that “He will always guide” those who change their ways from being oppressive and using wicked words towards others as well as those who share their food with the hungry. He tells them that if they change their “light will rise in the darkness”

During Lent we are given the opportunity to have a think about the way we live our lives. We are called with the Lord’s help to journey out of the darkness of our sin and into the light of God’s salvation. We are invited to reflect in the light of the Gospel of how we need to change our way of way thinking acting and speaking.

In today’s Gospel, we hear of Jesus calling the tax collector Levi (Matthew) to leave behind his old life, where he was well off but unpopular and miserable because of the way of life he was leading. We are told that he responded willingly and joyfully to this opportunity to change his way of living and put his trust in Christ. This joy was expressed by Levi hosting a dinner party with Jesus to celebrate this momentous moment in his life.

During our Lenten journey may we invite the Lord more deeply into our hearts to gently shine his healing light upon the darkness created by our misguided choices and selfishness. May we always remember the warm welcome we will always receive from the merciful Lord whenever we seek him out in repentance and hope.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Friday 4th March 2022

 

 

St Casimir was born in he was the second son of King Casimir IV of Poland. He assiduously cultivated the Christian virtues, especially chastity and generosity to the poor. Zealous in faith, he had a particular devotion to the Eucharist and the Virgin Mary. For several years, while his father was away in Lithuania (the Kings of Poland at this time were also Grand Dukes of Lithuania), he ruled Poland with great prudence and justice. He died of tuberculosis on 4 March 1484. 

 

In today’s first reading, Isaiah reprimands the Jewish people for fasting and keeping the law but not being fair to their employees and arguing and flighting with their neighbours. This should get us to see fasting in its right context because fasting should make a difference to the way we live our lives. It should not be simply seen as an exercise in self-control where we risk just going through the motions. During Lent, the Church asks us to practise three disciplines as part of our journey to Easter; this comprises prayer, fasting and almsgiving. Our prayer and fasting should lead to us being kinder and more generous with everyone including those who are poor and needy.

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus compares his presence in the world to the joyful presence of a bridegroom on the occasion of their wedding. When he speaks of the bridegroom being taken from them, he is clearly speaking of the Passion and Death of the Lord, which is on the horizon for us at the end of our Lenten journey.

 

May the Lord help us to be faithful to our Lenten promises that include fasting. May St Casimir and all the saints urge us on in our commitment to that our Lenten disciplines be reflected in the way we relate to God and to each other.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 3rd March 2022

 

 

Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that choosing life involves renouncing ourselves and taking up our cross to follow him. This involves a life of service, sacrifice and generosity. Such practises are counter-cultural today in our world that encourages us to indulge our desires. All this is part of that human restlessness that is like a thirst that is never quenched. Life in God however will bring us true happiness and lead us some way towards overcoming that restlessness of spirit.

 

Lent is a time when we think about what changes may be needed in our lives and is an invitation to try to allow God to help us do something about it. We might for example try to address a habit that is not life-giving for us and spiritually paralyses us. Or we might try to address some misguided attachment to something or someone that is holding us back from being free to live as God wants us to.

 

May our Lenten journey be a joyful discovery of growing closer to God through faithfulness to our commitment to prayer, fasting and giving.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Ash Wednesday 2nd March 2022

 

 

As we receive ashes on our foreheads today we are reminded of our need for God in our lives. We are also to remember that Lent is a time for repentance so we are called to change our ways. Using the Lenten disciplines, we are to try to draw closer to Christ by Easter than we are at the start of this journey. Prayer is firstly about finding time for God, which means we are to listen as well as to speak to Him more regularly. May we make time for prayer a greater priority than we have done up to now.

 

Secondly, Lent involves fasting, which is about doing without things that we really think we need. This does not just mean food and drink but anything that we think we can’t live without. Doing without some of these things regularly during Lent shows our need for God is greater than anything else.

 

Thirdly , Lent involves giving. If we are becoming less self-centred and more focused on God and others, we are naturally going to notice the needs of others more readily. As well as our money we could think about giving our time, our love and undivided attention to those who would appreciate it. Lent should help us to change our mentality and our way of thinking about life. Lent is an invitation to cleanse our minds, make them more pure by living more simply and making more of a priority for God and those in need. 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 1st March 2022

 

 

Today is the feast of St David, patron of Wales. The earliest life of St David dates from five centuries after his death, probably in 589. He became eminent as abbot and bishop at the site now known as St David’s, but formerly Mynyw, from which the present diocese of Menevia is named. Monks trained at his monastery went on to evangelize South Wales and made foundations in Cornwall, Brittany and Ireland.. His holy relics have been found hidden in the fabric of St David’s Cathedral, where they are carefully preserved. He was canonized by Pope Callistus II in 1123. He lived a very austere life, was vegetarian and was known as “the water drinker” as that is all he drank. In his monastery he asked his monks to plough the fields themselves without the use of oxen or other animals.

It is believed in his last words, St David said; ‘Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about.’ These lovely words remind us that our faith is lived out by doing the little things extraordinary well. We show this in our patience and kindness with each other. We can make a make a big difference by paying attention to the little things that we do.

In today’s Gospel ,we are reminded to be like David and let our light shine in the sight of others by carrying out each little task entrusted to us with love and great care. We are to see each action that we take as being done out of love for God and so will draw others to Christ. We remember today the people of Wales on this their feast day. May we thank the Lord for the beautiful Welsh countryside of mountains coast and lakes. For the Welsh language,and their fabuluous choirs. May we all imitate David in his purity, gentleness and simplicity and by doing all the little things well be drawn close to Christ.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Monday 28th February 2022

 

Sometimes the questions we ask receive answers that perhaps we didn’t want to hear because they challenge us to make radical changes in our lives. This certainly seems to be the case with the man in today’s Gospel, who asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus sees that the barrier to the man’s salvation is his vast wealth and asks him to radically sell all possessions and give the money to the poor. In the Gospels, it is rare for Jesus to ask other people to do what he asks of the rich young man. The young man finds this a step too far, and we are told goes away from Jesus feeling sad.

 

Each of us knows what might prevent us from being free to fully follow the Lord. It might be our wealth but it could be other things that need to be worked on like addictions, habits or something that we feel we can’t live without. Some of these things might seem very difficult to overcome however let us think of the words of the Angel Gabriel to Mary that nothing is impossible to God.

 

Let us continue to pray for the people of Ukraine at this really difficult time for them that they may soon experience peace.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 26th February 2022

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear that little children were approaching Jesus for him to touch them but the disciples pushed them away. They probably believed they not to be important enough for Jesus to bothered with them. Jesus however gently rebukes them for this, but utters the profound truth that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to little children such as those in front of him. I think he says this this because little children are pure and innocent and uncontaminated by the world. As adults we often strive to be independent however little children know they depend very much others as they can’t do everything themselves. He calls us all to have a childlike dependence which opens us up more fully to our need for God.

 

Today’s first reading from St James is very well known to me and all priests. It forms the introduction to the Sacrament of the Anointing of the sick. James speaks of sending for the priests of the Church when someone is sick, who will lay their hands on the sick person and anoint them with oil. One of the purposes of the Sacrament of the Sick is to reassure a person who is sick of the nearness of the Lord. The first prayer for the anointing on the forehead speaks of the help the help of the Holy Spirit that the anointing promises. The second anointing on the hands by the priest speaks of the freedom from sin and the promise of eternal life.

 

May we confidently bring to the Lord all who are sick at the moment and seek through their faith the assurance of his loving help and his mercy.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Friday 25th February 2022

 

In today’s first reading St James tells us to avoid complaining about others in order to avoid facing judgement ourselves. He instead urges us to strive for patience. James reminds us of the patience of Job, who endured so much suffering but never lost faith or trust in the Lord. Patience is a quality which calls us to endure and keep our cool rather than complaining, criticising and getting angry with others. We appreciate people who are naturally patient and are perhaps more wary of those who readily show impatience. However, it is a quality that each of us is called upon to show to a certain degree every day. May the Lord help us to be patient with those who we find challenging and may the Holy Spirit enable us to show
and love respect at all times.

In today’s Gospel Jesus is asked a question about divorce but turns his answer into a wonderful statement about the unity of marriage: “They are no longer two therefore but one body”. He speaks of God binding a couple in marriage with a sacred bond. The Lord is asking us to see this binding by God as affirming and life-giving to the couple. Jesus sees the special love between a man and a woman as being similar to God’s love for his people. Although it is demanding, the love of a husband and wife is a vision to hold on to.

 

Fr David

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 24th February 2022

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us that a simple act of kindness will be rewarded. Sometime a gesture such as offering a smile or a simple “Good Morning” to another person can make a huge difference. Jesus tells us that the smallest acts of kindness will be noticed by God who will bless us for them. He goes on to use exaggerated language in order to emphasise that are eternal are of more significance to us than temporal things that do not last. He is calling us to be generous and always desire to share what is ours with those who are in need.

 

In today’s first reading, St James warns of the need for social justice in our daily dealings. He laments those who live to make a profit and who don’t care about the needs of others, especially those who are unable to help or defend themselves.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 23rd February 2022

 

St Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostles, bishop of Smyrna, and a friend of St Ignatius of Antioch. He went to Rome to confer with Pope Anicetus about the celebration of Easter. He was martyred at Smyrna in about 155 by being burnt to death in the stadium. Polycarp is an important figure in the history of the Church because he is one of the earliest Christians whose writings still survive. He bears witness to the beliefs of the early Church.

In today’s Gospel, the disciples of Jesus complain about a man who is not one of the disciples who is blessing in the name of Jesus those who are sick. Jesus tries to broaden the narrow outlook of the disciples by saying those who are not against us are for us. May the Lord also broaden our outlook to be able to build bridges with anyone who enhances the life of others but does not necessarily share our faith.

In today’s first reading, St James tells us not give undue respect to tomorrow ~ we are instead to live in the present. If we do this, we will not fall into the trap of becoming arrogant or hoarders and so refuse to share what we have with others. The Lord urges us instead to be people who seek God’s wisdom which will result in us being relaxed, generous and trusting.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 22nd February 2022

 

Today is the feast of the Chair of St Peter. This feast was first introduced in the 4 th Century to help us to celebrate as a gift from Christ that the Church is built on the “Rock” which is St. Peter. I have had the privilege of celebrating Mass a couple of times in the splendid Basilica of St Peter’s in Rome, built over the tomb of St Peter. At any votive Mass to St Peter, the Gospel we have for today’s feast is always used. In this Gospel Jesus asks the disciples who they say that he is. Peter answers that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus tells Peter that the powerful answer he gave was revealed to Peter by God the Father. This reminds us that this honour bestowed upon Peter as the earthly leader of the Church was not merited but was a pure gift from God.

 

Today’s feast also to gets us to think of the Popes as successors of St Peter. This idea of service is highlighted by the fact that when signing his writings, the Pope uses the phrase Servant of the servants of God (Servus servorum Dei.

 

Today I think of Bishop Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury who as a priest of the Diocese of Salford was consecrated Bishop on this day in 2010. I was touched by his humble thoughtfulness in sending me a “Get Well” card when I was poorly with Covid in Sept 2020.

 

As we give thanks today for the gift to the Church of the papacy, we pray for Pope Francis who sits in the Chair of Peter that he might continue to exercise his role as Successor to St Peter with humility and love.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Monday 21st February 2022

 

St Peter Damian was born in Ravenna in 1007 and studied theology and canon law, becoming a renowned teacher in both Parma and mavenna. In his late twenties he abandoned all this and joined the hermitage of Fonte Avellana, near Gubbio, where he became prior in 1043: a position he held until his death. He strongly promoted the religious life in many parts of Italy. The Church at that time was in a terrible state and he supported the Popes in their efforts at reform, both by his writings and as a papal envoy. Pope Stephen IX named him a cardinal and Bishop of Ostia. He died on 21 February 1072and was immediately acclaimed as a saint.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus cures a boy whom the disciples were unable to heal. In his conversation, with the boy’s father, Jesus challenges the man about his faith: the man is able to state that he does have faith and asks Jesus to help him with the little faith he has. This a great way for us to also approach the Lord in humility and in prayer to ask him to help us with the little faith that we have. In times of crisis and worry, especially when everything seems lost, we should reach out to the Lord in prayer, with the same honest hope that the man in today’s Gospel clearly had.

In today’s first reading, James warns of the dangers of ambition which can be destructive in provoking jealousy and disharmony among others.. He urges us instead to strive for wisdom by always showing great humility.
May St Peter Damian guide us to always strive to be humble and honest in our Christian faith. May our main ambition centre on being pleasing to God. and gaining eternal life

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 19th February 2022

 

In today’s First reading, James speaks of the havoc that our tongues can cause through our cursing and our destruction of peoples’s good names. He says it is like a small flame that can set fire to a whole forest. James
thinks that wild animals can be tamed but the tongue cannot be tamed. He says that the tongue can also however give praise and glory to God. Let us pray for the gift of self-control over our tongue so that we can use it to praise the Lord and give encouragement and hope to others.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem and therefore to the Cross. He has just told his disciples about his forthcoming Passion, Death and Resurrection. He leads his inner sanctum of disciples: Peter, James and John, up a high mountain where they experience the transfigured Jesus as he will be after his Resurrection. This was an experience of great joy for the three disciples and would surely give them at least a little light in the darkness of Good Friday. In ourdarkest moments, may the promise of eternal life shine its light upon us and fill us with peace and hope.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 17th February 2022

 

Today we celebrate the feast of the Seven Holy Founders of the Servite Order. In the early thirteenth century seven young Florentines formed a confraternity of laymen devoted to the praise of Mary. In 1233, after a vision on the feast of the Assumption, they took up the life of hermits on Monte Senario outside Florence. They went preaching through the whole of Tuscany and founded the order of the Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as the Servites, whose foundation was approved by the Pope in 1304. Their feast is celebrated today because one of the seven founders, Saint Alexius Falconieri, died on 17 February 1310.

 

In today’s first reading ,St James urges us to treat every person we meet with goodness and with dignity. Like Our Lord, James warns us not to treat people differently due to their wealth, power, prestige or social rank. He goes on to say that we should not treat the well-dressed person better than the one is shabbily dressed because in God’s sight we are all the same.

 

In today’s Gospel, Peter first excels himself by answering Jesus’ question about who He is by confidently declaring that He is the Christ. However, when Jesus tells the disciples that he is going to suffer and be put to death then rise on the third day, Peter remonstrates with Jesus. Jesus rebukes him and accuses Peter of not thinking like God thinks.

 

May we always strive to be obedient to the Lord’s commandment to love by treating everyone as Jesus treated them. May we always look for God’s will in all the different situations in which we find ourselves especially in times of trial and suffering.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 16th February 2022

 

In today’s first reading, St James warns us about the need to have control over our tongue. He tells us that if we swear, curse, mock, put other people down and fail to tell the truth, then we are bearing poor witness to our faith. We all have occasions when we have said things we shouldn’t have done and lived to regret it. We have also all had experiences when we have bitten our tongues and refrained from uttering something unhelpful and feel a deep sense of relief that we did so.

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus takes a blind man by the hand and leads him outside the village where he heals him in stages. After Jesus puts his spittle on his eyes the man can only partially see, stating that people looking like
walking trees. Its only after Jesus lays hands on the blind man that he is able to see fully. Coming to see fully in stages, reminds us of the gradual way that we come to spiritual maturity. We tend to grow in faith gradually not instantly.

 

May the Lord give us the gift of self-control over our tongues so that we speak words that praise and build up. May the Lord also bless our eyes so that we see His presence all around us through the gift of faith.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 15th February 2022

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus challenges his disciples who do not seem to get the meaning of what He is trying to tell them. They do not seem to grasp the significance of who he is or what his mission is. Despite such frustrations, Jesus will never lose faith in these men who will go on to be totally faithful once they receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They will go on to found the Church and spread the Gospel throughout the world. The Lord surely also gets frustrated with each of us when we fall short of what he asks of us. However like with the Apostles he will never give up on us because he also sees us as a work in progress.

 

At Mass this morning at Christ the King, a young lady called Clare will be received into full Communion with the Catholic Church and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Holy Spirit has been at work in Clare’s life and she has been on a journey of discovery and discernment over the last year. This journey leads her to making this important step in her life this day. The Church is at its best when it is growing by welcoming people into its fold.

 

May we offer our selves as channels of the Lord’s love so that by our faithfulness and prayers we may become the person he wants us to become.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Monday 14th February 2022

 

St Methodius 826 was born in Thessalonica. With his brother Cyril he went to Moravia to preach the faith. They translated liturgical texts into the Slavonic language and invented the Glagolithic and possibly also the Cyrillic alphabet. After his brother’s death he went to Pannonia, where he was assiduous in the work of evangelization. In the complicated international politics of the time he suffered much from attacks by his enemies, but he was always supported by the Popes. He died on 6 April 885. St Cyril was born in 827 in Thessalonica and was educated in Constantinople. With his brother Methodius he went to Moravia to preach the faith. They translated liturgical texts into the Slavonic language and invented the Glagolithic and possibly also the Cyrillic alphabet. They were called back to Rome, where Cyril died on 14 February 869.

 

Today’s Gospel reflects today’s feast of the missionary brothers Cyril and Methodius. Jesus sends out his disciples with instructions and very little else: most importantly he sends them out equipped with his trust and his confidence as well his love for them. In the same way we are all called to be missionaries and to preach the Gospel and win new friends for the Lord. In order to be able to bring the Lord to others we need to ensure our personal relationship with Christ is as strong as it can be. This relationship should be nurtured by a love for the Scriptures, a life of prayer and frequent celebration of the Sacraments.

 

Today is the anniversary of my grandmother Julia Hardy, who died in 1987. I have a photograph of her in the lounge which helps me to think of her often. She lived in the village of Shotley Bridge near Consett Co. Durham, and was thus known as our “Shotley Nana”. I am very grateful for her kindness, approachability, gentle humour and her faith which was a powerful witness to myself and my two brothers as we grew up.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Friday 11th February 2022

 

In 1858 the immaculate Virgin Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirous, near Lourdes in France, in the cavern called “de Massabielle.” Through this poor, fourteen-year-old girl, Mary calls on sinners to change their lives. She has inspired in the Church a great love of prayer and good works, especially in the service of the poor and the sick. Lourdes has become a great place of pilgrimage and healing where the sick and disabled are welcomed with joy.

 

Today is also world day of prayer for the sick. Because it is good to pray for all who are sick or infirm. It is a good day also to remember those in the medical and caring professions that care for the sick and the dying all year round.

 

In today’s Gospel a deaf man who also has an impediment in his speech was brought to Jesus. Quite often those who are deaf also have difficulties with their speech. Jesus first opened the man’s ears, and then he could speak clearly. This perhaps gets us to think that the quality of our hearing is revealed in the quality of our speech.

 

May Our Lady of Lourdes who told Bernadette she was “the Immaculate Conception”, leads us all more deeply into the heart of her Son Jesus, so that we like Him can give priority to the sick and infirm in our daily lives.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 10th February 2022

 

St Scholastica was born in Nursia in about 480, the twin sister of St Benedict. She was dedicated to God from an early age and followed her brother to Cassino, where she died in about 547.

 

In today’s first reading we hear that despite the many blessings the Lord bestowed upon Solomon, he goes on to lose faith and being influenced by his wives followed other gods. God is angry with Solomon and tells him that all but one of the twelve tribes of the kingdom will be taken away from him during his son’s reign. Solomon’s actions illustrate how easy it is sometimes to allow our involvement with others to lead us away from what is important. May we resolve to be steadfast in our faith and ensure that our faith is always as strong as it can be.

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear of the encounter between Jesus and Syro-Pheonician woman. After some playful banter with the woman Jesus is impressed enough with her perseverance and humility to grant her request and heal her daughter. This episode perhaps reminds us of the need to also be humble and determined in our intercessionary prayer.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 9th February 2022

 

In today’s first reading we hear of the splendid visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon in Jerusalem. On Saturday we heard that when asked for any gift from the Lord, King Solomon had asked for a discerning heart which he used in order to rule his people. Therefore In the midst of all the riches, luxury, opulence and wealth which surrounds Solomon it is Solomon’s God-given wisdom that most impresses the Queen. Of all gifts wisdom is surely one of the most treasured.

 

We also see the Wisdom of God at work in today’s Gospel, when Jesus, who is God’s wisdom personified, declares all food to be clean. He said that it is not what goes into a person that makes them unclean, rather it is what comes out of a person that makes them unclean. Temptations can lead towards evil tendencies lurking in the human heart; These products of the human heart, we are told by Jesus, include: fornication envy, adultery, avarice, deceit, licentiousness and pride.

 

May we also treasure the gift of wisdom which should help us to bring the Lord into all our deliberations and choices. May we also make a priority of ensuring our interior lives are healthy by being close to the Lord through the Sacraments and through prayer.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 8th February 2022

 

St Jerome Emiliani was born in 1486 near Venice. . He started his career as a soldier but after he was taken prisoner and then miraculously liberated, he devoted himself to helping the poor, distributing his own possessions among them also. Two priests joined him in this task and in 1532 he founded a religious order, the Clerks Regular of Somaschi, for the relief of poor and orphaned children. He died at Somaschi (near Bergamò) in 1537.

 

In the town of Buxton where I grew up, there is a “humble folly” on the top of one of the surrounding hills called Grinlow Tower, however it is locally known as Solomon’s Temple. There is obviously a bit of humour behind the nickname as it is a far cry from the splendour of the original Temple in Jerusalem. Nevertheless it is much loved by the people of Buxton as it makes a great destination for a walk and is still intact. In today’s first reading we hear the prayer of praise of King Solomon before the altar in the Temple he had built .He proclaims the temple to be essentially a house of prayer. He humbly calls himself a servant of God and asks the Lord’s forgiveness. Solomon’s prayer is great model of prayer for ourselves to use, centred on giving praise and asking God’s mercy.

 

May we be humble like Solomon in our prayers, seeing ourselves primarily as servants of the Lord. May we always seek the mercy of God first and foremost be aware of our shortcomings. May we be grateful for the blessings in our life and make the time to listen to the voice of God in our time of quality prayer


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Monday 7th February 2022

 

In today’s first reading the Ark of the Covenant containing the stone tablets of the Law given to Moses are placed ceremoniously that Solomon had built in honour of the Lord. We are told that in the form of a cloud the Lord filled the Temple.

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear that sick people continued to be brought to Jesus. They had complete faith and trusted that he would heal them and strengthen them. We are told that they knew that just touching the hem of his garment would bring them the healing they hoped for. Touching the hem of the garment sounds to me like making contact with the Lord. Whenever we encounter the Lord in prayer or in the Sacraments, then we are “touching the hem of his garment”. Every time we do this we should be open to be transformed and strengthened by the Lord’s deep love for us.

 

The parish has continued to celebrate some beautiful First Communion Masses over the last two weeks. These are also encounters with Christ and it is right that we mark them as special moments of grace. It is a delight to see the joyful impact that these memorable occasions have upon the children and their families.

 

May our faith enable us to see the Lord’s presence always at work in our lives, leading us to joyfully be filled with his love and peace.


 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Sat 5th February, 2022

 

St Agatha whose feast we celebrate today was martyred at Catania in Sicily, probably during the persecution of Decius (250-253). Devotion to her was widespread in the Church in the earliest times and she is mentioned in the Roman Canon.


In today’s first reading we hear God ask Solomon what gift he would like to receive from him. He pleases the Lord by asking for a heart to understand how to discern between good and evil. In asking for the gift of wisdom Solomon was showing great maturity and stature. With all the choices we have to make in life, would it not be wonderful to have divine help in such matters?

In today’s Gospel Jesus heads for a lonely spot so he can rest with his disciples but the crowds guess where he is heading and they get there before him. Despite his plans being foiled, Jesus realises that the people are desperate for what he can give to them and we are told he feels compassion for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd. Thus he teaches them at length and then will go on to show the compassion he felt for them with the miraculous feeding of the multitude.
 
It is this same compassion that surely drove St Agatha to generously give her life in witnessing to the Gospel by the shedding of her blood for the Lord. May we exercise that same compassion and love for Our Lord in our encounters with the people of our own day.

 

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 4th February 2022

 

Today is a special day for my family because it is my mam’s anniversary. My mam is called Mary and she was a bit of a character. She was very friendly and loved talking to people. She very kind and always kept fruit pastilles in her handbag to give to anybody who might need cheering up. Initially she got a bit of a shock when I told her that I was going to train to become a priest, but she went on to be incredibly supportive and encouraging of me.

 

She eventually grew to really enjoy being the mother of a priest. She was always very proud and respectful of me being a priest but I really loved the fact that first and foremost she always treated me as her son. When I used to go home each Wednesday on my day off, my mam would always tell me if she thought I looked tired or was putting too much weight on. Being a down to-earth North East girl, I know she would have loved the people of Burnley. She always treated myself and my two brothers the same as myself. We have much to be grateful to the Lord for our mam.

 

In today’s Gospel we hear of the account of the death of St John the Baptist, set at Herod’s Banquet. St John the Baptist is basically put to death for his courage to speak the truth about Herod’s marriage which he declares to be immoral. Both John and Jesus will be put to death for speaking the truth. They both show deep courage so that they are prepared to face death rather than compromise their faith in proclaiming the truth and obeying God’s will.

 

We, like Our Lord and St John the Baptist are called to have a courageous faith ourselves. A courageous faith enables us to stand firm and endure even stormy times in our lives. A courageous faith is also founded upon the
firm foundations of a loving personal relationship with Christ. We strive for a courageous faith for ourselves modelled on John’s approach to life and death.


 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 3rd February 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Blaise who was bishop of Sebaste and was martyred, probably early in the fourth century. Devotion to him spread throughout the Church during the Middle Ages. He is particularly invoked for disorders of the throat, of which the tradition is to have the blessing of throats on this day.

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus sends out the twelve to continue his work of proclaiming the Good News and bringing healing to the sick. Mark shows Jesus realising very early on his ministry that he needed others to do his work. The work of the Church carries on in the same way. The Lord Jesus continues to this day to call people to serve in his Church and to play their part in its mission of proclaiming the Kingdom and brining hope and healing to a needy world.

 

The Lord still needs all of us today to do his work. He wants to work in us and through us. He does this by our response to his calling given to us at our Baptism. We all have a part to play in the Church, but it takes a discerning heart and an open mind to discover what that might be for each of us.

 

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 2nd February 2022

 

Today we celebrate the feast of the Presentation when we recall Mary and Joseph bringing the infant Jesus to the Temple to dedicate him to God and in thanksgiving make the required sacrifice to God. In bringing the Lord into the Temple, God has entered his own house. It is traditionally still a dark time of year, so we have the blessing of candles on this feast day to remind that Christ is the light who has come into the darkness of the world to redeem us from sin and death. There are two memorable encounters on this occasion for the young Holy Family to experience. Firstly Jesus, Mary and Joseph meet the elderly Simeon, who had been promised that before he died he would set eyes on the promised Messiah. The Holy Spirit has led him to meet the baby Jesus on this occasion. He responds in gratitude with a short prayer which called the “Nunc Dimittis” which is used daily at Night Prayer of the Church (Compline). In this prayer, he speaks of Jesus being the “light to enlighten the Gentiles and give glory to Israel your people”. Anna’s response on meeting the child Jesus was to speak about Jesus to others, especially to those who were waiting for the deliverance of Jerusalem.

 

Today is my nephew’s 24 th birthday: he is called Matthew and I am also privileged to be his God Father. I am hoping to spend some time with him today. Matt is very sporty and plays golf and football among other things. He has recently changed his job so I am looking forward to hearing about his work with Derbyshire County Council. Simeon and Anna had different responses to their encounter with the Christ child. Simeon responded by praising God in prayer, whereas Anna responded by witnessing to others about the hope that Jesus promises. May both Anna and Simeon guide us to have the right approach to having Christ in our lives. May Simeon inspire us to be people who give praise and thanks to God in prayer and may Anna encourage us to keep witnessing to having the Lord in our lives, by both our words and our actions.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 1st February 2022

 

St Henry Morse was born into a Church of England family in 1595 at Brome, Suffolk. He converted to Catholicism, studied for the priesthood in Rome and was sent on the English mission in 1620. He was almost immediately arrested and imprisoned in York Castle. He had already declared that he wished to become a Jesuit, and spent the three years he was then in prison as his novitiate. On his release he was banished and went to Flanders for a while before returning to England. He worked as a covert priest in London, and among plague victims in 1636, when he caught the plague himself though soon recovered. He was again arrested and exiled but within two years had returned to England. For a time he ministered in the south of the country, then after a brief ministry in the north he was arrested in Cumberland and although he escaped he was soon rearrested and taken to London, where he was convicted for practising as a Catholic priest and condemned to death. He was hanged, drawn, and quartered on 1 February 1645 at Tyburn, London.

 

In today’s First reading we hear of David’s mourning when he hears of the death of his rebellious son, Absolom.. The kings’s grieving for his son overshadows the victory that his army had enjoyed over their foes. David might have been a great king and leader but he was essentially first and foremost a father. In today’s Gospel we hear of the healing of Jairus’s daughter who had essentially already died by the time Jesus arrived at the house. He is able to give her life based on the faith of her father. The account is sandwiched between the story of the healing of the woman with the haemorrhage who touches the garment of Jesus in the thick of a crowd surrounding Jesus, who feels the power leave him. When he gets her to address him he tells her that her faith had restored her.

 

Let us reflect today on the quality of our own faith and especially how it helps us in times of crisis and suffering. May we appreciate this great gift and be grateful to the Lord for receiving such a treasure.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 31st January 2022

 

St John Bosco was born in Piedmont in 1815 of a peasant family, and he was brought up by his widowed mother. He became a priest, and his particular concern was for the young. He settled in Turin, where, as in so many cities in the 19th century, the industrial revolution was bringing enormous movements of population and consequent social problems, especially for the young men who came there to work. John Bosco devoted himself to the care of the young, first of all by means of evening classes, to which hundreds came, and then by setting up a boarding-house for apprentices, and then workshops for their training and education. Despite many difficulties, caused both by the anti-clerical civil authorities and by the opposition of some senior people within the Church, his enterprise grew, and by 1868 over 800 boys and young men were under his care. To ensure the continuation of his work, he founded a congregation, which he named after St Francis de Sales and today the Salesians continue his work all over the world.

 

In today’s Gospel after the disciples get out of the boat following the calming of the storm, Jesus and the disciples are approached by a man whose life was severely disturbed by an unclean spirit which made him howl and gash himself against the rocks. The man’s life was in constant turmoil, so Jesus he commands that the Legion of unclean spirits go into the huge herd of pigs and they all charge into the lake and perish. Freed by Jesus of his evil spirits, the man is calm again.

 

Last Thursday through to Saturday I was on-call to cover for Fr David Ryder, the Blackburn Hospital Chaplain.. Because of the Pandemic, I had not been able to do “cover” for the Chaplain’s day off as I had in the past, so I was a bit “rusty” going back into the role. As it turns out, I was called to seven people in all, which with the travelling involved and my parish duties to still fulfil, was a bit challenging. However, I really loved bringing the Lord’s love to the sick and the dying at a very traumatic time for each of the different families. They were all very appreciative, perhaps because they saw the presence of a priest as bringing the calming and reassuring presence of Christ at a stormy time in their lives.. I also really enjoyed being along side the lovely Hospital staff who were very kind and encouraging to me.

 

In the Sacraments we encounter the same Jesus who brought calm and peace to the man in today’s Gospel. We are also called to witness to the way that our faith in Jesus brings calm, healing and peace to our lives.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 29th January 2022

 

In today’s first reading, we hear of David’s repentance and the Lord’s forgiveness of his sins following the affair with Bathsheba. Despite his human weaknesses, David is portrayed as a great king and a man of God, who is very aware of the many graces The Lord has poured out upon him and his family. We have all experienced times of crisis which we could describe as stormy times. In the Gospel story the disciples quite naturally panic in the storm when their boat looks like sinking but Jesus remains calm and comes to their rescue in their time of terror, by speaking to the wind and the sea. Jesus questions the disciples about their faith which seemed to be overwhelmed by their fear. Jesus asks us to not be afraid but to trust him at all times, especially in times of crisis.

 

Today is Fr Damien’s birthday, so as we give thanks for all that he brings to his priestly ministry, may we ask the Lord’s continued blessing upon him with good health and happiness. May we confidently and humbly turn back to the Lord when we become aware of our sins. Let us ask the Lord who is always at our side to reassure us of his loving presence, which we believe in through our faith. May we know he will be with us through the troubled times in life calmly reassuring us that all will be well.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 28th January 2022

 

St Thomas Aquinas was born of a noble family in southern Italy, and was educated by the Benedictines; but even against severe opposition from his family he decided to become a Dominican instead.   He studied in Paris and in Cologne under the great philosopher St Albert the Great. It was a time of great philosophical ferment.  Into this chaos Thomas brought simple, straightforward sense. Truth cannot contradict truth: if Aristotle the great, infallible pagan philosopher appears to contradict Christianity (which we know by faith to be true), then either Aristotle is wrong or the contradiction is in fact illusory. And so Thomas studied, and taught, and argued, and eventually the simple, common-sense philosophy that he worked out brought an end to the controversy. Out of his work came many writings on philosophy and theology, including the Summa Theologiae, a standard textbook for many centuries and still an irreplaceable resource today.

 

In today’s first reading we hear the account of David’s affair with Bathsheba who conceives a child, which leads David to ultimately arrange for husband to be killed serving in the army . In trying to cover up his wrong doing, David makes the situation much worse and he will be unable to conceal it from God.. This story reminds us that even the most devout of people can be subject to temptation to sin. We are called to live simply and this involves being upfront and honest about our mistakes and sins, especially before God.

 

It is largely a mystery how plants and trees grow because its very growth is largely hidden. It’s the same with people, because we can’t see them growing but we know that they do. It is only with the benefit of time that we can see how things and people have grown. In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks us to see His Kingdom as the seed scattered by the farmer which mysteriously grows day and night without us being able to see this growing or fully understanding how this happens.

 

May we trust in the Lord present in our lives night and day enabling us to grow spiritually. Let us also regularly give time to reflect with gratitude on the quiet and gentle ways in which the Lord at work

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 27th January 2022

 

Today we keep the feast of St Angela Merici who was born in Desenziano, in Lombardy, in about 1470. She became a Franciscan tertiary and set up a school to instruct girls in Christanity and good works. In 1535 she founded the Ursulines, an order of nuns devoted to giving a Christian education to girls from poor families. She died in 1540.

 

In today’s first reading, we hear David giving thanks to the Lord for bestowing his kingdom upon him and his family. How much more will this blessing be bestowed upon him when Jesus, Son of David enters into his eternal kingdom. In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that “whoever has ears to hear should listen”. The words of the Lord in the Gospel are very rich and life-giving if we truly give them the attention they need. Good listening requires a generosity of the person doing the hearing, shown by the quality of their attentiveness.

 

Let us resolve to be more generous in our attentiveness to listening to God’s Word so that our lives will be enriched by the life-giving message of hope. May we resolve to be, like David, sincerely grateful to the Lord for all the blessings in our lives. Let us also strive to be more generous in our listening to the Lord when he speaks to us in prayer and in the Scriptures.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 26th January 2022

 

Saints Timothy and Titus were converted to Christianity by St Paul, and became his companions and helpers. Paul entrusted Timothy with the care of the Christians in Ephesus, and sent Titus to Crete to look after the Christians there. He wrote them the so-called “pastoral” epistles, giving advice for pastors and people alike.

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear the parable of the sower, where we are reminded of the ned to toil and work hard to spread the Word of God just as the man in the parable worked hard to scatter the seed across the fields. In today’s first reading, Paul addresses Titus as the administrator of the Church in Crete and is responsible for solving issues, organising the Church and appointing Bishops. The warmth of the friendship between St Paul and Titus comes across very strongly in the Letter to Titus and also is mentioned in the letter to the Corinthians.

 

Today is the 5th anniversary of a good friend of mine called Paul Stoodley. Paul and his wife Eunice became very loyal friends over many years. I thank God today for his genuine friendship and that the Lord remembers all the difference Paul made with his life.

 

Let us be grateful today for the many gifts that God gives to us particularly the gift of life, our faith and our friends.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 25th January 2022

 

Today is the feast of the Conversion of St Paul. In today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles, we hear of how Christ appears to Saul of Tarsus in a vision and reprimands him for persecuting him through his persecution of Christians. He is thus called by Christ on his way to Damascus in a vision, to become a changed man. He is quickly baptised and goes on to become the great St Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles. As the great Missionary of the Church, he is able to bring the Gospel to many people, Jews as well as Gentiles and to help establish the Church throughout Europe and Asia Minor.

 

In doing so he is being faithful to the Lord’s command that we hear in today’s Gospel : “Go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News”. Let us remember today the Vincentian Fathers, on their feast day, who served our parish until quite recently. We give thanks for their commitment to their missionary charism in bringing the Lord’s love to us. Like St Paul, we are called to continued regular conversion away from selfishness and sin. May St Paul help us and inspire us on our journey to daily renewal and conversion.

 

May we also respond to the Lord’s call to bring his love to all those we encounter through our faithfulness to the Gospel.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 24th January 2022

 

St Francis de Sales was born in 1567 near Annecy, in Savoy, studied the law, and was ordained to the priesthood despite the opposition of his father. His first mission was to re-evangelize the people of his home district (the Chablais), who had gone over to Calvinism. Always in danger of his life from hostile Calvinists, he preached with such effectiveness that after four years most of the people had returned to the Church. He was then appointed bishop of Geneva, and spent the rest of his life reforming and reorganising the diocese, and in caring for the souls of his people by preaching and spiritual guidance.  St Francis is the patron saint of writers and journalists, who would do well to imitate his love and his moderation: as he said, “whoever wants to preach effectively must preach with love.”

 

In today’s first reading, David is anointed and establishes Jerusalem as the capital of both north and both, of Israel and Judah. David came from the southern tribe of Judah so it was remarkable he was able to achieve such unity. David used his knowledge and tact in re- establishing peace after the civil war following the death of king Saul. In all conflicts we are to remember, as David did, that we are flesh and blood and children of God.

 

In today’s Gospel, when accused of being possessed himself by his critics, Jesus states that a kingdom divided against itself cannot be stand. He calls us to respect and honour the Holy Spirit which should guide us to see the goodness in those who differ from us. In this week of prayer for Christian Unity, let us concentrate on what we have in common with our fellow Christians, rather than focus on what divides us. Let us also be open to discover new ways of working and praying with each other.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 22nd January 2022

 

Today we keep the feast of St Vincent the Deacon, who was born in Huesca and became a deacon of the church of Saragossa. He was tortured to death in Valencia, in the persecution of Diocletian. After his death, his cult spread rapidly through the Roman Empire.

 

In today’s first reading, we hear the outpouring of grief of David after hearing the news of the death of King Saul and his son Jonathan, with whom David was a very close friend. This says a lot about the nobility and decency of David who laments the death of his enemy and also his friend. When Jesus began his public ministry of preaching and healing, he quickly attracted attention and drew the crowds, because he was in demand for what he had to offer. In today’s Gospel, we learn that was so dedicated to his life-giving ministry that there were times when he barely had time to eat. His reputation for the new life and hope that he offered to the poor and needy spread very quickly. We are told Jesus was visiting his home town and his popularity was such that at that stage, even his own relatives thought he was going out of his mind and they seemed want to lock him up. We know that Jesus knew exactly what he was doing with his ministry and his spiritual poverty enabled him to keep giving his all to people.

 

Let us think of some the many gifts we have been given by God and vocalise a prayer of thanksgiving to God for them.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 21st January 2022

 

Today is the feast of St Agnes. As with so many of the early Roman martyrs, very little is now known about Agnes’ life. Partly this is because the details have been obscured by the light that shines from her martyrdom and the cult that it inspired, and partly because if you are martyred at the age of 12, your life has not really acquired that many details in any case. Agnes was filled with the love of God from an early age, vowed herself to celibacy, and when the opportunity of martyrdom arose, she did not hide away but stepped forward and took it.

In today’s first reading, we hear that Saul’s jealousy towards David had led him once again to desire to kill him. David is therefore on the run and being pursued by King Saul and three thousand men. David is given an opportunity by the Lord to seek revenge on King Saul but being a man of faith instead he chooses instead to use it as an opportunity to show mercy towards his enemy. May we always try to imitate David by showing mercy ourselves to those who wish ill of us.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus picks his leadership team who he takes into the hills with him to appoint them. These twelve men are to be the foundation of the new Israel, which will become the Church. None of them were particularly well qualified for the role and we know they were not perfect. Jesus saw potential in these ordinary men but he knew they were not the finished product. However he knew with his encouragement and through witnessing to all that he would do and say in his three years of public ministry, he could form them and mould them into the foundations stones of the Church.

Let us like Our Lord, may we look for the potential in others and assist the Lord in encouraging them to become who He is calling them to become.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 20th January 2022

 

 

Today we keep the feast of St Sebastian of whom all we know is that he was martyred early on in the persecutions of Diocletian. St Ambrose knew of him and states that he was already venerated in Milan in the fourth century. One of the seven chief churches of Rome was built over his grave in 367.  All else (his youth, his martyrdom by arrows) is fiction, some of it dating from more than a thousand years after his death. But what we know is what we need to know. For the Christians of the fourth century the important, the true, the sufficient fact about Sebastian was that he was a martyr, and they venerated him as such. It should be enough for us as well.

 

In today’s first reading, we hear of the jealousy of King Saul at the tumultuous reception of David by the people after his heroic victory over Goliath. Saul’s jealousy leads him to want to kill David as he can’t abide hearing more praise being heaped upon someone other than himself.

 

We all get jealous from time to time but we need to get on top of such dangerous thoughts because they can destroy ourselves and others. We also hear of the genuine friendship between Jonathan and David, the fruit of which on this occasion saves David’s life. Jonathan rationalizes with his father over the folly of harbouring such thoughts against David. Let us be grateful for our loyal friends who will take risks to speak up for us as Jonathan did for David.

 

In today’s Gospel, there are so many people wanting to see Jesus and touch him, that he is in danger of being crushed. We hear that the people who most wanted to be close to him were those with sickness and disease. His reputation to cure people had gone before him, so he was a real source of hope for them.

 

May we always place our trust and hope in the Lord who will satisfy all our needs. May we ask the Lord to take away all feelings of jealousy to prevent them growing into hatred. May we thank the Lord for the loyalty of the friends He has given to us.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 19th January 2022

 

St Wulstan was born around 1008 and became a Benedictine monk at Worcester Cathedral priory, and later was made prior. He reformed the monastic observance, and became known as a preacher and counsellor. In 1062 he became Bishop of Worcester and combined effectively the tasks of monastic superior and diocesan bishop. He is the first English bishop known to have made a systematic visitation of his diocese. Together with Lanfranc he was instrumental in abolishing the slave trade from Bristol to Viking Ireland, and later he supported Lanfranc’s policy of reform. He built parish churches and re-founded the monastery at Westbury-on-Trym. He insisted on clerical celibacy, and under him Worcester became one of the most important centres of Old English literature and culture. He was known for his abstinence and generosity to the poor. After the Norman Conquest he remained one of the few Englishmen to retain office. He was buried in his Cathedral, and his cult began almost at once. He was canonised in 1203 and his feast was widely kept in monastic and diocesan calendars.

 

In today’s first reading we hear of the story of David and Goliath. Young David with the odds stacked well against him is always going to win this battle against the giant Philistine because he is the Lord’s anointed and with God on his side who can fight against him. This account should inspire us to always put our trust in the Lord regardless of how challenging and difficult and challenging may become the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus cures a man with a withered hand in the synagogue on the Sabbath Day. He is criticised for doing this by the Pharisees who we are told immediately set about plotting his death. Our Lord tells us that tells us it is always the right thing to do to help someone who needs our assistance. Through his actions in the synangogue Jesus is telling us that we should do good for others even on the Sabbath. He also highlights that we should also share in his mission to bring healing and life to others whenever we can.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Carmine's Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 18th January 2022

I would like to thank all parishioners for the warm welcome I have received during my placement here at the Parish of the Good Samaritan. I have enjoyed getting to know the town of Burnley and meeting the parishioners. Fr David and Fr Damien have been a great asset and I have learned a lot from them, much of which I will use in the future. Furthermore, I would to thank them for their hospitality, generosity and support. I was told before I came that the people of Burnley are kind and down to earth and this has definitely been my experience of you.

 During the last two weeks I have visited the sick and bereaved as well as helped to arrange other sacraments like Baptism. I have really enjoyed serving on the altar at parish Masses including a number of funerals. I have also been involved in working with a visiting school group to St John’s church. In addition to this there are lots of other things which I have been involved with.

It has been a privilege to see “behind the scenes” at the life of a priest and all that goes on in a parish. This placement has passed very quickly and am saddened to be leaving now. Thanks again for everything and please keep myself and the other seminarians for our Diocese in your prayers.

 

Carmine

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 17th January 2022

 

As we heard in the Sunday readings for yesterday the image of a wedding is a very powerful one for the Jewish people. They would treat it with the utmost seriousness and equally take seriously the need to celebrate. A wedding is about uniting a man a woman so wedding imagery was also a sign of the Covenant with God for the Chosen people. It is an occasion to feast and celebrate and give praise to God, rather than fast and be mournful. When challenged about why his disciples were not fasting in today’s Gospel, Jesus brings the Pharisees to the image of a Wedding: Christ is the Groom and all the people who choose to follow him will be part of the Church, His Bride. At Christmas we celebrated the Incarnation: Emmanuel, God among us, so that in Jesus we know we are united with God. It was a time to celebrate and to filled with joy.and hope.

 

On Tuesday we will say farewell to Carmine who has spent just over two weeks with us on placement as a seminarian for the Diocese at Oscott College in Birmingham. Carmine has been so willing and helpful to have around the presbytery and around the parish We have loved having him with us and we all agree the placement has been too short and has gone far too quickly, which are great signs of how well it has gone. Carmine has very kindly agreed to write something for Tuesday’s “thought for the day”.

 

Let us each find some moments for joy to know that we have in Jesus, a Saviour, the Eternal Word who comes fully present to us to unite Himself to us in the Gospel and in the Mass and Sacraments. May we daily respond joyfully and gladly through our faithfulness, to his invitation to the Eternal Wedding Feast of the Lamb in Heaven.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 8th January 2022

 

A few days before Christmas the phone rang at 8am and after a minute or two, I realised who the man with the American accent was on the other end of the line and it really delighted me.

 

Emmanuel was an altar server for me at St Dunstan’s in Moston, Manchester for a few years. His mum and his brother and sister had left Nigeria after the untimely death of his father. Sadly the family did not have the right papers and despite the support the parish gave to the family, they were rather brutally deported in 2009 to Nigeria when Emmanuel was just 13 years old. His sister had been Head Girl of the Local Girls High school and His brother was a talented footballer. Emmanuel himself was a gifted footballer and was on the books for Manchester United. Deporting such a family who were clearly contributing to this country did not seem right or fair to me. They were all banned from this country for ten years, so it has been a long time since I have seen them.

 

The family are now all happily settled in Texas and prospering. As well as studying for a Doctorate, Emmanuel, now aged 27 years old, also very successfully coaches the college football team.

 

Following the phone call, I met up with Emmanuel in Manchester on Monday. What struck me most about him was the grace that enables him to return to this country totally devoid of any animosity, bitterness or resentment for the way he was treated. This was clearly a sign of the Lord at work in this fine young man. In a few years time Emmanuel plans to write his story in a book, I told him I think that is a great idea. Being reunited with Emmanuel has made this Christmas very special for me.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 7th January 2022

 

In today’s Gospel, St Matthew refers to the impact of all the activities of Jesus as “the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light! “ Jesus reached out with compassion to those in need:, the poor, the sick, the outcasts and those who have messed up in life. He is a like a great light to all the people of his day through his miracles, parables and his teaching that gives great hope to everyone. We hear he was very popular because people travelled from near and far to hear what he has to say and to be in his presence.

 

In our own day, we have the presence of Christ in the Gospels and in the Sacraments as well. His message of hope for us can be as powerful and nourishing for us as it was for the people of 1 st Century Palestine. As we move forward through times of darkness, our faith in the reassuring presence of the bright light of Our Lord should help dispel our fears and fill us and those we encounter with confidence and hope.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 6th January 2022

 

At this point in the Christmas season the focus looks to the future and by introducing the Magi, (the Kings) we see who this child is for. They were learned men from different countries. Most importantly unlike Mary, Joseph and the shepherds , they were Gentiles ( non-Jews). They represent the Good News that this Child, the Son of God has come to bring a message of salvation not just to the chosen people of God but to all nations , as we heard in the psalm ;“all Nations shall fall prostrate before you.”

 

We home in on the fact that the Magi bring something of themselves as they fall prostrate before the Son of God because they bring appropriate gifts for him. We are from "the nations" who were given the Faith. Today, around the entire Earth, the Mass will be celebrated at every hour, in every language and culture.

 

The Lord is constantly looking for opportunities to make himself known to others. However sin and selfishness and half-heartedness can often diminish the light of the Lord within us. On this great feast, let us ponder what aspect of our lives need attention in order for us to become stronger,
more confident ambassadors of the Lord’s love.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 5th January 2022

 

We are approaching the feast of the Epiphany, when we will celebrate Christ being revealed or shown to the Gentile world in the form of the Magi. This part of the Christmas season centres on this child being revealed as the long awaited Messiah and Son of God. This discovery is a source of great joy and hope for those to whom this true identity is revealed.

 

In today’s Gospel account we hear of account of the calling of Philip from Bethsaida. Philip will then go on to tell Nathanael that they have discovered the promised Messiah. Nathaniel goes on to make a major leap of faith declaring Jesus to be the Son of God and the King of Israel. Jesus promises eternal life to Nathanael, whom he has described as being incapable of deceit. Like all the Apostles, (apart from John) he will show his love for the Lord by being prepared to die for his faith.

 

The child whose birth we herald at Christmas is our Redeemer, because salvation as at the core of our faith. Jesus will be rejected despite all the wonderful signs he gives and will die on the Cross in order to forgive us of our sins. In this life we only see God through eyes of faith which enable us to see his presence all around us. Our yearning should be for Heaven where we can see God face to face.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 4th January 2022

 

In today’s Gospel, John points Jesus out to two of his own disciples; they will know that John has clearly said that he has been preparing everyone for someone greater than he is. Therefore they immediately understand what he means when he points out Jesus to them as the Lamb of God. We then hear that one of the disciples is called Andrew and having responded to the invitation of Jesus “to come and see” by spending time with the Christ, he is then totally convinced about who Jesus is.

 

During this Christmas season the Lord continually invites us personally each day to “come and see” where he lives. We do this through our love for the Gospel and allowing the Word of God to really come alive for us. We also respond to his invitation by spending quality time with the Lord ourselves in prayer: just being still and quiet and simply enjoying the Lord’s presence.

 

The Lord is truly present in the Eucharist so our devotion to the Blessed Sacrament can lead us to yearn to be near the Lord. We can also find the Lord within ourselves and others and so we need to have our eyes open and our ears alert to discover the Lord’s presence anew each day.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 3rd January 2022

 

In this weekend’s Sunday homily, I referred to an encounter between Pope Paul VI and an elderly lady when he was visiting her parish whilst Archbishop of Milan. In the encounter the lady said although she had food and shelter she was desperately unhappy because she was “dying of loneliness” as even her children never visited her. It takes courage to admit to anyone that we are lonely but many people suffer from it. You don’t have to live on your own to be lonely, as loneliness involves a feeling of isolation and abandonment. I am always moved by the line from the chorus of “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles: “All the Lonely people, where do they all come from?”. Well they are to be found everywhere including Burnley. Often loneliness is to do with becoming widowed or simply the tough hand that life has given to someone.

 

Throughout the lockdowns during the pandemic when people had to stay at home, with cafes and other hospitality venues being closed, it must have been especially horrendous for those who already suffered from loneliness. We all need a bit of human contact and no-one should be “dying of loneliness”. We are all caught up in the busyness and struggles of our own lives but sparing a moment to smile and say hello to others that we encounter could make a huge difference to another person. It might turn out be the only contact that a person suffering from loneliness experiences that day with another human being.

 

At the heart of the Christmas season is God coming among us out of love for us. As we continue to mark the Incarnation let us be moved to respond to God’s love for us, made manifest in Jesus the Lamb of God, by seizing the little opportunities we get each to show love to others.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 1st January 2022

 

Today’s Feast Day presents Mary to us as a model of the new life in Christ that all of us wish for ourselves in this new year. In today’s Gospel, we hear that Mary was prepared to do something to realise the new life at the heart of Christmas. We heard that the shepherds, when they went to adore baby Jesus in the manger, related all that the angels had said to them. We are told that in response, Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. Mary was a woman who valued the word of God, who treasured it and made time to meditate and ponder it. The holiness of Mary is attributed to the grace of God, but she needed to respond herself in order to cooperate with God’s grace. Therefore she pondered the word of God in order to discern what God was saying to her at every stage in her life.

 

Life can be very busy at times and we can often neglect the opportunities to reflect and ponder the events of daily life as they unroll themselves. At the start of this new year, may we resolve, like Mary, to make more time to listen attentively to the voice of God in the Scriptures. May we treasure Gods word and like Mary ponder it in our hearts. Modelling ourselves on Mary and bringing the Lord into our plans and our deliberations has got to be a constructive way to start the new year. Happy New Year.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 31st December 2021

 

Today marks the end of the year, so it is a time for us to look back over the last year. Like 2020, the last year has also had many challenges brought on by the Pandemic which we are all too aware is not yet over. Everyone has been affected by Covid to a greater or lesser extent. Let us use today as an opportunity to look back with gratitude for all the kindness and joy that we have experienced in the midst of the sadness, difficulties and set-backs. I have been taking some time to reflect upon some of the events of last year in my own life. After contracting Covid in Autumn 2020, I am very grateful for the good health I have enjoyed this year. In September I moved on from my Vocations role in the Diocese after more than 15 years but have taken on a new role as Rural Dean which so far has been enjoyable. I continue to be amazed at the kindness, generosity and thoughtfulness of so many people throughout the parish and beyond. Like many of you, death has also visited my own family in 2021. One particularly poignant moment for me in the last year was the death at the end of June of my wonderful god father and uncle Bill Hunter. The temporary closure of St Mary’s and the ongoing trouble with the young lads going on to the church roof and vandalising our property, have not managed to dampen my spirits and I continue to feel settled and happy here in Burnley.

 

In today’s Gospel we hear the Prologue (and beginning) of John’s Gospel; John introduces Jesus the Son as the Word made flesh, eternally present with the Father, who brings life and light to us. He is the one who becomes one of us and lives among us and those who accept Him will become children of God. May we allow the Eternal Word to help us reflect on the last year and to see where He has been present and has touched our lives even in the darkness of uncertainty, challenges and suffering, with His light and His love.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 30th December 2021

 

The encounter between the Holy Family and Anna and Simeon in the Temple in today’s Gospel was not by chance, because God had intended this event to happen. This encounter would have benefitted Mary and Joseph as well as Anna and Simeon. Both Simeon and Anna were elderly and had much to give to the young Mary and Joseph. Let us value the wisdom and experience that encounters with those who are senior to ourselves can bring to us. Equally the young family were clearly life-giving to Simeon and Anna. In the encounter youth was graced by the wisdom of age and age was graced at the promise of youth.

 

 

The Christmas Gospels draw us more deeply into the rich implications for all of us of the Incarnation. We matter so much to God that he comes among us to redeem us of oursins and to prepare a way for us to find our way to eternal life with Him. May we always strive to bring every person we
encounter one step closer to Christ.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 29th December 2021

 

Today we keep the feast of St Thomas Becket, who was born in 1118 in = Cheapside, London and became a close friend of King Henry II. He was only a deacon when he was appointed Chancellor of England. When he was ordained as Archbishop of Canterbury, he underwent an abrupt conversion of life and began to defend the Church’s rights against the king, who wanted to rule the church by royal decree. He was assassinated by four knights in his own cathedral on 29 December 1170. He was immediately acknowledged as a martyr and the king later did penance and endowed his shrine. He is remembered for his courage in defence of the rights of the Church.

 

In today’s Gospel, Mary and Joseph came into the temple with newly born baby Jesus, to present him to God. They are met by Simeon, a. upright and devout elderly Jew, who took the child in his arms and blessed God. Having set eyes upon baby Jesus, Simeon was ready to leave this world for the next. He had been told that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah. He believed the promise had been fulfilled that day in the Temple and so he prays to God: “At last, Master, you can let your servant go in peace.” His powerful prayer, known as the “Nunc Dimittis” is now part of Night Prayer of the Church.

 

We will not be able to see Jesus in exactly the same way as Simeon did that day in the Temple. However with eyes of faith, we are invited to look at Christ truly present in the Eucharist at the “Consecration” in the Mass. We are also privileged to hear the voice of Christ speaking to us when the Gospel is proclaimed. We can also see Christ in one another and in other ways where He makes himself present to us. Let us look forward to that
day in the next life when we will see him face to face ourselves.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 28th December 2021

 

Today is the feast of the Holy Innocents. We hear in today’s Gospel the account of the killing of innocent children by King Herod’s men, He did all this in order to wipe out the imagined threat to his power. Christ the new-born king would go onto build a kingdom that was founded on the polar opposite of the values of the unscrupulous King Herod. Jesus will go on to become a humble king who serves others and builds people up rather than issue commands to destroy lives.

 

We are told by St Matthew that St Joseph was once again guided by God in a dream to take wise action to protect the vulnerable Son of God, whose life was at risk, because of Herod. He therefore takes heed of the guidance and takes Mary and the child into exile in Egypt until the death of Herod.

 

Today’s feast reminds us that in God’s eyes everyone is important and everyone matters. However meaningless their lives and deaths may seem to us, these innocent souls shine gloriously in heaven. Honouring them also honours the martyrdom of the people these children could have become, and their children’s children as well.

 

Today’s feast day reminds us that the Incarnation is needed to address the hatred, pride and jealousy that can be root cause of such sinful destruction of human life. None of us will stoop as low as Herod did to try to eliminate a perceived threat to his power and his pride but we can all be capable of occasionally desiring to dominate others. Instead of wanting to exercise control over others, we should always look to imitate Jesus in his service and humility.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 27th December 2021

 

Today is the feast of St John the Evangelist. Along with his brother James he was a fisherman from Galilee and one of the sons of Zebedee. James and John were nicknamed by Jesus as “the sons of Thunder”. He is known as the Beloved Disciple, the one whom Jesus loved and the one to whom Jesus confided his mother from the Cross. He is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles and was later exiled to the island of Patmos but is believed to have died in Ephesus. Unusually for an Apostle we wear white vestments today for this feast day.

 

John was present at many of the major events in the life of Jesus including the Transfiguration, the Garden of Gethsemane, the Crucifixion. In today’s Gospel, we hear of John’s presence at the discovery of the Resurrection of the Lord on that first Easter Sunday.

 

As well as being the author of three epistles and the book of the Apocalypse John is also the author of the 4 th Gospel. The symbol for John’s Gospel is the eagle. In his Gospel John gives us a deeper view on Christ than the three Synoptic Evangelists and his vision like the eagle soars high. It is appropriate we celebrate his feast in the Octave of Christmas because the opening words of his Gospel go to the very heart of what the Incarnation means: “The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us”.

 

May St John the Evangelist inspire us by his faithful example to give ourselves fully to Christ as he gave himself fully to us.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Christmas Day 25th December 2021

 

The first ones to be told about the joyful news of the birth of Our Saviour are the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem. They were outcasts and considered unclean even though their work was arduous and commendable. The angels tell the shepherds that “today a Saviour has been born to you”. This baby is the long-awaited Messiah but he is to be found in a place where animals live.

 

When the shepherds heard the message; they respond by saying “Let us go to Bethlehem and see it for ourselves”. The life for the disciple of Christ is a journey of discovery. It involves us in coming to find out for ourselves the truth and reality of what we have been told by our parents, teachers or priests. We are to take responsibility for our own journey of faith and our own salvation.

 

So a Saviour has been born for you and me and he is to save you and me from our sins; selfishness, greed and pride. The joy of Christmas is about allowing this child, who is God Himself, to touch us with his love. So we need to grasp the idea of what Christmas is really about. He wants to conquer our hearts and make his home within us, to transform us and change us.

 

As his followers we are called at Christmas and all year round to value each and every person too. We are to have respect for all human life. So as we gaze on the child in the manger this Christmas, let us remember the baby’s purpose: Emmanuel: God among us. He was born for each of us and he came into the world to transform our lives and to win us over to his love.

 

May the Lord bless you and all those you love this Christmas and fill you with his love and his peace. Whatever uncertainties lie ahead for us may we always put our trust and hope in the Lord and know we are in safe hands. Happy Christmas.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 24th December

In today’s first reading we hear of the promise made to David through the prophet Nathan that the House of David and his throne will be established forever. This will come about with Jesus who through Joseph is a descendent of King David. Jesus will establish an eternal kingdom and so the prophecy to David is fulfilled.

In the Gospel we hear the first words spoken by Zechariah after his long silence through not being able to speak all the time when Elizabeth was expecting John. These first words are words of praise and they are prophetic in themselves. They say exactly who Jesus is for whom John will be the forerunner; “He has raised up for us a mighty Saviour in the House of David his servant”.

As we reflect today on the journey we have made through Advent, may we consider how we have used this time to slow down and reflect on what really matters in our lives. Maybe we can think what our very first words would be if like Zechariah we had been unable to speak for several months. May we be filled with gratitude for all the many joys that we discover in our lives. May we can find time today to listen more attentively to the Lord and to all those we love. May we find joyful words today to give praise to God for all the blessings that come to us at Christmas when we welcome again into our hearts Jesus the mighty Saviour.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~Wednesday 22nd December 2021

 

In the first reading we hear of Hannah taking her baby son Samuel to the Temple to thank the Lord for the precious gift of her child, which was an answer to her heartfelt prayers. The psalm comprises the “Song of Hannah” which she made in the temple to God and this is full of exultation and joyful praise for God.

 

In today’s Gospel, Mary in response to Elizabeth’s greeting immediately makes her wonderful and powerful “Magnificat”. This prayer is very closely based on the Song of Hannah so it is also full of praise for God and in humility yet joyfully speaks of the goodness of God in choosing Mary for the special role of being the Mother of the Lord. We pray Magnificat” of joyful praise to God daily at the Evening Prayer of the Church (Vespers). As we do this we can recall all the joys and blessings we have received throughout the course of the day and make our own Mary’s words: “My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour”.

 

In these remaining days of Advent may we continually imitate Hannah and Our Lady in their gratitude and praise for God for all the graces and blessings we discover in our lives.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~Tuesday 21st December 2021

In today’s first reading from the Song of Songs, we hear of the excitement that comes with being united with the one whom we love. This is a reading that is quite popular to use at a wedding. For me it speaks of the excitement of young love which is full of joy at the prospect of being reunited with the one they love. The challenge for a newly married couple is to live each day as it comes and to retain the freshness of their love for each other through middle-age and way beyond into old age. An important aspect of our Advent is to retain a freshness and excitement as we wait to celebrate once again Emmanuel, God is with us.

Today’s Gospel depicts the visitation of Mary to her kinswoman Elizabeth, who greets her with a cry of joy on seeing Mary. Mary has undergone a perilous four day journey to visit her cousin in the hill country of Judah. To illustrate her appreciation at what Mary has done for her, Elizabeth greets her cousin with a cry of joy. She then addresses Mary with words of faith: “Why should I be honoured with a visit from the Mother of my Lord?”. The spirit of Mary’s visitation is the spirit of generosity, desiring to share our joys and our good news with others and being prepared to bring that message into the heart of their homes.

May the Lord enlighten our Advent journey, with the joy of his Gospel and through our faithfulness to it, bring us the promise of eternal life.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 20th December 2021

 

Today we will be putting up our lovely crib scene outside St Mary’s church. You will recall that it wa newly built last year by some of our parishioners. We hope this beautiful Nativity scene will serve to remind those passing by on Yorkshire Street whether on foot or in a vehicle, of the Incarnation which is at the heart of the Christmas season. With St Mary’s church being temporarily closed this year, it is more important than ever to remind everyone that the Church’s work carries on. At the heart of the mystery Incarnation we are preparing to mark at Christmas is that God loves us so much that He comes among us as one of us in order to redeem us of our sins.

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear the account according to Luke of how the Virgin Mary is asked by the Angel Gabriel to fulfil Isaiah’s prophecy and become the Mother of God’s Son. Very powerfully Mary responds by saying : “ Let what you have said be done to me” This is an extraordinary act of trust and faith in God that we are asked to emulate as the Lord’s disciples.

 

In these remaining days of Advent, may we, like Mary hand over today all our worries and concerns into the capable hands of Our Lord.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Saturday 18th December 2021

In today’s First Reading, Jeremiah tells us that God will raise a virtuous branch for David who will be a true and wise king Yesterday we learned from the “genealogy” in Matthew’s Gospel, that through Joseph, Jesus is related to King David. Therefore Jesus is the virtuous branch of David who will rule wisely and with integrity.

In today’s Gospel, we hear of the circumstances leading up to the birth of Jesus; that Mary was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. It is right that the year of St Joseph highlighted the significant place that St Joseph occupies in salvation history. We hear today of Joseph being described as a man of honour. In a dream Joseph receives guidance from the Lord, who addresses him as “Joseph, Son of David”.

This is to fulfil the prophesy that the Messiah would be a relative of King David. In the dream Joseph is told that the child within Mary is God’s Son and that His purpose is to save his people from their sins. Therefore instead of divorcing Mary as he intended, Joseph takes Mary home to be his wife. He will then be able to provide legal status for Jesus, be an earthly father to him and connect him with David.

May we model ourselves on St Joseph and try to be honourable in all that we do. May we like St Joseph also not be afraid to obey the guidance and direction that comes from listening to our Lord and Master.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Friday17th December 2021

 

We are now in the second part of Advent, when our readings turn very closely to the build up to the birth of Christ . In today’s Gospel, Matthew answers the question of who Jesus is and what his purpose is, by giving us the genealogy of Jesus right at the start of his Gospel. He describes Jesus as the son of David and the son of Abraham. He goes on to say that through his marriage to Mary, Joseph is related to Jesus whom he calls the Christ. Some of characters in the genealogy have quite a colourful story, but they are included to show that God’s salvation even works through human imperfection.

 

May we use the second part of Advent to enter more deeply into the mystery of the Incarnation which we will celebrate at Christmas. May we grow in our need and our desire for the Wisdom of God that Jesus brings to us. May Christ lead us to gently but firmly discover the right way to our Eternal home. May we grow in our conviction and certainty of who Jesus is for us and his place in our lives.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 16th December 2021

 

Jesus talks about John the Baptist in today’s Gospel, and begins by questioning the people about why they were attracted to John. He states the obvious that John was uncompromising on his message and so his challenging words calling people to repent and move away from sin were not easy on the ear. Equally his appearance was far from refined and so was not that easy on the eye either. Jesus calls him a prophet and a messenger from God as he spoke the truth about what God wanted people to do. He is seen as the last of the Old Testament prophets as he witnesses to the coming Messiah through his powerful preaching. his baptism of repentance as well as his martyrdom.

 

As our companion during this third week of Advent, John the Baptist calls us also to be faithful messengers of the Gospel to the people of our own time. He asks us to do so with senstivity and respect but also with confidence and joy. We can do this in a variety of ways but particularly we can give witness to our Christian faith by speaking up for the real meaning of Christmas in an increasingly secular world.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Wednesday 15th December 2021

 

In today’s Gospel, John the Baptist is in prison and we hear that some of his disciples approach Jesus to ask him if he is the one to come. John is very sure in his faith, yet seems to be seeking clarification that Jesus is indeed the one he had been preparing the people for. John perhaps asks this because Jesus does not seem to be quite as he imagined the Messiah to be. The arrival of Jesus is indeed good news for everyone. Jesus performs miracles and healings in the sight of John’s disciples and then tells them to go back and reassure John by telling them what they have seen him do. They will tell John that Jesus is the fulfilment of the prophet Isaiah who foretold that the Messiah would cleanse lepers, give sight to the blind and raise the dead to life. John would then have no problem in identifying this image of the one who is to come, with what Jesus was doing. In order to further reassure John, Jesus finally tells John’s messengers: ‘happy is the man who does not lose faith in me’.

 

There are many things that can affect our faith in Jesus, but He continually calls us in uncertain and challenging times to remain strong and not to lose heart. Let us use these remaining Advent days to renew our need for the Lord in our lives and to reflect on the quality of our response in faith to his Word at work in our lives. In so doing, let us be reassured like John in his prison cell would undoubtedly have been, that Jesus is definitely the one that we are waiting for.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day~ Tuesday 14th December 2021

 

Today is the feast of St John of the Cross, who was born in Fontiveros, in Spain, in about 1542. He spent some time as a Carmelite friar before, in 1568, Saint Teresa of Ávila persuaded him to pioneer the reform of the Carmelite order.

 

This was a difficult task and a dangerous one: he suffered imprisonment and severe punishment at the hands of the Church authorities. He died at the monastery of Ubeda in Andalusia on 14 December 1591: the monks there had initially treated him as the worst of sinners, but by the time he died they had recognised his sanctity and his funeral was the occasion of a great outburst of enthusiasm. His works include two major mystical poems – he is considered one of the great poets of the Spanish language – and detailed commentaries on them and the spiritual truths they convey. He was canonized in 1726 and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1926.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses the parable of the two sons who are asked by their father to work in his vineyard to illustrate his teaching about the Kingdom. The first son in the Gospel says yes to his father then changes his mind, is like the religious leaders who have committed their lives to God but refuse to accept the message of John the Baptist. The second son in the parable initially says no to his father, then thinks better of it and ends up going to the vineyard after all. This son is like the public sinners such as tax collectors and prostitutes who have lived a life contrary to the ways of God, but have taken on board the message of John the Baptist calling them to repent and change their way of life.

 

As we come to the end of the first part of Advent, let us resolve to continue to be faithful to the Gospel but also be willing to joyfully encourage and accept those who have turned back to God or discovered him for the first time.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 13th December 2021

 

Today is the feast of St Lucy, who was martyred in Syracuse, probably during the persecution of Diocletian (which started in 303). Devotion to her spread rapidly across practically the whole Church and her name is included in the Roman Canon of the Mass.

 

In today’s Gospel, which is set not long after the cleansing of the Temple by Jesus; the religious leaders ask Jesus by what authority he was acting, when he cleansed the temple, entered the city, teaching the people and healing the sick. We believe that Jesus is the Son of God so we have no problem in accepting that Jesus has the right to cleanse the Temple, which is the House of God. Jesus replies with a question to them about the origin of John’s baptism, which they choose to choose to be non-commital and answer by them saying that they don’t know. We however would be easily able to say that the authority John had for his ministry of baptism came from God.

 

Let us pray with St Lucy and all the saints that the Lord will build on our simple faith and give us an open heart to listen and a desire to respond to God’s will. May these remaining Advent days be an opportunity to grow in our confidence of the presence of God in our midst.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 11 th December 2021

 

Today is the feast of St Damasus 1 st , a Spaniard who was born about 305. Joining the Roman clergy, he was elected Pope in 366, in calamitous times. He held many synods against heretics and schismatics. He promoted the cult of the martyrs. He died in 384. Today’s first reading and the Gospel both speak of the return of Elijah. Elijah was a powerful prophet who had a number of memorable experiences in his life. As the first reading reminds us he was taken up into heaven in a chariot and horses of fire.

 

Today’s Gospel refers to John the Baptist who was a powerful prophet like Elijah and came to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah. Jesus refers to the fact that John was treated badly and would suffer death as he himself would too. This further reminds us of the great cost involved in obtaining our salvation. It cost the life of John the “New Elijah” who died because he spoke the truth, as well as the life of Our Lord whom the authorities also tried to silence by his execution.

 

Both John and Elijah were very generous in giving of themselves in the service of the Lord. Advent is a time for us to reflect on the great generosity of God who gives his only Son to us so that we might have our friendship with Him restored. It is also a time to reflect on our own spirit of generosity ~ the spirit of Elijah and the spirit of John the Baptist. May we be inspired by them to give gladly and willingly of ourselves and our love in response to the freely given love of God to each of us.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 10th December 2021

 

Today we keep the feast of Our Lady of Loreto. Since the Middle Ages veneration for the Holy House of Loreto has been the origin of that particular shrine which still today is visited by many faithful pilgrims in order to nourish their faith in the Word of God made flesh for us.

 

In the Holy House, before the image of the Mother of the Redeemer and of the Church, Saints and those beatified have responded to their vocation, the sick have invoked consolation in suffering, the people of God have begun to praise and plead with Mary using the Litany of Loreto, which is known throughout the world. In a particular way all those who travel via aircraft have found in her their heavenly patron.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is recalling some of his observations about games children play in the public squares. He observes that some people are like the children who refuse to join in the games that are being played. He observes that some people heard the powerful but sombre preaching of John the Baptist and did not respond to his call to repent. He also speaks of those who hear and witness his own more up-beat message in his ministry and equally refuse to embrace his teaching. He is getting at those who fixed image about God should be like and what the Redeemer should be like rather than accepting the evidence that is put before their eyes and ears.

 

Let us use these remaining days of Advent to ask ourselves what image of Jesus we really have. We are reminded today that if we reject Jesus as he really is then we are rejecting the call to eternal happiness. We are challenged to look at how we see Jesus and if it is an authentic image of who God really is.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 9th December 2021

 

Saint Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin was born in about 1474 in Cuauhtitlan in the kingdom of Texcoco, part of present-day Mexico. As an adult he = embraced Christianity and he and his wife were baptised. In 1531 the Mother of God appeared to him, on the hill called Tepeyac near Mexico City, and told him to ask the bishop to have a church built on the spot. Through the purity of his faith, his humility and his fervour, a church was built, in honour of Our Lady of Guadalupe (whose feast is celebrated on 12 December). He left everything and devoted himself to the care of the sanctuary and the reception of pilgrims until his death in 1548.

 

In today’s Gospel we hear Jesus give very high praise of John . Jesus says there is no one born of a woman greater than John. That seems a bit harsh, however, John was imprisoned and executed before he had chance to listen to the Kingdom being proclaimed by Jesus. We have heard what Jesus said and did and are therefore more privileged than John was. This is why Jesus says of John that the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he is.

 

Advent is a time to listen more attentively to the Lord in prayer and to His Word in the Gpspel, to which we are asked to respond. Whenever we allow the Word of God to penetrate our hearts and minds then we are surely going to grow in knowledge and understanding of our love for Jesus. Advent is also a great time to grow in appreciation of that gift, which we can often take for granted.

 

May John the Baptist, St Juan Diego and all the saints continue to inspire us to build the Kingdom in our part of the world.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 8th December 2021

 

Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. This feast celebrates the purity of Mary ~ she was without sin and from the first moment of her existence she belonged to the Kingdom of God. Today we celebrate the fact it was given for the purposes of our salvation. This is why she was chosen to be the Mother of God.

 

In the Gospel we get the account of the Annunciation through the eyes of St Luke. The opening words of the Angel Gabriel “Hail, full of grace” underline clearly what we are celebrating in today’s feast day: Before she was asked to be the Mother of God, Mary was already without sin and in a complete state of grace. Our Lady, like all of us was given the gift of freewill by God ~ this means that she was free to choose between good and evil. Most of us from time to time do make wrong choices but it is only right that we celebrate today that Mary remained sinless. Mary’s total obedience to God cancels out Eve’s disobedience, which we heard about in today’s first reading, and opens the way for the coming of Our Saviour.

 

We are also called like Mary to make good choices and to choose to grow in holiness through obedience to God’s will. On this feast day within the season of Advent may Immaculate Mary inspire us to allow the Lord to win the daily battle for our hearts and minds.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 7th December 2021

 

Today we commemorate St Ambrose of Milan who was born in Trier between 337 and 340, to a Roman family: his father was praetorian prefect of Gaul. In about 372 he was made prefect of Liguria and Emilia, whose capital was Milan.  In 374 the bishopric of Milan fell vacant and when Ambrose tried to pacify the conflict between the Catholics and Arians over the appointment of a new bishop, the people turned on him and demanded that he become the bishop himself. Coerced by the people and by the emperor, he was baptized, ordained, and installed as bishop within a week, on 7 December 374. He was renowned for his charity, diligence and eloquence.  He was a true shepherd and teacher of the faithful. He defended the rights of the Church and attacked the Arian heresy with learning, firmness and gentleness. He also wrote a number of hymns which are still in use today. Ambrose was a key figure in the conversion of St Augustine to Catholicism, impressing Augustine by his intelligence and scholarship. He died in 397.

 

In today’s first reading we hear of God being like a shepherd who will feed his flock and gather the lambs in his arms. In today’s Gospel, we hear the parable of the lost sheep. This parable goes to the very heart of the Incarnation which is what we are preparing to celebrate at Christmas.. The shepherd is prepared to leave 99 of his sheep in order to go searching for just one sheep that has gone astray. Whenever we commit sins we wander away from God, like the lost sheep wandered away from the care of the shepherd. It speaks of the mercy of God that reaches out and seeks out the sinner. God wants no-one to be separated from his eternal love, because to God each person is of infinite value. He gives us every opportunity to be discovered and redeemed by his merciful love and compassion made manifest in his Beloved Son. This parable highlights that everyone matters to the Lord. This gets to the very heart of our faith ~ we need a Redeemer because we cannot save ourselves from our sins.

 

On our Advent journey may we reflect to what extent we strive to value each other as much as the Lord values us.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 6th December 2021

 

Some local young lads aged only about 13yo have been causing Fr Damien and myself some distress over the last few weeks. They are attracted by the scaffolding on St Mary’s church and from time to time climb up it onto the roof just for fun. When challenged by ourselves and any parishioners , they give strong verbal abuse and even throw stones In retaliation they have smashed four sets of double glazed units in the Parish Rooms, which amounts to about £800 worth of damage. They have very recently threatened to smash the windows of our cars. I challenged two of them myself and I had a half full plastic drinks bottle thrown at me, which narrowly missed me. We have reported these incidents to the police but they are stretched at the moment. We think it is only fair that we let you know what we are putting up with at the moment. Its good to get problems out into the open and some good might come from mentioning this to you.

 

A roof and sins feature also feature In today’s Gospel, where some men bring a paralysed man on a bed to Jesus. The crowd in the house where Jesus is, are creating an obstacle between them and Jesus. They are driven by their faith in Jesus and their compassion to help their paralysed friend, to be imaginative. They lower the man on the bed through the tiles on the flat roof into the middle of where Jesus was. The immediate reaction of Jesus is forgive the man his sins and says that as sign to show that He has the power to forgive the man’s sins , he heals him and the man is able to walk out through the front door unaided.

 

The Saviour whose birth we await to celebrate at Christmas has come to restore our relationship with God which is damaged by our sins. Jesus come to reconcile us with God by becoming the Suffering Servant. May Jesus the Prince of Peace and the Suffering Servant lead us to yearn for peace in the midst of the turmoil of suffering caused by selfishness and sin, the forgiveness of which is at the heart of the Incarnation.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 4th December 2021

 

Saint John Damascene, priest and Doctor was born of a Christian family in Damascus in the second half of the seventh century, where his father was a high official under the Umayyad caliph; a post which he inherited. When the Iconoclast movement (seeking to prohibit the veneration of icons) gained acceptance in the Byzantine court, John, being under Muslim rather than Byzantine rule, was able to write effective treatises attacking Iconoclasm and attacking the emperor for supporting it. At about this time he retired to the monastery of Saint Sabas near Jerusalem, where he became a monk and was ordained. He died in the middle of the eighth century. He wrote many theological treatises in a dangerously clear and accessible style which made the issues understandable even by non-experts. His name was reviled and execrated by the imperial Iconoclast party even after his death Matthew tells us in today’s Gospel that when Jesus saw the crowds he had compassion for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd.

 

Our society encourages us to be self sufficient and independent, which can lead us to feel we can do without help from others and even from God. There are times however when we feel dejected and harassed due to the challenges and set-backs that life throws at us every now and then. These are the occasions when we feel lost.and then we realise that we can’t manage on our own without help. At times like these we are reminded by the Gospel of the nearness of the Lord whose presence should reassure us and strengthen us to persevere.

 

On our Advent journey may be reminded of our need for a Redeemer whose coming we await. May we wait patiently and confidently in the knowledge that we matter so much to God that he wants to give us clear direction in our lives for when we feel lost and alone.

 

Fr David 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 3rd December 2021

 

Today we mark the feast of St Francis Xavier who was born in the Basque country of Spain in 1506. He met Ignatius Loyola when he was a student in Paris, and he was ordained priest in 1537. In 1541 the Pope sent him as part of a mission to India, and he spent the rest of his life in the East, preaching the Gospel in Goa and Malacca. He made many converts and fought against the exploitation of the native population by the Europeans. He spent two years on a successful mission to Japan, laying the foundations of many Christian communities; and in 1552, after entering China secretly to preach the Gospel there, he died of fever and exhaustion on the Chinese island of Shangchwan.

 

In today’s first reading, Isaiah looks to a time when the deaf will hear the words of a book and after shadow and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see”. On our Advent journey, we know that the longing that Isaiah speaks of is the coming of Christ. The longed for Christ will come to transform everything with his majesty and power. Psalm 26, which we sometimes hear at a funeral Mass, picks up on the theme of longing :”There is one thing of I ask of the Lord for this I long: to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life”. This speaks of our greatest desire in being able to see God forever in Heaven. Our Advent journey calls us to be patient in our yearning and to set our eyes on God, who will show himself to the world as an innocent child in the Incarnation.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus shows he is the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy by responding to the longing of the two blind men and giving them back their sight. He is able to then allow them to see again Because they had faith to see who he really is., He then enables them to set their eyes upon their Lord and Saviour.

 

Let us reflect on how our Advent journey is progressing by reflecting on the direction our lives are taking As we patiently wait for the coming of Christ at Christmas, may we also be focused on ensuring are also on track for eternity.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 2nd December 2021

 

Last weekend we had to battle against Storm Arwen with its mighty winds which caused some disruption and destruction. In its wake we endured snow which cancelled the match at Turf Moor on Sunday and then froze during the night to create treacherous conditions the next day.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of other “storms” that we have to weather. We find ourselves from time to time battling against the challenges and problems that life throws at us. From time to timee all have to face difficulties with our health, with our family, our finances, work, and other aspects of our life. It is inevitable that we will face such challenges but the key thing is how do we deal with them.

 

Today’s psalm gives us good advice in saying it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in men or princes. A refuge is a place where we can find shelter in times of difficulty, challenge or disaster. So it is telling us that in times of crisis we should turn to God who will be utterly reliable and remind us of our value in his sight that will enable us to receive respite and reassurance.

 

For those of us with faith, Jesus is our rock and if we hear his words and listen to them by putting them into practise in our approach to daily life, Jesus tells us that no matter how fierce the “storm” is then we will survive it. So if we centre our lives on doing God’s will, then our lives are really built on firm foundations.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 1st December 2021

 

One of the martyrs the Church remembers today is Edmund Campion, who was born in London on January 25, 1540 and received his early education at Christ’s Hospital. He then attended St John’s College, Oxford, becoming a fellow in 1557 and taking the Oath of Supremacy on the occasion of his degree in 1564. His studies completed he left for Rome, travelling on foot and alone in the guise of a poor pilgrim. He then entered a novitiate with the Jesuits, and spent some years in Vienna and Prague. In 1580, the Jesuit mission to England began. Campion entered England in the guise of a jewel merchant, and at once began to preach. As a result his position became increasingly difficult. He led an undercover life, preaching and ministering to Catholics in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, and Lancashire. And was eventually committed to the Tower of London. .After a long period of torture and imprisonment , he was sentenced to death as a traitor..” After spending his last days in prayer he was led with two companions to Tyburn and executed on December 1, 1581, aged 41.

 

In the First reading we get an image of Heaven which is depicted as a banquet where people get an abundance of the finest foods and drink. In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us a foretaste of the heavenly banquet when he feeds with a very small amount of food, a huge multitude of hungry people on a hillside. In the Psalm we are reminded that the Lord is a shepherd who has prepared a banquet for us in the sight of our foes ~ among our foes must include hunger and the risk of getting sick with the virus!. Jesus is the one who shows us the right way to get to the Lord’s heavenly banquet through our love and service. In today’s Gospel we learn of the Lord’s compassion in feeding a multitude of people in a remote place with just a few small loaves and a couple of fish. This is a foretaste of the Eucharist where he continues to feed us with his own Body and Blood.

 

Advent is a time for us to hear the Lord calling us to be life giving instruments of his presence in the world. This includes showing practical help for those in need, especially those on our own doorstep.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 30th November 2021

 

Today is the feast of St Andrew the Apostle, who was born in Bethsaida, in Galilee, and worked as a fisherman. He may have been a disciple of St John the Baptist. He became one of the first to follow Jesus and introduced his brother, Simon Peter, to him. As one of the twelve Apostles he was widely venerated in ancient times, and became patron saint of Scotland because according to legend some of his bones were brought there and buried at the place where the town of St Andrew’s now stands.

 

In today’s Gospel we hear the story of the call of Andrew along with his brother Simon Peter as well as the other set of brothers, James and John. The story is told simply by Matthew Jesus calls the fishermen while they are about the daily task of fixing their nets by saying; “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” Both sets of brothers responded immediately to the call of Christ. Matthew gives no indication of any hesitation or reluctance in the response of the fishermen to the call of the Lord. They were being asked to give up their livelihoods as fishermen and follow Jesus and step into the unknown to become missionaries by trying to win friends for the Lord. This was a huge upheaval in their lives, but they seemed to respond as if it was the most natural thing in the world. We know that they certainly did the right thing as their faithfulness and commitment to Christ were amazing especially when they became the “foundation stones” of the Church.

 

There are times when the Lord calls us to do something challenging in the midst of our daily lives. This might involve simply putting our faith into action by choosing to speak up for our faith. At such times, maybe we should call upon St Andrew and the other Apostles to give us the courage and confidence to also unhesitatingly respond to the Lord’s invitation to follow him.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Monday 29th November 2021

 

One of the great themes of Advent is our hope for peace. Today’s first reading speaks of longing for peace. Isaiah uses the image of beating swords into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks. He is saying that if we want an end to war and conflict we need to be proactive in order to help bring this about. The One whose Advent we long is himself the Prince of Peace and so in Him all our hopes and dreams will be fulfilled.

Advent began with the blessing of the Advent wreath and the lighting of the first purple candle. The reading finishes by speaking of walking in the light of the Lord. Advent coincides with the darkest time of the year, when there is not much natural light. I often find myself at this time of year counting the days until the shortest day so that we can then look forward to longer days with more hours of natural light. Light is another important dimension of Advent where there is a longing for light which should lead us to yearn for a Saviour who will bring us his merciful light and lasting peace.

The Gospel today gives us the powerful story of the Roman Centurion who asks Jesus to heal his paralysed servant but asks the Lord to just give his word as he dopes not feel worthy of having Jesus come to his home. Jesus afterwards comments that he has not seen such faith in the whole of Israel. Remarkably and unexpectedly this faith was witnessed in a pagan.

May we use this time of Advent to reflect on the quality of our own faith in Christ. May we also assess how readily we are prepared to make sacrifices in order to attain peace. May we desire to be fervent in our longing for the coming of Jesus the Light of the World.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 27th November 2021

 

Today is the last day of the Church’s liturgical year, so perhaps we take this opportunity to look back over the last twelve months, where because of the Pandemic we had to find a lot of patience to deal with the waiting we all had to do as we hoped for restrictions to be lifted. As we reflect on its uncertainties and challenges, may we be grateful for how we have grown through these difficulties. May we also remember the good times and achievements that we have enjoyed and experienced.

 

We begin the new liturgical year tomorrow with the First Sunday of Advent. Advent prepares us to celebrate both Christ’s coming at Christmas as well as the Lord’s Second Coming at the end of time. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that for both of these events we need to stay awake and be alert. We should strive for more purity and faithfulness in our lives. The Lord also urges us to be people who pray for strength.

 

May our prayer and reflection this Advent be a time to stop and think. We are to reflect particularly on our lives and the place that God has in them. If Christ is not currently at the centre of our lives then perhaps we need to change our priorities in order to place him where he should be. Let us also pray for the strength we need to deal with all the uncertainties that life can place in our path. May our hearts this Advent be filled with peace and hope as we prepare anew for the Lord’s Coming.

 

Fr David 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 26th November 2021

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of our belief in changes that nature produce such as finding blossom on the fruit trees prior to the harvest later in the year. Just as we cope well with all these changes because of our familiarity with them, we also need something familiar in order to cope with the big changes that happen in our life.

 

Jesus reminds us that nothing will last forever so it is important to have something to help us through all the uncertainties that life throws at us. We need faith and trust in God and in particular to trust in the words of Jesus. Jesus tells us that his words will never pass way. We think of his, his teachings and his wonderful parables as well as his merciful and powerful words in conversations with the poor, the needy and the lost. We are to hold on to the teachings of Our Lord and we listen to these words and take ownership of them by being faithful to them, then when all else fails we know our lives are built on the solid rock of God’s love for us, which is made manifest in Christ.

 

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought of the Day ~ Thursday 25th November 2021

 

Today we keep the feast of St Catherine of Alexandria. Legends coming from a number of sources say that St Catherine was very outspoken at the time of the persecutions of Christians. She even protested openly to the emperor Maxentius who had her arrested, tortured on the wheel and decapitated in 305. St Catherine’s courage is a great challenge to all African Christians in their struggle for justice and peace. The witness of her life and her readiness to die for the faith encourages us to be brave witnesses to the Lord and to speak out on behalf of all those who suffer.

 

Today’s Gospel is quite dark and sombre, speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem, which had actually already happened when Luke wrote his Gospel. Luke was saying that this does not mean the end of human history. Jesus offers rays of light to those who listen to his words. He tells us that
we are to keep trusting in his teachings, even at dark times. He also says that we are to stand firm in our faith. He says we who are faithful to him are responding to our invitation to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, which is a powerful image of Heaven.

 

In these short dark late November days may we look for rays of light and hope that our faith gives to us. May we daily look for opportunities to share this message of hope with others.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Wednesday 24th November 2021

 

Today we keep the feast of St Andrew Dung Lac and companions. The evangelisation of Vietnam began in the 16th century and was formally established with the setting up of two Vicariates Apostolic in 1659. There are now about 6 million Catholics in Vietnam, some 10% of the population. From 1625 to 1886 the persecution of Christians took place. Over the whole territory of Vietnam about 130,000 Christians were killed in these persecutions. Over the centuries the names of most of them have been lost, but their memory is still alive in the Catholic community. Since the beginning of the 20th century 117 of these heroes of the Church were beatified, in four groups. They were all canonised together by Pope John Paul II on 19 June 1988.

 

Today’s Gospel reading ends with the words of Jesus; “Your endurance will win you your lives.” It is one of those phrases that can apply to many situations in our lives. In terms of the Christian life, endurance means to keep on keeping on and not allow obstacles to get in your way of staying faithful to the Lord. We are called to persevere even in times of persecution and hardship.

 

In the early 1970’s when I was at a non-Catholic High school in Derbyshire, a lad who had been living in Belfast for a few years, joined our year. As he was new, I befriended him and immediately noticed his anti-Catholic prejudices but unfortunately was too afraid to tell him that I was Catholic myself. After a good few months, it was pointed out to him that I was indeed Catholic and he immediately dropped me as a friend!. Even though it was disappointing, I don’t blame him for his reaction as it was just part of his upbringing but I paid the price with him. for not being honest and upfront about my faith.

 

Most of us will not have experienced real persecution for our Catholic faith, but we might have experienced discrimination, prejudice, teasing or ridicule for standing up for what we believe. Whenever we do experience such challenges we are in solidarity with all who profess Christ to be their King and their Lord.

 

 

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Tuesday 23rd November 2021

 

Pope St Clement I was Bishop of Rome after Peter, Linus and Cletus. He lived towards the end of the first century, but nothing is known for certain about his life. Clement’s letter to the Corinthian church has survived. It is the first known Patristic document, and exhorts them to peace and brotherly harmony.

 

As we approach the end of the Church’s liturgical year, the Gospel readings this week speak about endings. Today there is talk of the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple. The disciples were hugely impressed by the size and beauty of the Temple. Jesus foretells of the destruction of the Temple when he says; “the time will come when not a stone of it will be left standing”. Of course no building will last forever, but it still must have been hard to imagine seeing something of such splendour and magnitude being ruined.

 

If that is the case, is there anything that will last forever. Jesus in response to such questions replies ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.’ The teachings and words of Jesus will of course never pass away ~ they are everlasting because they come from the One who is the Eternal Word. The one thing that is certain and that is eternal is God’s love for us and all His creation ~ this will never come to an end.

 

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 22 nd November 2021

Yesterday Fr Damien and I concelebrated the 11am Mass with the Vincentian Fathers at St John’s to mark our gratitude for the contribution to our parish of Fr Emmanuel and Fr Clement over the last few years. It was also present to the Fathers, a little gift from parishioners to show our appreciation. On Friday they move to a new appointment in North Manchester, an area that both Fr Damien and myself know really well. . We know that the lovely people of Blackley will enjoy having our fine Vincentian Fathers.

Before I came to Burnley in summer 2018, I did not much about the Vincentian Fathers but I certainly do now. They are happy and joyful and have the true and genuine heart of Christ for the poor and the needy. They are also so faithful to their official name; the Congregation of the Mission, because they are essentially missionaries who will go wherever they get sent by the Church and by the Lord to serve the people of God with love and joy.

Fr Clement only came to us a year ago but has been a gentle, humble, quiet and calm tower of strength for the parish. His reassuring presence and wisdom has been so appreciated.

Fr Emmanuel: who is not exactly quiet but he is a big man with a big heart. He is certainly truly gentle and genuine in his passion for the Lord. His enthusiasm and trademark smile are so infectious and sincere. I personally want to thank the Vincentians for the way they have been so loyal to me and to the Parish of the Good Samaritan and to the Deanery of St John Vianney. It is a pleasure to have worked with them and become good friends with them too.

They will be much missed but not forgotten and I am certain the Vincentians will leave a lasting legacy to the people of Burnley. May the Lord bless them in their new mission in North Manchester.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 19th November 2021

In today’s Gospel Jesus purifies the temple of the sellers. He says of the temple: “My house will be a house of prayer, but you have turned it into a robbers’ den”. A temple is the house of God and therefore is indeed to be a house of prayer ~ for communication with God. The commercialisation of the temple did not enhance the role of the temple as a house of prayer. He aroused a lot of opposition for driving out the sellers that day. They would have questioned by what authority he carried out this act of purification. We are told that the religious leaders would have their work cut out in
silencing Jesus because the people hung on his every word.

Through our Baptism when we are cleansed of Original Sin and have welcomed in the Holy Spirit, we became a temple of God’s glory. However temptation can lead us to selfishness and sin and so the temple of our bodies becomes impure. Through his death and Resurrection the Lord Jesus has the power to cleanse us of our sins and all acts that contaminate the interior of our selves. Normally the best way to do this is to stay close to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which because of the lockdown due to Covid, is currently not available to us.

In the meantime we can if we are genuinely sorry for our sins in our hearts turn to Christ in prayer and with genuine words of contrition, through the power of the Cross, can be assured of his mercy and forgiveness. We promise afterwards that we will celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the earliest chance we get.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 18th November 2021

 

Today we keep the feast of the Dedication of the Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul Already in the twelfth century there was being celebrated today the anniversary of the dedication of the basilicas of St Peter at the Vatican and St Paul in the Via Ostiense by Pope St Silvester and Pope St Siricius in the fourth century. More recently this commemoration has been extended to the whole Church, honouring the two greatest apostles of Christ just as the anniversary of the dedication of St Mary Major (5 August) celebrates the motherhood of the Virgin Mother of God.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus laments over Jerusalem where he knows he will face his death as the ultimate rejection of his message of good news. Jesus would never force himself upon others so accepts the rejection with dignity and humility.

 

As his followers, if we are being faithful to Our Lord there are times when we also face rejection by others and when that happens we are to have the same humble and dignified approach as Our Lord.

 

Fr David 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Wednesday 17th November 2021

 

On this day, I like to celebrate the feast of St Elizabeth of Hungary  was born in 1217. And became a symbol of Christian charity after her death at the age of 24 and was canonised on 25 May 1235.. However today is also the feast of St Hugh of Lincoln who was born in 1140 near Grenoble in France and entered the Carthusian monastery of La Grande Chartreuse at the age of 25. In 1175 he was asked by King Henry II of England to become prior of a Carthusian house in England, and a decade later he was appointed bishop of Lincoln, a post which he accepted only when directly commanded to do so by the prior of La Grande Chartreuse. His diocese was the largest in England, and he spent the rest of his life in ceaseless work there. He delegated much authority. He was a friend (and critic) of successive kings, but also worked with his own hands on the extension of his cathedral. He gained a great reputation for justice, the care of the sick, and the support of the oppressed: he risked his life to help the Jewish community. He died in London on 16 November 1200 and was declared a saint in 1220, the first Carthusian to be canonized.

 

In today’s Gospel we get St Luke’s version of the parable of the talents. In Luke, some of the plot of the parable is different from Matthew’s more famous version, but the essential message the evangelist is trying to proclaim is essentially the same. There is joy and promise of reward from the king from those who made something of what they had been entrusted with. Then there will be disappointment and punishment with the one who simply kept the “pound” safe. Luke emphasises that fear is the root cause of the reason why the man did not take a risk with the money entrusted to him.

 

We are to put our heart and soul into our present lives. We are to live in the here and now as well as keeping an eye on eternity. In using our gifts and resources we might sometimes mess up but Jesus is telling us it is better to try than to be debilitated by fear to overcome our fears we need both courage and faith.

 

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 16th November 2021

 

Today we celebrate the feast of St Margaret of Scotland who was born in 1046 in Hungary of Anglo-Saxon and Hungarian parents. When William of Normandy conquered England she found refuge with King Malcolm III of Scotland, and they were married in 1070 and had eight children. She reformed the royal court, founded monasteries, and supported major reforms of Church life. She died in Edinburgh on 16 November 1093. She is remembered for the happiness of her marriage, for her devotion to prayer and learning, and especially for her generosity to the poor.

 

In today’s Gospel we get the wonderful story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. The Lord did the seeking out of this rich yet sad and lonely man who really was lost, by literally noticing him up a tree. Zacchaeus was not the only sinner in the town, but he was one of the most high-profile. The most important thing is that he seized the opportunity that meeting Jesus gives to him and promises to change his way of behaving and make things right with those he has cheated. May we like Zacchaeus also take the opportunities to change the direction of our lives when the chance is offered to us. May we do this by regularly examining our conscience in a time of prayer so that we can repent of our sins before God.

 

May we never right off anyone from being open to repent and change the direction in which their lives are heading. May we delight when someone succeeds in turning their lives around with God’s help like Zacchaeus did. May we always be open to the wonderful surprises that the mercy of God can open for us.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 15th November 2021

In today’s Gospel, a blind man seeking help from Jesus calls out: “Jesus son of David, have mercy on me”. This shows that although physically blind, the man has great insight because in connecting Jesus as related to David, he recognises Jesus as the Messiah. In asking for Jesus to show mercy on him shows he has great faith and trust in God. Jesus does indeed restore his sight and tells him that his faith has saved him. The man we are told gives praise to God and follows Jesus.

When asked by Jesus what he wants Jesus to do for him he says: “Lord I want to see”. We can turn this into a prayer which we can also make for ourselves. In asking the Lord for us to be able to see means to be able to see situations as God asks us to. It is the Holy Spirit who can open our eyes to be able to see the world with the wisdom and light of Christ. It takes courage and confidence to allow the light of the Lord into our lives.

May we have the faith and insight of the blind man to recognise our need for Christ in our own lives. This will enable us to see, like all the saints the presence of Christ all around us and especially in the poor and needy.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 13th November 2021

 

In today’s Gospel, we hear that Jesus tells a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart. In the parable we have the account of an unjust judge who eventually gives into the legitimate demands for justice from a widow. He says that the judge eventually gives in because he is worn down by the persistent widow. When you are not finding success is attaining what you need, there is a tendency for us lose heart. We remember the famous adage: “if at first you don’t succeed, try again!”
Trying again and again to achieve something is true about many worthwhile things in life.

 

The vulnerable and powerless widow is held up as a model for us to follow because she refuses to give up and lose heart. She knows that what she asks is right and just so she doesn’t give up asking.
The Lord is always looking for us to express our faithfulness and one of the main ways we show this is by our persistence in prayer.

 

In times of difficulty, it is important to bring our challenges to the Lord in prayer. By bringing God into our struggles, we know that the burden is shared. May we be inspired by the widow and show our faithfulness to Christ by our perseverance and trust in God in prayer.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 12th November 2021

 

Today we celebrate the feast of St Josaphat who was born in 1580 in the Ukraine of Orthodox parents. Josaphat joined the first monastery of the order of St Basil to be united to the Catholic Church: he was the first person to do so. He was ordained priest and, eventually and reluctantly, appointed bishop of Polotsk in 1617. Although Sigismund III Vasa, King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, supported the union, the local aristocracy were against it because it threatened their control of ecclesiastical benefices. Plotting with the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, who visited the Ukraine in 1621, they stirred up trouble and as a result Josaphat was murdered by a mob in 1623 while on a pastoral visit to Vitebsk.  We are reminded in today’s Gospel that we will encounter the Son of Man fully at the end of our lives and of course at the end of time. He is also present in our daily lives and we are invited to engage with him. He is a quiet presence as we go about whatever we do.

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus also gets us to think about how we live our lives. He says that eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, marrying and maintaining our relationships are all central to life but there are other things that are even more important . Therefore we must see that there is more to life than just these activities, important as they are. We are to look for the presence of God in all his creation and see through our eyes of faith that he is at work in them all.

 

May we ensure therefore that Our faith in the Risen Lord drives us to desire to have love at the core of all that we do. Like St Josaphat and all the saints may we also trust in the presence of the Lord in our daily lives, constantly urging us to be obedient and faithful to Him.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 11th November 2021

 

Today is the feast of St Martin of Tours who was born in the Roman provinceof Pannonia (approximating to the western half of modern Hungary) in about 316 and was educated at Pavia in Italy. He was baptized, left the army and after spending some time as a hermit on an island off the Ligurian coast, founded a monastery at Ligugé in western France, where he lived a monastic life guided by St Hilary. Later he was ordained priest and became bishop of Tours. In his actions he gave an example of what a good shepherd should be. He founded other monasteries, educated the clergy, and preached the Gospel to the poor. He died in 397.   I love the story about St Martin is that while a soldier in Amiens he gave half of his military cloak to a beggar and later had a dream in which the beggar revealed himself as Christ. Today is Armistice day and so we remember all those who died in two World Wars and other conflicts. It is a good thing to remember to be thankful today for the peace we enjoy thanks to the generosity of those who fought for our freedom.

 

In today’s Gospel, the Pharisees ask Jesus about when the Kingdom of God will come. When Jesus says that “the Kingdom of God is among you, God was at work among them but many people including the Pharisees could not see it. .The Kingdom of God is already in our midst and it finds its home within us. Establishing the Kingdom within our hearts prepares us for the promise of eternal life. The Kingdom is about centring our lives on Christ because the Kingdom is wherever Jesus is. So if we want to be close to the Kingdom then we need to be close to Jesus and being close to Christ involves modelling our lives on him and the Gospel.

 

On this feast of St Martin of Tours may we also be as generous as he was, especially to the poor and needy. May we always try to be grateful people who remember to show appreciation to all those who serve us. May we always show our appreciation to the Lord through our faithfulness to our worship and prayer.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wedesday 10th November 2021

 

We celebrate today the feast of Pope St Leo the Great who was born in Etruria and became Pope in 440. He was a true shepherd and father of souls. He constantly strove to keep the faith whole and strenuously defended the unity of the Church. He repelled the invasions of the barbarians or alleviated their effects, famously persuading Attila the Hun not to march on Rome in 452, and preventing the invading Vandals from massacring the population in 455.  Leo left many doctrinal and spiritual writings behind and a number of them are included in the Office of Readings to this day. He died in 461.

 

I am very grateful to all those from the parish who came to yesterday’s deanery Mass for the deceased of priests and people of St John Vianney Deanery in Colne. I am very grateful for your support and encouragement in my new role within the Deanery. When I got back from the Colne I was faced with dealing with smashed windows in the parish rooms, being done by a few local young lads who are tempted to mess about on the scaffolding on St Mary’s church. We are doing our best to deal with these issues but be assured it is not effecting our well being and happiness.

 

In today’s Gospel, ten lepers approach Jesus and he sends them off to find the priest, which they were required to do in order to be reinstated into the community. On their way they realise they have been cured by Jesus but only one of them, a Samaritan, decides to turn back and go and thank Jesus. Jesus is pleased with the man who comes back to praise God for his healing. However he expresses his disappointment at the other nine who do not come back.

 

We can often be like the “other none” when we get caught up in enjoying the graces and blessings we receive from God and forget to go back to the source and give praise and glory to God. May we always try to be grateful people who remember to show appreciation to all those who serve us. May we always show our appreciation to the Lord in our faithfulness

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 9th November 2021

 

The basilica of St John Lateran in Rome is the mother church for the world. Therefore today’s feast reminds us that we belong to a large family, the universal family of the Church. It should remind us of our unity with the Holy Father and Rome. It is great to know that as a result of our baptism we have brothers and sisters in almost every country in the world. Even in these times when public Masses and services are temporarily not permitted, may the universal Catholic Church which unites all believers enable us play our part.

 

Today in my capaciity as Rural Dean for St John Vianney Deanery I will be celebrating Mass at Sacred Heart in Colne, for the deceased priests and people of the Deanery. It is great on this feast of the church to be acting as the wider church outside of the boundary of the parish.

 

In today’s first reading St Paul speaks of us being God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells on us. The Prayer of Exorcism before a child is baptised speaks of them becoming a temple of God’s glory, because they are to receive the Holy Spirit for the first time. It is believers filled with the Holy Spirit who fill our churches with the Spirit of God. In today’s Gospel, Jesus cleanses the Temple of commercial activity that is not fitting for the House of God. Then speaking of His Death and Resurrection says that He will rebuild the temple of His body in three days should it be destroyed.

 

Let us remember our departed loved ones on this universal feast day of the Church. Let us pray for Bishop John and all the priests and people of the Diocese. May we strive to continue to play our part in building the Kingdom of God in our part of the world.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 8th Novenber 2021

 

In today’s first reading we hear that Wisdom is a friend to man. Jesus who is Wisdom in the flesh imparts great wisdom through his teaching to his friends and disciples. He firstly gives advice to those in positions of authority and influence, warning them against leading astray those in their care. Jesus tells us to not lead others into sin by our bad example and giving into our weaknesses.

 

He then imparts further wisdom to his followers with regard to what to do when someone wrongs us. He tells us to be straight with them and point out what they have done to us. He then asks us to forgive those who have wronged us and are sorry. He tells us that that we should keep on forgiving repeat offenses. This prevents us from harbouring grudges against others and putting energy in to something that is not life-giving for us. It will enable us to be free to live as God wants us to.

 

May we too seek God’s wisdom that will enable us to imitate Jesus in our life by taking our responsibilities seriously, staying free from sin ourselves through living a life of grace. May we also have the courage to correct others and grant them our forgiveness so that they might find themselves closer to God.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 6th November 2021

 

We all like to have a bit of cash because it enables us to buythings we need. Today’s Gospel is about the danger of having love for money. There is a big difference between liking to have money and having love for money. Jesus is addressing matters of the heart. God wants us to have a healthy relationship with money, not an unhealthy one. He wants us to be generous with our money and our other resources and to share what we have with those who have less than us.

 

Jesus describes money as tainted and says that if we can be trusted with money then we can be trusted with more important things. He says that the man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; and the one who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. Trust is a very important thing for all of us. Trust is like a very fine thread and once it is broken then it is very hard to win it back. There are lots of ways that we receive someone’s trust. For example: we trust someone to keep a confidence or to carry out an important task for us. Let us reflect on all the little things that we are entrusted with and strive to do them to the best of our ability.

 

Let us be grateful for the resources we have been given and resolve to be as generous as we can with what we have. May we never take the trust that we are given by others for granted. Let us particularly reflect on the gift of faith that has been entrusted to us.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 5th Nevember 2021

 

Fr Damien and myself along with the other priests of the Diocese have recently been encouraged to take part in some training to enable us to become more astute as regards on-line scams and other malpractices of which there are many about. We were both initially bemused at being asked to undertake such training, but ultimately see the benefit for ourselves and the parish in being able to deal with the practises of some of the “children of this world”. There are tests to take at the end of each module of the course, however the ultimate test will be not falling foul of the trickery in the light of the knowledge gained.

 

The parable in today’s Gospel can be a little confusing at first hearing. Surely Jesus is not advocating us to be dishonest? We know from elsewhere in his teaching, Jesus always advocates honesty and integrity in our dealing with others. However he admires the dishonest steward in the parable for his quick thinking in being able to use money which is something that is tainted, to help him win friends and trust in the future. He says that “children of this world” (i.e. worldly people) put their energy, intelligence and desire in an intense way into achieving popularity, wealth and comfort. It is that same intensity of desire that he urges his followers to have in pursuing spiritual goals. Jesus urges us channel our ingenuity and intelligence into things that have eternal value to us, rather than invest our energy into material wealth which is only of value to us in this life.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 4th November 2021

 

Today is the feast of St Charles Borromeo, a leading figure of the Catholic Reformation.  He was born in 1538 in a castle on the shores of Lake Maggiore in northern Italy, to a powerful family. He was related to the Medici through his mother. As the second son, he was destined for a career in the Church from an early age. He received a doctorate in civil and canon law at the University of Pavia, and when his uncle was elected Pope Pius IV in 1559 he was summoned to Rome and made a cardinal. Among many other responsibilties he was made administrator of the vacant diocese of Milan and protector of the Catholic cantons of Switzerland and of the Franciscans and the Carmelites.  He played a large part in the diplomatic efforts that led to the re-opening in 1562 of the reforming Council of Trent, which had been suspended since 1552. Eventually, in 1563, he was secretly ordained priest. He was soon consecrated as Archbishop of Milan, but the Pope would not let him leave Rome because he was needed there. He was very kind to the poor and the sick and helped establish catachesis of children. He faced much opposition including threats in his attempts to reform the Church but this did diminish his resolve to see things through.  Charles died on 3 November 1584 at the age of 46.

 

In today’s Gospel Jesus gives two parables in answer to the question from the Pharisees as to why he welcomes and eats with sinners. In the parable of the lost sheep, Jesus says that the shepherd will risk temporarily; abandoning 99 of his sheep in order to find one that has gone astray. Jesus emphasises the joy of the shepherd in finding the lost sheep. I like the idea of the man celebrating with his friends when he finds the sheep that had wandered away from the flock. As humans we can tend to be like that sheep who wandered off, perhaps not even intending to get ourselves lost. It might be that we were simply searching for meaning in life and we often look in the wrong places and will end up disappointed.

 

God wants none of us to be lost from him; he is constantly yearning to seek us out when we wander away from him through selfishness and sin. He will give us every opportunity to repent of our sins and come back to him. He is overjoyed when we turn back to him and are restored in his love. Jesus says that “there is more rejoicing in heaven over one repentant sinner than over ninety nine virtuous men”.

 

May we play our part in leading those who are lost back to God through our encouragement and our faithfulness to Christ.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 3rd November 2021

 

Today is the feast of St Martin de Porres, who was born in Lima in Peru in 1579, the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a black ex-slave. His mother gave him a Christian education and he became a pharmacist and a nurse. Despite his father’s opposition he entered the Dominican Order as a lay brother in 1603 and spent his life working for the sick and the poor. Many people of all ranks would come to him for advice. He had a great devotion to the Holy Eucharist. He died in 1639 and has been named as a patron saint of those of mixed race.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that his followers must make a priority of loving God above all else. He asks us to be whole-hearted not half-hearted in our response to his love for us. He says there is a need to take up our cross each day ~ this means to live a life of generous giving and be prepared to suffer in the cause of what is right just as He would have to by facing His Passion and Death. May St Martin and all the saints urge us to respond to the Lord’s invitation to eternal life by being faithful to the life ofgrace that is offered to us

 

Fr David 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Tuesday 2nd November 2021

 

My good friend Fr Michael Ryan who died in 2010 reminded me just before he died of the need to remember those who have died not just in the first few years after they have died but most importantly twenty, thirty years after they have died. There is a danger that we become ungrateful and can be people who forget about the good things that people have done for us in our lives. This includes those who have gone before us and have died.

 

Today is All Souls Day when we pray for those who have died. In order to pray for our departed loved-ones we firstly need to remember them. Fr Michael is right there is a big danger that we can forget people who have been significant in our lives. The Church gives us today as an opportunity to reflect on those who have died and to pray for them. This is a day when priests are encouraged to celebrate more than one Mass. On most feast days, there is just one set of prayers to be used at Mass, however for today, the Missal contains three sets of prayers. It is for that reason that we have unusually put on three Masses today in the parish.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus dies on the Cross, but we also hear the account of the empty tomb on the very first Easter Sunday. In praying for our departed loved ones, we are trusting in God’s mercy and putting our faith and hope in the Resurrection of Christ.

 

Eternal Rest Grant unto them , O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 1st November 2021

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus challenges the Pharisees about their motivation in inviting people round for dinner. He challenges them about only inviting their friends and suggests strongly that they only do so in the hope of having the favour returned to them. He tells them that to be pleasing to God, they really should be reaching out to the poor and needy who will be unable to reciprocate the invitation themselves.

 

This is also challenging for us, because we normally do only invite family and friends to our homes for meals. Jesus also questions our whole attitude to being generous. When we give we should give without expecting to be repaid at all. Jesus is calling us to unconditional love which is what motivated him whenever he did anything for someone else.

 

In the coming week, may we reflect on our motivation and reasoning behind all our acts of kindness and generosity. Can we respond to the challenge that Jesus presents us with by extending our giving to include those who cannot repay us? May the Lord help us to always have purity of intention by offering to God all that we do for others.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 30 October 2021

 

I guess we can all think of occasions when we have perhaps got a bit full of ourselves and found ourselves being humbled. With hindsight we might laugh at such episodes but such sobering and humbling experiences teach us the value of humility and the need to keep our feet on the ground at all times.

 

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is having a meal at the house of aPharisee and he told the parable about seats at a wedding feast. This is very practical advice and if we follow it we know that the chances of us being shamed for assuming we aremore important than others is greatly reduced.

 

Putting others first is a good philosophy to adopt and one that resonates very much with the commandment to love our neighbour. Everyone is equal in the sight of God so it is wise to remember that and avoid situations where our pride risks taking a tumble.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 29th October 2021

On Wednesday I went for a train-assisted walk from Hebden Bridge and walked through Hardcastle Crags and past the Gorple reservoirs back to Worsthorne. As I had done a fair few miles by then, I sat on one of the benches in the centre of the village waiting to catch the bus back to Burnley. After waiting for about fifteen minutes a very kind man approached me to ask if I wanted a lift into Burnley as he was heading that way, because the main road in and out of the village is closed at the moment and buses are not running at the moment. I naturally took up this kind offer, else I would still be sitting on that bench. I was so touched and pleased by this act of kindness and thoughtfulness from a complete stranger to me.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is at a dinner in a house on the Sabbath Day with the Pharisees and other devout people. Among those present is a sick man suffering from dropsy. Jesus asks those present whether it is against the law to cure a man on the Sabbath or not. The Pharisees and lawyers present remain silent so Jesus simply heals the man of this condition and sends him on his way. Jesus then points out examples of how people already do things on the sabbath day that are naturally the right thing to do. Jesus simplifies things by saying that it is always the right day or time to do something good for someone or to help them in some way. Our Lord’s way is always to treat others with love and respect regardless of the situation. This simple approach of Jesus as to the question as to whether or not we should help someone is the right way for us to be thinking too. As I experienced to my delight in Worsthorne this week it should be natural and right to want to help someone when they are in need. By his example in today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that it is always the right thing to show love and respect for others and equally it is always the right thing to help someone out and do good for them.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 28 th October 2021

Today is the feast of Apostles Simon and Jude. Simon is known the Zealot, but nothing else is known about him. St Jude, also called Thaddaeus, is the apostle who at the Last Supper asked the Lord why he showed himself only to the disciples and not to the world. He is the patron saint of lost and desperate causes and many of us have turned to him for help when situations seem hopeless.

The most important thing about these two saints is that as Apostles they are witnesses to the Resurrection of Christ and after receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost were sent out to proclaim the Good News. They were also employed to build the Kingdom and become the foundations of the Church.

We hear in today’s Gospel, that they were chosen by Jesus after he had spent the whole night in prayer. Like Jesus we should also turn to God in prayer at key moments in our lives. It is always wise to bring to the Lord any important decisions that are to make.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 27th October 2021

This time last week, I was on holiday in Dorset with my friend Johnny when we took a train trip to the quiet village of Wool. We were just exploring the village when we noticed three sheep and two goats were roaming around the edge of a housing estate near a main road.nA concerned neighbour told us that they had escaped from the field which turned out to be about three hundred yards from where we found them. It was great fun shepherding these animals away from danger and into safety. The sheep were easy enough to deal with but the goats were especially stubborn as all they wanted to do was eat all the leaves, berries and flowers that they saw in their path. It took quite a lot of effort and hard work persuading them creatures to move in the right direction. We felt a great sense of relief when we finally got the last of the five animals back through the gate leading into their field. It was an experience that I will not forget in a hurry.

In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks of the need for his followers to enter by the narrow gate. It takes very little effort or work to pass through a wide gate, it is quite easy and simple. In fact even a group of animals can pass through it! To enter through a narrow gate however, takes more precision, effort and thought. In urging his followers to pass through the narrow gate, the Lord is urging us to make an effort and put ourselves out for others. The Cross is always at the heart of the Christian way of life which is all about service and sacrifice.

If we are always be on the lookout for opportunities to enter by the narrow gate, and use our time and energy at the service of others, we never know what sorts of adventures the Lord will be invite us to experience.

Fr David 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 26th October 2021

In today’s Gospel Jesus compares the Kingdom of Heaven to a tiny mustard seed growing into a huge tree that gives shelter to the birds of the air. This of course is true for many aspects of nature including human life ~ how a tiny baby can grow into a full-sized adult. Quite often we find in life that something on the surface which is very small and insignificant can grow into something huge. This is also true of the Church which itself started off very small with just a few initial followers of Christ but has grown into something universal. Many successful and ambitious projects start off initially with just the tiny germ of an idea.

Jesus also speaks of the kingdom being like yeast mixed into flour which although hidden has a powerful effect on the size of the dough. God is at work in our lives but like the yeast, he is hidden and out of sight, so we cannot see how he is at work; it all seems to be done in a mysterious but truly real way. The difference our faith can make to us and to others is also something that is amazing. We do this by our faithfulness to the Gospel and being willing to share our faith with others.

May the Lord help us in the coming week to be channels of His Divine grace and therefore to be builders of His Kingdom.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 25th October 2021

To be moved by the plight of a fellow human being is surely a deeply Christian trait. This speaks of compassion and Jesus tells us that love and compassion are at the heart of life in God. Desiring to act on this sense of compassion in order to relieve suffering and make life better and more bearable for others is surely right and good.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus feels compassion for a woman who has been bent double for years. Much to the annoyance of the synagogue leader, even though it was the sabbath, he then goes on to cure her, by his words and his healing touch. Jesus, without doing a disservice to the sacredness of the sabbath day, carries out this act of mercy to show that God can be at work doing good at any time.

May all the saints encourage us on our road to join them in eternity through ourselves bringing light to those in darkness. May the Lord give us that same spirit of compassion and mercy which led him to heal the woman in today’s Gospel so that we might bring his love and compassion to all who suffer.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~Saturday 16th October 2021

St Margaret Mary Alacoque was born in 1647 and she joined the Visitation Sisters at Paray-le-Monial. She made rapid progress along the way of perfection and was given mystical visions as a result of which she worked hard to institute devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Church.

We are called as disciples to witness to our faith in Christ. It takes courage to do that and sometimes we risk being ridiculed or even rejected because of our faith. We are told by Jesus that when we are being persecuted for our faith then the Holy Spirit will give us the words we need to say. May we always put our trust in the Lord to be at our side whenever we speak up for him. This time last year I was just starting to recover from having contracted Covid. You might recall that I was unable to celebrate a public Mass for 21 days. It is a period of my life I will never forget. I am filled with humble gratitude as I think of the lovely support and prayer I received during those dark weeks. Fr Martin Morris, one of my closest friends is currently sick with the virus, I pray he may he make a speedy recovery. Please remember his mother Imelda in your prayers today it is the first anniversary of her death.

Let us pray for all who have suffered in any way through this Pandemic.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 15th October 2021

St Teresa of Ávila was born in 1515 in Ávila in Spain and entered the Carmelite convent there at the age of 20, not because of any great attraction to the religious life but because it seemed the most sensible thing to do. At this time Carmelite convents were comfortable places. The sisters were well looked after, had as much contact with the outside world as one wanted, and could keep one’s own possessions. With time, and despite ill-health, she made great progress in contemplative prayer and had a number of mystical experiences, which she treated with great suspicion since she felt that she was not nearly holy enough to be accorded them by God.

Teresa’s prayer life led her to seek a more perfect life, and in 1562, in the face of much opposition, she founded a convent of Discalced Carmelite nuns in Ávila. “Discalced” (“shoeless”) signified their devotion to poverty. At length, in 1580, and with the support of King Philip II, the Discalced Carmelites were made independent and St Teresa was able to found more new convents. She died, worn out by her efforts, on 15 October 1582.

St Teresa is an outstanding example of how the contemplative life can well up and overflow into action. In addition to all this, she wrote much on the subject of contemplative prayer and her writings are still standard works today. She was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Paul VI in 1970.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that God cares about every aspect of creation. He tells us that even cares about the common sparrow, which does not fall without God knowing about it. He tells us that if God cares about sparrows then how much more does he care about us. that God cares about us. He tells that God loves us so much so much that even every hair on our head has been counted. Knowing that God is so interested in us and so involved in our lives and is so close to us should change the way we relate to him and approach him.

May St Teresa of Avila inspire and guide us to have a good life giving relationship with God through prayer. May it lead us to greater intimacy with God and unite us to him.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 14th October 2021

Today we keep the feast of third century Pope St Callistus who was a young slave rose to be archdeacon, and had charge of the Roman catacomb on the Via Appia which now bears his name, and ended up as Pope. Not much is known about how Callistus died. He is the earliest pope found in a fourth-century martyrology, but details are scarce. Since he lived in a time of peace under the emperor Alexander Severus, whose mother was a Christian, he may have been killed in a riot.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus continues to criticise the Pharisees and Religious leaders. He fells they are misinterpreting the Law and thereby putting unnecessary burdens on others. It is important that we follow in the footsteps of the great saints who were always more concerned about working on overcoming their own faults weaknesses and failings rather than dwelling on the faults of others.

May St Callistus inspire us to endure hardship as he did and trust in God’s providence to guide us and help if we, like him, make faithfulness to God our top priority.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 13th October 2021

Today is the feast of St Edward the Confessor who was born in 1003 became King of England in 1042. He was regarded as a saint during his lifetime, renowned for his generosity to the Church and to the poor and for his readiness to listen to his subjects’ grievances. He died on 5 January 1066, the last of the old Anglo-Saxon line, and his death precipitated the
dynastic quarrels that led to the conquest of England by William of Normandy later the same year. On 13 October 1163 his relics were translated to a new shrine in Westminster Abbey.

In Today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the Pharisees that they do good things for the wrong reasons. The good that they are doing is to attract attention. He tells them that for all the good they do they are lacking in justice and in the love of God. They are too full of their own importance. As his followers, we are to ensure that any good works that we do should be done for the glory of God and not to receive acclaim and praise from other people.

May the humble saint and King St Edward teach us to do everything out of love of God and in faithfulness to his holy Church.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 12th October 2021

St Wilfrid was born in Northumbria circa 634. As a boy he was educated in the monastery of Lindisfarne. Later he travelled to Rome in the company of Benet Biscop, spending a considerable time at Lyons on the way. Shortly after his return he was appointed Abbot of Ripon, and sometime later he was ordained priest.

After the death of St Aidan a Synod was held in Whitby, in the famous monastery of St Hilda, to settle the question of the differences between the Roman and Celtic practises. Wilfrid took a leading part in the debate, successfully arguing for the abolition of the Celtic traditions and the imposition of the Church discipline of Rome.

Within twelve months he had been appointed Bishop of Lindisfarne. He chose to be consecrated in Paris, and was absent in France for so long that St Chad, one of Aidan’s pupils, was consecrated bishop in his place. Wilfrid had to appeal to St Theodore of Canterbury, his metropolitan, before he was able to take possession of his diocese. large, unwieldy diocese of Lindisfarne/York into two parts. Wilfrid objected to a proposed division of the diocese and successfully made an appeal to Rome against his archbishop.

Although reinstated in York he fell out again with the King and other bishops and ministered in the East Midlands. In the end he accepted a compromise solution under which he became Bishop of Hexham while retaining his monastery at Ripon. There he introduced many additional Roman customs and reorganised the monastery under the rule of St Benedict. He died in 709.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is invited to the house of a Pharisee but the kindness and welcome seems to disguise more sinister intentions. The Pharisees were concerned about appearances and externals like washing rituals, but seemed to ignore the interior and the heart. Jesus strongly confronts these double standards.

We are to ensure that our hearts are pure and free from the corruption of selfishness and sin. The way to do this is to ensure we make a priority of love for God and our neighbour. May we always strive to stay away from double standards and practise humility so that we do not get carried away with ourselves.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 11th October 2021

Today is the feast of St Pope John XXIII who was born in 1881 Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli in the village of Sotto il Monte, near Bergamo, in 1881. At the age of 11 he entered the seminary at Bergamo and later pursued his studies at the Pontifical Seminary in Rome. He was ordained priest in 1904. He was secretary to the Bishop of Bergamo but from 1921 onwards he served the Holy See directly in various posts, both in Rome and in Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece, culminating as Apostolic Nuncio to France from 1944 until 1953, when he was created cardinal and made the Patriarch of Venice.

He was elected Pope in 1958. He convoked the Roman Synod, instituted the revision of Canon Law, and called the Second Vatican Council, which opened on 11 October 1962. He died while the Council was still in session, on the evening of 3 June 1963.

In today’s Gospel we contrast the request of the Jewish people who askJesus for a sign with the faith of Gentiles. He tells them that the only sign they are to be given is the sign of Jonah. In saying thjs, Jesus is referring to the conversion of much loathed and feared Assyrians of Nineveh who repented when God spoke to them through the prophet Jonah. By the sign of Jonah he perhaps also refers to his Resurrection. Jesus also refers to the Queen of Sheba, who was most likely from Ethiopia, who represents someone from the far ends of the earth as far the Jews are concerned. Yet she came from a great distance to experience the God-given Wisdom of King Solomon. As we know Jesus to be God, he rightly asserts that his presence is greater than Solomon and Jonah.

In today’s First reading, St Paul addressing the Romans is telling them that Jesus is a descendant of David and through his Resurrection is recognised as the Son of God. Like the people of first century Rome we also have the Scriptures, the Eucharist and the Holy Spirit to feed us, guide us and nurture us in developing a mature life of faith.

May we in this coming week we rejoice at the opportunities we have to grow in our Christian faith and to allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to express this faith in witness and in action.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 9th October 2021

Today is the feast of St John Henry Newman who was born in 1801 in London. As an Anglican clergyman for over twenty years he won renown as a preacher and theologian. A Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, he became one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement and a prominent figure in the Church of England. On 9 October 1845 he was received into full communion with the Catholic Church by Blessed Dominic Barberi of the Passionist Congregation.

After a period of study in Rome he was ordained priest on 30 May 1847. He was an influential writer on many subjects, most notably the development of Christian doctrine, the true understanding of conscience, faith and reason, the role of the laity, and university education. In 1879 he was created Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII and given the title of San Giorgio in Velabro. He died in the Birmingham Oratory on 11 August 1890. 2019. He established the Oratory of St Philip Neri in Birmingham and was made Cardinal by Pope Leo XIII and died 1890. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on 19 September 2010 and canonised by Pope Francis on 13 October.

In today’s Gospel, using the parable of the dragnet, Jesus give a fairly strong message about judgement. It should encourage us to make good choices in life and to particularly build our lives on the solid rock of faith so that we are able to combat the temptations to sin and turn away from God.
Yesterday I was privileged to be involved in a service at Burnley Cemetery by which the beautiful new headstone for footballer and coach Jimmy Hogan was unveiled and blessed. This headstone was collectively provided by a number of different football clubs including Celtic, Burnley FC and Aston Villa all of which were represented at the headstone blessing service. Jimmy had a pretty reasonable record as a player but went to have an amazing career in coaching especially at club and national level in a number of different countries. He is particularly revered in Hungary, which was evidenced by the presence of dignitaries from the Hungarian embassy and Consulate. Jimmy was Irish descent born in Nelson and was a devout Catholic, after living on Brunshaw avenue for the last few years of his life, he died in 1974 having his funeral Mass here at St Mary’s. It felt great to be involved in remember a life well-lived. May he rest in peace.

May St John Henry Newman inspire us to sincerely seek the truth in this life and to have the courage to make radical changes in our lives if our well formed consciences require.

Fr David

 

 

  

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Friday 8th Oct 2021


In today’s Gospel, some people ask for signs of Jesus because they do accept that God is present in him. To us who believe who Jesus is and acknowledge his miracles as great signs of who he is, we might think what more can he do than he already has done! Some people were lacking faith so they were not able to see Jesus through eyes of faith.


We also might be tempted to look for signs and wonders in our life. We should instead look for the presence of the Lord in the everyday situations in life. When people express their love for us in all kinds of ordinary ways such as being hospitable, kind and full of goodness, then the Lord is present. When people are being prayerful then we are also experiencing the presence of God in our midst.


May the Lord give us eyes of faith on this new day to be able to see His presence all around us.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 7th October 2021

Today is the feast of the Holy Rosary. My first parish as Parish Priest was at the church of the Holy Rosary in Oldham. I was there from September 1996 to February 2000 and they were very happy times. Today I remember fondly all the many good people living and dead whom I served during my time in Oldham.

The whole of the month of October is set aside for the Holy Rosary. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is a good storyteller. We can listen to her, when we pray the Rosary. This is a prayer where we join Mary and with her remember stories about her Son. When we pray the Rosary, we say certain prayers, like the Our Father and Hail Mary . But we also remember stories that are called "mysteries". This provides a structure for us to remember the mysteries (or stories). So the Rosary is a form of meditation and is really an opportunity to pray with Mary using our imagination to envisage each mystery on which we reflect.

As we look at a set of Rosary beads, we see it is made up of tiny beads that go around a circle. The beads in the circle are divided into five groups, for each of the five mysteries. Each group has ten beads that tell you to say the prayer the “Hail Mary ” ten times. Each group begins with one bead that tells you to say the prayer the “Our Father ” once. The Rosary has a Cross on it to remind you of Jesus who loved you so much that he died on the Cross for you.

Mysteries are stories about God, and so we never know enough about them. They never get old, because they keep telling us things we never knew before. When we pray we try to paint the picture of what happens in each mystery using our imagination. There are four different sets of mysteries; that we can use on different days of the week. the Joyful, Sorrowful, Luminous and Glorious mysteries. Today is a Thursday when we would normally pray the luminous mysteries, the first of which is the Baptism of the Lord in the River Jordan. As we pray this mystery you would dwell on how Jesus'; baptism marked the beginning of his earthly ministry, confirming his identity as the Son of God. You would envisage Jesus and John standing in the River Jordan with crowds of people looking on in amazement nearby: also you would imagine the Holy Spirit descending upon him in the form of a dove. You would also bring to mind the voice of the Father who declared Jesus to be his Beloved Son. Reflecting on this mystery, we are to pray that we remain open to the work of the Holy Spirit. So as you pray the first of these mysteries you would paint the picture of the story with Mary who would lead you to think about what God is trying to tell you.

May Our Lady of the Rosary lead us closer to her Beloved Son in this month of the Rosary and encourage us to be faithful and persistent in our prayer.

Fr David 

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 6th October 2021

St Bruno was born at Cologne and educated partly at Reims. He was head of the episcopal school there for almost 20 years. In 1075 he was appointed chancellor of the church of Reims and had to devote himself to the administration of the diocese. Bruno was the obvious candidate to become Bishop – nearly 50, known and trusted, and experienced in administration. But in 1077 he and two of his fellow-canons at Reims had made a vow to abandon the world and enter the religious life. It had not been possible to act on that vow at the time. Now it was. Bruno fled. In 1084, with six of his companions, he presented himself to St Hugh of Châteauneuf, Bishop of Grenoble, who installed them in a wild spot called Chartreuse, not far from Grenoble, among steep rocks and snow-covered mountains. They built a small monastery where they lived in deep retreat and poverty, entirely occupied in prayer and study.

In 1088 one of Bruno’s pupils from Reims became Pope Urban II and resolved to continue the work of reform begun by Gregory VII. In 1090 Urban summoned Bruno to Rome to help. Bruno managed to persuade the Pope to let him resume the solitary life. He founded a new monastery in the diocese of Squillace in Calabria, and for the rest of his life led an amphibian existence, being called away from time to time to help the Pope in his project of reform, but always returning. Bruno pioneered the “mixed” form of religious life, of hermits who live together in a community. He did not plan to found an Order, but the seed he had planted at Chartreuse grew into the Carthusian Order, which continues to this day, with some 24 houses spread across the world.

In the first reading we hear that Jonah is angry and despondent over God’s mercy to the people of Nineveh who have repented in response to his preaching. This despondency leads to him asking the lord to end his life. The episode with the Castor oil plant depicts something of God’s sense of humour as well as illustrating his love and compassion.

The Gospel gives a shorter version of the Lord’s prayer given in response to the request from the disciples for him to teach them to pray. Luke puts a slightly different emphasis on some aspects of the prayer; I order to emphasise the need for dependence on God, he says give us each day our daily bread” rather than “this day”. In asking for forgiveness, Luke uses the word ”sins” rather than “debts”. Luke was a Greek Gentile so in doing this he might have been keen to steer away from it being interpreted too narrowly. This leads onto a section with a series of images and parables that spell out the need to have persistent and continual prayer. May St Bruno help us to rejoice in God’s mercy and compassion upon us, even though we are sinners. May we be thankful for the gift of this new day and all that God will provide for us. May we be people who pray continually and persistently pray for our needs and God’s mercy.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Tuesday 5th October 2021

Today is the feast of St Faustina. Helena Kowalska was born on 25 August 1905 in Głogowiec, near Łódź in Poland, the third of ten children of a poor and religious family. From an early age she had a religious vocation, and she showed great determination in pursuing it despite the opposition of her parents and rejection by the first few convents to which she applied. Through persistence and hard work she was accepted by the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, which she entered on 1 August 1925, taking the name Sister Mary Faustina. She lived in the Congregation for the rest of her short life. Her work as cook, gardener and porter revealed nothing of her rich mystical interior life.

The mystery of the Mercy of God which forms the centre of St Faustina’s spirituality was revealed to her by Jesus in visions and conversations from early 1931. With the help of the nuns’ confessor, Father Michael Sopoćko the devotion to the Divine Mercy began. Sister Faustina died (probably of tuberculosis) on 5 October 1938.

The devotion to the Divine Mercy spread widely and fast, especially during the Second World War. Indeed, on the official Vatican web site some of Faustina’s actual conversations with Jesus are quoted in her biography, and there have been moves to have her declared a Doctor of the Church. Faustina Kowalska was beatified on 18 April 1993 and canonized on 30 April 2000. At the same time the second Sunday of Easter was officially designated as the Sunday of the Divine Mercy.

In today’s first reading we hear of the response of the people of Nineveh to the invitation from God through the reluctant prophet Jonah, to change their ways and repent of their sins. We never know what a difference we can make to people’s lives if we faithfully proclaim the Good News of the Gospel to them.

In today’s Gospel, we hear of how Martha and Mary welcome Jesus to their home. Martha complains to Jesus about her sister leaving all the serving to herself. Jesus praises Mary for choosing the better part in sitting at his feet and listening to him. I think this tells us that hospitality and service are very noble and important however priority needs to be given to prayer where we listen to the Lord.

May St Faustina lead us to Divine Mercy so we can respond to the promise of salvation offered to us. May we seize every opportunity to proclaim the Gospel and may our service always come from the root of prayer.

Fr David 

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 4th October 2021

Today is the feast of St Francis of Assisi who was born in 1182 who was from a wealthy background but gave up his inheritance in order to embrace poverty and follow Christ. He was asked by Jesus to rebuild the Church. He thought initially that it was to literally rebuild a dilapidated chapel near where he lived. However he quickly discerned that it was bigger than that: it was to rebuild the Church in a different way. He went on to surround himself with brothers who became the friars minor which later in turn became the Franciscan Order, who minister especially to the poor and needy.

Our Diocesan pastoral programme “Hope in the Future” very much takes the message of Francis to rebuild the Church and the Diocese therefore launches each of the five stages around the feast of St Francis. This year delayed stage 4 launch is about seizing all the opportunities we get to proclaim the Kingdom of God . This was launched yesterday at the cathedral by Bishop John with the Holy Hour. Each parish such as our own had a Holy Hour yesterday afternoon to coincide simultaneously with the Bishop’s Holy Hour.

The First reading gives the account of Jonah the reluctant prophet who disaobeys God’s instruction to go to preach repentance Nineveh in the East by instead heading West. Eventually he does what God asks of him and the people of Nineveh willingly respond at the first time of asking.

In today’s Gospel, we are given the parable of the Good Samaritan which very vividly illustrates who our neighbour is and an example of what the commandment to love our neighbour means. On this feast of St Francis, we pray for the Franciscan Order throughout the world reaching our to all. We pray for us to be like the Good Samaritan and always respond to our neighbour’s needs regardless of their nationality or creed.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Saturday 2nd October 2021

Today is the feast of the Guardian Angels. The doctrine that every individual soul has a guardian angel is the “mind of the Church”, as expressed particularly by St Jerome and St Basil. It is present in both the Old and New Testaments.” Thus even little children have guardian angels, and these angels remain in the presence of God even as they fulfil their mission on
earth.

Our Guardian angel is constantly at our side and they offer no judgement , acting always out of perfect love and they have sole purpose of protecting us and guiding us to be faithful to God’s will. When we are in danger or afraid, stray and sin, our Guardian angel will fill us with God’s peace and courage. When we sin and stray from the right path, Our Guardian Angel’s only concern is to guide us back to God.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that children should be welcomed because their angels in heaven are continually in the presence of his Father in Heaven. Perhaps only in Heaven will we fully understand and appreciate how God has protected us and guided in life us through his angels.

The feast reminds us that us that God cares for each of us individually. Deep down we know this to be true but it is quite humbling to think that we matter so much to God that he has appointed an individual angel to help each of us through the tough, dangerous and challenging times.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 1st October 2021

Today is the feast of St Therese of Lisieux. Marie-Françoise-Thérèse Martin was born in Alençon, in France, on 2 January 1873. Her mother, when Thérèse was four, and the family moved to Lisieux. Thérèse became a nun at the Carmelite convent there at the age of 15, after a long battle against the superior, who insisted that 16, or even 21, would be a more sensible age. She died of tuberculosis at the age of 24.

In 1895 Mother Agnès of Jesus, the prioress, had commanded Thérèse to write her memoirs. Writing “not to produce a literary work, but under obedience,” Thérèse took a year to fill six exercise books. She presented them to the prioress, who put them in a drawer unread. A year after Thérèse’s death, the memoirs were published in a small edition of 2,000: This was just the beginning The beatification process opened thirteen years after Thérèse’s death. She was anonized in 1925, the Pope having suspended the rule that forbids canonization less than 50 years after someone’s death. On 18 October 2015. Their feast day is 12 July. 100 years after Thérèse’s death, Pope John Paul II declared her a Doctor of the Church, joining St Catherine of Siena and St Teresa of Ávila.

In the Gospel, Jesus laments over the people of Chorazin and Bethsaida who do not seem to respond to his healing or his teaching among them. There are times when we don’t always respond to the Lord being around us. Let us be people who reflect on each day and in our review try to notice where the hand of the Lord has been at work.

Fr David 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 30th September 2021

St Jerome was born in 340 in Strido, in Dalmatia. He studied in Rome and was baptized there. He was attracted by the ascetic life and travelled to the East, where he was (unwillingly) ordained a priest. He was recalled to Rome to act as secretary to Pope Damasus, but on the Pope’s death he returned to the East, to Bethlehem, where (with the aid of St Paula and others) he founded a monastery, a hospice, and a school, and settled down to the most important work of his life, the translation of the Bible into Latin, a translation which, with some revisions, is still in use today. He wrote many works of his own, including letters and commentaries on Holy Scripture. When a time of troubles came upon the world, through barbarian invasions, and to the Church, through internal dissension, he helped the refugees and those in need. He died at Bethlehem.

In today’s Gospel, we hear of the sending out of disciples by Jesus. The Lord can use our faith and love for him to bring others closer to him. We never know the fruits that come from our acts of love and service if done with purity of intention for the Lord.

In sending out the large group of disciples, Jesus warns them that some towns will not make them welcome. He tells them however that regardless of how they are received they are to bring with them the message of Christ that the Kingdom of God is near to them. May we respond to the invitation to us to bring the Lord’s compassion and love to those who need it.

Fr David

  

 

 

 

 

Thought of the Day ~ Wednesday 29th September 2021

Today is the feast of the Archangels: St Michael, St Gabriel and St Raphael. Angels are God’s messengers but when a message of huge significance is needed then an Archangel with a name was sent. In today’s first reading from the book of Daniel, we hear of the vision of Heaven where thousands upon thousands are waiting on the one of great age. We also hear of the prophecy of Christ’s coming as a son of Man whose eternal sovereignty will never pass away. This gets us to think about the role and purpose of angels in giving glory to God.

In today’s Gospel Jesus promises Heaven to Nathaniel whom he calls to follow him, where he will see above the Son of Man angels of God ascending and ascending. Although angels are invisible to us, we are called by the Church to believe they exist. St. Michael is one of the principal angels; his name means one who is like God. Four times his name is recorded in Scripture. Michael is sent whenever an act of wondrous power needed to be carried out. We should call upon the help of St Michael when sin seems to be getting the better of us in the daily battle between good and evil for our souls

St Gabriel whose name means the strength of God, appears in the book of Daniel to explain some of the prophet’s visions, and was also the bearer in Luke’s Gospel, of the Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the news to Zachariah about John the Baptist. St Raphael who is found In the Book of Tobit, is the angel who heals Tobit of his blindness. His name means God heals. May the Archangels make us like God, bring us strength and grant
us his healing.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 28th September 2021

Today we keep the face of St Wenceslaus, who was born into the Bohemian royal family, and brought up as a Christian by his aunt. When he became king, he worked hard to promote order in his kingdom and the free exercise of Christianity. This raised considerable opposition, and he was eventually murdered by his brother’s henchmen. He was immediately acclaimed as a martyr and is the patron saint of the Czech Republic.

We reach a key stage in the life of Jesus in today’s Gospel as we hear that he resolutely heads towards Jerusalem, where he knows he will face his Passion and Death. This speaks to us of Jesus’ obedience and faithfulness to his mission and should encourage us to persevere with our commitments even if the personal cost is high. Because he is heading to Jerusalem, he is refused entrance into the Samaritan village where he planned to stay. Such rejection of Jesus angers the disciples and they threaten revenge. Rejection is often painful but it is something we all have to deal with from time to time. It might fill us with anger, lead us to desire vengeance or it might lower our self-esteem. Jesus however gives us a great example of how to handle rejection. He retains his serenity and his dignity, showing great patience by simply accepting their choice and walking away to proclaim the Kingdom elsewhere.

May we too, imitate Our Lord and all the saints in the way we deal with rejection and hostility, by allowing the Holy Spirit to clearly guide us and direct us.

Fr David  

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 27th September 2021

Today is the feast of St Vincent de Paul who was born in Aquitaine and became a priest. He devoted his whole life to the service of the poor. He founded a congregation of priests for missionary work, groups of laymen to help the poor and galley-slaves, and, with St Louise de Marillac, the Sisters of Charity.

The order he founded is the Congregation of The Mission which we know better as the Vincentian Order. We are of course very blessed to have the Vincentian Fathers serving our parish. They bring a refreshing and distinctive missionary flavour to our community. We give thanks today for the vocations of Fr Emmanuel and Fr Clement who currently minister in our parish. We also remember the other Vincentian Fathers who have served our Parish: Fr Blaise, Fr Lawrence and Fr Benneth. In a few weeks time, we will be asked to support the work of training priests for the Vincentian Order from which we have greatly benefitted.

We are also blessed to have the presence of the very active St Vincent de Paul Society who work to serve the poor and needy across the parish. As we thank the Lord for all the good things that they do, may we look at ways that we can practically support their invaluable work.

In today’s Gospel the disciples tell Jesus that they tried to stop a man who was not of their number acting in the name of Jesus. This prompts Jesus to come out with the powerful words: “Anyone who is not against you is for you”. I think this urges us to look at what we have in common with other people of different faiths and none, as we can always find common ground with everyone. And as regards our fellow Christians of other denominations we should also look at ways we can work together and pray together, rather than concentrate on our differences.

Fr David 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 25th September 2021

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples that the Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men. The disciples don’t understand what this meant because we are told its meaning was hidden from them and he said these words when the everyone was filled with admiration for Jesus. He is obviously referring to his forthcoming Passion and Death. On the one level he was prophesying his betrayal by Judas but also the significant event of one who is God being put into the hands of men. This generous giving by Jesus was essential for the Cross to bring about our Redemption.

Jesus revealed this to his disciples in advance of it happening at a time when his popularity was at its height. He knew he had to go to Jerusalem where he would face his Passion. He knew that his mission was nothing to do with popularity or celebrity but about proclaiming the Kingdom. Obedience to the Father and fulfilment of his mission were what truly motivated him and drove him.

As Christians we need to also ask at what drives us on ~ if we purely do it for human praise and admiration we will find ourselves disappointed. May we instead be driven like Jesus to be always about the Father’s business and then we will find lasting peace and fulfilment.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 24th September 2021

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham. The shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham in Norfolk was one of the great pilgrimage centres of mediaeval times. The lady of the manor of Walsingham, Richeldis de Faverches, had a vision in which the Virgin Mary instructed her to build in her village an exact replica of the house in Nazareth where the Annunciation had taken place. According to tradition this vision occurred in 1061, although the most likely date for the construction of the shrine is a hundred years later.  The original shrine was destroyed at the Reformation, but in the 19th and 20th centuries, pilgrimage to Walsingham was revived not only for Catholics but also for Anglicans.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks the disciples two questions. The first one is who about who people say that he is : This is an easy enough general question which they attempt to respond to by recalling what they have heard said about Jesus. The second is more difficult because it was personal and demanding as he asks them who do they say that he is. they say that he is. We hear Peter say that he believes Jesus to be the Christ of God.

We too are asked the same question by the Lord each day. We are to say what Jesus means to us personally not only with words but in actions. At very difficult times in our lives such as the death of a loved one, we will be greatly helped if we too can put Peter’s profession of faith on own lips.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 23rd September 2021

Today is the Feast of St Pio of Pietrelcina who is better known as Padre Pio. He was born in 1887 the small village of Pietrelcina in southern Italy, and joined the Capuchin friars at the age of 16. He became a priest seven years later, and spent fifty years at the monastery of San Giovanni Rotondo, where he was very much sought after as a spiritual advisor, confessor, and intercessor. Many miracles were popularly ascribed to him during his lifetime. He died in 1968 a few days after the fiftieth anniversary of his receiving the stigmata, and over 100,000 people attended his funeral.

In today’s Gospel, we hear that King Herod was curious about who Jesus was and desired to meet Him. In the Gospels, Herod is portrayed as being rather shallow ~ his curiosity will sadly not lead him to faith in Jesus. This should urge us away from being cynical and strive instead for wisdom ~ if our desire for Wisdom is deeper than mere curiosity then it should lead us to deeper faith in who Jesus is for us and will hopefully result in us wanting to know Him more deeply and be more faithful to his Gospel.

Fr David 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Wednesday 22nd September 2021

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples as he sends them out on a missionary journey to only take the minimum with them: they have essentially been equipped with his power and his authority. They are will also receive confidence from receiving his love and friendship. If they trust him, then this should suffice for them.

This should get us to think about our dependence on others. We all started off in life being dependent on others for our needs however as we grow we become increasingly independent and we often refuse the help of others sometimes out of sheer pride. We are of course called to serve others but we should also allow others to serve us and not deprive them of sharing their goodness with us. The Lord is calling us to be less stubborn and more open to the kindness of others, even those we don’t know.

Let us pray for our “daily bread”, asking the Lord to provide all that we need for the day that lies ahead: food, love, drink, shelter, friendship and hope. May we find the humiliity to graciously accept the help and support that others willingly desire to give us.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 21st September 2021

Today is the feast of St Matthew the Apostle. Matthew was a tax collector, also known as Levi. Jesus called him to be one of the twelve Apostles and he went to proclaim the Gospel and was prepared to die for his faith ~ he was martyred in.  As with all the Apostles the most important thing about Matthew is that he was a witness to the Resurrection of Jesus.

Pope Francis references Jesus'; encounter with Matthew in the words he took for his personal motto, "I am one who is looked upon by the Lord. I always felt my papal motto, Miserando atque Eligendo ["by having mercy and by choosing him"], was very true for me"; This Latin phrase is from the Venerable Bede's sermon on the feast of St. Matthew. Just as Matthew was undeservedly and unexpectedly called by Jesus, so Pope Francis was he when the 17 year old Jorge Bergoglio felt called to the priesthood after celebrating Reconciliation on the feast of St Matthew.

Let us pray on this feast day for all whose lives are heading in the wrong direction and they are feeling lost and lonely. May St Matthew who took his chance to change his life when offered it, inspire others like Pope Francis to take their opportunity to change with God’s help.

 

Fr David

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 20th September 2021

Today is the feast of St Andrew Kim Taegǒn, Paul Chong Hasang, and companions. For centuries, Korea was closed to all outside influences, and all contact with foreigners was forbidden. No missionaries went there. Nevertheless, a number of laymen sought to find out all that they could about the outside world, through the annual embassy to Peking. Many centuries later the first of the missionaries, a French priest from the Paris Foreign Mission Society, entered the country in 1836 and was beheaded three years later. Many others followed. Andrew Kim Taegǒn, the first Korean priest, was secretly trained in Macao, entered Korea in 1845 and was executed in 1846, together with his father. A lay apostle, St Paul Chong Hasang, and many others perished at the same time. A further major persecution occurred in 1866.  In all, 103 of the Korean martyrs are celebrated today: they are mostly lay men and women: some married, some not; some old, some young, some even children.

In today’s Gospel Jesus talks of a lamp lighting up the whole of a room. He says that you wouldn’t cover up such a lamp as this would prevent the lamp from doing what it is intended for. He says that in a similar way, the light of our faith should also be allowed to shine out and not be concealed or hidden. The way we allow the light of faith to shine brightly is by living lives that are in accordance to the Gospel. It should also reflect the way we live our lives. We are to be people to hear the word of God gratefully and listen to it and live it out lovingly and faithfully.

May the Korean martyrs who bravely let their faith in Christ shine brightly in difficult times pray for us and inspire us to listen to the Gospel and to live it out to the best of our ability.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Saturday 18th Sept 2021

In today’s Gospel we hear the parable of the sower. We are very familiar with this parable so it is good to challenge ourselves to really listen to it again in order to catch a fresh message that God may be trying to tell us. The parable reminds us that not all the seed that is sown in a field by the farmer produces a harvest. There are many obstacles and factors that can prevent the seed from being fruitful. It’s the same with the seed of faith, which many outside factors can influence whether or not it bears fruit for us.

The equivalent of providing rich soil for the seed of the gift of faith is to live a life nurtured by faithfulness to prayer. Part of this good soil is prayer itself which the raising of our heart and minds to God. This consists of both our personal prayer and the prayer of the community or parish. If we create the rich soil of a spiritual prayer life, we will hear the word of God, welcome it into our lives and be transformed by it.

May the Lord help us to welcome his grace into our lives each day and allow it penetrate the depths of our being so that we may achieve the potential he yearns to achieve in us.


Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Friday 17th Sept 2021

St Robert Bellarmine was born in1542 in Montepulciano, in Tuscany, and became a Jesuit. He taught theology in Rome, and was active in disputation against the Protestants, where his effectiveness was increased by his charity and moderation. He was a moderating influence in the Galileo affair, and gave Galileo much friendly advice. In due course he was nominated a cardinal and archbishop of Capua; but it is for his writings that he is chiefly known. He did not only write controversial works: he also wrote two catechisms and some devotional commentaries on the Psalms and on the Seven Last Words.

In today’s Gospel, we are told that Jesus and the twelve were supported by various women who had been healed by Jesus accompanied them and supported Jesus and the disciples in his work of preaching. Luke gives the names of these women, whom we are told provided for Jesus and the disciples out of their own resources. This was essential support that Jesus and the disciples would have readily welcomed and appreciated.

We also, like Jesus, need the help and services of others. As followers of Christ, we are also called to serve. Serving calls us to be generous to others and we are asked to give something ourselves; maybe to give our time, share our gifts as well as our resources. We are also asked, like Jesus, to accept that we can’t do everything ourselves. Being served by others calls for humility, but we are to accept the fact that we need the help and support of other people. May the Lord give us the wisdom to know when we can give to others and when we need to humbly ask for others to help us.


 


Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Thurs 16th Sept 2021

Today is the feast of St Cornelius and Cyprian. Cornelius was made bishop of the church in Rome in the year 251. He fought against the Novatian schismatics, and established his authority with the aid of Cyprian. The emperor Gallus sent him into exile, and he died at Civitavecchia in June 253. He is buried in Rome.


St Cyprian was born in Carthage and spent most of his life in the practice of the law. He was converted to Christianity, and was made bishop of Carthage in 249. He steered the church through troubled times, including the persecution of the emperor Decius, when he went into hiding so as to be able to continue looking after the church. In 258 the persecution of the emperor Valerian began. Cyprian was first exiled and then, on the 14th of September, executed, after a trial notable for the calm and courtesy shown by both sides. Cyprian’s many letters and treatises shed much light on a formative period in the Church’s history.

In today’s Gospel, a woman who had a bad reputation gate-crashes a party and anoints the feet of Jesus with ointment. Jesus says that showing such love towards him is a sign that her sins have been forgiven. Like the woman in the house of Simon the Pharisee, we also should be inspired by God’s Grace to want to somehow extravagantly respond to having our own sins forgiven. What the Lord asks of us in return for his mercy is our love for him.

May St Cornelius and Cyprian encourage us by the example of their love for the Lord, to express our love for Him by showing love to all our brothers and sisters in our daily living out of the Gospel.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Wednesday 15th Sept 2021

Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. Devotion to this flourished in the Middle Ages. The hymn “Stabat Mater” was composed specially for this feast. Although it is officially celebrated today, the day after the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, popular devotion in many parts of the Mediterranean celebrates it with processions on the Friday before Holy Week.

 

 When Jesus was presented in the temple, we heard the prophesy of Simeon that the child he had been privileged to be shown was destined to be a sign that is rejected. He also foretells that a sword will pierce the heart of Mary. He is clearly referring to the Passion and Death of Our Lord. MichaelAngelo’s pieta powerfully captures that moment of sadness when Our Lady holds the crucified body of the Lord in her arms.

 

 In today’s Gospel we hear of how the dying Christ on the Cross entrusts his mother and John the disciple to each other as mother and son.

 

May this feast remind us that Mary is our mother too and she who knows the cost of love for Christ will console and comfort us in our own dark and difficult moments.

 

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Tuesday 14th Sept 2021

Today is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. It is paradoxical that we should use a terrible and horrific Roman instrument of execution as a symbol of faith. It is also powerful that a symbol of death and suffering can be transformed by God’s grace into a symbol life and triumph. We therefore see the Cross as a triumph of love and goodness over sin, hatred and death.


Today’s first reading those in the time of Moses who look up to the bronze serpent on a standard are saved from death. This foreshadows the Cross, because those who look upon the Cross will be saved from their sins and will live forever. Jesus is the one who brings eternal life, which was won for us at a great cost through his Passion and death on the Cross. Just as God in the desert transformed the symbol of death into a symbol of life, so too with the Cross does Christ transform this symbol of execution into a powerful symbol of life, salvation and hope.

In today’s Gospel we are reminded that the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross was the fruit of God’s great love for the world. He says that all who believe in God’s Son may not be lost but may have eternal life. The Cross is a symbol both of love and of forgiveness. It is through the power of the Cross that our sins are forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Today’s feast speaks of the utter generosity and love that God has for us in giving His only Son to us.

On this feast day may we be drawn by Jesus into the life and love of God through the power of His Cross. May we simply allow ourselves to be transformed by God’s Grace into this new life of hope.

 

Fr David

 

 

 

 

Thought for the day ~ Mon 13th Sept 2021

St John Chrysostom was born in 349 in Antioch. After a thorough education, he took up the ascetic life. He was ordained to the priesthood, and became a fruitful and effective preacher.   He was elected Patriarch of Constantinople in 397, and was energetic in reforming the ways of the clergy and the laity alike. He incurred the displeasure of the Emperor and was twice forced into exile. When the second exile, to Armenia, had lasted three years, it was decided that he should be sent still further away, but he died on the journey, worn out by his hardships.  His sermons and writings did much to explain the Catholic faith and to encourage the living of the Christian life: his eloquence earned him the surname “Chrystostom” (the Greek for “golden mouth”).


In today’s first reading St Paul, writing to Timothy gives advice about prayer. He says that our prayers should be offered to everyone. As well as petitionary prayers we are to give thanks to God for everyone. He urges us also to pray for those in positions of authority and responsibility that they might always grant us the freedom to peacefully live reverent and holy lives.


In today’s Gospel, Jesus is asked by a centurion to heal his sick servant who was close to death. The centurion gets word to Jesus that he is not worthy to have him under his roof. He says this to prevent Jesus breaking the Jewish law by entering a pagan household.. We are told that this centurion is kind to the Jewish people and actually built their synagogue. The centurion is totally convinced that just a word from Jesus will be enough to heal his servant. Luke emphasises that Jesus was astounded at this man’s faith and states that it is greater than any faith he had seen in Israel.. We acknowledge this encounter each time we celebrate Mass when just before the distribution of Holy Communion, we communally pray the words of the centurion: “Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed”. In echoing the humble and faith-filled words of the centurion we are acknowledging our faith in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.


On this feast of St John Chrysostom may we take the time to listen to the Word of God attentively when it is broken for us. May we remember to always include in our prayers those in positions of power and authority. May we also be open to be surprised when we find faith in the most unlikely of places and people.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 11th September 2021

A year ago, I mentioned that the plum trees at St Mary’s last year bore much good quality fruit, however this year the quantity was the same but the plums were much smaller and not as good quality at all. We will give the trees a little help in the coming months so that next year’s crop will be better.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says that we should strive to be like sound trees that produce good fruit. Jesus is talking of the importance in ensuring that our interior lives are wholesome and nourished on God’s Word. Just as fruit trees need to be nurtured, watered and receive plenty of sunlight, so also do our souls need to be nurtured by listening and reflecting on God’s Word and by remaining close to Christ through a life of prayer and faithfulness to the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation.

Jesus says that a man’s words flow from what fills his heart. As Christians we are to maintain custody of our tongues. There are times when each of us talk too much and there are times when we remain silent when we should have spoken up. Jesus tells us that sins we commit with our tongues are caused by our restless and unrepentant hearts. We are to strive instead to be pure in heart and then we can bear real fruits for God by our actions and our words.

Today we mark the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities and as we remember those who died, we pray for all those families who lost loved ones and all those who worked tirelessly for the emergency services at that time in New York city to save lives. May the hatred at the core of that terrible event be evaporated and replaced with a life-giving love and respect for each other regardless of our differences.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 10th September 2021

Today is the feast of St Ambrose Barlow, who is a patron of our Diocese Ambrose was born at Barlow Hall, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, near Manchester in 1585. He was the fourth son of the nobleman Sir Alexander Barlow and his wife Mary. His family suffered for adhering to the Catholic faith. In 1597, Ambrose was taken into the stewardship of a relative who would care for him whilst he served out his apprenticeship as a page. However, upon completing this service, Ambrose realised that his true vocation was for the Catholic priesthood, so he trained at both Douai in France and at Valladolid in Spain.

In 1615, he returned to Douai where he became a member of the Order of Saint Benedict and was ordained as a priest in 1617. He then returned to Morley’s Hall, Astley. From there he looked after the local Catholics. He would often visit his cousins, the Downes, at their residence of Wardley Hall and celebrate Mass for the gathered congregation. He was arrested several times during his travels. On 25 April 1641, Easter Sunday, Ambrose was arrested for the last time and taken to Lancaster Castle. He appeared before the presiding judge, Sir Robert Heath, on the 7 September when he professed his adherence to the Catholic faith and defended his actions. On 10 th September, he was taken from Lancaster Castle and executed. We only have a small handful of Diocesan feasts day in the liturgical year. I like them because they are unique to the Diocese of Salford. Although Salford Diocese is relatively small geographically, there is great variety and diversity in the parishes. Having served as a priest in several parishes throughout the Diocese I am aware of that. However I feel that the Diocesan feasts like today’s strive to unify the priests and the parishes with Bishop John.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to his disciples of the persecution that will be inevitable for his followers. He himself will face his Passion and death. He prophesied that most of the Apostles will be martyred, to bear witness to their faith in him. He tells them that they will have to face having to give an account of themselves as “they will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness…” He reassures them not to worry about what to say when they are in such situations because the Holy Spirit will speak in them. As we know, St Ambrose confidently professed his Catholic faith when held to account. May we never forget the faith of the English martyrs who like St Ambrose Barlow bravely helped to keep the faith alive in what is the Diocese of Salford. May we feel united today as a Diocese with Bishop John and all the priests and people of our Diocese.

Fr David 

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 9th September 2021

Today is the feast of St Peter Claver, who was born in Catalonia in 1581 and studied at the university of Barcelona. He became a Jesuit and was encouraged to evangelise the New World. He arrived in what is now Columbia in 1610 and worked to meet the spiritual and materials needs of the slaves for some thirty three years. He brought fresh food to the slave-ships and baptised them in the faith. He followed their progress and kept track of them even when they were sent to the mines and plantations. He also defended them as best he could from oppressive slave-owners. He organised teams of catechists who spoke the many languages that the slaves spoke. He worked in hospitals and prisons and was particularly caring to the lepers. His work attracted criticism from within and outside of the Church. At the end of his life, he fell ill with a degenerative disease and for four years was treated neglectfully and brutally by the servant whose task it was to look after him. He died in 1654.

In today’s first reading, St Paul tells us that we are all called to be saints. He tells us in order to attain this we need to be “clothed” in sincere compassion. This asks us therefore to be kind, humble, gentle and patient. These are all desirable virtues that we are to strive for. This should lead us to be genuinely forgiving and merciful towards others.

In today’s Gospel, we hear extracts from Christ’s Sermon on the Plain when Jesus challenges us to be compassionate with further examples of how to do this. He is urging us to show love to everyone regardless of how they treat us. He also encourages us not to judge others or right them off, in so doing we will not be judged or condemned ourselves by God.

May St Peter Claver urge us to be faithful to the Lord’s teaching so that we may be counted among the saints ourselves.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 8th September 2021

A birthday is an occasion to honour the day someone we know and love came into the world. It is an occasion to celebrate and be grateful for all that is good about that person’s life. Today is the feast of the Birthday of Our Blessed Lady. It is right that we celebrate Mary’s birthday because of the vital role she has in the history of salvation. Becoming the Mother of Our Lord was all part of the Divine plan for Salvation in which Mary played such a vital role. Today’s Gospel gives the genealogy of Jesus and starts by calling him the Son of David and Abraham and concludes with reference to Joseph, “the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus who is the Christ.”

Mary had to trust God that all would work out as regards to her relationship with St Joseph. We hear that God spoke to Joseph, through a dream, to ensure that he was fully committed to play his part and to stand by Mary and Jesus. We are told that this is the fulfilment of the prophecy: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they shall call him Emmanuel, a name which means God is with us”.

Mary’s mission was to be the Mother of Jesus and this was a role she was well able to carry out because she had great faith and a very strong love for God. Therefore to be asked to show love for God’s Son was completely natural for her. As we celebrate Our Lady’s birthday, may we also thank the Lord for the gift of our own lives. The best way we can honour Our Lady is by imitating her faithfulness to God.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 7th September 2021

In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls his Twelve Apostles. They all seemed quite ordinary men but they would go onto do extraordinary things. None of these men at the time seemed particularly remarkable but they did prove themselves to be extraordinary once they had received the Spirit at Pentecost.

The significance of the twelve is that where Israel was founded on the twelve tribes, they rule over the New Israel which is the Church. So the twelve Apostles become the foundations of the Church. The word Apostle actually comes from the Greek Word “Apostello” which means “to send out”. The Apostles therefore are sent out by Christ into the world to proclaim the Good News as witnesses to the Resurrection.

The successors to St Peter and the Apostles are the pope and bishops. They too have been called by Christ and also “sent out” to the world to proclaim the Gospel. Our bishops continue a lineage that goes right back to Jesus and the Apostles.

Let us pray today for our Bishop John Arnold and all the Bishops of England and Wales. May the Lord help them to serve Him with humility and holiness and may they be given the strength and courage to always resist temptation.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 6th September 2021

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is in the synagogue on a sabbath day and is being carefully “watched” by the scribes and Pharisees in respect of keeping their rules about the Sabbath. A man with a paralysed hand is present and Jesus asks those present if it is against the law of the Sabbath to do good or to do evil. By asking this Jesus wants a quick simple answer to his question. He is aware of the intentions of the scribes and Pharisees who for some dark reason choose to narrowly interpret all his actions and words. He points out that wanting to heal the man with the withered hand is surely a good thing, whereas not to do good is to do evil. He is also referring to their evil intentions which will ultimately lead to his Passion and Death.

Jesus then goes on to heal the man even though it is the sabbath day, by asking him to come out and simply stretch out his hand in front of everyone. Jesus knows that the Sabbath day is important and sacred, however he wants them to know that the spirit of the law is to remind people of God’s love for them. Doing good for someone such as healing them, is surely in keeping with that purpose. Jesus tells us that it is always the right thing to do an act of kindness for someone who needs our help.

May we always have purity of intention in our thinking behind all that we do and say. May the Lord mercifully remove any darkness and evil from our thoughts and intentions. May we always have respect for the Sabbath day, but may we like Our Lord be confident of his blessing whenever we choose to do good for another person.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 4 th September 2021

According to tradition, St Cuthbert, whose feast day we celebrate today, was a shepherd boy, who became a monk and later prior at Melrose. After the Synod of Whitby in 664 he became prior of Lindisfarne and gradually won over the community to Roman ecclesiastical customs. He was zealous in preaching the Gospel but was most attracted to living the life of a hermit. In 676 he left the monastery and lived in solitude on the nearby island of Inner Farne. However for the last two years of his life he served as Bishop of Lindisfarne, but he returned to his island to die on 20th March 687. His remains were removed from their resting place at Lindisfarne to escape Viking raiders and were eventually enshrined in Durham cathedral. St Cuthbert was essentially a man of prayer and a man at one with nature and nature was at peace with him. He is the Principal patron of my native Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle

In today’s Gospel, Jesus was challenged by the Pharisees about his disciples seemingly breaking the laws of the Sabbath by plucking and eating corn. He responds by citing an example from the Scriptures about David and his companions eating the bread of the Presence at a sacred shrine, out of necessity. Jesus states that meeting your own essential needs or those of others is surely not against the spirit of the Sabbath. He goes onto say of himself, that the Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath. T oday is the 11 th anniversary of my Aunty Pat (Bell). Pat was my mam’s younger sister. Herself and Uncle Jim were always so kind to me and they were especially good when I was at Ushaw College which was only ten miles away from their house near Consett. Aunty Pat just loved to give and never thought of herself. I would go to their house and always received a warm, down to earth welcome.

We pray that St Cuthbert and all the saints may encourage us to open our hearts and minds to be guided in new directions under the influence of the Holy Spirit. May we strive like Aunty Pat to always seek to be givers and to find kindness in our hearts. May we always strive to make Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath, by making the Day of Resurrection special by prioritising Sunday Mass, and finding time to pray and rest.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 3rd September 2021

Today is the feast of St Gregory the Great, who was born in 540 in Rome and followed the career of public service that was usual for the son of an aristocratic family. He eventually became Prefect of the city of Rome, a post he held for some years. He founded a monastery in Rome as well as some others in Sicily, then became a monk himself. After being ordained a deacon, he was sent as an envoy for 5 years to Constantinople. On this day 590, he was elected pope and thus became the first monk to attain this office. He brought about reforms in the Church’s administration and wasespecially kind to the poor and prisoners. He was involved in brokering for peace with the Lombards, and other tribes in order to strengthen the Church’s position. He sent Augustine and his monks to England in 596 and provided them with ongoing support and advice. He wrote extensively on pastoral care, spirituality and morals, and designated himself as the “servant of the servants of God”. He died on 12 th March 604.

St Paul tells us in today’s first reading that we are to bring the Good News to people. However in doing that we are also to generously to give of our whole selves and that calls for great generosity.

Gregory chose St Augustine of Canterbury to be generous and give totally of himself, when he sent him and his monks to England. For this reason, Gregory is often called the Apostle to the English. May we be grateful to him for his consideration and vision in desiring to evangelize our country.

The successors of Peter are also given the Lord’s authority to be the rock for the Church. They are given the keys of the Kingdom to loose and to bind just as Peter was, as we heard in today’s Gospel.

May we be also inspired by St Gregory in the way we proclaim the Gospel by the example of our daily lives and my our generosity in being willing to give totally of ourselves for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

Fr David 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 24th July 2021

Today is the feast of St Charbel Makhlouf, who was born in 1828 in the Lebanon. He was brought up by his uncle who did not approve of his devotion to prayer and solitude. He became a Maronite monk and was ordained a priest. After being a monk for many years, he was drawn to the life-style of the Desert Fathers and became a hermit. His life at the hermitage consisted of much prayer and fasting. He considered himself to be the servant of anyone who came to stay in the other three cells in the hermitage. He spent 23 years of his life there and a large number of people came to receive his blessing or his advice. He died in 1898.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the farmer who allow the weeds to grow alongside the wheat. The farmer is seen as tolerant and patient. We can see our lives of being a mixture of wheat and weeds, virtues and vices, light and darkness. We are involved in a daily struggle for the wheat of lives to grow strong as it competes for survival with the weeds. This also calls us to be patient and keep trusting in the goodness of God. This Gospel should fill us with hope that despite our failings,and sins, God gets us every chance to overcome them and repent of them.

St Charbel put aside all such obstacles by seeking Christ in silence and peace by setting up a remote hermitage. The many people who sought his guidance are testimony to his holiness and his wisdom. May we also seek wisdom and peace through finding the opportunities to discover silence and quietness. May he inspire us to take the time to reflect on the direction our lives are taking. May the Lord strengthen us in our daily battle with temptation to sin and allow the virtues of our lives to outgrow the vices.

Fr David

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 1st September 2021

Today is the feast of St Edmund Arrowsmith who was born in 1585 in Haydock in Lancashire. His father was a yeoman farmer and his mother was a member of an important Lancashire Catholic family. At the age of 20, he left England and went to the English College at Douai, in France, to studyfor the priesthood. He was ordained in Arras on 9 th December 1612 and sent on to the English Mission a year later. He ministered to the Catholics of Lancashire without incident until around 1622, when he was arrested and questioned by the Anglican Bishop of Chester. Edmund was released when King James I of England ordered all arrested priests to be freed. In 1624 Edmund joined the Jesuits. In the summer of 1628, he was denounced to the authorities, put on trial and sentenced to death for being a Roman Catholic priest in England. He was executed at Lancaster on 28 August 1628.

Just a year ago today we celebrated Mass in French at St Mary’s to mark the 50 th Anniversary of the death of Nobel Prize winner and Catholic author, Francois Mauriac. I have lovely memories of the joyful celebration of Mass which was appreciated by all who attended and who followed it through the live streaming.

In today’s Gospel Jesus is in Capernaum and he is very much in demand. We hear that Peter’s mother-in-law is sick with fever. At the time this took place, a fever of this nature was certainly life-threatening, therefore when Jesus heals her, he has saved her from death. As a sign she is completely healed, she is able to go back to her duties and to serve the household. Jesus works very hard until after sunset, healing all the sick people who are brought to him. Then after restring he gets up early the next day to go to a lonely place where he can pray. He knew there was much work to be done but he knew he need to bring all his work to the Father in prayer. The people do not seem to respect this as they seek him out and want him to stay with them.

May we always appreciate the value of prayer which is essential because it enables us to be in tune with God’s will for us. By focusing on God’s will for us we can ensure our lives are worthwhile and pleasing to God.

Fr David 

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 31st August 2021

Today is the feast of St Edmund Arrowsmith who was born in 1585 in Haydock in Lancashire. His father was a yeoman farmer and his mother was a member of an important Lancashire Catholic family. At the age of 20, he left England and went to the English College at Douai, in France, to study for the priesthood. He was ordained in Arras on 9 th December 1612 and sent on to the English Mission a year later. He ministered to the Catholics of Lancashire without incident until around 1622, when he was arrested and questioned by the Anglican Bishop of Chester. Edmund was released when King James I of England ordered all arrested priests to be freed. In 1624 Edmund joined the Jesuits. In the summer of 1628, he was denounced to the authorities, put on trial and sentenced to death for being a Roman Catholic priest in England. He was executed at Lancaster on 28 August 1628.

The unclean spirit inside of the man in the synagogue, in today’s Gospel, asks Jesus if he has come to destroy them. However Jesus has come to build up the lost and the lowly, not to destroy. He brings peace and calm to the man by healing him of the unclean spirits. Jesus astonishes the people, we are told by speaking to them with authority. He backs up this teaching by also acting confidently and trusting in his Father’s name and can therefore heal people of their afflictions and bring them peace and hope.

This evening I will be celebrating Mass in French at St Mary’s to mark the 50 th Anniversary of the death of Nobel Prize winner and Catholic author, Francois Mauriac. He has been a big influence on me in both his spiritual writings as well as his powerful novels, which revolve the people of his native Bordeaux region. He is particularly brilliant, in my opinion of describing the countryside as well as his vivid portrayals of his characters and their lives. You may like the article I have put together about Mauriac, which is available on our parish website, with paper copies directly from our three churches or from myself on request.

May St Aidan and the Lindisfarne saints inspire you to bring the joy of your faith to all those you encounter.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Monday 30th August 2021

Margaret Clitherow was born in York and lived there all her life. At the age of 15 she married a butcher, John Clitherow, and three years later became a Catholic. Imprisoned for her non-attendance at the Protestant church, she taught herself to read, and on her release ran a small school for her own and her neighbours’ children. Her husband, although he remained a Protestant himself, allowed her to hide priests in the house. In 1586 the secret hiding places were discovered and Margaret was put on trial. As the law then stood, to be found guilty would have meant destitution for her children, so she refused to plead: thus she could not be tried, and instead was crushed to death with a heavy stone, on 25 March 1586.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus goes to his home village of Nazareth where he cannot do very much because they do not have faith in who he is. They think they know better than anyone else who he is, because he grew up with them. He tells them that he has come to bring hope to the poor and needy. In his address in the synagogue he also highlights his mission to everyone in need regardless of their nationality, social status or religion. He identifies with the words of the prophet Isaiah as one who bring good news for the poor . He also identifies with Elijah and Elisha whose ministry involved reaching out to Gentiles. At first, they seem delighted, but they still don’t accept what he is saying or believe who he is and they get angry and in the end want to kill him. The whole episode would surely have been very challenging and disappointing for the Lord.

Through our baptism we have a share in the ministry of Jesus who was priest, prophet and king. This means that from time to time we will face similar resistance and opposition from those who do not welcome the Lord and his Good news. May St Margaret Clitherow help us in such times to remain strong and steadfast in our commitment to the Lord.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 28th August 2021

Today is the feast of St Augustine of Hippo. He was brought up a Christian but left the Church and lived quite a wild life, having a child with his mistress. All his life he had been on a spiritual journey in search of the truth and was deeply attracted to the person of Jesus. Eventually through the prayers of St Monica, his mother and the teaching of St Ambrose,of Milan, he converted back to Christianity and was baptised in 387, shortly before the death of his mother. Augustine had a brilliant legal and academic career, but after his conversion he returned home to Africa and led an ascetic life. He was elected Bishop of Hippo and spent 34 years looking after his flock, teaching them, strengthening them in the faith, and protecting them strenuously against the errors of the time. Among his significant writings were his “Confessions” which are considered a landmark of world literature. He was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Boniface VIII in 1308.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the talents. Two of the three characters in the parable prove successful with the talents entrusted to them by their master and through wisely using them they produce a handsome dividend, doubling the investment and thereby affirming the trust the master put in them The third man, however out of fear of his master, did nothing with his one talent and simply buried it in the ground and returned it as it was to its owner. The master is very happy with the first two recipients of his trust but is disappointed and angry with the third one.

We are all trusted by God with the gift of lour ife and he wants us to make something of it. We come into the world with nothing but we are capable of making a huge difference with our lives if we choose to do so. This is because we are called to live according to Jesus’ law of love and he wants us to show love in return. We are called to get to know Jesus and to listen to him and to respond to his message in order to be pleasing to God and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

There are many other voices calling us to listen to them but if we do we risk losing our way in life and being like the man in the parable who out of fear simply buried his talent. St Augustine is an example of someone who was initially squandering the gift of his life on selfish living but came to his senses and took the opportunities offered to him by God to change. He went on to live a life of service and sacrifice within the Church that was life-giving to many and continues to do so to this day.

We are all quite restless as humans and St Augustine told us that our hearts will not be at rest until we discover God. May St Augustine inspire us to keep searching to discover the real treasures that God has given us by trusting him and remaining close to Christ.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 27th August 2021

Today is the feast of St Monica who was born in 331 in Thagaste in Africa, of a Christian family. She married Patricus, when she was quite young and although a difficult marriage, Monica persevered and tried to love her husband as best as she could. Among her children was St Augustine. who had a brilliant intellect but uncertain morals and he was all over the place spiritually. She prayed unceasingly to God for her son’s conversion and her prayers were answered shortly before she died. She had a deep faith and outstanding virtues, and is a wonderful example of the virtue of patience in a Christian mother.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is telling us that we need to always be alert and faithful. He uses the analogy of a master entrusting a steward to look after his property and his servants ~ when he returns he expects to find him at his duty, if he does the master will give the steward more responsibility. If the steward is not doing what he should be doing , when his master returns, then he will lose all his privileges.

We are to respond to the Lord’s love by putting our heart and soul into lovingly serving God and others each day to the best of our ability: we are to have time for God in prayer: and we are to use our gifts and talents. In our intercessionary prayer we are be patient like St Monica and trust as she did that God will answer in his own way and his own time. These are the ways that we respond to the trust given to us by the Lord. May the example of St Monica who never gave up praying for her son’s conversion, inspire us to always be faithful and trusting of the Lord.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 26th August 2021

Today we keep the feast of St Dominic Barberi, who was born near Viterbo in Italy in 1792, and joined the Passionist Order, urged on by an inner assurance that God was calling him to be a missionary in England. In 1818 he was ordained a priest and worked in Italy as well as Belgium before finally coming to England in 1841. His first foundation was at Aston Hall in Staffs; he established four Passionist houses in all, and received many Anglicans into full communion, including John Henry Newman, who was received at Littlemore, near Oxford in 1845. He had great personal warmth in particular towards non-Catholics. In spite of his strong Italian accent, his zealous preaching drew big crowds. He died at Reading on 27 th August 1849 and was beatified by Pope VI in 1963.

In today’s Gospel, He uses the analogy of a master entrusting a steward to look after his property and his servants ~ when he returns he expects to find him at his duty, if he does find him about his duties, the master will give the steward more responsibility. If the steward is not doing what he should be doing, when his master returns, then he will lose all his privileges.

Jesus is telling us to always be alert and be about our duty. We are not to ever rest on our laurels. We are to put our heart and soul into serving the Lord and each other every day the Lord gives to us. May we also be attentive to our relationship with God through a life of service and prayer. May Blessed Dominic Barberi guide us by his example and prayer to be faithful and zealous in the way we live our lives.

Fr David 

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 25 th August 2021

Today is the feast of St Louis, who was born in 1214 and became King Louis IX of France at the age of 12. He was married and had eleven children, to whom he gave an excellent upbringing. He was noted for his spirit of prayer and penitence and for his love of the poor. He made the spiritual needs of his people as high a priority as providing economic stability and peace for them. He was a friend of St Thomas Aquinas and he founded the famous Sorbonne University. He died near Carthage in 1270, while unsuccessfully trying to liberate Christ’s burial-place.

Over the years I have been a frequent visitor to the French church in Rome which is named after St Louis, and famously houses three original Caravaggio paintings including “the Calling of St Matthew”, which is dear to my heart.

We remember today the mission of the sisters of St Louis, two of whom I worked with in my first parish as Parish Priest in Oldham. As I look back fondly on my time with them, may we give thanks for all the fruits that come from their work.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus criticises the Religious leaders of his day for being preoccupied with image and appearance rather than what was within. Jesus invites us to look a little deeper at people and at our own life, as we too are urged to look at the “heart” of a person. This implies looking at their substance and at their character. We are to also ensure that our own hearts are sincere, pure, and devoid of hypocrisy. We all admire genuine, down to earth people, who come across as authentic and genuine rather than false and shallow. We do this by a regular examination of Conscience and practising often the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 23rd August 2021

St Rose of Lima was born in 1586 in Lima, in Peru. She lived a life of selflessness and devotion from an early age. She refused to marry, and became a Dominican tertiary at the age of 20. Her asceticism and her intense spiritual experiences excited the criticism of her friends and family and the suspicion of the Church authorities. She cared for the sick, the poor, Indians, and slaves. She was the first person in the Americas to be canonized, and is a patron saint of South America.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the “woes” of Jesus against the Pharisees and religious leaders because they are not practising what they preach. He accuses of them of being hypocrites ~ which comes from the Greek word ”hypokrites” which means an actor. He is accusing them of having double standards ~ telling people what they should be doing but not actually doing it themselves. They are only playing a part because they not being true to themselves. St Thomas More once said: “ Whoever bids other folks by acting the opposite way, is like a foolish weaver who weaves quickly with one hand and unravels the cloth just as quickly with the other”.

Let us pray for all those in positions of authority that they are able to practise what they preach. May St Rose of Lima inspire us to avoid double standards in our life by living a devout life free from all hyposcrisy.

Fr David

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 21st August 2021

St Pius X, whose feast day we celebrate today, was born in the village of Riese, near Venice, one of ten children of a very poor family. He was ordained to the priesthood at the age of 23. After being Bishop of Mantua then Venice, he was elected Pope, against his wishes in 1903. His mission as Pope was to restore all things to Christ. He insisted on the separation of Church and State. He revised the Code of Canon Law, founded an institute for scriptural studies and initiated the revision of the Latin translation of the (Vulgate) Bible and the reform of the liturgy. He lived in great poverty even when he was Pope and in his simplicity and goodness of heart, he performed miracles even when he was alive. The call for him to be canonized began immediately after his death on 20th August 1914, broken hearted at the outbreak of WW1.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus is challenging the Pharisees about the spirit of intention behind their actions. He tells them that by enjoying privileges that draw attention to themselves like taking the best seats in the synagogue and wearing the longest tassles , that they are doing it for themselves and not for God. He suggests that they are full of pride and thus they are not being humble enough. He accuses them of notpractising what they preach.

Our main motivation for anything we do should always be in response to God’s love for us. This purity of intention is a major aspect of the Kingdom ~ Jesus says that those who are pure in heart are happy because they shall see God.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 20th August 2021

Today is the feast of St Bernard, who was born near Dijon in 1090 of a noble family. In 1112 he joined the new monastery at Citeaux which had been founded just fourteen years before, in order to counter the laxity and riches at the time, of the Benedictine order.

The regime at Citeaux was of primitive poverty and a life of austerity. He arrived at Citeaux with four of his five brothers and 24 friends. Within three years, he had been sent out to found a new monastery at Clairvaux in Champagne, where he remained abbot for the rest of his life. By the time of his death in 1153, the Cistercian Order had grown from one house to 343, of which 68 were daughter houses of Clairvaux. St Bernard was a man of great holiness and wisdom, and although he was often in very poor health, he was active in many of the great public debates of the time.

In the Gospel today, Jesus answers the question about which of the commandments is the greatest. He replies by putting two different commandments together. By putting love for God and love for others together, Jesus is saying that the two are inseparable: so when we show love for our neighbour, we are also showing love for God.

Jesus gives us a great example of how to live the commandments by the obedience he showed to His Father and the love he showed to everyone, especially the poor and needy. By being obedient to God and serving lovingly our neighbours, we will also embrace the Cross in our own lives. May St Bernard inspire us to live in Christ ourselves so that the goodness, truth and beauty of the Lord Jesus may shine through our words and actions each day.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 19th August 2021

Today is the feast of St John Eudes, who was born in Normandy in 1601. He founded a congregation of priests dedicated to running seminaries. The setting up of seminaries ensured the proper education of priests was seen as really essential to counter the issues that the Church faced at that time. He actively encouraged devotion to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Encouraging devotion to the Sacred Heart was seen as quite necessary and really radical. He died in Normandy in 1680.

I like to receive an invitation to an event and am not very good at being a “gate-crasher”. Taking the trouble to be invited personally by name is a great honour it causes great delight if we accept the invitation. There can be many reasons why we might not be able to accept the invitation but declining the invitation often causes disappointment. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the wedding Feast. He addresses this to the Chief Priests and elders, who he hopes would respond to his invitation to welcome Kingdom he has come to proclaim. However they are refusing to welcome Jesus like the guests in the parable who sent excuses in response to their invitations. The message is that if those who are expected to come to Heaven refuse to respond to the invitation, and give plenty of excuses. Then the Lord will widen his net and invite those least likely to respond.

On this feast of St John Eudes, may we grow in our love and appreciation of the Eucharist. May we also play our part in bringing as many people as possible to know and love the Lord Jesus.

Fr David 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 18th August 2021

In today’s Gospel Jesus tells the parable of the workers in the vineyard, who all get paid the same wages regardless of how many hours they had worked during the day. I only started to properly understand today’s Gospel, when I saw it through the eyes of those who feel overlooked and marginalised. Seeing this Gospel parable through their eyes, gets me to see
the significance for the Church of trying to reach out to everyone , especially the poor, the sick and those who have made bad choices in life.

Central to understanding this parable is an appreciation of God’s grace. It is freely given to those who receive it. There is no one more deserving of God’s grace than anyone else. In the parable, the Vineyard owner, who represents God, says in answer to complaints: “why be envious because I choose to be generous?”. This gets me to think of the thief on the cross to whom Jesus promises “Paradise” that very day. God’s grace and mercy is by its very nature mysterious and surprising.

There are many people who are “11 th hour workers” just waiting for their opportunity in life. The Gospel tells us that God wants no one to be rejected , forgotten or overlooked, because everyone matters to him. By the actions of our lives, may we strive to be channels of God’s mercy and love. May we ensure that everyone knows that they matter by making a priority of those who are likely to be forgotten or overlooked by our society.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 17th August 2021In today’s First Reading we hear of Gideon, who although he was a judge over Israel, was beginning to waver inhis faith. The angel of the Lord tells Gideon that he is one chosen by God to lead the people against the Midianites. He is doubting his ability because the odds of winning seems very unlikely. He is given a powerful sign by the angel and so earns that God is about to carry out marvellous deeds as he did for his ancestors. In today’s Gospel, Jesus ends the discussion about the need to give up wealth to enter the Kingdom, with the paradoxical words that those who are now last shall be first. In our own society there are clearly some people who are wealthier than others and they can live where they want and buy whatever they want. This contrasts with others who barely have enough food to live off. I think Jesus is saying in today’s Gospel that the rich are currently first and the poor are currently last. He says however in the Kingdom of Heaven things will be different. He is warning those who are abundantly wealthy of the danger of being excluded from the kingdom by the choices they make. By the same score he gives hope to those who are poor and who suffer that in the Kingdom they shall find peace. This echoes Sunday’s Gospel for the Feast of the Assumption, when we heard the Magnificat prayer of Mary in which she says: “He (The Lord) fills the starving with good things, sends the rich away empty”. May we play our part in building the Kingdom of God by prioritising the poor and needy and encouraging those who have to share with those who have not. Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 16th August 2021

Today is the feast of St Stephen of Hungary, who was born in 969, the son of a pagan father and a Christian mother. He worked hard for the conversion of his country to Christianity setting up both episcopal sees and monasteries. He was crowned the first King of Hungary in 1001. St Stephen is the patron of Hungary where his feast day is a public holiday marked on 20th August.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the account of the wealthy young man who asks Jesus what good deed he must do to gain eternal life. Jesus invites him to sell all his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor and then to follow him. I guess the man goes away sad because he felt that he could not live without his riches. Elsewhere in the Gospels we are told Matthew, the tax Collector did spontaneously give up all his wealth in order to follow Jesus. Let us think today about what we really value and what we are not prepared to give up at all. Such reflection might lead us to reflect on where our priorities truly lie and how central Christ is in our life.

Today is the 11 th anniversary of my good friend Fr Michael Ryan who died at the age of 47 years old. We did not have much in common, he was into Star Trek, Coronation Street and History, and these were not things that I was particularly keen on. However despite this, somehow we struck a bond as friends and I am so grateful for all that we shared together in over 20 years of friendship. Fr. Michael is very unforgettable but he did say to me just a few days before he died; “Please don’t forget me, please offer Mass for me each year on my anniversary. You know what it is like when someone has been dead for ten years a more, they can be forgotten” ~ so I daren’t forget him! We live in a disposable society which tends to encourage forgetfulness, so let us always remember Fr Michael for his sense of fun ,his creative ideas, his commitment to being a priest in the Diocese of Salford, his family and the difference he has made to many peoples’ lives. I will always remember Fr Michael’s very powerful and confident last words to me were: ”David, I will see you in Heaven”.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 13th August 2021

Today we remember Ss Pontian and Hippolytus. Hippolytus was a priest and a learned man, the most important writer of the Church at Rome in the early third century. He strongly attacked the Popes of the time, and was set up as a rival Pope to St Callistus. Some time later, during Maximin’s persecution, he was sent to labour in the quarries of Sardinia. There he met the then Pope, Pontian, and was reconciled with him.

Pontian was made Pope in 231, and was sent to the quarries in 235, where he resigned the papacy and died. Pontian’s successor, Fabian, had both bodies brought back to Rome for burial, and Pontian and Hippolytus were already being venerated by the Roman Church by the start of the fourth century.

In today’s first reading Joshua reminds the Jewish people all that God has done for them. He particularly tells them that they live in towns they did not build and enjoy the fruits of vineyards and olive- groves they did not plant. It would be good for us to remember all the good things in our own lives that are freely given to us by God.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives a statement on marriage which is really the basis of the Church’s teaching on marriage and divorce. He makes the statement that when a man and a woman get married,the two become one ; therefore they are united by God and so they no longer two but are one body. The couple becomes 2 halves of the same whole. We call this the “bond of marriage” which though invisible is binding. We therefore believe that divorce is not strong enough to break this bond. Let us give thanks for all those who enjoy lasting and healthy marriages. Let us pray for those whose marriages have caused the couple heartache and pain.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Thursday 12th August 2021

Today we celebrate the feast of St Jane Frances de Chantel, who was born in Dijon in France in 1572 and married a nobleman called de Chantel by whom she had six children, whom she brought up in the faith. When her husband died, she placed herself under the guidance of St Francis de Sales and progressed rapidly along the road of perfection. She performed many good works for the poor and the sick. She founded the Order of the Visitation and was a wise guide to the Order.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the unforgiving servant in answer to Peter’s question about how many times we are to forgive others when they wrong us. The answer given to Peter by Jesus is simply to say that God will always forgive us for our sins if we repent but we should also always forgive others time after time too. It is not easy to forgive and forget when we have been wronged but it is healthy for us. The parable shows that if we want to be forgiven the huge debt of our sins by God, then we in turn need to be prepared to forgive the sins of those who have treated us badly.

Granting forgiveness to someone is sometimes painful and it is often costly too. For the Christian, our focus is always the Cross. Christ was totally innocent and yet freely endured that terrible suffering and cruelty through his Passion, in order to forgive our sins. In the spirit of the Cross we are called to be generous and to keep forgiving without counting the quantity or the cost. Let us simply remember that it is always the right thing to forgive.

Fr David 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 11th August 2021

Today is the Feast of St Clare, who was born circa 1193 at Assisi and came under the influence of Saint Francis. She left home at the age of 18 and, under Francis’s guidance, began a community that grew to become the order of the Poor Clare. In its radical attachment to poverty the Rule of the order was much more severe than that of any other order of nuns. In 1215 Clare obtained from the Pope the privilege of owning nothing, so that the nuns of the order were to be sustained by alms and nothing else. Such a rule was both a challenge to established structures and a risk to those who followed it, and successive Popes tried to modify it.. Clare was a noted contemplative and a caring mother to her nuns. She died at Assisi in 1253.

In today’s Gospel we hear of the death of Moses. He has the Jewish people to the brink of the Promised Land, which God shows to Moses. but will not enter it himself. We hear that there has never been a prophet in Israel like him before. He lays hands on Joshua who will be the one to take the people of Israel into the Promised Land.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us good practical and spiritual advice about what to do when someone has wronged us. Jesus tells us that firstly we should make the logical but challenging step of confronting the person who has offended us with what they have done. If they listen to us, we have won back our brother or sister. We are advised not to involve anyone else until we have first approached the one who wronged.

May we reflect on any grudges or resentments that we may be harbouring against others. May the example of St Clare and the mercy of the Lord lead us to let go of these grudges and find a way to forgive and be reconciled with those who have wronged or offended us.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

 Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 10th August 2021

Today is the feast of St Lawrence who was one of the seven deacons of the Church of Rome and was executed on this day in 258, just four days after the death of Sixtus II and his companions. Not much is known for certain about him, but he is believed to come from Toledo in Spain. Fifty years after his death, the Emperor Constantine had a basilica built over Lawrence’s tomb. The anniversary of his martyrdom was kept as a solemn feast and by the 6 th century, it was one of the most important feasts throughout much of western Christendom. His name is included in the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer 1) of the Mass.

In the first reading, St Paul tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. He also tells us that we should be generous with our gifts and resources and be prepared to willingly and joyfully share them with others. We all know the pleasure we get when we give something which is genuinely needed and appreciated. God will always bless in abundance all that the good that we do, and we will always receive more than we give when we do it with a glad and generous heart.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of the need to be generous with the giving of our time in service of one another. He speaks of the grain of wheat falling to the ground and dying and yielding a rich harvest. He is referring to his own death; how he has to give of himself in order for him to rise from the dead. His resurrection will result in the bumper harvest of the salvation of so many souls, it is impossible to count them.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 9th August 2021

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was born in 1891 as Edith Stein into a practising Jewish family. She had a distinguished career as a philosopher and received a doctorate at the University of Freiburg. Reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Ávila brought about her conversion to Catholicism and she was baptized on 1 January 1922. She taught at a Dominican girls’ school and studied Catholic philosophy. She became a lecturer at the Institute for Pedagogy at Münster but was thrown out of her post in 1933 as a result of the Nazi régime’s anti-Semitic legislation.

She entered a Carmelite monastery in Cologne and took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. Her order moved her to the Netherlands to keep her safe from the growing Nazi threat.

On 20 July 1942 the Dutch Bishops’ Conference had a statement read in all churches condemning Nazi racism. In retaliation the authorities ordered the arrest of all Jewish converts to Christianity. Teresa Benedicta was taken to Auschwitz and killed with her sister Rosa on 9 August 1942.

In today’s Gospel, we hear the parable of the ten bridesmaids waiting for the bride-groom to arrive, so they could escort him to the wedding feast. These represent believers who are waiting for Christ the groom to come. The five wise bridesmaids bring extra oil, the others do not. Life is full of uncertainty so we should be always ready for the Lord to come. The Lord can call us to himself at any moment and expects us to be ready at all times. We are acting like the wise bridesmaids if our lives are always focused on serving Christ. This means always being alert to what God is asking of us and to never be complacent. It also require us to be focused on the needs of others and not just on ourselves.

May St Teresa Benedicta inspire us to change our way of thinking and acting.and make us always centred on Christ and remaining faithful to his Gospel, no matter how challenging it might be.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day - Saturday 7th August 2021

Today is the feast of St Cajetan, who was born in 1480 in Vicenza and became a priest when he was 36 years old. He worked hard for the reform of the Church and particularly at serving the sick and the poor. He helped the poor by encouraging the growth of pawn shops which kept them out of the hands of usurers! He established a Congregation of secular clergy who became known as the Theatines. Their main functions included preaching, the celebration of the liturgy and the administration of the sacraments.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus has told his disciples that they did not have enough faith and that is why they could not cure the sick child. Faith is about having trust in God; Jesus had utter trust and confidence in his Father and so miracles and healings were easily possible because he was totally and utterly convinced that the Father would answer his prayer.  Jesus tells us that if we had faith the size of a mustard seed then we could move mountains. He wants us all to grow in faith and wants us also to be totally convinced in what we ask for from God. God who sees into our heart always knows the purity of our intention.

In the spirit of St Cajetan put the service of the poor and the sick as being our highest priority. As we strive to grow stronger in faith, may we put on our lips the words of the child’s father to Jesus in today’s Gospel: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief”.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 6th August 2021

Today we celebrate the feast of the Transfiguration, when we recall Jesus on top of the mountain with the three disciples who see the amazing vision of Jesus appearing as he does in future glory with the long-time dead Elijah and Moses. They also hear the voice of God the Father speaking to them saying: “this is my beloved Son listen to Him”.

In today’s feast we see Jesus as the Lord of life. He is always obedient to the Father and that is why, in the Garden Jesus will have the wisdom and courage despite his tremendous fears of what lies ahead, to conclude “Your will be done!”. For the vision of the Transfiguration to become reality, Jesus must of course go back down the mountain and head for Jerusalem and the Cross. The Glory and light of the Resurrection is not possible without the darkness and pain of Calvary which accomplishes the victory over sin and Death.

On this feast of the Transfiguration, may we allow the Lord of life to transform all our moments of darkness, pain and suffering by the power of his Cross into experiences of the light, life and hope that our Christian faith brings us.

Fr David 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 5th August 2021

Today we keep the feast of the dedication of the Basilica of St Mary Major (St Maria Maggiore) in Rome. The Church declared Mary to be the Mother of God at the Council of Ephesus in 431.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks his disciples “Who do you say that I am? “ It is a question that is so powerfully answered by Peter who says that he sees Jesus as the Christ the Son of the Living God. Jesus responds that such an answer could only be given to Peter by the Father. This is a moment of pure Grace. Grace is the freely given gift from God that helps us at certain times in our lives and gives us the strength and confidence to understand the depths of our faith and who God is for us. Grace helps to deepen our faith and understanding of it. We receive grace when we read the Scriptures, the Sacraments and in prayer. It can also be granted to us spontaneously and unexpectedly to equip us for our pilgrimage of life.

Today at morning Mass we will be receiving Lynn Oliver into Full Communion with the Catholic Church. She will also receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Lord has always been at work in Lynn’s life and I am confident that many graces and blessings will come for Lynn and all those she loves from this important step in her life.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 4th August 2021

I recall fondly a pilgrimage to Ars in France with a group of priests from the Diocese where we walked in the footsteps of a humble yet extraordinary saint. Today is the feast of St John Vianney, the Cure of Ars. Born in 1796 of peasant farmers, he was not the ideal candidate for the priesthood as he had missed out on a lot of his schooling. Therefore he really struggled with all the studies which were in Latin. However on the strength of his devoutness he was eventually accepted. In 1818 he was sent to the isolated village of Ars en Dombes, quite a distance from Lyon, where he remained there for the rest of his life. He was a noted preacher and a celebrated Confessor. People in their thousands came from everywhere to see him and receive his wisdom and guidance. He lived very simply and spent up to eighteen hours a day in the Confessional. Because of this, Ars became a place of pilgrimage, a status it still enjoys today. Given John Vianney’s difficult start to his priestly life, it is amazing that he has become the patron of all priests and thereby the model for us all to follow. This is a perfect example of the Church’s doctrine given by St Thomas Aquinas hat the Grace of God builds on nature. At the core of this great saint was a natural goodness that was blatantly obvious to see.

In today’s Gospel Jesus encounters a Canaanite woman who pleads with him for her daughter who is sick. He initially seems to ignore her than when she blatantly confronts him, He seems to be at first quite harsh then almost playful in his comments about the housedogs and the food of the children. However she is insistent and ultimately impresses Jesus with her faith and so he grants this pagan woman what she asks for her daughter.

May St John Vianney, encourage all priests to shine in humility and love for the Lord. May they share the Cure’s zeal for the Sacrament of Reconciliation through which priests are channels of God’s mercy and compassion.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 3rd August 2021

In today’s first reading, we hear that God is angry with Aaron and Miriam for speaking against Moses about the wife he had chosen. God sees Moses as his chosen prophet and did like to see him criticised personally. Let us reflect on the times when we have criticised others about their choices. Like Miriam and Aaron we might be full of regret when our unfair criticism is pointed out to us,

In today’s Gospel we hear the account of Jesus walking on water. Our Lord is the Eternal Word and therefore we can rightly call him the Lord of the sea and the sky. It is for this reason that he is able to show who is by walking upon the waters of the rough sea towards the Apostles in the boat.

Amazingly Peter impetuously gets out of the boat in the middle of the storm and starts walking on the water towards Jesus. It is only when his fears get the better of him that he begins to sink, but he rightly calls out to Jesus to help him.

It is the same for us who try to live the Christian life, whenever we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord then all will be well, however when we get distracted and we home in on our fears and failings then we find ourselves in trouble. Jesus promises to stay with us on our journey through the trials and crises of life.

Fr David 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 2nd August 2021

Today we remember St Peter Julian Eymard who was born in 1811 in the town of La Mure in France. He was ordained a priest in 1834 and having a great devotion to the Eucharist he founded the Priests of the Blessed Sacrament, who dedicated themselves to encouraging love for Holy Eucharist. He died in La Mure on 1 st August 1868.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus feeds more than 5000 people in an isolated place with just five loaves and two fish and after eating to their fill, twelve hampers full of scraps are collected after the meal. This speaks of the compassion and love of Christ who wants everyone to hunger for the need of God in their lives.

This account points us towards the gift of the Eucharist,nwhereby Jesus is the Bread come down from Heaven and is food for the body and the soul. The Eucharist is the foretaste and promise of Heaven.

On this feast of St Peter Eymaud, we thank the Lord this day for the Blessed Sacrament Fathers and all who help foster a devotion to the Eucharist. We are also reminded that our Catholic faith which proclaims that in receiving the Eucharist we are receiving Christ Himself.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 24th July 2021

Today is the feast of St Charbel Makhlouf, who was born in 1828 in the Lebanon. He was brought up by his uncle who did not approve of his devotion to prayer and solitude. He became a Maronite monk and was ordained a priest. After being a monk for many years, he was drawn to the life-style of the Desert Fathers and became a hermit. His life at the hermitage consisted of much prayer and fasting. He considered himself to be the servant of anyone who came to stay in the other three cells in the hermitage. He spent 23 years of his life there and a large number of people came to receive his blessing or his advice. He died in 1898.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the farmer who allow the weeds to grow alongside the wheat. The farmer is seen as tolerant and patient. We can see our lives of being a mixture of wheat and weeds, virtues and vices, light and darkness. We are involved in a daily struggle for the wheat of lives to grow strong as it competes for survival with the weeds. This also calls us to be patient and keep trusting in the goodness of God. This Gospel should fill us with hope that despite our failings,and sins, God gets us every chance to overcome them and repent of them.

St Charbel put aside all such obstacles by seeking Christ in silence and peace by setting up a remote hermitage. The many people who sought his guidance are testimony to his holiness and his wisdom. May we also seek wisdom and peace through finding the opportunities to discover silence and quietness. May he inspire us to take the time to reflect on the direction our lives are taking. May the Lord strengthen us in our daily battle with temptation to sin and allow the virtues of our lives to outgrow the vices.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Friday 30th July 2021

St Peter Chrysologus was born in 380 and died in Imola in northern Italy. He was made bishop of Ravenna, the new capital of the Roman Empire, and was responsible for many of the building works there. The name “Chrysologus” means “golden speech”, and was given to Peter because he was such a gifted preacher; unfortunately, most of his writings have perished, and only a collection of short sermons remains. .He died in 450.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus goes home to Nazareth but faces rejectionn by the people he knew and grew up with. They felt they knew who he was and that he could not possibly be the promised Messiah. Because of their lack of faith, he could not do many miracles there. This must have been very hard for Jesus to be rejected by the people he knew best. However he remained resolute because he knew that for many people accepting who he is and the Kingdom he had come to proclaim would be very challenging. This was all part of his mission and part of the human condition he had come to redeem.

On this day in 1540, an ancestor of mine, Blessed Richard Featherstone was martyred under the orders of King Henry VIII. It is very humbling to be related to someone with such trust in Our Lord and love for the Church, that they were prepared to die rather than compromise their faith.

May we let go of all preconceived ideas that prevent our minds from being broadened so that we are totally open to the wonders and surprises that God wants to work in our lives.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 29th July 2021

Today is the feast of St Martha, who was the sister of Mary of Bethany and also Lazarus. They are seen as close friends of Jesus. He would have spent time at their house and felt comfortable around them. In today’s Gospel, Martha is busy with the cooking to make their important guest feels at home. Jesus gently rebukes her when she complains to Jesus that her sister Mary is not helping and is just sitting listening to Jesus. He tells her that Mary has chosen the better part. Martha as a woman of faith would surely have taken the gentle rebuke from Jesus

St Martha teaches us the importance of showing hospitality to visitors. May she encourage us to welcome all guests to our homes in the spirit in which she welcomed Jesus. If hospitality is too excessive it can take away from spending time with our guests.

Our Christian vocation should comprise both good works and prayer. There needs to be a balance of both. Our good works should always be done in response to the Lord’s love for us, which should emanate from our faith and our prayer life.

May we imitate this woman of faith by our generous hospitality to all by seeing everyone as another Christ. May we also inmate her in her faith in Jesus being the Son of God and the one who was to come.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 28th July 2021

In todays first reading, the face of Moses, we are told is, shining and glowing after he has been in the presence of God. This shows that he was being transformed in holiness through his time in God’s presence. We refer to time spend with God as Prayer , which should also transform us and help us to grow in holiness. When we spend time with God in prayer, our souls should be glowing and shining, because the encounter should energise and enlighten us. We should not despair however if this is not our experience of prayer. The important thing is that we are faithful to prayer and that should energise us and strengthen us.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives two images of the Kingdom of God. Both images suggest that our relationship with God is greater than any earthly treasure. The first parable involves someone who, by chance, discovers treasure in a field and invests everything he has to buy the field. This speaks of God’s grace and reminds us that we can sometimes be touched by God’s grace in moments when we least expect it. It is made manifest on those occasions when we discover by surprise something that completely transforms our lives.

Such a discovery calls us to make radical changes in our lives. The second parable involves the man who is searching and finds the pearl of great price and sells everything he owns to buy it. This highlights the importance of searching for truth and for God in our lives. As well as finding ourselves surprised by God’s love and grace, we are also called to seek Him with all our heart and soul.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 27th July 2021

In today’s Gospel, Jesus explains the parable of the wheat and the darnel. At the beginning of the growth process, both wheat and darnel look the same, so the darnel looks like wheat. They all grow together so only as harvest time approaches do we notice a difference. People enter into a friendship or even a marriage with good intentions, but it takes the test of time to work out what are the good bits and what are the bad. Everything in life needs the test of time to see what the reality is. There is no substitute for real life ~ just like the wheat and darnel growing together.

Most experiences in life are a mixture of the good and not so good. Our own lives are a mixture of both what is good and what is not good. If we think about ourselves ~ there are bits we like and love about ourselves, there are bits also that we are not proud of and that we really don’t like.

The message for today is that we must ensure that the virtues (the wheat) within us outgrow the vices (the darnel). The way to do this is to ensure our relationship with Christ is as strong as it could be. This relationship is strengthened by ensuring we have daily contact with the Lord in prayer and regularly celebrating the Sacraments.

Let us pray for the Lord’s mercy upon our lives ~ may we be careful and lenient in our thinking and our treatment of others. May we leave the judging of other to God and try to remove evil in the world and in our lives by beginning with ourselves.

Fr David

  

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 26th July 2021

Today we keep the feast of Ss Joachim and Anne. An ancient tradition, already known in the 2nd century, gives these names to the parents of the Virgin Mary. The cult of St Anna became popular in the 6th century in the East, and in the 10th century in the West, where she is the patron saint of Brittany; Joachim was added a long time later – too often the fate of fathers. It is important to reflect on Mary’s parents who brought her up to be the woman she was. The Holy Spirit gave her the strength to take the decision to agree to become the Mother of God but her parents’ loving example and guidance surely gave her the wisdom and confidence to choose.

They are also the grandparents of Jesus and should be a great inspiration to all grandparents. Along with the parents, the grandparents have the vital role of being example of the Christian life to their children and grandchildren.

Yesterday we celebrated the first ever World Grandparents Day, when we prayed and reflected about grandparents. It got me thinking of the affectionate nicknames, which we gave to both sets of grandparents to distinguish them. My dad’s parents lived on a road called Backstone Burn in Blackhill, Consett so they were known as the “Backstone Nana and Grandad”. My mam’s parents lived in a village called Shotley Bridge so we called them “Shotley Nana and Grandad”. I remember my “Backstone Nana”, who although blind and housebound would always give us treats like chocolate from a cupboard next to her armchair, whenever we visited the North East from our home in Buxton. I remember my “Shotley grandad” for the week he spent with us in Buxton just a year before he died in 1969 I always remember seeing him say a prayers before the Sacred Heart picture on the sideboard in the front room before he left his house each day.

In today’s first reading, we hear in the absence of Moses who is up the mountain receiving the Ten Commandments from God, that the Hebrew people quickly forget all that God has done for them and had fashioned a god out of gold, which they worshipped. Moses will intervene for the people with God who is angry as a result of this serious act of apostasy. In today’s Gospel, we hear how a tiny seed can make a huge difference which gets us to think about how even the smallest act of kindness or thoughtfulness can have a big impact on our lives.

On this feast of Ss Joachim and Anne, may the Lord bless all grandparents and may we grateful for our grandparents for all the ways they touched our lives with their love and wisdom.

Fr David 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Saturday 24th July 2021

Today is the feast of St Charbel Makhlouf, who was born in 1828 in the Lebanon. He was brought up by his uncle who did not approve of his devotion to prayer and solitude. He became a Maronite monk and was ordained a priest. After being a monk for many years, he was drawn to the life-style of the Desert Fathers and became a hermit. His life at the hermitage consisted of much prayer and fasting. He considered himself to be the servant of anyone who came to stay in the other three cells in the hermitage. He spent 23 years of his life there and a large number of people came to receive his blessing or his advice. He died in 1898.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the farmer who allow the weeds to grow alongside the wheat. The farmer is seen as tolerant and patient. We can see our lives of being a mixture of wheat and weeds, virtues and vices, light and darkness. We are involved in a daily struggle for the wheat of lives to grow strong as it competes for survival with the weeds. This also calls us to be patient and keep trusting in the goodness of God. This Gospel should fill us with hope that despite our failings,and sins, God gets us every chance to overcome them and repent of them.

St Charbel put aside all such obstacles by seeking Christ in silence and peace by setting up a remote hermitage. The many people who sought his guidance are testimony to his holiness and his wisdom. May we also seek wisdom and peace through finding the opportunities to discover silence and quietness. May he inspire us to take the time to reflect on the direction our lives are taking. May the Lord strengthen us in our daily battle with temptation to sin and allow the virtues of our lives to outgrow the vices.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Thursday 22nd July 2021

Mary Magdalene was healed by Jesus of “Seven devils”. She ministered to him In Galilee and was present when He was on the cross. Mary was also in the group of women who were the first to discover the empty tomb. It was to Mary that the Risen Lord Jesus first appeared. She is therefore a unique and important character in the story of the Resurrection; chosen by Christ as one of the first witnesses of the event that changed the world.

I was saying yesterday that I am still confused as to what time of year we are in, so just to add to the confusion, part of today’s Gospel is the one we normally hear on Easter Sunday! Mary is still distraught with thinking, on seeing the empty tomb, that the body of Jesus has been stolen or taken away and so is weeping outside near the tomb. She does not recognise the Risen Jesus when he approaches her and mistakes him for the gardener. It is only when Jesus calls her by her name that she recognises that it is truly Jesus. He has an important message for her to give to the disciples.

If we like Mary have got to know the Lord through a life of service and prayer, then the Lord will know us and we should recognise his voice when he speaks to us. He has an important message for us too and we need to be ready to catch this message. This is all possible because of Easter. The best way we can be missionary disciples ourselves is to have an authentic and faithful relationship ourselves with the Risen Christ.

On this her feast day, may St Mary Magdalene gently guide us closer to the Risen Christ, who yearns for us to make him known to a needy world.

Fr David

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Wednesday 21st July 2021

St Laurence of Brindisi was born in Brindisi in 1559 and joined the Capuchin Friars, and studied at the University of Padua, where he learned a number of languages (including Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, French, and German) and acquired a deep knowledge of the Bible. His principal vocation wasnpreaching. He preached all over Europe, not just to Catholics but to Protestants (because of his knowledge of Scripture) and to Jews (because of his knowledge of Hebrew). He wrote many sermons, commentaries, and works of controversy in support of this vocation.

His administrative talents meant that he also held a number of high administrative offices in the Capuchin order. He was also entrusted with many important diplomatic missions. On one of these, he not only persuaded the German princes to help defend Hungary from the invading Turks, but also led their troops into battle, armed only with a crucifix. He was engaged in another delicate mission, to plead the cause of the oppressed people of Naples to King Philip III of Spain, when he died in 1919 in Lisbon.

In today’s First Reading, the Lord responds to the complaints of the Chosen People by providing quails and manna from heaven to sustain them during their time in the wilderness. This providence is a sign of God’s faithfulness, love and care for his people. In today’s Gospel, tells the people the parable of the sower. By using examples from their everyday lives, he wants his words of hope to make a difference to their lives. In order for this to happen their hearts need to be like the rich soil on which some of the seed fell. He is also telling us to listen to him ~ there are some many other voices and distractions vying for our attention, so it is important we prioritise time to listen Jesus in prayer each day.

Yesterday was Fr Damien’s 2nd anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood. We are very grateful to the Lord for his dedication and commitment to our parish. We are very blessed to have him here with us. His time with us which has coincided with the Pandemic, has been very eventful and full of challenges but he has wholeheartedly supported me and helped me to make difficult decisions to continually move the parish forward. As we thank the Lord for his ministry with us over the last year, may the Lord continue to bless Fr Damien with good health, and happiness and strength.

Fr David 

 

 

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Tuesday 20th July 2021

Today we remember Saint Apollinaris, who was bishop of Ravenna, probably in the late second century, and was probably martyred there. Devotion to him was already common in the seventh century. Martyrs are those who have witnessed to Christ through their obedience to God. Most of us learn obedience at home from our parents. We quickly learn that the disobedience of children towards our parents is unacceptable. Disobedience to God was central to Original Sin (the sin of our first parents) and was at the heart of why we need a Redeemer.

In today’s first reading we hear of the Red Sea being parted by the Lord so they could safely cross away from the pursuing Pharoah and his army. This is the way that the Lord rescued the people of Israel from certain death. Sadly their memories are short and very quickly Israel will be again questioning God’s faithful to them.

In the Gospel, Jesus says that if we really want to be like a family to him then we need to do the will of the Father. Mary his Mother is of course first and foremost a perfect disciple of the Lord because she always put obedience to God first. We can therefore have no better role model to follow than Our Blessed Lady. Jesus tells us that joyful obedience to God brings many rewards and blessings to us and binds us with Christ’s relationship with the Father.

May St Apolllinaris, all the martyrs and saints encourage us to give this new day and every day of our lives in odedience to God.

Fr David

 

  

 

 

 

Thought for the Day ~ Monday 19th July 2021

We received the sad news over the weekend of the death of Canon Frank Deeney, who was the highly respected and much-loved Parish Priest of St Mary’s from 1972 to 1995. As one of his successors, since I came to Burnley, I have heard nothing but really good things said about the Canon. I was blessed to have known him myself as a brother priest, and I always found him to be kind, welcoming, encouraging and supportive. As we commend his soul to the Lord, may our hearts be particularly grateful for his faithful and dedicated ministry to the people of Burnley and other parts of the Diocese of Salford. May he rest in peace.

Today is being flagged up as a day of li