So often, when we face challenges and trials, we ask: 'what have I done to deserve this?' or, as in this week's Gospel; 'who sinned, me or those who went before me'. Worse, we think of others; 'she or he deserved it' or 'people like that bring it on themselves'. No one deserves to suffer and life is not God's punishment on us. There may be consequences to our actions and choices but we should be wary about using language like 'It's God's punishment...' or 'God allowed this because...'. One of the hardest things to accept is the recognition that we are imperfect people in an imperfect world. Jesus understands his mission not as one of judging or condemning but of leading people to the light; 'as long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world'...and He is with us always, even to the end of time.
His interaction with the man in this week's Gospel is a very intimate one - he touches him with his own spit - and the man accepts it. We can only be brought to freedom by an intimate relationship with Jesus and with each other. Our church is called, not to vaunt moral superiority over others, but to stand in solidarity with them. We do not deny sin and human frailty but nor do we focus on them. Jesus' judgement, such as it is, is reserved for those who choose to sit in judgement over others.
Please remember in your prayers all our beloved departed, especially
Caterina (Lina) Cimelli (Funeral; Hendon, 12 noon, 28th March)
those who died recently and those whose anniversaries occur at this time.
We continue to remember in our prayers all those who are sick and those who care for them. PARISH OFFICE; MELANIE GIBBONS After 12 years of loyal, unstinting and dedicated service, Melanie has decided to retire from the work of Administrator. Her last day will be Thursday 3oth March. We will have a little gathering after Mass on that day and a bigger celebration later in the year. LENTEN PRACTICES
This coming week, Sr Avril's reflections will take place after Mass on Monday, 20th.
The Stations of the Cross take place every weekday at 6 pm.
This continues at 4pm each Sunday of Lent until Palm Sunday. The prayer will be followed by tea.
AFTERNOON TEA AND BINGO This will take place in the Hall this Monday, 20th March, beginning at 2 pm. ST PATRICK'S DAY To mark St Patrick's Day, we will have a little gathering in the Bethany Room after 10am Mass. NIGERIAN CHAPLAINCY All are welcome on every 4th Sunday of each month for Mass at 2pm. You are also cordially invited to the next General Meeting taking place on 23rd April 2023 from 2pm GOOD COUNSEL NETWORK The Network is marking '40 days for life' during Lent and offers a number of ways in which you can support their work. Further information at info@GoodCounselNetwork.com. There will also be some fliers in the Narthex. There will also be a National Day of Prayer & Fasting on 24th March. LOVE HEALS RETREAT There will be a day of retreat on Saturday, 18th March, at Our Lady of the Assumption & St Gregory, Picadilly, W1F 9JR from 11am-4.30pm. WESTMINSTER DIOCESAN PILGRIMAGE TO LOURDES, 21-28 JULY. The pilgrimage will be led by Cardinal Nichols. Places can be booked at Tangney-tours.com CHARITY APPEALS We received thanks from Survive-MIVA for the donation of £259.04, collected after Masses recently. We have also given a cheque for £1,000 to the Daughters of Charity, to support relief work in Turkey/Syria. A number of charities are making appeals at this time:
CAFOD's Big Lent Walk; further information at walk.cafod.org.uk
Aid to the Church in Need has a number of campaigns; for example in Nigeria and Turkey/Syria. You can donate online at their website.
Caritas has also asked us to draw attention to the campaign to house displaced Ukrainian people. More information at sjog-homesforukraine.uk and fliers will be available in the Narthex.
ST JAMES SCHOOL, COLINDALE The School is currently advertising for a (term time) School Chaplain. For a copy of the job description etc, please email Ms Rock firstname.lastname@example.org PARISH MUSIC Our director of Music, Clare Shah, will speak at all Masses this weekend. We ask the musically inclined to pay special attention! SECOND COLLECTION For those who would like to support Nneka Onwuachu who will be running the London Marathon in aid of the BayTree Centre here is the QR Code.
A thought for Mother's Day this Sunday; those who 'mother' us are not only those who bear us but also those who bear with us; whose love for us brings us life and light. As you give thanks for all who have 'mothered' your soul, a line from Professor Dumbledore;
And, since everyone is Irish on St Patrick's Day; La Fheile Phadraig Shona 'gus Beannachta Duinn Uile...and a Happy (transferred) Feast of St Joseph to everyone on Monday 20th. These Tiny Saints (and others) are available at the Repository.
As we continue our Lenten journey, may we each be life-givers in our love for one another.
Rev Eugene Curran CM