Message From The Parish Priest
Sunday 25th March 2007
FIFTH SUNDAY OF LENT Cycle C
My Dear People,
Today in the holy Gospel our blessed Lord shows the way of forgiveness for the person who was actually caught in the act of adultery. In the Mosaic Law the sentence was death by stoning it seems as indeed it still is today in some countries.
Our Lord knew the hearts of those who dragged the poor woman into the midst of the crowd, very early in the morning. Our Lord knew that their motive was not zeal for the Mosaic Law but was hatred for Him who was their Saviour and their Lord if only they would recognise Him. They were trying to test him - to "put him on the spot" as they so often did like the time they tried to ask him about the coin Tribute and if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar.
They were not sincere. They were using the woman's humiliation in front of the crowd and in full view of all to put our Lord to the test. They were attempting to get our Lord to answer the straight question "Do you or don't you agree with the Mosaic Law?" As on other occasions our Lord refuses to play to their script and he answers with a challenge and it is a challenge that we often use in civil life. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" Jesus says. That flawed them.
Each one started to leave - beaten. What wisdom our Lord had! St John tells us that our Lord then started to write in the sand of the pavement saying nothing. Each man slinked off beginning with the eldest one. Can it be true that the older you are the more sins you have - perhaps, but surely in this case it was true for these were our Lord's enemies. Some say that Jesus was writing their sins in the dust of the pavement and when they saw what he was doing they cleared off, but that is another matter.
The fact is that in the end the scene concludes with this wonderful meeting between Jesus Christ and the woman who had been caught "at it" (Notice the man was not brought to Christ).
Listen carefully and take note of the dialogue that ensued.
Jesus: Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?
Woman: No one, sir.
Jesus: Neither do I condemn you, go away and don't sin anymore.
Whatever problems she had Jesus had sorted them with that dialogue. So too for us. In the Sacrament of Confession the priest ends by telling the sinner: - "The Lord has forgiven you. Go in Peace."
Thus Our Lord's Ministry is continued in the Church in our day. What a gift and it has been purchased for us by the shedding of His Blood and that will be the story of Holy Week with Palm Sunday nest week.
Hope Lent is going well for you all.
Father Tom Connolly
PALM SUNDAY IS NEXT SUNDAY. Palms will be blessed and given at all Masses. The 11am Mass (10am Mass at St Edwards) will be a special Mass for the First Communion children who will enter the church in procession and take their places. They will have a crucifix around their necks which I had blessed by the Pope to remind them of the Lord's love for them.
The Bishop will be leading the Procession of the Cross from St Edwards to St Kentigerns next Sunday at 2pm. Please show in great numbers to witness to our Faith.
HANDICAPPED CHILDREN PILGRIMAGE TRUST (LOURDES). On Sat 31st at St John's Parish Centre there will be a fund raising dance with Eammon O'Neal as an auctioneer. £4 at the door 8pm to late. Contact Bernie on 969 5705.
Priest: In the merciful love of the Lord we find new life and hope. Let us pursue the road of peace and seek the Lord's help in all our needs and the needs of our world.
Reader: On the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade we seek pardon of God and release from the bonds of slavery for all those who suffer at the hands of human traffickers in our own day. Set your children free. Lord Hear us.
For those caught up in habits of serious sin that the good Lord may liberate them from these bonds, so that they can act as true children of God, born of Christ's side from the Cross. Lord hear us...
For our nation as it departs by a new Law from the God given order of male and female. We pray for all who are struggling to help the Church to continue it's work for fostering and adoption. We pray for the children who stand in such need of good role models for a parent or parents. Lord hear us.
For the European Community as it remembers 50 years - that it will be an instrument of freedom and human dignity in a world in need of the Christian heritage it does not acknowledge. Lord hear us.
For the whole Church as we move into Passiontide - that the mystery of the Lord's love for us will be celebrated in the Sacred Liturgy with true devotion. Lord hear us.
For all those of our community who are ill and for those who have the care for them - we pray for: Ged Mannion, Elaine Farrelly, Madge Mahoney, Sylvia Cummings and Ester White. Lord hear us...
For all those who have died recently that they may see the face of God: Henry O'Brien, Benny Cunningham, Eddie Doherty, Brian Connolly, Ed Williams, Michael Ackroyd, Gerry Dunne, AND For all those souls whose anniversary of death falls about this time: Anne Radcliffe, (Vigil) Martin Regan (9) Kathleen Lally-Lomax, Peter Kinsella, Delia Rafferty, Ronnie Lockett, Jimmy White, The Andrews Family, Eileen Johnson, (24th) John Joe Coughlin, Patrick Garrett (23rd).
May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.
Mary was the one who stood faithfully by the cross and offered herself with the Saving Victim - she stands with us at the foot of countless crosses. Hail Mary...
Priest: O God and Heavenly Father - look upon your people gathered in the name of your Son and obedient to his demand for us to "Do this in memoriam of me" - and listen to our prayers. Through Christ our Lord.