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Sunday 2nd March 2008

FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT. + Cycle A. + 2nd MARCH 2008. + 150th Year of the Apparition of our Blessed Lady in Lourdes.

MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST

My Dear People,

We are half way through Lent now and I hope we are all finding this time fruitful spiritually.

The Gospel for today tells us about the Blind Man - the man born blind who had his sight restored by Our Blessed Lord. This scene is in terracotta above the Royal Eye Hospital in Oxford Road. The builders of that hospital in Victorian times were all Christian believers and would have had not controversy about showing such a miracle of Jesus restoring the sight of the man born blind. The medical people than would have seen their own work as a continuation of the healing ministry of our Saviours and theirs. Oh how times have changed. It would cause consternation now for an NHS hospital to commission an image of Christ Healing anyone wouldn't it? How sad for our country though that such a thing would not find acceptance for there is not much to share is there if you do not have a shared faith. What binds together the body politic? A people without a vision have no hope.

Back to today's Gospel. There is more to it than simply the healing of the Blind man Bart. He tells the Pharisees who it is that has cured him and expresses surprise that they, being religious "experts" do not recognise Jesus as the true Messiah and for that he is thrown out of the temple. He will not accept their judgement that Jesus is a sinner for healing on the Sabbath day.

Jesus hearing this bad treatment seeks the man out. Now he ready to receive the gift of the sight of Faith. Like the woman at the well our Lord begins a little dialogue which will conclude with the ex blind man making a wonderful act of faith in Christ. "Do you believe in the Son of man?" Jesus asks. "Sir tell me... so I may believe", says the man. Jesus says: "You are looking at him - he is speaking to you". "LORD, I BELIEVE", says the man and he worshipped Him.

Now how about that for an act of supreme faith ? Our Lord digresses to give us all a reflection of what this man's faith means for the inner vision of humanity under Christ's supreme and ever penetrating light... "I have come into the world so that those without sight may see..." Thus speaks our Lord and still speaks it.

How our beautiful world needs that penetrating light of Christ. How wonderful is the gift of sight and how even more wonderful is that inner sight of faith which transforms the whole of your life once it is discovered and taken to heart. We walk in the light of Christ.

Each newly baptised Child is given a candle lit from the Paschal Candle with the word "RECEIVE THE LIGHT OF CHRIST. YOU ARE A CHILD OF THE LIGHT - WALK AS A CHILD OF THE LIGHT". Is not that a wonderful thing to remember that my godparents received that symbolic light on my behalf and here I am all these years later still walking as "a child of the light." ? May we continue to walk by His sublime light This Lent and always.

Father Tom Connolly

St Matthew's High School Lourdes group are looking for your old Mobile phones to raise money to take sick children to Lourdes. They made 2000 last year from them so if you can help, hand them into the Presbytery and we will make sure the St Matthew's High School Lourdes Group get them.


TODAY IS MOTHERING SUNDAY AND FLOWERS WILL BE BLEST AND DISTRIBUTED TO ALL THE MOTHERS TO HONOUR THEM.

THE BISHOP'S VISIT TO ST BERNADETTES CHURCH IS NEXT WEDNESDAY FOR THE LENTEN STATION MASS. PLEASE MAKE A GOOD EFFORT TO COME TO THAT MASS. THERE WAS A GREAT TURN OUT AT ST BERNARD'S LAST WEDNESDAY AND I AM SURE IT WAS TO DO WITH THE FACT THAT THEIR MUCH LOVED PARISH PRIEST WAS IN HOSPITAL RECOVERING FROM CANCER. Please pray for Fr Patrick Keane.




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