THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT + 27th MARCH 2011
MESSAGE FROM THE PARISH PRIEST
My Dear People,
Many years ago I too sat at the well at Sychar one afternoon and relived this meeting between the Samaritan woman and our Blessed Lord by reading aloud the Gospel you have just heard. In a moment of distraction I noticed a plaque on the wall of the Chapel built over the well. It commemorated a poor priest, murdered there by terrorists a few years beforehand. But on with the story.
The well is the only one in the area which would have been a public well in the times of Christ. A Church has been built over the holy spot now to commemorate the meeting and the sacred dialogue between Christ and the woman. The meaning of this meeting is of great theological importance as you can detect by the detail St John records. He tell us the time of the day - the hottest part when nobody of good repute would have been seen dead near the public well. What was the lady doing there? Well the less questions asked the better but she had a few "partners" and the one she had was not her husband, as Our Lord points out politely!
Our Lord wants to give her the gift of eternal life which would come through Faith in him. So Jesus begins a dialogue which has as its conclusion the conversion of the woman and her whole village.
It all begins with Jesus asking her - a woman - (which he was not supposed to do) to give him a drink of water from the well. He has no cup or bucket and he is not supposed to use hers - you see Jews did not drink from cups used by the hated outsiders and heretics - the Samaritans. It would have been seen as "unclean". Our Lord is not bound by the conventions of his time in relation to this meeting.
No he tells her for her cheek that she should be asking Him for water and that he would give a fountain welling up to eternal life. "Oh - then give me this water always then and I won't have to come here anymore in this drudgery to get it from the well", she responds.
The woman at the Well had not understood the meaning of our Lord's words. He meant faith and baptism and the gift of the fountain of grace of the Holy Spirit which would well up in the heart of the Believer. However she was not far from the Truth at this point.
After settling the dispute about where one should offer worship to God - In Jerusalem -(for salvation comes from the Jews not the Samaritans), Jesus then tells her that the time would come when men and women would worship not in this or that Place but in Spirit and in Truth. (In fact through Christ in the Mass).
Surely this lady and her community were part of the early church. She puts aside her many Men and follows the only man who offers her true happiness and fullness of Life, Jesus Christ our Saviour and our Lord - the Son of God. The whole water and the well and the spring and the thirst and the washing is reminiscent of Baptism - the Baptism that many would have been 21 days away from when this Gospel was read half way through Lent from ancient times. The new converts would hear this Gospel and be longing for their own “washing” and refreshment which would soon be theirs on Easter Vigil.
We must never forget that there are millions of people like that women who are our fellow countrymen. They too have settled for less than the truth but if they met Christ they would be open to him and receive him and bring their friends to him too. It needs the witness of us to bring them otherwise they will stay out of the feast and suffer for their loss.
This Gospel foretold the universality of the Christian Faith and the call to faith which the Church would make throughout the ages.
We must never fall into a political message. We must always see ourselves as the servants of the Truth of Christ to a world which longs for Him who will set it free to love truly. The Pope in his latest book admonishes the democracies for thinking they can decree the Law of God for Man obsolete and think it is alright. He admonishes them for their Godlessness and their pride. All this shows that the West is the woman, waiting at the well of Sychar to be set free by Christ.
I hope your Lent goes well. God bless you all,
Father Tom Connolly.
MOTHERING SUNDAY NEXT WEEK AND FLOWERS WILL BE BLESSED AT EACH MASS AND DISTRIBUTED TO THE MOTHERS TO HONOUR THE GIFT OF OUR MOTHERS.
WATCHING AND PRAYING HERE AT ST KENTIGERNS. Many years ago Fr. Pat Deegan introduced the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in the afternoon - Mondays to Fridays. Now we have a problem. Many good folk who were regulars at watching and praying at set times have gone to their eternal reward in heaven and others have grown frail under the burden of their years and are no longer able to come. WE NEED NEW WATCHERS AND PRAYERS. The more people volunteer for half an hour per week the more we will be able to assure that a person will be in church between 2pm and 4 pm each afternoon. I am putting the FORM in the newsletter for you to fill in and say when you can watch and pray.
PLEASE CUT OUT AND RETURN IT IN THECOLLECTION NEXT WEEK.
CAFOD collection will remain open for 2 weeks. Lenten Alms is the slot FOR THE HUNGRY in the large safe in the porch.
LAST FRIDAY WAS THE ANNUNCIATION AND THE PATRONAL FEAST OF THE MARIAN COMMUNITY OF RECONCILIATION WHO RESIDE AT ST EDWARDS. BISHOP BRAIN CAME TO PRESIDE AT THE MASS THAT EVENING AND A GREAT NUMBER OF PRIESTS CONCELEBRATED AND MANY ATTENDED THE MASS.
THE CHRISM MASS IS ON HOLY THURSDAY MORNING AT THE CATHERDRAL. I HAVE TWO TICKETS. SEE ME.
ST EDWARD'S HAS A NEW LOOP SYSTEM AND IT COST £484 . The old one was the original!
BIDDING PRAYER FOR 2ND SUNDAY OF LENT CYCLE A 2011.
PRIEST: On this day of the Transfiguration of our Lord on Tabor we reflect on the nature of Christ and in earnest and faith filled prayer we approach the Divine Mercy for all our needs.
Reader; For all those who need the veil lifting for them to see the mercy and goodness and beauty of the Godhead in their lives - that God will disclose himself to them and so fulfil the hope laid up in human hearts. Lord hear us.
For the persecuted Church of God : that the sight of Christ's human body transformed in the Divine Light may give them hope and courage in their suffering and deprivation. We pray especially for those imprisoned for the faith in China and for the suffering Christians of Pakistan and Iraq. Lord hear us.
For God's people in this holy season of renewal of sprits - that the Lord's Lenten graces may visit and enliven our faith and our charity towards all. Lord hear us.
For those weighed down with guilt and sin - that the sight of Christ's glory may give them the confidence to return to Him and find life to the full. We pray especially for those of our own families who have lapsed from the practise of their faith. Lord hear us.
For the sick and the suffering and the dying that God may touch them and help them find hope in bearing the cross of suffering ill health: Tom Colbert, Patricia McGrotty, Chris Murphy and Mary Tivnan,Elizabeth Wallace and all the victims of the Japanese earthquake and Tsunami. Lord hear us.
For those who have died recently we pray for: Tommy Mimnagh, Ann Donavan, Marjorie Barrett, Michael Kelly AND For all those whose anniversaries fall about this time: Andrew McGolgan, Tommy Fallon (11am), Stephen Sharples, (VIGIL), Mary Bohan, Kathleen Lally-Lomax (21st) MAY THEIR SOULS AND THE SOULS OF ALL.
Mary is the Protector of all Christians - may her prayers support us now. O Mary, conceived without sin. Pray for us who have recourse to thee. Hail Mary, full of grace...
Priest: God our Father - you sent your only begotten Son into this world to be its true light. Pour into our hearts the spirit of adoption so that we may truly be your sons and daughters. Hear and answer our prayers through Christ our Lord. Amen