Message from Fr. Joe (06/03/2022)

1st Sunday of Lent

Dear Parishioners,

Last Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, the Church invited us to set out on the journey through Lent to Easter.  Our foreheads were signed with ashes in the shape of a cross.  We were invited to REPENT and believe once again in the Gospel of Jesus.  Lent is a time of PRAYER, FASTING and ALMSGIVING.  We were invited by Pope Francis to link all our efforts in solidarity to all suffering as a result of the great evil being inflicted on the people of Ukraine.  We have seen EVIL at the worst in the past week.  But we have been reminded too, that this evil didn’t begin seven days ago, but eight years ago.

Yes, the power of Darkness, Evil and the Devil are still with us today, just as Jesus was tempted by the Devil in his forty days in the wilderness.  Jesus is tested to see if he is totally committed to serving his Father.  Jesus is tempted to believe that he can serve God without pain or without risk to his own life.  In his life Jesus answers this question: He shows that loving and serving God is at a cost.  In the end, Jesus own death on the cross, is the price he was willing to pay.

In a further temptation by the Devil, Jesus is tested about his attitude to power and wealth.  Will he seek to follow the adulation of the crowd and avail of the prestige that so many people accept and admire?  Or will he become the Servant King?  We know the answer!

We too are tested just as Jesus was.  We see evil in the world; we see what greed, avarice, pride and self-righteousness etc. can give rise to.  We can see the corruption of power and arrogance.

We need to see and understand evil for what it is.  We need to oppose this evil with all our minds and hearts.  We need to face that evil by trying to help our sisters and brothers in need.  Whatever little we do as individuals, when multiplied many times over, it can be a great movement of solidarity with those who are suffering in so many ways.

We continue to pray for peace in our world and especially in Ukraine.  We pray for all our Leaders and all who can have an influence in bringing out a stop the war and destruction.  We pray for all dying, injured and those fleeing from their homes and the families who are separated as a result of war.

As we fast ourselves, we can give as generously as possible to those who are serving the needy in our name. Many charities have combined in their support of the Ukraine crisis. We can donate at dec.org.uk

Every blessing in the coming week. Fr Joe

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