JULY IS THE MONTH OF THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
THE SIXTEENTH WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME
On Thursday last week we celebrated St Bonaventure, Franciscan, Cardinal and one of the great doctors of the church who was friends with the Dominican, St Thomas Aquinas. St Bonaventure produced many great works of theology and philosophy but he also has a reputation as a mystic, because he saw the bigger picture. All his academic writings were directed to the study of God, whatever the discipline he was exploring; all sciences and all knowledge must serve religion, because the study of God is the highest study of all. God is the ‘alpha and omega’ of all study, and ultimately all our questions will lead back to Him. In whatever we do in life, we can ask ‘how does this serve God? Where’s God in this?
We Catholics should not put religion in a box, marked ‘mystery for Sundays’ and then get on with ‘real life’ the rest of the week. Every day is God’s, every work we do is seen by God and either serves God or not, whatever we do in life. Science too is part of our study of God and the universe God created. St Bonaventure accepted that people had different answers to the great questions of life. As in our time, some people took the words of Genesis literally, believing that God created the world in six days, but others understood the story as myth, a way of telling people in a story about the beginning of everything in a way which was easily told and passed on. But what matters is the belief that God created the universe. God was before time began, and is now and ever shall be, whether we use science or mythology to explain it. For the bigger picture, it is even better to use both, for they touch different parts of the human mind. That is the truly Catholic vision.
St Bonaventure knew there were many different answers to the great questions of life and how to live it, particularly in his Franciscan order which was riven with disagreement about how best to follow the rule of St Francis. St Bonaventure’s solution was to advise the middle way and he sought the essential things that we have in common. He brought people together and following the Lord and St Francis, sought healing where there was pain and unity where there was division. St Bonaventure is a saint not because of his great writings or the important positions he held, but because in his prayer and good works he imitated the love of Christ.
When we look at the great disagreements in the world, our church or our country, if passions can be cooled, we can normally find more things we have in common with each other than we don’t. Nowadays we tend to want to ‘celebrate diversity’, but it is good too to celebrate sameness, and the essentials we all share. In the church, whatever our gender, colour, race, country of origin or age we all share the one baptism. We are all catholic and we can celebrate this sameness and unity with all Catholics, indeed all Christians, throughout the world. Certainly I don’t look at the congregation every Sunday and celebrate diversity. I celebrate our unity for we are all parishioners, all Catholics and we all ‘partake of the one bread’. When we come together for mass, we celebrate our sameness, for before the Real Presence of Jesus at the altar all our knees shall bow.
It is because of this strong bond of unity in the catholic church that we are able to have a diversity of expression in our worship and yet remain one. The unity of the Church has never been affected by the use of different rites, such as the Eastern Catholic Rites which are nearly identical to eastern orthodox, the special celebrations of the Neo-catechumenate, the beautiful celebrations of the Traditional Latin Mass in our diocese, the usage of the Ordinariate or Dominicans, or the great variety of liturgical styles found in the context of the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, often reflecting local cultural styles and traditions. Celebrating sameness as Catholics does not have to mean uniformity of expression throughout the whole world. Sameness for us is that living in unity and communion with our bishop and one another. In our church we may celebrate the diversity of our different expressions which enrich each other because we all share in one baptism, we all share the one bread. Whichever rite, usage or local cultural expression is used, it is the same sacrifice of the mass: this is the unity, uniqueness and sameness that we Catholics celebrate in diverse ways. We are not a fast food franchise, where every branch must be identical to all the others. In the church, our communion and unity means we can celebrate both our diversity and sameness. This is the middle way and the most comprehensive and truly catholic vision that a good and wise leader, such as St Bonaventure in his day, teaches us still through his works, in ours.
JULY PARISH ADORATION OF THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. With the Litany of the Precious Blood, Consecration to the Precious Blood, Chaplet of the Precious Blood and Benediction. Sunday 25th July at 4.00 p.m.
For all our brothers and sisters who ate the Body of Christ, the bread of Life, that they may be raised up on the Last Day. (Drawn from the intercession of the Funeral Mass)
Please pray for the souls of:
Albert D’Silva who died on Monday 31st May aged 77. His funeral is on Monday 28th June at 11.00 a.m. followed by committal at Hillview Cemetery.
Mark John Norris Paxton who died on Thursday 27th May aged 60. The Funeral Mass was on Thursday 17th June.
Arthur Whittle, aged 94, for many years a parishioner, who died in Liverpool where he moved with Norma a few weeks ago.
Mary Elizabeth Conlon, aged 94. Requiem was on Friday 16th with committal at Eltham.
James Nesbitt, aged 90, who died on Tuesday 13th July 2021. Funeral mass on Tuesday 9th August at 11.00 a.m. with burial at Sidcup Cemetery.
Thomas Furlong, aged 88, who died on Friday 16th July in the evening. Funeral details to follow.
(St Thomas More church will be continuing for the time being with some social distancing, open doors and windows and a limit on numbers. This is estimated on the size of the church building and so for all our masses, including funerals, the maximum number is between about 80 and 100)
May the divine assistance remain with them always, and may their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.
PARISH GOLF DAY. NEW UPDATED MESSAGE FROM TONY BROOKE.
Saturday 18th September 2021 to be held at Pedham Place Golf Club, Farningham.
Bacon rolls from 11am. First tee off at 12 noon. 18 holes of golf followed by a one course meal and prize awarding. In an attempt to keep the price down we have dropped to a one course meal and bumped into a very gracious sponsor who will hold down the price to £40per contestant. There will be the usual charity raffle attached to the day that parishioners will have a chance to be involved with by purchasing tickets after Mass.
Any enquiries / interest to Tony Brooke 07833707016. Provisional numbers please ASAP so that we can secure tee times.
MASSES AND INTENTIONS FOR THE COMING WEEK: THE SIXTEENTH WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME
Psalter week 4. Ferial cycle 1 at mass.
Please come to mass once a week only, on any day of your choosing, to help with numbers and social distancing.
Mass intentions booked for masses cancelled or replaced with a funeral will be moved to another day.
Saturday 17th July THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME (B)
+ 6.30 p.m. The people of the parish.
Sunday 18th July
+ 9.00 a.m. Doug & Cath Husband R.I.P.
+ 10.30 a.m. Edin Garvey R.I.P. (month’s mind)
Monday 19th July feria
+ 10.00 a.m. Des Leahy R.I.P.
Tuesday 20th July. St. Apollinaris, bishop & martyr.
+ 10.00 a.m. Mary & Joseph Chelanthara R.I.P.
Wednesday 21st July St. Lawrence of Brindisi, priest & doctor of the church.
NO PUBLIC MASS TODAY
Thursday 22nd July St. Mary Magdalene, feast.
+ 10.00 a.m. Michelle Gallogly R.I.P.
Friday 23rd July St Bridget, religious, patron of Europe, feast.
+ 10.00 a.m. Zefer Rodrigues R.I.P.
Saturday 24th July St. Sharbel Makhluf, priest.
+ 10.00 a.m. Nap Pereira R.I.P.
[ + 6.30 p.m. SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY Tony Bass R.I.P.)
JULY PRAYER: ‘Viva, viva, Gestu’ trans. Edward Caswell.
Glory be to Jesus who in bitter pains, poured for me the lifeblood from his sacred veins.
Grace and life eternal in that blood I find: blest be his compassion, infinitely kind.
Blest, through endless ages, be the precious stream - which from endless torment did the world redeem.
There the fainting spirit drinks of life her fill; there, as in a fountain, laves herself at will.
Abel’s blood for vengeance pleaded to the skies, but the blood of Jesus for our pardon cries.
Oft as it is sprinkled on our guilty hearts, Satan in confusion terror-struck departs.
Oft as earth exulting wafts its praise on high, angel hosts rejoicing, make their glad reply.
Lift, then, all your voices, swell the mighty flood; louder still and louder, PRAISE THE PRECIOUS BLOOD!
Fr Jonathon .