JULY IS THE MONTH OF THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
Sixteenth Week of Ordinary Time.
The Darnel in the Wheat.
‘Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from? ‘Some enemy has done this’ He answered. From Mt 13, 24-30, this Sunday’s gospel.
The Church, founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ, is the sacramental sign of his body on earth. Having called the apostles, He sent them out into the world to be the sign of his presence among human beings, bring all humanity to Him and so save souls from eternal damnation. This is the mission of the Church. We are built on Apostolic Foundations but this does not mean that all the apostles are saints – because significantly one of them, Judas, was tempted by the world to betray his Lord. The Church is holy, but we also live in the world and at various times and places, instead of going out into the world and calling it to Christ, we have let the world in and we become more and more like it. The darnel (weeds) have always grown among the wheat since Apostolic times, but there do seem to be periods in the Church’s history, when it gets harder to see the wheat for the darnel, made harder because darnel looks very like wheat. This suggests that not all that appears like the Church, is the Church. This has been the case with many of the biggest heresies and schisms the Church has faced through history. The greatest of false teaching, always sounds very reasonable and credible. The Lord also put it like this: ‘beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing!’
This week there have been three pieces from a variety of sources about the Church which are causing great concern to many and is now being noted in the secular media. These are voices which are not only those who have been deeply hurt by restrictions placed on access to the Traditional Latin Mass but from many others too. I thank the parishioner who sent me the SkyNews report, attached below (1) but you may also like to look at a summary of the current trajectory from Ralph Martin (2) and a report from the correspondent, Jules Gomes, in Rome (3). In a recent survey, it has been noted that only about 13% of people in Italy attend church, and of that 13% only about 3% hold Catholic teaching. This means that, incredibly, in the country of the mother church, only about 1% of Italians are fully practising and believing Catholics .(How does that compare, do you think, with mosque attendance in Saudia Arabia, the birthplace of Islam?) In the street where Mr Gomes lives in Rome, only one household attends church on Sunday and that is to an evangelical one. The clear teaching of the Evangelicals is gaining ground as the Catholic Church loses it, even in Italy, under the very nose of the Vatican, and many Italian Churches on a Sunday are attended mainly by migrants and not native Italians.
Now is not the place to explore the crisis of faith in the world, but to highlight the crisis of Faith in the Catholic Church itself. People are leaving it in droves, and the more we try to follow them by embracing the values of the world by ‘watering down’ Catholic worship, doctrine and morals, the less we have to say or offer or give them any reason to stay. What is the point of us if we do not preach Jesus Christ to the world and try to save souls for the Lord? St Paul says, ‘We will have none of the reticence of those who are ashamed, no deceitfulness or watering down the word of God: but the way we commend ourselves to every human being with a conscience is by stating the truth openly in the sight of God, for it is not ourselves we are preaching, but Christ Jesus as the Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake’. (see 2Cor4, 1-7)
We have the resources to do as the Apostle says. We have the richest Treasury of Faith and Sacred Tradition to draw upon and which the people will find nowhere else than in the Catholic Church. Yes, as the Apostle says, ‘we are earthenware jars that hold this treasure’ but the treasure itself is sacred, it belongs to the Church; it is not ours to jettison to accommodate the world because our Sacred Tradition is from God and we must and shall pass it on.
This Sunday, our parish celebrates the confirmation of our young people and a mother and I have just booked a couple more baptisms this week. This is good news! In a world around us which is anti-Christ, for our young people to ask to be confirmed in discipleship of Our Lord and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit is something to celebrate. We need to own the grave crisis in the Church and not pretend everything is fine, yes, we have to engage in spiritual warfare and not just reach for a nice familiar spiritual comfort- blanket, but we can also thank God that in our own parish, Faith, Hope and Charity are still alive. If we continue to live our faith in Jesus Christ our Lord, in our love and witness to Him by attending Sunday mass, in our personal prayers and in our good works and be guided by The Light of the Lord in the darkness of the world, we can still rejoice.
(1)"‘Going woke, going broke’: Catholic Church losing members and lacking spirituality" from Sky news, on YouTube
(2) Ralph Martin - It is Now Unmistakably Clear Where We Are Being Led
(3) 1 in 10 Italians Are Catholic | Rome Dispatch
ST THOMAS MORE GOLF DAY to be held Thursday 21st September 2023 at Birchwood Park Golf course, Swanley. Anyone interested in taking part please contact Tony Brooke. 07833707016. There will be the usual charity raffle attached to the day in aid of taking sick / disabled to Lourdes. You will be offered a chance to be involved in the raffle in early September.
PARISH PILGRIMAGE TO LOURDES. Monday 23rd October to Friday 27th October 2023. Please contact the parish office if you are interested in joining us.
ESCORTED PILGRIMAGE TO KNOCK SHRINE, Ireland, 2nd October 2023. £699.00 per person sharing. Price includes flight, all transfers, 4 nights’ in Knock House Hotel with full board. All entertainment and excursions included. Day trips to Westport, Ballintubber Abbey, Croagh Patrick, Fr. Peyton Centre & National Museum. Single supplement £150.00. Contact Patricia or Natali on 01268 762 278 or 07740 175557 or email email@example.com.
PARISH YOUTH NOTICES
MASSES AND INTENTIONS FOR THE SIXTEENTH WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME
JULY PRAYER TO THE MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST