NOVEMBER IS THE MONTH OF HOLY SOULS Solemnity of Christ the King and Thirty- fourth Week of Ordinary Time Dear parishioners, Jesus Forsaken: The King of Love
The feeling of rejection is one all, except for the hardest of hearts, have been through, because the deep hurt which it causes can only be caused by the rejection of love. This type of rejection might easily be confused with the hurt of not being esteemed, honoured or praised, not being preferred, chosen or consulted or being ignored or unnoticed in a group. But these sentiments are not so much rejections as humiliations as invoked in the ‘Litany of Humility’ by Cardinal Merry del Val. They do not quite convey the type of rejection we are talking about here, which is when the object of your love, for which you have given your whole life body and soul, rejects you. Such is a pain which cuts to the core of your being, because in loving and giving yourself to the other, it is not something you do, say or think that is rejected. It is not your class, your age, nationality, your appearance: it is who you are which is rejected and this can lead the human soul to a sense of complete abandonment and desolation.
This is particularly the case where couples have been together for many years and then one is deserted by the other: this is a most painful rejection. Most of us get some small inkling of this feeling in the training school of life when we are young, perhaps having an infatuation with another followed by the misery of no returned feelings. But when we are young there are always many other fish in the sea and you can bounce back but as we get older and having given years of your life to another, rejection strikes a deeper wound.
Such rejected love is not only an experience of couples in a long -term relationship. I think we have seen it sometimes in the public tears of prime ministers who are no longer wanted by their own party to which they have given themselves in leadership and service. Perhaps others have shed their tears of rejection in private. Even celibate priests are not immune to feelings of rejection. They choose to give their whole life to the service of God. It is not just a job, but especially with the vow of celibacy, it demands a priest’s whole being, body and soul. A priest doesn’t just ‘do’ pastoral ministry, but he ‘is’ a priest, having indelibly received the sacrament of orders for the service of God and his people. Thus, he too, knows deeply in his heart, the hurt of the rejected husband or wife when his own people, or some of them, reject him. Through priesthood, a priest loves and gives himself to his people. It is one thing to be rejected by the world in general and quite another to be rejected by your own people, but this was the experience of even great priests like St John of the Cross or St John Vianney.
Rejection can lead some people to despair. This is a common theme of song, expressed succinctly by Irving Berlin in the song ‘I Can’t Face the Music’
Breeze! stop moanin' those weird melodies My man has left me and I can't face the music Without singin' the blues Rain, your rhythm on my window pane Drives me insane because I can't face the music Without singin' the blues My heart is so broken, I've spoken To the Lord above for sympathy And if he don't help me, so help me It's the bottom of the deep blue sea For me, I'm gonna end this misery My man has left me and I can't face the music Without singin' the blues*
Irving Berlin in a few words tells of the dejection of a rejected lover and how going-on can seem lonely, loveless and pointless. It is easy to feel as if you can’t go on, but that’s usually because we keep looking for consolation from the very person who rejects us - as useful as banging your head against the wall. Our minds long for acceptance and resolution, and until we find it, we cannot find rest for the soul, and no herb or drug will do. We want to be wanted. So where do we turn when we are rejected and not wanted?
The world will never understand our Catholic Religion, because there’s no answer, except the answer to all our pain and misery; we turn to Jesus on the Cross.
To the world, it may sound strange to find comfort in the instrument of Christ’s ultimate suffering and rejection when we are suffering ourselves, but by turning to Jesus on the Cross, who was rejected by the world, He is with us.
This is what a religion of the Incarnation -God among us - is all about. For at the end of every Traditional Latin Mass, the priest in the Last Gospel proclaims ‘He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him’ (John 1:10). In this way, the Traditional Latin Mass reminds us absolutely every time it is said that rejection can sometimes be the very sign that God is with us.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, but the world and even his own ‘religious’ people, did not welcome God among them. Our Lord Jesus spent his life being rejected: at the start of his ministry, his own people tried to throw him off a cliff because they couldn’t bear to hear his message from Him. Brought up as a good religious boy who obediently learned his scriptures from a young age, in his ministry, Jesus was constantly rejected by the authorities of his own religion. The irony was that even St Peter, ‘the rock’ among his own disciples, rejected the Lord’s own teaching about his death. Peter just couldn’t get this. He had an idea of Jesus in his mind which did not quite match who Jesus actually was.
From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns. (Mtt 16)
And then of course Peter himself would go on to play his own part in his Lords’ Passion and Death when he denied even knowing Jesus, joining Judas who betrayed him and his friends who deserted him.
The rejection of God by the world and a complicit Church was however what Jesus embraced when he surrendered himself to death on the Cross. Jesus was tortured and nailed to the Cross by the power of worldly authority with the support of the religious authorities of his day and deserted by his friends. He did not meet rejection with aggression or self -assertion but from the Cross met his agony with forgiveness and love, or in the words of the Last Gospel at the end of the traditional mass, ‘the darkness could not overcome it’.
The Rejection of the love of Jesus on the Cross is often described as abandonment, desolation, or ‘forsakenness’, but Jesus was not overwhelmed by the darkness of the world. He turned to God his Father when he cried ‘O God, my God why have you forsaken me? Neither did he forget, in his last breaths, his mother and St John his beloved disciple who, exceptionally, stood by him to the end. The Love of Jesus on the Cross poured out from his pierced side in the stream of his Most Precious Blood and this love entered the dark void of human sin and ever since has received little love from humanity in return. Yet, this same Love of Jesus has continued and will continue to meet human rejection in the same never- ending stream of grace as it is channelled through the sacraments of his church until the end of time. When people leave the Church, as they have in huge numbers for the last fifty years, it is that same love of Jesus that is rejected again.
In the rejections we experience in life, we can turn to Him, Jesus Forsaken. He is here for us in the Sacraments because from the Cross, He overcame human rejection with forgiveness and love. The Sacred Heart of Jesus will continue to love as He always has, even as He is rejected by the world. This is nothing new except in the last few years more of his own people are abandoning Him in many countries as his diminishing Church is grimly led down the desolate path of ‘modernization by synodalization’** ‘accompanying’ the closure of churches, catholic institutions and the watering down of all aspects of our great religion.
Jesus is being forsaken by his disciples again but the King of Love, continues to give himself to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass wherever there is still a priest and altar to be found. When we place our trust in Him through all the cruelties and rejections of our little lives, he will never reject us. ‘Come to me’, he calls us, ‘and I will give you rest’.
*Jack Harris and His Orchestra https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZe2mocTTjI ** me neither . Winter Warmer Drop-In at St Thomas More provided by the MINI VINNIES of our Primary School. Message from Mrs Wendy McClumpha: In a world where compassion knows no boundaries… where every act of kindness makes a difference… where hope is served alongside hearty meals… We invite you to join us at the St Thomas More Church Hall on Monday 27th November between 6-8pm for a warm meal & at the same times on: Thursday 21st December 2023 Friday 26th January 2024 We are more than just a kitchen; we are a community of caring hearts. Our Mini Vinnies prepare each meal with love and dedication. Families, children, and friends of St Thomas More Church who experience food poverty are more than welcome. Our support to you means everything to us. So please come along!! From the Mini Vinnies group at St Thomas More Catholic Primary School. Thank you Best wishes Wendy
Continuing the Month of Holy Souls at St Thomas More: 1. Visit the Graves of your departed relatives and friends. ( all the blessings of the graves by local priests have now taken place) 2. Come to our annual Service of Commemoration of the Faithful Departed with Benediction THIS Sunday 26th November, Feast of Christ the King at 3.00 p.m. followed by tea and cakes. 3. Say the Novena for Holy Souls – our November prayer below.
November Indulgences As always, a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Holy Souls, may be gained once in any church either on All Soul’s Day, on the preceding or following Sunday or on the Feast of All Saints, on the usual conditions, viz a visit to a church, where the Creed and Our Father are recited, sacramental confession made, Holy Communion received and a prayer for the pope’s intentions. Those who visit a cemetery between 1st and 8th November and pray for the faithful departed, may obtain a plenary indulgence, applicable to the holy souls ( and at other times a partial indulgence) Furthermore, a plenary indulgence is granted to all those present, subject to the usual conditions to those who attend our Service at St Thomas More on Sunday 26th November, the Feast of Christ the King at 3.00 p.m. or any church on that day where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, the consecration of the human race to Christ the King made and the Litany of the Sacred Heart said. God bless and peace be with you as we pray for Holy Souls, Fr Jonathon Liturgy of the Word for Children. The Liturgy of the Word for our children will meet again this Sunday during the 9.00 a.m. mass. FOOD BANK. You can make your donations at Sunday Mass in the crates in the Church Porch (narthex) and they are taken to Bexley Food Bank on a Monday morning. Bexley Food Bank Requirements Food UHT Milk Tinned Meat (Hotdogs,Meatballs etc) Tinned Fish Tinned Fruit Sponge/Rice Puddings Coffee (small jars) Long-life Juice Pasta Sauce Spreads Tinned Meals (Spaghetti,Chicken or Veg Currys Chilli) Tinned Soup Jam and Spreads Non-food Items Shower Gel Shampoo Conditioner Deodorant Toilet rolls Washing Up Liquid Laundry Detergent Pods Shower Gel Bexley Food Bank currently particularly requests (please notice the new items at the end): Please follow the link below to view the food donations page of the Bexley food bank site. https://bexley.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food/ Enjoy an evening out St Thomas More Parish Club Presents A social evening for all the family, everybody welcome Music by Gerry Kelly Friday 1st December 2023 8.00 p.m. till 11.00 p.m. Admission - Adults £3 at the door St Thomas More Hall, Long Lane. DA7 5JW For more information call Jenny 07710 527692 Mary 07369 252072 NOTICES FROM MARRIAGE & FAMILY LIFE SOUTH EAST: Planning a catholic marriage? Marriage preparation courses are available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. BEXLEY CRISIS CAFÉ Experiencing emotional or psychological distress? Access mental health support and advice after hours. Open every day from 6.00 p.m. to 10.00 p.m. including bank holidays. MIND IN BEXLEY at 2A Devonshire Road, Bexleyheath DA6 8DS
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 soul of:
Simon Francis Gorman ‘Frank’, aged 93, who died on Tuesday 31st October 2023. His funeral is on Tuesday 28th November at 11.00 a.m. followed by committal at Eltham Crematorium.
Ann Fanthome who died on Tuesday 14th November 2023. Reception in the Church on Sunday 17th December at 4.00 p.m. and funeral on Monday 18th December at 11 o’clock followed by committal at Hillview.
May the divine assistance remain with her always, and may her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.
NOVEMBER PRAYER: THE NOVENA FOR THE HOLY SOULS by St. Alphonsus Liguori
You can say this prayer for nine days in preparation for All Souls Day or for any set of nine days in November. O most sweet Jesus, through the bloody sweat which you suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane, have mercy on these Blessed Souls. Have mercy on them. R. Have mercy on them, O Lord. O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which you suffered during your most cruel scourging, have mercy on them. R. Have mercy on them, O Lord. O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which you suffered in your most painful crowning with thorns, have mercy on them. R. Have mercy on them, O Lord. O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which you suffered in carrying your cross to Calvary, have mercy on them. R. Have mercy on them, O Lord. O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which you suffered during your most cruel Crucifixion, have mercy on them. R. Have mercy on them, O Lord. O most sweet Jesus, through the pains which you suffered in your most bitter agony on the Cross, have mercy on them. R. Have mercy on them, O Lord. O most sweet Jesus, through the immense pain which you suffered when you gave up your spirit in your last breath, have mercy on them. R. Have mercy on them, O Lord. (Recommend yourself to the Souls in Purgatory and mention your intentions here) Blessed Souls, I have prayed for you; I entreat you, who are so dear to God, and who are secure of never losing Him, to pray for me a miserable sinner, who is in danger of being damned, and of losing God forever. Amen
MASSES AND INTENTIONS FOR THE THIRTY- FOURTH WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME Instaurare Omnia in Christo: "to restore all things in Christ." Saturday 25th November St Catherine of Alexandria, virgin & martyr [TC]. 9.00 a.m. Confessions 9.30 a.m. The Daily Rosary (in Latin & English) + 10.00 a.m. (Latin 1962) Olivero & Carmelina Ranita Pereira TG on 25th wedding anniversary (with anniversary blessing at 3.00 p.m.) + 6.30 p.m. SAID OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE Bruno Castanha R.I.P.
Sunday 26th November 8.30 a.m. The Daily Rosary + 9.00 a.m. SUNG with Liturgy of the Word for children in Church Hall. Dennis Sullivan R.I.P. +11.00 a.m. SOLEMN LATIN MASS (in Latin with English Readings] Pat Lee R.I.P. 3.00 p.m. Service of Commemoration of the Faithful Departed with the Litany of the Sacred Heart, Consecration to the Sacred Heart and Benediction, followed by Tea and Cakes. 7.00 p.m. Parish Social Evening in the Hall. All welcome. Monday 27th November feria (please note & for Monday 4/11 church in use by school in morning with mass in evening) 5.30 p.m. The Daily Rosary +6.00 p.m. Holy Souls 6.00 – 8.00 p.m. Winter Warmer Drop-in provided by the School. In the Church Hall. Tuesday 28th November feria The Daily Rosary at home +11.00 a.m. Funeral Requiem for Frank Gorman followed by committal at Eltham. Wednesday 29th November St. Cuthbert Mayne & Companions, martyrs. The Daily Rosary at home NO PUBLIC MASS TODAY Thursday 30th November St Andrew, apostle, patron of Scotland, feast. 9.30 a.m. The Daily Rosary +10.00 a.m. Hector Moreira WB 12.00 noon Thursday Lunch Club Friday 1st December St. Edmund Campion, Ralph Sherwin & Alexander Briant, priests and martyrs. 9.30 a.m. The Daily Rosary +10.00 a.m. Milita D’Mello R.I.P. 6.00 p.m. Choir Practice. 8.00 p.m. Parish Social in Hall with Music. All welcome. Saturday 2nd December St Bibiana, virgin & martyr [TC]. 9.00 a.m. Confessions 9.30 a.m. The Daily Rosary (in Latin & English) + 10.00 a.m. (Latin 1962) Iris Hayward R.I.P. + 6.30 p.m. SAID FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT The Castanha Family TG