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Fr Robert’s Reflection

A Reflection for 5th Sunday in Lent

‘This sickness will end not in death but in God’s glory, and through it the Son of God will be glorified.’

1. Jesus knew how Lazarus would end. He knew His friend would die. And he will come back to life. His listeners didn’t see it. They did not predict it in any way that the deceased could rise from the grave. Those who laid Lazarus dead in the grave could totally doubt the words of Jesus’ promise. We are in a similar situation today. We don’t know what awaits us. We feel fear because we experience helplessness in the face of illness, suffering and death. Jesus’
words mean that God always has his plans that exceed our imagination, God’s Word is a promise that will be fulfilled in the future. God gives hope and expects trust. We enter the night and we don’t know how long it will last. But the night ends with the sunrise. We don’t know what suffering we will come through or what the raging epidemic will end. But one thing is certain that God, in His providence, always accomplishes his plan. He can bring life out of
the grave. His last word belongs to him. He does not explain everything to us, but says: “Trust, believe, do not be afraid.”

2. “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” Jesus, like everyone, had friends. He often visited them and spent time with them. He found rest in their home when he was tired of teaching, healing or being attacked by the Pharisees. There is something very beautiful in this, truly human. After all, we don’t love everyone equally. And that’s not the point to love everyone the same. We have friends, or people with whom we are feeling good. We have a
“place” where we look for rest, where we feel safe and where we feel good. When illness, suffering or death come, we are looking for comfort which comes from friendship. The experience of friendship deepens our understanding of our faith in God. Because faith is building up friendship with Jesus.

3. “If you had been here, my brother would not have died”. There is a hint of regret in these words. Because Jesus seems to be late. He healed so many strangers, and he could not make it on time to heal his friend. When Saint Teresa of Ávila fell seriously ill and she was in excruciating pain, and said to Jesus, “Why are you giving me such pain if you love me?” He replied, “I always do this to my friends.” The temperamental Spaniard fired back: “That’s
why you have so few!” Yes, we are entitled to complain to Jesus. Friends tell each other the truth. Prayer does not always have to be a polite prayer. It may be a complaint to God. We don’t have to be ashamed of pain, grudge or even anger before God. We also sometimes have the impression that he is late, that he leaves us. Just to tell him in the face.

4. “I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” This is the central sentence of today’s Gospel. In these days, when we stare into eyes of death, these words are light in the dark. Instead of cursing the darkness, it is better to grasp this light and repeat after Marta: “Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was tocome into this world.”

Dear brothers and sisters.
I would like to assure you that you are in my prayers and in my thoughts every day. May God bless you. Let us keep each other in prayer.

God bless you all,

Fr Robert

Coronavirus Bulletin

Parish Update 21st March 2020

This is clearly a difficult time for our country but we hope that our Parish community can still function in some way during the weeks and months ahead, albeit in a radically different way than we are used to.

We are trying hard to develop our communications to ensure that parishioners can keep up-to-date with news and developments.

The first way you can do this is by visiting the Parish website supplied by the Diocese available here > https://parish.rcdow.org.uk/edgware/

The second way is by signing to the Parish email distribution list available here > https://mailchi.mp/7e1c889cd96a/discipleship. As you have received this email, you are already taking this step but if you have family and friends in the Parish, please encourage them to also do so also. The link is also available on our website.

Thirdly, we are developing a separate microsite during this time. This will function to provide specific services we want to develop including spiritual conferences live-streamed from our parish, forms to fill-in if you need help, contacts for various services available to parishioners and a forum for posting prayer requests. This has just been created today so there is not much content but you can check back for developments – see here > https://sites.google.com/view/stanthonysparish-coronavirus/home

Sunday Mass

As you are most likely already aware, there is no public Sunday Mass being celebrated at St Anthony’s this Sunday. To be clear, this means that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass has been removed (see here for more https://rcdow.org.uk/news/advice-regarding-coronavirus/). The Diocesan website has details on how you can participate in Mass from your home (see here). We are currently attempting to try and ‘live-stream’ Mass from our Parish, so you can watch Mass taking place at our Parish Church rather than another Church, at your home. Please be patient whilst we get this facility up and running.

Parish Rosary

Fr Robert will be praying the Rosary every day at 2030 during this period for our Parish. Please consider joining in this gesture from your home so we can be united in prayer during this time. We will attempt to live-stream this in due course.

St Anthony’s Men’s Group

The Men’s group was due to meet on the 30th March. Clearly, this event can no longer take place. However, we are looking at options to continue this meeting via video link. Due to the extraordinary circumstances, this will now be open to all members of the Parish. Details to follow on our Microsite which is available > Here.

Behold2020

Celebrations for this event have also been cancelled. However, it is now perhaps more than ever, important to consider taking part in the prayers of re-dedication for England on the 29th March. Please see the Behold 2020 website for more details which is available > Here

Volunteers

We are not sure at this time how we can help members of our community but if you would be interesting in putting your name down to offer whatever service you could provide by for example cooking, distributing supplies, visiting people, etc. Please get in touch by filling in the form which is available > Here. We will then provide your details to the relevant organisations in our parish.

Help

Alternatively, if you need help which could include needing food, a lift somewhere, help looking after children or elderly relatives, or, simply someone to speak to during this time, email stanthonysdiscipleship@gmail.com and we will provide your details to the relevant organisations in our parish.

Other Parish Groups

If you lead a Parish group and would be interested in supporting the wider Parish during this time we can help with coordination and publicity. Please get in touch by emailing stanthonysdiscipleship@gmail.com

Further Communications

We will attempt to send an email update at least once every two weeks but perhaps more. If you do not want to receive them you can click ‘unsubscribe’ at the bottom of this email.

Pastoral Letter, Fourth Sunday in Lent 2020

An exert from the letter from Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster is below. The full letter is available > here

Dear Guardian Angel, go for me to the church, there kneel down at Mass for me. At the Offertory, take me to God, and offer him my service: What I am, what I have, offer as my gift. At the Consecration, with your seraphic strength, adore my Saviour truly present, praying for those who have loved me, for those who have offended me, and for those now deceased, that the blood of Jesus may purify them all. During Holy Communion, bring to me the Body and Blood of Jesus uniting him with me in spirit, so that my heart may become his dwelling place. Plead with him, that through his sacrifice all people throughout the world may be saved. When the Mass ends, bring home to me and to every home, the Lord’s blessing. Amen.We are still surrounded by the angels and by the saints who are glorifying God and protecting and assisting mankind. Why should we not make them our particular friends and allies in situations where we are touching limits that we cannot overcome? St Anthony’s Discipleship Team