The Parish of
From the vicar
And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. (Luke 16:9)
‘Mammon’ is one of the oddest words in the New Testament. It is a Semitic word meaning money or riches and is usually left untranslated, hence the curiosity. Untranslated it has a slightly sinister ring to it, almost as if Jesus is referring to something demonic or someone connected to the old Canaanite deities.
The passage is familiar from the gospel reading for the ninth Sunday after Trinity. It relates the parable of the Unjust Steward who makes friends for himself by defrauding his master. On a number of occasions I have been asked what Jesus means by verse 9 above. Is he recommending dishonest or worldly actions like those in the parable or there something else going on?
The parable of the Unjust Steward follows on from the parable of the Prodigal Son. As is often the case in the gospels context is key. Jesus has been explaining to the disciples all about God’s generosity to the outcast and sinner – especially those who are condemned by the scribes and Pharisees. At this point Jesus is addressing the disciples to remind them that the Pharisees did not have a monopoly on self-righteousness. Such an unattractive trait would be found amongst Christians as well in the future.
So what are the disciples to do? Jesus observes the behaviour of the dishonest astutely in this parable. Even the master has a certain admiration for the way the steward has attempted to make friends for himself. The biblical scholar T. W. Manson makes the point here that Jesus is fully aware of the ways of the world and of the need for his disciples to continue living in it. It is impossible to live without money of some kind so it is important to resolve to use it wisely and for unselfish purposes – in the language of the parable ‘to make friends’. In other words Jesus is saying to the disciples that they will live in the world and amongst the worldly, but that they can do better than the steward.
As a footnote some scholars are uncertain that verse 9 actually belongs to this parable, considering it instead to be a detached saying of Jesus that has ended up being included at this point. If that is so we are no nearer to understanding the verse even if the meaning of the parable remains plain. It is better to see verse 9 (and the subsequent verses) making a valid and memorable point about the practices of the worldly. Jesus is describing just how things are. The imperative is to seek to be a positive influence in the world – to do better than the unjust steward. Manson (who was a Presbyterian minister as well as an academic) makes the final point that if we are to seek to make friends in the world then the best thing we can do is to make friends with God first. Everything else associated with the Kingdom flows from that – and we will be able to put mammon in its place.
Pray for grace to proclaim the greatness of God in the present age.
Pray for all those who do not know their need of God.
From the diary…
Wednesday 1st September, 10.00am Mass (St. Giles, Hermit)
Thursday 2nd September, 9.30am Mass (Martyrs of Papua New Guinea)
Friday 3rd September, 7.00pm Mass (St. Gregory the Great, Doctor)
Sunday 5th September Trinity 14
Wednesday 8th September, 10.00am Mass (Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Thursday 9th September, 9.30am Mass
Friday 10th September, 7.00pm Mass
Sunday 12th September Trinity 15
Diocesan Clergy Conference to Wednesday
Thursday 16th September, 9.30am Mass (St. Ninian, Bishop)
Friday 17th September, 7.00pm Mass (St. Hildegard, Abbess)
Sunday 19th September Trinity 16
Tuesday 21st September, 9.30am Mass (St. Matthew, Apostle)
Wednesday 22nd September, 10.00am Mass
Thursday 23rd September, 10.45am Funeral
Friday 24th September, 7.00pm Mass
Sunday 26th September Trinity 17
Wednesday 29th September, 10.00am Mass (St. Michael and All Angels)
Thursday 30th September, 9.30am Mass (St. Jerome, Doctor)
Friday 1st October, 7.00pm Mass
Saturday 2nd October, 12.30pm Memorial Service for the late Sheila Brooks
Sunday 3rd October Trinity 18
Church Heating and Lighting
At last the project is complete! The new LED lighting and electric pew heaters have finally been installed. The lighting is very effective and will be relatively cheap to run. The heating has not yet been turned on ‘in anger’, but the time is eagerly awaited as Autumn approaches. Thank you very much for your patience and for your generosity and hard work which have made it all possible.
From the registers
1st August Cromwell Taylor
15th August Grace McCulloch
29th July Irene Cowell (aged 93 years)
9th August Geoffrey Toussaint (aged 91 years)
A note has already appeared in the newsletter about pastoral visits to hospital and the procedure for obtaining one. As a reminder, there is currently no Anglican chaplain serving the West Herts Hospital Trust, but visits from parochial clergy can be arranged through the Roman Catholic chaplain or a member of his staff. Ward staff should be able to arrange this for you.
Notes on COVID-19 arrangements
You will no doubt be aware that singing is permitted again in church. It is a joy to be able to have live music again and to be able to join in with the hymns.
It is also permissible to receive the Blessed Sacrament in both kinds. Nobody should feel obliged so if you are at all concerned about receiving from the chalice please continue to receive in one kind. Please note that intinction is not permitted.
The Family Service will also resume on Sunday 12th September at 11.15am.
Bushey and Oxhey Care
Inevitably throughout ‘The Great Interruption’ Care has been unable to carry out its invaluable duties helping those for whom transport is a problem attend medical appointments.
Our representative Anne Swerling writes:
I thought you would like to know that arrangements have been put in place for Bushey & Oxhey Care to re-open on Thursday, the 2nd September. The phone line will be open on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday as before but the opening hours will now be from 10.00am to 2.30pm and at the moment only medical appointments will be booked, including dentists, opticians and chiropodists.
If you are interested in joining Care as a volunteer please contact Margaret Tabor on 01923 242151 and she will be more than happy to hear from you.
Vicar: Fr. Andrew Burton SSC, a priest of the Society. (020 8950 1424). Usual day off Monday.
Churchwarden: Mrs. Anne Swerling (020 8950 8923).
www.stpeterbusheyheath.org.uk / www.achurchnearyou.com