The Parish of
From the vicar
ĎAt any point on the journey you can turn back.í Jesus didnít say that, but he could easily have done. He has invited people to join him, he has chosen the twelve to be his intimate followers and now he is heading towards Jerusalem. He has proclaimed the gospel, he has healed the sick and now he knows that his final conflict with the authorities is imminent.
Once Peter has declared that Jesus is the Christ on the road from Bethsaida to Caesarea Philippi, our Lord makes it clear what the immediate consequences of his own words and deeds will be once the holy city is reached.
And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Jesus also spoke later of his betrayal and his abandonment by the disciples.
The fault lines had already begun to show earlier in his ministry. After the feeding of the five thousand Jesus had spoken of feeding the faithful with his own flesh and blood. This was too much for some.
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (John 6: 66)
On Passion Sunday the Churchís Lenten journey turns toward the cross as she begins to reflect more deeply on our Lordís Passion, determined not to abandon him. Observing the scene on Calvary the evangelists note that not everyone had deserted Jesus and run away: some faithful souls were still present. So who were they? Can we begin to make sense of the varied accounts in the gospels? It is not easy, but with a careful reading of the scriptures and later writings a credible attempt can be made.
Much of the confusion here and elsewhere is caused by the multiplicity of Marys in the story. Readings from the New Testament and some of the writings of the early church suggest the identities of the three Marys actually present at the crucifixion. The first is obviously Mary, mother of our Lord, as recorded in St. Johnís Gospel. There is then some confusion between two possible candidates. The first candidate is the Virginís sister-in-law Mary who was the mother of James the Less (first Bishop of Jerusalem) and Joses. The second candidate is another sister-in-law called Mary who was married to Josephís brother Clopas. They had a son called Simeon who became the second Bishop of Jerusalem. Finally there is Mary Magdalene who had been healed by Jesus and who accompanied him on his journeys with Joanna and Susanna.
The three Marys are joined by John, the beloved disciple, who was brother to James and son of Zebedee. Zebedee was the husband of the Virginís sister Salome. Some accounts go further and state that there were many other women looking on, but unsurprisingly the main group is primarily made up of family members, a harbinger of the life of the Church.
Even though the majority of the Twelve abandoned Jesus, there were those who did not and they set the precedent for waiting and watching at the cross. Over the centuries Christian have joined in spirit with the Blessed Virgin, St. John and the other Marys at the foot of the cross. This has become an act of devotion familiar to many even if varied in style and content from one tradition or denomination to another. It is something we all do and must continue to do, especially on Good Friday this year with so many restrictions in place. Please donít turn back.
For protection from pestilence and disease and for deliverance from present evils.
From the diaryÖ
There is inevitably much uncertainty over what may or may not happen over the next few weeks at St. Peterís, at least in terms of public worship, but the following diary entries at least give a reminder of the liturgical calendar.
Sunday 29th March Lent 5
Tuesday 31st March, 10.00am Mass (Feria in Lent)
Wednesday 1st April, 10.00am Mass (Feria in Lent) Intention: Mothersí Union
Thursday 2nd April, 10.00am Mass (Feria in Lent)
8.00pm Stations of the Cross
Friday 3rd April, 7.00pm Mass (Feria in Lent)
Sunday 5th April Palm Sunday
Monday in Holy Week, 10.00am Mass
Tuesday in Holy Week, 7.00pm Mass
Wednesday in Holy Week, 10.00am Mass
Maundy Thursday 8.00pm Maundy Mass
Good Friday 2.00pm Intercession for the sick and suffering
Easter Eve 7.00pm Blessing of the Paschal Candle and Exsultet
Easter Day 8.00am Mass
Tuesday 14th April, 10.00am Mass (Tuesday in Easter Week)
Wednesday 15th April, 10.00am Mass (Wednesday in Easter Week)
Thursday 16th April, 10.00am Mass (Thursday in Easter Week)
Friday 17th April, 7.00pm Mass (Friday in Easter Week)
Sunday 19th April Easter 1
Sunday 26th April Easter 2
By the grace of God may there be some public worship as the Easter season progresses. Please keep in touch to find out more. Contact the vicarage in the usual way or visit www.achurchnearyou.com for the latest information.
The PCC is currently waiting for the Diocesan Advisory Committee to comment on possible heating systems for St. Peterís. In advance of a response, a site visit for the Diocesan Heating Adviser is being arranged.
Vicar: Fr. Andrew Burton SSC, a priest of the Society. (020 8950 1424). Usual day off Monday.
Churchwarden: Mrs. Anne Swerling (020 8950 8923).