Dear Friends in Christ,
Today we contemplate a crucial point in Mark’s Gospel when Jesus asked the fundamental question, of the gospel of life: ‘But who do you say I am?’ Up to this moment, through his miracles and healings, Jesus had been revealing himself to them as the Son of God and, through the revelation given him by the Holy Spirit, Peter finally understood and declared: ‘You are the Christ.’ The end of the first stage of revelation had been reached: Jesus was revealed as the Christ, the Son of the eternal Father. From now on the disciples could no longer live their lives apart from Jesus. They knew why they had to follow him in obedience, for he was their Lord.
Jesus, however, immediately began to lead them into the second, more profound understanding of his own person by teaching that he had to suffer, die and be raised up out of death. His way was to be a way of suffering, humiliation and death, not the way of a powerful, glorious Messiah. The disciples had to begin the journey into a new depth of understanding. Scandalised, Peter remonstrated with Jesus, seeking to protect him. Jesus rebuked Peter, insisting that he had to suffer, die and rise again.
Through faith Jesus has been revealed to us as the Son of God, the world’s Saviour and creation’s Lord. Since Jesus is God we can never fully plum the depths of who he is. We can spend our lives asking the Spirit to deepen our understanding. Yet this is only the first stage or revelation. Like the disciples we must go on to the second level. Since through our Baptism we are joined to the person of Christ, we are called to follow him. We must grasp that, as Jesus had to suffer, die and rise again, we too have to follow him on the same path and live as he lived. What does this mean? We are to live for Christ and not live for ourselves. He must be at the centre of our lives. We must submit ourselves to the Father’s will, just as Jesus submitted himself. All our choices have to be subject to these benchmark questions: ‘Does the Father want this for me? Does this please the Father? This is at the heart of denying self.
BAPTISMS IN THE PARISH: If you have a child due for Baptism please let me know as soon as possible. To avoid any disappointment with dates contact the Presbytery to book your date. If you are first-time parents, you need to contact Sharon Chalk, who will organise a Baptismal Preparation of two sessions, and then I will come and visit you in your homes. Please don’t forget to collect your Baptismal Information Form.
MARRIAGES: Fr. John needs at least six months’ notice for marriages, and nine months if you’re getting married abroad. Marriage preparation needs to be completed well in advance of the wedding.
PARISH WEEKLY OFFERTORY: At present the Weekly income is not meeting the weekly outgoing! The recent notice in the Newsletter does not appear to have made any difference to the Weekly Offertory. Please do consider your weekly offering to God and the Church, if you’re in a position to increase it, this would be gratefully received. Also during the summer holidays there is always a noticeable drop in the offertory; please try to keep your Weekly Offertory Envelopes up to date. As you all know utilities are set to rise over the summer. If it wasn’t for the Gift Aid returned tax, we would certainly be running at a deficit! We are currently looking at the budget to see where we can save on our funds!