Third Sunday of Lent, 2023. Year A

Edmund of Canterbury & St. Thomas More

The woman at the well was thirsty for truth. We don’t know her name but we do know she was a Gentile from Samaria. Her conversation with Jesus is the longest one-to-one chat recorded in the whole Bible. The conversation began at noon, in the heat of the day. Jesus’ question to her, profound in its irony, ‘Will you give me a drink?’ gets the chat underway. Jesus, never one to be bound by cultural norms, turns the world upside down. Jews weren’t supposed to speak to Samaritans. Men weren’t permitted to address women without their husbands present. Rabbis had no business speaking to ladies of a certain reputation and this lady definitely had form. http://media.istockphoto.com/illustrations/woman-at-the-well-illustration-id535517941?k=6&m=535517941&s=170667a&w=0&h=mbSr0MtoohgvedXqIaUGKhKsP1Vw2_a_0n8uWgAGEIQ=

The Samaritan lady, more accustomed to the cultural norm, questions Jesus’ wisdom in asking here for a drink: ‘You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman,’ she reminds him. ‘How can you ask me for a drink?’ This is a conversation about two different worlds – the everyday versus the everlasting. Water does quench our thirst but Jesus was talking about a different thirst and a different kind of water. Jesus’ cutting to the chase and reveals the way the Holy Spirit works in our lives – he always convinces and convicts us of the darkness so that we may be healed by the light.

Just like the Holy Spirit, Jesus is direct and forthright: ‘The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you have now is not your husband’. Five marriages didn’t make her a sinner. Due to warfare, famine, disease and injury, men in those days dropped like flies. A widow became a beggar, a prostitute or another man’s wife. Each time, this Samaritan woman had chosen the best option. It was sharing her bed with a sixth man who wasn’t her husband that was the problem. 

Jesus reveals himself as the Messiah, the Christ, and the woman begins her journey of conversion. In a society which considered women to be less than second-class citizens Jesus chose a woman to have this most profound theological/spiritual conversation. There is a way in which we all have this conversation with Christ because we all identify an interior ache or longing which can only be satisfied by the living water of the living God. We drink from this cup of salvation every time we drink the blood of Christ in the Eucharist. 

Dear Friends in Christ,         Third Sunday of Lent 2023

Lent is a Penitential Season, meaning that as Roman Catholics we should avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is our obligation, at least once a year to fulfil our Easter Duties; what this means is going to Confession between Ash Wednesday & Trinity Sunday. When Jesus Christ rose from the dead, he continues to instruct the Apostles, he gave them the divine power for the forgiveness of sins in his name, and from the beginning of Christianity the Church has celebrated the Sacrament of Penance. 

There is not one single person on the face of this planet who is perfect, and sin is the conscious decision by an individual to go against what is right and continue to do what is wrong. When we deliberately know something is wrong and still carry on doing it, ‘This is Sin’. Mortal Sin is a violation of the Commandments of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, “Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God’s law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to Him” (#1855).  Therefore, sacramental absolution is necessary to forgive mortal sin, to restore the sanctifying grace in a person’s soul, and to reconcile the person fully with God and neighbour.
https://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.xz7lDXC7sOwqAeBtMoT5iAFnCt&pid=Api&P=0

While confession is necessary for the forgiveness of mortal sin, it is also a most important means of grace and a good spiritual practice for the forgiveness of venial sin. Sadly over the past 30 years or so, fewer and fewer of the faithful celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is a most beautiful Sacrament. To know that we can come to Almighty God in an act of humility, and receive His unconditional loving forgiveness, is one of the Church’s greatest gifts to the faithful. But people often say they are frightened to celebrate the Sacrament. Why would you be frightened to receive God’s Love? We have all pr0bably been on the receiving end of human forgiveness, either from our parents or loved ones; what greater joy that to receive God’s forgiveness!

There will be a Parish Lenten Penitential Service on Tuesday 4th April at 7.30pm with visiting priests to hear Confessions. If it’s been a long time since you last went to Confession, please make a very special effort to celebrate the Sacrament in preparation for Easter & the Resurrection of the Lord. What greater act of love could we show to Jesus than being washed clean of our sins.Lent clipart confession, Picture #2909190 lent clipart confession

May God Bless You All,   
https://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.3vV_AR8lY8_rWhQrrJ294AHaFc&pid=Api&P=0

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION CLASSES:  There will be no class on Sunday 12th March at 10.00am in the Parish Retreat. Congratulations to the children who made their First Reconciliation yesterday. Today they are being prepared to host the 11.00am Mass next Sunday 19th March (Gaudete Sunday – Mothering Sunday). 

LENTEN COURSE:  The God who Speaks – ‘The Big Picture Course’, exploring the Sacred Scriptures to understand and deepen our awareness of God & Jesus Christ. Course dates: March 15th 22nd at 7.30pm in the Parish Retreat. There is a Study Book with personal Diary & CD costs but it’s not imperative that you have this! It would be truly wonderful to see as many people as possible 

REQUIESCANT IN PACE: In your mercy please pray for the repose of the soul of Jackie Ilines RIP, long-time parishioner here in Loughton, who passed away recently. We extend our sincere condolences to her husband Gary & two sons Jack & Jimmy in this time of great loss. Jackie was only 57 years of age. She was well known in the parish; and also helped many families with the loss of loved ones, as she ran the local Cribbs Funeral Parlour. Jackie’s Requiem Mass will take place on Saturday 25th March at 10.30am

Also, Please pray for the repose of the soul of Jean Dalgliesh RIP, whose Requiem Mass will take place on Thursday 23rd March at 12.15pm, we extend our condolences to her husband Steve and family in this time of great loss. 

READERS & EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS: Would those Readers & Eucharistic Ministers who wish to resume your ministry kindly notify Julie Callender, who organises the Minsters’ Rota. Julie’s ‘phone numbers are 07834 088661 (mobile – preferred) and 020 8502 3854 (land line) and her email is julie.callander@hotmail.com It would be very helpful if you could contact Julie as soon as possible so that she can set up the rota and then circulate it to everyone. Clipart Panda - Free Clipart Images

GIDEA PARK TALK ON THE HOLY EUCHARIST: Wednesday 22nd March, 7.00pm in Parish Hall at Christ the Eternal High Priest, Gidea Park. Fr Adrian Graffy will speak about the Eucharist. The talk is entitled ‘Do this in memory of me’, the New Testament material, and trace the understanding of the Eucharist through the centuries, including the latest teaching of Pope Francis. This talk is in person, and can also be followed by livestream by going to www.whatgoodnews.org 

PLEASE PRAY FOR THOSE SICK IN OUR PARISH

Margaret Baldwin, Evelyn Bearne, Karl Britz, Brenda Bryant, Carlos Camacho, Jane Downs, Steve Dalgliesh, Pat Fenn, Bernadette Hall, Ann Hawkes, Claire Howes, Noel Johnson, Shaun Keel, Bridget Kinsella, Angela Long, Lilian Mothersole, John McKernan, Rosemary O’Rourke, Remy, Geraldine Taylor, Vera Taylor, Mary & Steve Witten, James Wright. And all our loved ones.  

ANNIVERSARIES: Please pray for all whose anniversaries occur at this time and for all of our deceased loved ones, Requiescant in Pace.

WEEKLY OFFERTORY: My sincere thanks to those who are making their weekly contribution of Gift Aid envelopes and through the banking system that has been set up through the Diocese whereby your Offertory can be paid directly into the Parish Account, details below: https://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.PksgenkNVMwF2XWxHkXnzgHaHp&pid=Api&P=0&w=300&h=300

Or you can use Parish Bank Account: Using Online Banking
HSBC Sort Code 40-13-22 PLEASE BE GENEROUS IN YOUR
Account Number: 11019651 GIFT TO GOD & HIS CHURCH

PARISH FINANCES: As you can appreciate, during this pandemic the parish income took a severe hit, and we are still not back at the same levels as we were prior to 2020. My sincere and grateful thanks to those who have signed up for online giving and Gift Aid, this is helping. Many parishioners have not returned to the regular practice of faith, and many Gift Aid boxes were not collected this year. Please consider your weekly offertory to God.  Giving & payments go online at Mt. Olive – Mount Olive ...

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN A VOCATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD? At present we only have five seminarians training for the Priesthood in the Diocese of Brentwood. The period of formation for each is several years. If you know of anyone who may be interested in learning more about the priesthood, or who feels they may have a vocation to the Priesthood   please contact Fr Mark Swires vocprom@dioceseofbrentwood.org

REGISTERING AT THE PARISH: It’s always important to have details of all of our parishioners. There are Parish Registration Forms in the Porch of the Church. Please complete and return to the Presbytery.

ESCORTED PILGRIMAGE TO KNOCK SHRINE, IRELAND on 29th May 2023, led by Bishop Alan Williams. £699.00 per person, sharing; single supplement £150.00. Price includes flight, all transfers, 4 nights in Knock House Hotel with full board. All entertainment and excursions included. Day trips to Westport, Ballintubber Abbey, Croagh Patrick, Fr. Peyton Centre & National Museum. Contact Patricia on 01268 762278 or 07740 175557 or email knockpilgrimages@gmail.com.

PARISH REPOSITORY: There is a lot of new stock in the repository. Mass Cards for all occasions. Children’s books. Rosaries, medals, holy picture cards, candles, baptismal gifts, and many more items. NEW: There are a variety of New Easter Cards. There are also a number of CTS little books in a special stand on all sorts of different issues, the saints etc. There are Statues, rosaries, medals, bracelets. Teresa Wallace is happy to order anything your request; it usually takes about a week to arrive. 

EPPING FOREST FOODBANK DONATIONS: Thank you to all parishioners who continue to generously donate items for the Foodbank. They are truly grateful for the generosity our parish has shown and our donations are still needed desperately as more and more people in our community are struggling during this cost of living crisis. The Foodbank have asked for support with the following items: sponge pudding desserts, custard, juice, tinned meat, noodles, snack bars, small chocolate bars, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, toilet roll and deodorant. Please place any donations in the dedicated plastic boxes in the garage. Thank you! You can also keep up to date with the Foodbank news via their facebook page: www.facebook.com/EppingForestFoodbank/ https://tse4.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.CTO9qrnahUbWX6Uo2gY7XgHaHM&pid=Api&P=0

IRREGULAR MARRIAGES: An Irregualr Marriage is one that has taken place outside of the Catholic Church without dispensation. For example: Marriages in hotels, and secualr venues, on beaches or Las Vegas; marriage in a non-Catholic Church without dispensation from the Bishop. These marriages are not recognised by the Catholic Church, and therefore are  non sacramental & irregular. But there is a facility in the Church to recetify these situations called a Convalidation (this is a strictly private facility that is offered by the church). As marriage and family life is what I specialised in while studying Canon Law, if anyone wishes to speak to me confidentially please don’t hesitate to contact me: Tel No: 0208 508 3492

CHILDREN’S SUNDAY LITURGY: Thank you for starting children’s Sunday Liturgy again. But we need more help. Parents, can you spare one Sunday every two months to help the children during the 11.00am Mass? We need more parents to join our lovely group. Please contact Mrs Elena Manara at e_vismara@yahoo.com Thank you and we hope to hear from you soon.https://tse1.mm.bing.net/th?id=OIP.KxgdS7dpVdlMC8SllI_8fgHaHa&pid=Api&P=0&w=174&h=174

FROM OUR GIFT AID ORGANISER: Our Parish Gift Aid Organiser is Abbie Akinfenwa – abbie.akinfenwa@btinternet.com or text to 0775470934 with your name and gift aid number.  I would encourage all parishioners to join the Parish Gift Aid Scheme. If you are a Tax Payer, it’s a really painless process, all we need is you name and address, there are Gift Aid Application Forms in the Porch of the Church, and Abbie can give you all the help you need re information. We are able to claim back 25 pence in every pound donated to the church, when you use you envelopes or pay by Standing Order.  Please think about joining, and thanks to those who already belong! https://tse4.explicit.bing.net/th?id=OIP.82Iz4z848_74ROZ5P-evjQHaD8&pid=Api&P=0

RITE OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION OF ADULTS: Journey of Faith. Is there anyone who may be interested in the RCIA Programme, possibly with the view of being received into full-communion with the Roman Catholic Faith, Please see Fr John who will explain the whole process to you. 

DO YOU LIKE SINGING? As you know we have a wonderful Choir and Choir Director in Sue Farrow. We are looking for new choir members who like singing with others. We learn traditional and contemporary pieces of music, and also sing Motets in four parts. If you’re interested please speak to Sue or Fr John. Choir practice on Wednesdays & Saturdays.  

RETROUVAILLE: Help Your Marriage – Do you feel alone? Are you frustrated or angry with each other? Do you argue … or have you just stopped talking to each other? Does talking about it only make it worse? Retrouvaille is a programme to support couples who have difficulties in their marriage. It brings a positive focus, new hope and helps nourish and grow your marriage. Tens of thousands of couples headed for divorce have successfully saved their marriages by attending and using the tools provided. The programme helps spouses uncover or reawaken the love, trust and commitment that originally brought them together. It helps them through difficult times whether they are disillusioned or in deep misery. There is no group therapy or group work. For confidential information about ‘Retrouvaille’ or to register for the next programme. a virtual weekend on 6 – 9 July 2023, call or text 07887 296983 or 07973 380443. Alternatively, email retrouvailleukinfo@gmail.com

BAPTISMS: If there are parents wishing to have their children baptised at St Edmund’s could you kindly contact Fr John as soon as possible. For first time parents there is a Baptismal Programme run by Mrs Sharon Chalk. Baptisms take place on either Saturday or Sunday at 12.30pm

LEADERSHIP VACANCIES IN DIOCESAN SCHOOLS: Details of all positions can be found at the following link https://www.dioceseofbrentwood.net/departments/education /vacancies/school-vacancies/

DIOCESAN PILGRIMAGE TO LOURDES 2023 Join Bishop Alan in Lourdes from Monday 24th to Saturday 29th July. We can support those with medical needs. For further information, please ‘phone Tangney Tours on 01732 886 666 or book online: Brentwood Lourdes – Lourdes – Tangney Tours (tangneytours.com)

PARISH ALTAR SERVERS: Quite a number of Altar Servers ceased serving at Mass since the Pandemic. I’m making a special appeal to all former Altar Servers to kindly return their Albs to the Sacristy.  Albs are extremely expensive to buy these days, and I believe there a quite a few still out there not being used anymore.  If any young person wishes to become an Altar Server, please see Fr. John as soon as possible; we can help to prepare you to serve at the Altar. This is a truly wonderful ministry, and it is a special way of serving God and the whole community of faith.

MASS INTENTIONS – MARCH 2023

Sat 11th        9.00amEdward Martin Duffy RIP (Margaret Duffy)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 11th        6.00pm Nemesio Gonzalo RIP (Ray & Ingrid Bacani)
Sun 12th        9.00amMaureen Allen RIP (Sue & John Campbell)
Sun 12th      11:00amDuncan Lowther RIP (Brenda Bryant
Mon 13th         10.00amPeter Greig RIP (Fr John)
Tues 14th          10.00am Nancy Burgess RIP (Foundation Mass)
Wed 15th    10.00am David Emslie RIP (Margaret Duffy)
Thur 16th          10.00amLetty Fletcher RIP (Anni) (Margaret Duffy)
Fri 17th     10.00am10.30amJoseph Duffy RIP (Margaret Duffy)Stations of the Cross / Exposition of Bl Sac
Sat 18th           10.00am Anne Wright RIP (Brenda Bryant)
Confessions 11am – 12Noon or on demandVigil Mass for Sunday. Confessions at 5.30pm
Sat 18th           6.00pmFrederick George Burgess RIP (Foundation Mass)
Sun 19th                                           9.00amMichael Stavrinidou RIP (Sue & John Campbell)
Sun 19th           11:00amRey & Ingrid in Thanksgiving. (Rey & Ingrid)

Please kindly put your Mass requests in early for anniversaries etc., this is to avoid any disappointment if a particular date has already been booked, 

Parish Phone No: 0208 508 3492      Email: loughton@dioceseofbrentwood.org

The Brentwood Diocesan Trust     Registered Charity No. 234092

IN CASES OF EMERGENCY: Tuesday is usually Fr. John’s Day Off. In cases of emergency please call one of the local parishes, either in Epping – Tel: 01992 572516, or the St. Thomas of Canterbury Friary at Woodford Green – Tel: 020 8504 1688.  This would also apply if Fr. John is away for a few days break or on Retreat. All the local funeral directors have a contact number for Fr. John if a funeral needs to be arranged in his absence.   

             3rd Sunday of Lent

First Reading : Exodus 17:3-7

Tormented by thirst, the people complained against Moses. ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt?’ they said. ‘Was it so that I should die of thirst, my children too, and my cattle?’

  Moses appealed to the Lord. ‘How am I to deal with this people?” he said. ‘A little more and they will stone me!’ the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take with you some of the elders of Israel and move on to the forefront of the people; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the river, and go. I shall be standing before you there on the rock, at Horeb. You must strike the rock, and water will flow from it for the people to drink.’ This is what Moses did, in the sight of the elders of Israel. The place was named Massah and Meribah because of the grumbling of the sons of Israel and because they put the Lord to the test by saying, ‘Is the Lord with us, or not?’

Responsive Psalm : Psalm 94(95):1-2,6-9

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Come, ring out our joy to the Lord;

  hail the rock who saves us.

Let us come before him, giving thanks,

  with songs let us hail the Lord.

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Come in; let us bow and bend low;

  let us kneel before the God who made us:

for he is our God and we

  the people who belong to his pasture,

  the flock that is led by his hand.

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

O that today you would listen to his voice!

  ‘Harden not your hearts as at Meribah,

  as on that day at Massah in the desert

when your fathers put me to the test;

  when they tried me, though they saw my work.’

O that today you would listen to his voice! ‘Harden not your hearts.’

Second Reading : Romans 5:1-2,5-8

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith we are judged righteous and at peace with God, since it is by faith and through Jesus that we have entered this state of grace in which we can boast about looking forward to God’s glory. And this hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us. We were still helpless when at his appointed moment Christ died for sinful men. It is not easy to die even for a good man – though of course for someone really worthy, a man might be prepared to die – but what proves that God loves us is that Christ died for us while we were still sinners.

Gospel : John 4:5-42

Jesus came to the Samaritan town called Sychar, near the land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well is there and Jesus, tired by the journey, sat straight down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘Give me a drink.’ His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, ‘What? You are a Jew and you ask me, a Samaritan, for a drink?’ – Jews, in fact, do not associate with Samaritans. Jesus replied:

‘If you only knew what God is offering

and who it is that is saying to you:

Give me a drink, you would have been the one to ask,

and he would have given you living water.’

‘You have no bucket, sir,’ she answered ‘and the well is deep: how could you get this living water? Are you a greater man than our father Jacob who gave us this well and drank from it himself with his sons and his cattle?’ Jesus replied:

‘Whoever drinks this water

will get thirsty again;

but anyone who drinks the water that I shall give

will never be thirsty again:

the water that I shall give

will turn into a spring inside him,

welling up to eternal life.’

‘Sir,’ said the woman ‘give me some of that water, so that I may never get thirsty and never have to come here again to draw water.’ ‘Go and call your husband’ said Jesus to her ‘and come back here.’ The woman answered, ‘I have no husband.’ He said to her, ‘You are right to say, “I have no husband”; for although you have had five, the one you have now is not your husband. You spoke the truth there.’ ‘I see you are a prophet, sir’ said the woman. ‘Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, while you say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.’ Jesus said:

‘Believe me, woman,

the hour is coming

when you will worship the Father

neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem.

You worship what you do not know;

we worship what we do know:

for salvation comes from the Jews.

But the hour will come

– in fact it is here already –

when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth:

that is the kind of worshipper the Father wants.

God is spirit,

and those who worship

must worship in spirit and truth.’

The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah – that is, Christ – is coming; and when he comes he will tell us everything.’ ‘I who am speaking to you,’ said Jesus ‘I am he.’

  At this point his disciples returned, and were surprised to find him speaking to a woman, though none of them asked, ‘What do you want from her?’ or, ‘Why are you talking to her?’ The woman put down her water jar and hurried back to the town to tell the people. ‘Come and see a man who has told me everything I ever did; I wonder if he is the Christ?’ This brought people out of the town and they started walking towards him.

  Meanwhile, the disciples were urging him, ‘Rabbi, do have something to eat; but he said, ‘I have food to eat that you do not know about.’ So the disciples asked one another, ‘Has someone been bringing him food?’ But Jesus said:

‘My food is to do the will of the one who sent me,

and to complete his work.

Have you not got a saying:

Four months and then the harvest?

Well, I tell you:

Look around you, look at the fields;

already they are white, ready for harvest!

Already the reaper is being paid his wages,

already he is bringing in the grain for eternal life,

and thus sower and reaper rejoice together.

For here the proverb holds good:

one sows, another reaps;

I sent you to reap a harvest you had not worked for.

Others worked for it;

and you have come into the rewards of their trouble.’

Many Samaritans of that town had believed in him on the strength of the woman’s testimony when she said, ‘He told me all I have ever done’, so, when the Samaritans came up to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed for two days, and when he spoke to them many more came to believe; and they said to the woman, ‘Now we no longer believe because of what you told us; we have heard him ourselves and we know that he really is the saviour of the world.’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s