News for Sunday 23rd January: The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd January 2022: The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

There's a lot going on in our Readings this weekend! It all starts with two verses from Psalm 96: “O, sing a new song to the Lord; sing to the Lord, all the earth. In his presence are majesty and splendour, strength and honour in his holy place.” We don't often use the Entrance Antiphon in our worship at St. Mary's (as we are often singing a hymn), but there is something rousing in these words – almost like an incantation which could be used at the start of each day. Here, it is being used at the start of The Mass and reminds us that in his holy place we are in his presence. Of course, being in his holy place is not just being in church. We are in God's holy place all the time and that is worth singing about!

In the Old Testament reading from the Book of Nehemiah, we are told that Ezra read the words of scripture from the Book of the Law. “Ezra read from the Law of God, translating and giving the sense, so that the people understood what was read.” That all sounds very familiar – and not dissimilar to what we do at Mass. After the Gospel is read, the priest takes time to reflect upon the reading and to help us understand the meaning. Jesus does it too! In the Good News of Luke's Gospel: “Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee. He came to Nazara, where he had been brought up and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day as he usually did. He stood up to read, and they handed him the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.” Our Liturgy of the Word during the Mass is God speaking to us, just as he did when Ezra read from the Law of God, and as Jesus did when he read from the Book of Isaiah in the synagogue. When we listen to the words of scripture we are in the presence of God himself. Just as when we come to receive the Holy Sacrament of Communion we are receiving Jesus, who is the foremost guest at every Eucharistic celebration.

As we emerge from tighter Covid restrictions over the coming weeks, please be aware of those for whom this brings additional challenges. The Bishop of London, who leads the Church of England's Covid Recovery Group has said: “We note the Government's announcement regarding the ending of Plan B measures from next week and will review our advice as soon as detailed guidance is published.” Please continue to observe the measures that are currently in place regarding socially distanced seating, hand sanitising and the wearing of masks. We are not out of the woods just yet!

The First Mass of Sunday is on Saturday 22nd January at 6.00pm. The Parish Mass for The Third Sunday in Ordinary Time is at 10.30am on Sunday 23rd January.

David Griffiths