News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th March 2022: The First Sunday of Lent
The dreadful situation that has developed over the past seven days in the Ukraine cannot fail to have affected us all. Whilst we may be holding our Eastern European sisters and brothers in our prayers, and giving to the Disasters Emergency Committee or contributing clothes, toiletries and foodstuffs to local organisations who are sending supplies to refugees who have been forced to leave their homes – in effect, like many nations around the world, we feel powerless against the might of tyranny.
In our first scripture reading from the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses describes the plight of the Israelites: “The Egyptians ill-treated us, they gave us no peace and inflicted harsh slavery on us. But we called on the Lord, the God of our fathers. The Lord heard our voice and saw our misery, our toil and our oppression; and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with mighty hand and outstretched arm, with great terror, and with signs and wonders.”. One cannot help but be moved by the images of Ukrainian Christians praying for an end to oppression – just as the Israelites would have done at the hands of the Egyptians.
Great Lent begins on Monday 7th March, the equivalent for Orthodox Christians to our Ash Wednesday. There are many similarities between the Orthodox Lent and our Western Christian tradition. Repentance is universal. There is no doubt – we are all tempted and we all too easily stray from the path of right. In the Good News from the Gospel according to Luke, Jesus also is tempted, but manages to turn to scripture when the devil tries to influence him. “It has been said: You must not put the Lord your God to the test.” Whatever we have chosen to do this Lent, it is likely that we too will be tempted . We are only human after all. But as Saint Paul writes in his letter to the Romans: “If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved.” Let us make a concerted effort to keep the name of Jesus on our lips and the will of God in our hearts, as we carry our heavy load, and those of our Ukranian sisters and brothers, to the cross of Calvary this Lent.
The first Mass of Sunday is on Saturday 5th March at 6.00pm. Parish Mass is on Sunday 6th March at 10.30am.
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”