St. Mary-the-Virgin, News for Sunday 19th July: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
This Sunday, the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Good News from Matthew's Gospel continues the agricultural theme from last week's Parable of the Sower; and Jesus contines to teach his disciples in parables. First with the Parable of the Wheat and the Darnel, then with the Parable of the Mustard Seed and finally with the Parable of the Yeast. It is difficult for us, living in the suburbs of London, to fully grasp the significance of these stories and all three are worthy of deeper enquiry. Indeed Jesus goes on to explain the meaning of the Parable of the Wheat and the Darnel. But what he does not explain is that Darnel resembles wheat until the ear appears. Thus it is easier to identify at harvest time when the servants can collect it and burn it without disturbing the good crop.
Parables have been used for moral or relgious teaching long before the time of Jesus. They are mentioned in the Book of Isaiah and in the Psalms: “Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable.” but it is not the message of the parables that is as important as the response the listeners make. If we hear the Good News and do nothing, then we are like the crowds who drifted away. But if we are to be more like the disciples, then we must ask and respond when we are called to follow him.
In Luke's Gospel, we are given the words that Jesus spoke at The Last Supper when he broke bread: “Do this in memory of me.” This is his command and whilst we may have been fasting much longer than the 40 days in Lent during “lockdown”, we are now able to be present in person at Mass when we can truly respond to Jesus. In his letter this week, Fr Edward remarks “How lovely it is to see more of you attending the Mass.” The First Mass of Sunday will be offered at 6.00pm on Saturday 18th July. Parish Mass is at 10.30am on Sunday morning. Strict hygiene and social distancing measures are in place, and if you feel more comfortable wearing a face covering, then feel free to do so.
This is a big week for Fr Matthew as he is Licensed as Priest in Charge at St Anselm's, Hayes by Bishop Jonathan. Due to the Covid19 restrictions, places are strictly limited “by ticket only”. If you are unable to be present, please pray for Fr Matthew as he brings his many skills and talents to Hayes Town and the Hillingdon Deanery. Jesus himself teaches us about the importance of prayer, and gives us the words of The Lord's Prayer in the Gospels. No doubt Fr Matthew will be passing on his excellent teaching on The Lord's Prayer to the people of Hayes in due time! We wish Fr Matthew, Catherine and Edmund every success in the future; and let us pray that we may all respond to the teaching in the parables and follow in the footsteps of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.