Newsletter - March 04, 2012
04 March 2012 SECOND SUNDAY OF LENT
In last Sunday’s gospel, we read of Jesus tested / tempted by the devil in the desert. In our first reading today, we see Abraham tested. He is asked by God to kill his own son Isaac.
I find this story very difficult to take at the face of it. God could be seen as a vengeful God; Abraham seen as a murderer; Isaac as the ultimate victim. But there is one redeeming truth.
It is a known fact that ritual murder and human sacrifice were common practice among the people of the region. In the story of Abraham, human sacrifice appears to be what God wants, but turns out to be what God actually abolishes. The angel intervenes and stops the ritual slaughter of a human being, Isaac, and an animal is sacrifice instead. Thus animal sacrifice replaces human sacrifice, just as bread and wine will replace animal sacrifice. Here we see humane progress; but it still leaves us with the fact that Jesus gave his life for us – he made the ultimate sacrifice out of love for us.
The gospel gives the beautiful story of the Transfiguration. Jesus there on the mountain with Peter, James and John visited by Moses and Elijah. Peter wants to stay: “Lord, it is wonderful for us to be here!” But then the cloud came … the moment of Jesus glory was gone and Jesus is now heading for Jerusalem and the story of his betrayal, suffering, death and resurrection begins to unfold. These are the events we are preparing to celebrate in 5 weeks time. We are invited to reflect, pray and put into action the best possible preparation. One of the best ways we can prepare is to recognise that the betrayal and passion of Jesus is taking place in our day. When we are helping our brothers and sisters, as Jesus said “you did it to / for me!” Here is the motivation and meaning of all our prayers and actions.
CATHOLICS – BBC4: The two documentaries so far missed the opportunity to present the real face of the Church, Catholics and Priests in this country. I ask: “how typical is St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Primary School in Chipping, Lancashire in comparison to other R.C. schools?” No comparison – a false image is given right away. We know there is a difference but do 1000’s of ordinary public watching the programme know? Likewise with the first programme on ‘Priests’. It is unfair to ask a student who has just walked through the door, to present worthwhile information on the work of a priest. If a different title like “Seminary Training of Priests” and An R.C. school in Chipping”, ok; but do not present the programmes as the face of the Catholic Church in the UK. You may have different views!
That’s all for now. Have a good week. Fr. Joe