8th March - Third Sunday of Lent (B)
Sunday Mass Readings
Click the banner to visit the Lent 2015 Resources page.
The Bishops have written a joint letter to all Catholics in England and Wales encouraging us to participate and vote in the election and offering some key issues and questions for reflection on where candidates stand. Copies will be available this Sunday in the porch, or by clicking the image and can also be obtained with other information from the Bishops’ Conference website: catholicnews.org.uk.
Please read the letter and encourage others to do the same.
Canon Luke writes . . .
On this 3rd Sunday of Lent we consider another facet of God’s Covenant in the Old Testament: the giving of the Law to Moses. The decalogue (10 commandments) in the common mind is so often reduced to mere prohibition but in essence it is a rule for living in right relationship with God and with our neighbour. The book of Exodus illustrates that the commandments were an essential part of the covenant God made with his people in the desert; this is reflected in the gospel of today’s liturgy, because it is a call to a worship that is authentic, through the renunciation of the false securities we are tempted to put in the place of God.
Christ does not come to destroy the Law or the temple, but to reveal and fulfil its true purpose in God’s saving plan. He is the one whom the prophets predicted would come to purify the temple making it a house of prayer for all peoples (Zechariah 14:21; Malachi 3:1-5; Isaiah 56:7).
Our Lord’s actions boldly and unequivocally proclaim the primary function of God’s ‘house’ as a place of encounter with the living God not a market place or a status symbol of the religious leaders. Although the commercial activity associated with temple worship: the purchase of animals for sacrifice and the conversion of money to pay the Temple tax was inevitable it was obvious that traders and the temple authorities alike had forgotten that this activity was a means to an end and not an end in itself. Similarly the religious leaders obsessed with the material edifice of the temple and maintaining the status quo, fail to understand our Lord and his words. Christ in himself renews the relationship between God and his people, He alone is the means by which are enabled to worship in Spirit and truth as the Father desires (John 4:23-24).
Our Lord’s body offered on the cross and raised up three days later is the new and true sanctuary; from the temple of His body, flow streams of living water, the Spirit of grace that makes each of us a temple (1 Corinthians 3:16), and unites us as a dwelling place of God (Ephesians 2:22). He is the ‘sign’ that caused Jewish leaders to stumble, and the pagans to wonder, as St Paul tells us in the Epistle; but for us he is ‘the power and the wisdom of God’. This is the reality we proclaim
and encounter in every celebration of the Mass; the sacrifice that challenges and enables us to live in right relationship with God and our neighbour.
We could foolishly think that incident in the gospel does not really concern me; I am not a temple trader or one of the religious authorities! The situation may not be ours but the attitudes may well be! Our Lord lashes out against the attitudes of greed and selfishness which alienate us from God and the things of God. He discloses the short-sightedness of those who insist on the letter of the law but not living its meaning.
Our hope for salvation is not found in either doggedly following the outward observance of the law (the pride of self-sufficiency) or in material wealth (greed) but in the sacrifice of Christ, who alone is the ‘power and the wisdom of God,’ the one, as the psalm proclaims, who has ’the message of eternal life’
Let us trustingly invite the Lord to cleanse the temple that we are!
"...JESUS CHRIST, THE BEGINNING AND THE END...
ALL TIME BELONGS TO HIM... AND ALL THE AGES..."
These words on the doors of the Church porch express perfectly the purpose of our parish. We are
a community centred round the Lord Jesus.
Saint Francis' Parish in the heart of Maidstone was founded in 1859 and since then has been the heart of the Catholic community in the Maidstone area. From it was founded the parishes of Saint Thomas More, West Malling; Holy Family, Park Wood; and Saint Peter's Bearsted. In addition to the mother church there are Mass Centres at St Luke's, Preston Hall, and at St Mary's Anglican Church at Nettlestead.
Today the faith which inspired its foundation almost 150 years ago continues to find its expression in a lively community bringing together people of many races all united by their love of God. It is this love which calls us all to work together to build up our community and to care for all in need.
I would like to welcome all who visit our website and hope you share something of our vision for the future of the church and parish.
Canon Luke - Parish Priest
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