Weekly Bulletin w/b 28th February. Second Sunday of Lent.

Almighty God, you show to those who are in error the light of your truth, that they may return to the way of righteousness: grant to all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ’s religion, that they may reject those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as are agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Readings at Mass

1st Reading. Genesis 17:1-7; 15-16

The Old Testament readings for Lent this year are encouraging us to think about covenants: God’s covenant with us, his people. Last week we had the covenant with Noah, this week we have the covenant with Abraham, next week will be the covenant with Moses. Covenants are about promises and obligations between two parties but in the case of both Noah and Abraham the duties are all on one side – God’s. God promises huge things to both of them and asks almost nothing in return save faith and trust. God’s covenant with Abraham involves a journey of faith where, step by step, Abraham learns to trust God.

2nd Reading. Romans 4: 13-end

Paul teaches us that God’s covenantal promise to Abraham is fulfilled because of the one who makes the promise-God himself, ‘who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that did not exist’. It is the very nature of God the giver, that guarantees the gift, not the nature or acts of Abraham, the receiver. The only things Abraham must do is to recognise what God is like and trust him to be able to fulfil the promises he makes.

Gospel. St Mark 8:31-end

The challenge that Jesus makes to the disciples and to us, is to make the self-giving love revealed on the cross, the principle and guiding force and pattern of our lives too: ‘take up your cross and follow me’; ‘love one another as I have loved you’. When we do this, God’s promise is that we, like Abraham, will have the chance to be parents to millions, bringing them into the family and the life of God.

Reflection

Although the testing in the desert remains an element of our keeping of Lent, ultimately the Lent story is not a wilderness story, but a journey. It is the story of Jesus walking with his cross until he comes to Calvary, though to get there we may well walk through the desert and find it a strangely purifying place to be. The Lent invitation is not to stand still for too long in the wilderness, but to try and keep up with Jesus as he walks resolutely towards that goal. All the way he walks, not with a glum face like one who goes to his doom, but with the joy of the one who does his Father’s will and who knows that the cross will become a source of life and peace.

As we follow Jesus the principal outcome we are looking for in Lent is growth growth in faith, growth in discipleship, growth in wisdom, growth in Christ-likeness, growth in love of God and one another and, in a particular sense, of self. We are learning to be God’s people once again. As the weeks of Lent go by, it is growth that God wants to see in us and we want to see in ourselves. (Michael Perham)

As the days lengthen and the earth spends longer in the light of day grant that we may spend longer in the light of your presence, O Lord. And may those seeds of your Word, which have been long buried within us grow, like everything around us, into love for you and love for people; to become a visible declaration of your Lordship in our life. Grant, Father, that this Lent may be a springtime for our life in Christ. Amen

Daily Prayer

Let’s continue to join together each day in a fellowship of prayer in union with Christ our Lord who unites us to him and to one another wherever we are.

Every day at St Gabriel’s: 8am Morning Prayer; 6pm Evening Prayer; Mass 8am Wednesday; Mass recorded on Friday for Sunday and available on our Facebook page from Saturday onwards; Mass 9.30am Sunday. Join with us at these times or any time that’s a good time for you.

You might like to begin your morning prayer with:

Blessed are you God of compassion and mercy, to you be praise and glory for ever. In the darkness of our sin, your light breaks forth like the dawn and your healing springs up for deliverance. As we rejoice in the gift of your saving help, sustain us with your bountiful Spirit and open our lips to sing your praise, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Blessed be God for ever.

and your evening prayer with:

Blessed are you, Sovereign God, Shepherd of your pilgrim people: their pillar of cloud by day, their pillar of fire by night. Stir up in us the fire of your love which shone forth from your Son enthroned on the cross, that we may be cleansed of all our sins and be made ready to come into your presence, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Blessed be God for ever.

Keep in touch … with one another and remember those who are living alone and contact them. Fr Mark can be contacted at any time by phone 464011 or email mark.griffiths35@btinternet.com. Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

News … any news or items you want included in our bulletin please send to Paul Reynolds. Many thanks.