Gospel for 20th October

Living Eucharist

Luke 12:39-48

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what hour the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house. You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

Peter said, ‘Lord, do you mean this parable for us, or for everyone?’ The Lord replied, ‘What sort of steward, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their allowance of food at the proper time? Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you truly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time coming,” and sets about beating the…

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Gospel for 19th October

Living Eucharist

Luke 12:36-38

Jesus said to his disciples:
‘See that you are dressed for action and have your lamps lit. Be like men waiting for their master to return from the wedding feast, ready to open the door as soon as he comes and knocks. Happy those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. I tell you solemnly, he will put on an apron, sit them down at table and wait on them. It may be in the second watch he comes, or in the third, but happy those servants if he finds them ready.’

Acknowledgements

Translation of Scriptures:The Jerusalem Bible © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.

Photograph © Allen Morris, 2018. Mould for upper half of oil lamp. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.

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Gospel for 18th October

Living Eucharist

Luke 10:1-9

The Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them out ahead of him, in pairs, to all the towns and places he himself was to visit. He said to them, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest. Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road. Whatever house you go into, let your first words be, “Peace to this house!” And if a man of peace lives there, your peace will go and rest on him; if not, it will come back to you. Stay in the same house, taking what food and drink they have to offer, for the labourer deserves his wages; do not move from house to house. Whenever you go into a…

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Pastoral Letter for the 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

PASTORAL LETTER OF THE MOST REVEREND BERNARD LONGLEY, ARCHBISHOP OF BIRMINGHAM

The Son of Man himself did not come to be served but to serve.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The sudden onset of the pandemic in the early spring of last year and the impact it has made over the past eighteen months on every aspect of our life, here and across the world, have confronted us as never before in our lifetimes with the phenomenon of change.  The Church, its day-to-day life and its ministry have not been spared the change which has transformed wider society. Yet the Church, in the way it has risen to the multiple challenges the pandemic has brought, has also become an agent of change.  

In adapting speedily to the new circumstances, parish communities have been busy developing fresh approaches to keep their mission on track.  We can be proud of the way that parishioners have adjusted, keeping our churches open so that priests and people could remain focused on parochial ministry.  With our recent experience of change and readjustment across the Archdiocese, and with an eye to what is happening across the world, I am inviting you to consider changes that are imminent across the whole Catholic Church.

In mid-July I wrote to welcome-back to Church those whom the pandemic had made cautious about attending Mass in person.  I took the opportunity of alerting you to ways in which I hoped the drafting of a diocesan mission statement and the setting of four practical pastoral priorities would make the renewal of our parish life and the apostolic outreach of the Archdiocese more focused and effective.  

My last Pastoral Letter introduced you to the idea of a diocesan plan, indicating how it will get off the ground. I set out the four priorities of Evangelisation, Formation, Liturgy and Worship and Social Outreach, emphasising families and young people and the call to serve in a co-responsible manner.  I invited you to participate actively in making this a reality, and to dream about how the parish community you know and love might work and witness today.

The synodal pathway is a call to discern what it means to be the Church – how we live and minister today.  This begins with listening – listening to the faithful in our parishes, to those who exercise a ministry or fulfil some role in the day-to-day running of the parish, to those who attend Mass and support the parish’s work and to people in wider society – often fellow Christians of other denominations or families whose children attend our Catholic schools and who live in our locality.  

Our priests are invited to listen to their flock. We must allow the word of God and the teaching of the Church to influence and shape what we say.  We must all pray, listen to the Holy Spirit and discern. The Spirit is the ultimate arbiter of any dreams, proposals or plans.

Pope Francis has acknowledged the need for change in the way that the Church lives and undertakes its mission. He has a vision for the universal Church of tomorrow.  He wants us all to dream.  The Second Vatican Council defined the Church as the pilgrim people of God, a community on a journey, and now the Holy Father has asked us to embrace the synodal pathway so that, travelling together as the priestly people of God, we can make that dream come true.   

We can all respond to the Holy Father’s invitation, secure in the knowledge that whatever shape it takes or whatever new profile emerges, the Lord “will be with you all days, even to the close of the age” [Mt. 28, 20].  What is novel, indeed startling, in the Pope’s invitation is that he is speaking to the whole Church, to every baptized person and even to people whose lives have been as yet untouched by Christian faith.  

In order to help all the baptized, lay men and women, consecrated Religious, priests, deacons and bishops, to understand more clearly what the synodal pathway involves, Pope Francis has identified three essential elements of the process: communion, participation and mission.  In order to introduce you to the synodal pathway and to encourage your full involvement as the process unfolds at parish level, I want to explore the three central elements identified by the Holy Father.

Communion becomes possible when we recognise one another as children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ, belonging to a family which draws its life from the Holy Spirit, whose plans for us we discern through sustained, contemplative prayer.  We are co-responsible for the Church’s current wellbeing and its future, which can only prosper if we are committed here and now.

Participation depends upon an understanding of the Church’s nature, its history, its tradition, its beliefs and its mission to the world of today. It is enriched by our desire to be involved and to offer the charisms, gifts, talents and abilities we have for the service of our Lord and of our society, putting the common good ahead of our personal views. Participation is conditional on embracing the Creed, receiving the sacraments and celebrating the Sunday eucharist – being at one with the heart and mind of the Church.

Mission depends upon the burning desire to spread the Good News for the sake of the good it will do to those who hear it and the enrichment it will bring to the quality of human life.  It involves outreach to those who have never heard the Gospel and to those hurt or disappointed people who have parted company with us along the way. It equips us to speak in the public square about the things of God, wherever people are ready to listen.

This Sunday is a day of prayer for the Holy Spirit to come down upon the Church as it embraces the synodal way, launched last Sunday at St. Peter’s by the Holy Father, and now taking root in the parishes of the Archdiocese.  Initially it will be a time of reflection and prayer, a prolonged period for sharing our joys, hopes and fears, so that, listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying to the churches, we may articulate a vision of the Church which will make the kingdom of God a reality in our world.

The synodal pathway embraces our four diocesan priorities and it will work with them.  Practical help will be on hand in the weeks ahead, with advice about how to become involved.

Thank you for being ready to discern how the Church can fulfil its mission in the profoundly changed world of today so that Christ can be at the centre of fashioning a better world for tomorrow.

Yours devotedly in Christ

+ Bernard Longley
Archbishop of Birmingham

  • To read more about the Synod click here.
  • To contribute to first thoughts about how we might best engage with the continuing process, you are invited either to email Fr Allen, or to take part in either of the forthcoming (brief!) open parish meetings live in the Benedict Room (Sat 30 Oct @ 10) or on-line (Sun 31 Oct @5.30) (Zoom details available nearer the time)

Gospel for 17th October

Living Eucharist

29th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Mark 10:35-45

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached Jesus. ‘Master,’ they said to him ‘we want you to do us a favour.’ He said to them, ‘What is it you want me to do for you?’ They said to him, ‘Allow us to sit one at your right hand and the other at your left in your glory.’ ‘You do not know what you are asking’ Jesus said to them. ‘Can you drink the cup that I must drink, or be baptised with the baptism with which I must be baptised?’ They replied, ‘We can.’ Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I must drink you shall drink, and with the baptism with which I must be baptised you shall be baptised, but as for seats at my right hand or my left, these are not mine to grant; they belong to those…

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Gospel for 16th October

Living Eucharist

Luke 12:8-12

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘I tell you, if anyone openly declares himself for me in the presence of men, the Son of Man will declare himself for him in the presence of the angels. But the man who disowns me in the presence of men will be disowned in the presence of God’s angels.

‘Everyone who says a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

‘When they take you before synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how to defend yourselves or what to say, because when the time comes, the Holy Spirit will teach you what you must say.’

Acknowledgements

Translation of Scriptures:The Jerusalem Bible © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.

Photograph © Allen Morris…

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Gospel for 15th October

Living Eucharist

Luke 12:1-7

The people had gathered in their thousands so that they were treading on one another.

And Jesus began to speak, first of all to his disciples. ‘Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees – that is, their hypocrisy. Everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. For this reason, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in hidden places will be proclaimed on the housetops.

‘To you my friends I say: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. I will tell you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has the power to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Can you not buy five sparrows for two pennies? And yet not…

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Gospel for 14th October

Living Eucharist

Luke 11:47-54

Jesus said: ‘Alas for you who build the tombs of the prophets, the men your ancestors killed! In this way you both witness what your ancestors did and approve it; they did the killing, you do the building.
‘And that is why the Wisdom of God said, “I will send them prophets and apostles; some they will slaughter and persecute, so that this generation will have to answer for every prophet’s blood that has been shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was murdered between the altar and the sanctuary.” Yes, I tell you, this generation will have to answer for it all.
‘Alas for you lawyers who have taken away the key of knowledge! You have not gone in yourselves, and have prevented others going in who wanted to.’

When he left the house, the scribes…

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Education vacancy

Senior Adviser

(Senior Leadership Recruitment and Training)

Birmingham Diocesan Education Service

Coleshill

Salary: £48,000 to £55,000 per annum dependent on relevant skills and experience

The role of Senior Advisor (Senior Leadership Recruitment and Training) is a new role at the Birmingham Diocesan Education Service. In this time of transformation and innovation we are looking for someone to join our small but high impact team to support the BDES in effectively advising on senior leadership recruitment and selection for protected positions across the Archdiocese as well as supporting aspiring and existing leaders in their faith formation, training and development – ensuring that our shared mission as well as best practice informs all aspects of our work.

http://www.bdes.org.uk/senior-adviser-role.html