Fr Frank writes:
My Dear Friends,
Today we begin a new cycle of readings for what the Church calls ‘Ordinary Time’. Ordinary Time begins after Advent and Christmas and continues to the end of the year – interrupted by Lent and Easter, and recommencing after Pentecost and the Feast of the Holy Trinity.
It is in a real sense a new beginning. This is emphasised by the Gospel in which St John the Baptist points to Jesus and says: ‘Look, there is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world’. Familiar words as they have been used as part of the Mass for centuries: Words that point to Jesus, the one who takes our sins upon himself.
It is good to think about the forgiveness that Jesus won for us, because this causes us to look to the future (contemplating new beginnings). True, we need to look back, but only in order to learn from our individual mistakes. We need to be aware of the danger of becoming weighed down or oppressed by guilt, this should have no place in our lives. The whole purpose of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is to remind us that through the death and resurrection of Christ (the Lamb of God), the Eternal Father has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins. The truth is that our past sins, once confessed, are forgiven so that we can put them where they belong – in the past. The Sacrament promotes a reflective attitude, but so that we can learn and thus be set free. It is rightly focussed on our future, on making a new beginning.
Today is also Peace Day. Our history (the history of our world) appears so often to be one of conflict. It is a history whose ‘milestones’ are wars and conflict: we talk, do we not, about ‘Pre-War’ and ‘Post-War’? The world needs all sorts of things as a prelude to peace. It needs justice and greater equality of opportunity, for example. But none of these things goes to the root of the problem. What the world really needs is Christ, the Prince of Peace. ‘Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.’
May the Peace of the Lord be with you always.
Fr Frank ofs
Parishioners arrived at their local church for Morning Worship to discover the doors locked and bolted. There was a note from the Minister: ‘You have been coming here long enough. Now go and do it.’