Jesus feeds the people

Today’s Gospel begins with a crowd. They have followed Jesus to the far side of the Sea of Galilee, to hear his teaching. Jesus knows that the people need to eat, and so he provides them with food. Five loaves and two fish, brought by a small boy, become enough to feed a crowd of five thousand people, through the miracle that Jesus works.

This Gospel reveals Jesus’ care for the people. He doesn’t leave them hungry – in fact, he provides an abundance of food, with twelve baskets of scraps left over. It must have been a remarkable occasion – a great picnic that people would remember for a long time afterwards. The people were united in sharing the food that Jesus had given them.

The miracle of the Feeding of the Five Thousand prefigures our celebration of the Eucharist. Jesus showed his love for the people by giving them food, and he shows his love for us by feeding us with his Body and Blood in Holy Communion. As he was generous in providing abundant food for the crowd, so he is generous in his love for us. Just as the five thousand were brought together by sharing the food that Jesus gave them, we should be brought together by our sharing in the celebration of Mass – this is another meaning of ‘communion.’ Our celebration doesn’t end when we leave the church – Jesus calls to remain in communion, by our care for each other.

God’s love for us is generous and not stingy. Jesus provided food for a great crowd of people, and he provides for us at Mass. And he calls to show the same generous love to one another.

Sunday 25th July

Fr Emmanuel Mbeh, a Mill Hill Missionary, will celebrate both Masses at St Cuthbert’s. Fr Emmanuel is not coming to make an appeal, but to tell us about the work of Missio and to thank you for your support. Please give him a warm welcome. Fr Emmanuel will also celebrate the 6:30pm Mass on Sunday 1st August.

Public Masses at St Cuthbert’s

We have now moved to Step 4 of the Government’s Covid-19 Response Roadmap. It is still our responsibility to make sure that our church is safe for all those who attend. In the light of the current high rates of infection in the Diocese of Hexham & Newcastle, and the elderly demographic of our Diocese, Bishop Robert has asked us to retain all of the COVID control measures and cleaning protocols that are currently in force in all our churches and church halls until at least the end of August 2021. The situation will be reviewed after that.

Please help us to keep everyone safe at St Cuthbert’s:

  • Book a place to attend Sunday Mass, by emailing or by telephoning 0191 384 3442. You do not need to book for weekday Masses, but you must provide Track & Trace details.
  • Wear a face covering in church, unless you are exempt.
  • Sanitise your hands on entering and leaving church.
  • Maintain social distancing in church.
  • Congregational singing and sharing the Sign of Peace are still not permitted.
  • Follow the present procedure for receiving Holy Communion. If you wish to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, please wait until the end of the Communion line, to minimise the risk of infection.
  • The obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended. 

Thank you to the volunteer cleaners, who have enabled us to continue celebrating public Mass each day. If you could join the cleaning rota, please contact Ciara by email. 


Red Mission Boxes

Please bring in your mission boxes for emptying and counting by 15th August. You can leave them in the sacristy and they will normally be available to be picked up afresh from the porch the following week. If you do not already have one but would like to have a red box in support of the missions, please contact Andy Doyle (0798 543 4185 or Alternatively, as cash seems to be less popular in today’s society, you can donate direct to Missio via their website at

Society of Saint Gregory Annual Summer School of liturgy and music

4 – 6 August, via Zoom. This year’s theme is ‘The God Who Speaks: Celebrating, living and sharing God’s Word’ The invited speakers, Sr. Margaret Atkins, Fleur Dorrell, Bob Hurd, Nicholas King SJ, David McLoughlin, Dan Schutte and Dr. Gemma Simmonds CJ, will explore all the different ways that God speaks to us. Bishop Peter Brignall, the initiator of ‘The God Who Speaks’, will introduce two days of prayer, contemplation, discussion and debate and there will be liturgies with music. Details and bookings at

North East Churches Acting Together – Environmental Conference

Saturday 4th September, 9.30am-1.30pm, on Zoom. For church members who are interested in Care for Creation, impacts of Climate Change, practical steps to becoming an Eco Church and taking action here in the North-East. The day will feature breakout discussion rooms and stories linked to action, practical advice and support. Book at

Like sheep without a shepherd

Today’s Gospel begins with a sense of excitement. Last week, Jesus sent his twelve apostles out to preach, teach and heal the sick. Today, we see them return, eager to tell Jesus all that they have done. Their mission has been a success – there are crowds of people following Jesus, so many coming and going that the apostles don’t even have time to eat. Jesus’ first concern is for his apostles – they need to take time out and rest. But even that turns out to be impossible. Jesus and his disciples escape to a lonely place by boat, but the crowd follows them on foot!

When Jesus sees the crowd that has followed him, he doesn’t react with anger or annoyance. He takes pity on the people. He can see that they are lost and confused, ‘like sheep without a shepherd,’ so he takes time to teach them.

Many people today feel just as lost and confused. There are many ‘shepherds’ who will offer to lead us, but often they are preaching hatred and division. These false shepherds have no concern for the people, and are only pursuing their own interests, like the shepherds whom the prophet Jeremiah denounces in today’s First Reading. The people of Jesus’ time were drawn to him, because they saw his care and compassion for them. The people of our time, too, need to hear about the love of Jesus.

Lay Dominican Group

 A small group of Lay Dominicans meets on the third Sunday of each month at 2:30pm – currently on Zoom – for about 60-75 minutes. We have a blend of prayer and of discussion as we consider what it means to bring the Word of God into our daily living.

This year is the 800th anniversary of the death of St. Dominic, and at our meeting on Sunday 18th July we will be looking at the Arca of St. Dominic, where he is buried, in Bologna.

If you would like to know more about the Lay Dominicans or would like to join our Zoom meeting on Sunday 18th July contact Andy Doyle ( or 0798 543 4185).  

Take nothing for the journey

How do Jesus’ apostles feel, when he sends them out to preach? They haven’t known Jesus for very long. Probably, they don’t really understand him or his teaching yet. And now, Jesus is sending them out to become teachers themselves.

The disciples don’t travel alone; Jesus sends them out in pairs, so that they can support and help each other. But he tells them to travel light, without money, food or spare clothes. Wherever they go, they will have to rely on the kindness of strangers.

The apostles preached repentance – the change of heart that brings God’s forgiveness for sins – and they brought healing for the sick. Most of all, though, they would share with the people their own experience of meeting Jesus, and how he had changed their lives. They were witnesses to Jesus, bringing Good News.

Today, Jesus sends us out to witness to him. Like the twelve apostles, we are not alone – we are members of the Church. We may feel that we have nothing in our pockets; no learning or wisdom to give to others. But, like the apostles, we can talk about how we have met Jesus, and the difference that he has made to us. We can share with others the forgiveness and healing that we have received ourselves. That’s what Jesus asks of us; to share the Good News that we have received

Too big for his boots?

We’re not always ready to celebrate the success of others. Instead, we may be tempted to knock them down, with a comment like, ‘He’s got too big for his boots.’

In today’s Gospel, Jesus returns to his home town of Nazareth, and begins to teach in the synagogue. The reaction of the townspeople – Jesus’ neighbours – is striking. They don’t deny that Jesus is teaching with wisdom. They can’t deny the miracles that he has worked. And yet, they refuse to believe in him. He is just a working man, a carpenter, and his relatives still live in the town. Where do his power and wisdom come from? Who does he think he is?

Jesus is amazed at the people’s lack of faith, but he reminds them that the prophets were often rejected, as we see in today’s First Reading from the book of Ezekiel. If the prophet brings a message that challenges us, it’s easier to reject the messenger than to accept the challenge.

Jesus can work no miracles in his home town, because of his neighbours’ lack of faith. He is bringing Good News to his own people, but they don’t want to hear it. The story challenges us to look at our own prejudices. What might be preventing us from hearing the Good News and welcoming Christ into our lives?

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