Category Archives: Announcements

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?

Icons of the Northern Saints

An exhibition of icons of well-loved Northern saints from Anglo-Saxon to Elizabethan times.

The icons reflect people of faith from every walk of life – from housewives to kings, from hermits to bishops.  They were “written” by a group of keen amateur iconographers at the Oaklea Centre in Sunderland.  Icon workshops are held there every year and have attracted a number of enthusiastic followers.

The exhibition ends this Sunday 4th July in St Joseph’s Chapel, Ushaw. Free with entry pass.

A healing touch

In today’s Gospel, we hear two stories of healing. A girl only twelve years old – she’s about to become an adult, but she’s at the point of death – and an adult woman who has suffered for twelve years from a painful and debilitating condition. In each case, it is faith that opens the way for Jesus to heal them. The little girl’s father, Jairus, is an official of the synagogue; a man who holds an important position in society. But he sets aside his status and his dignity, and begs Jesus to come to his daughter, believing that he has power to make her well. The woman reaches out to touch Jesus’ cloak as he passes, believing that this will be enough to cure her – and she is proved right.

Their faith prompts Jesus’ care and compassion for them. The woman is told, ‘Your faith has healed you – go in peace.’ The young girl is brought back from death and returned to her parents. God’s will is for every one of us to be alive and healthy, as we hear in today’s First Reading from the book of Wisdom. 

Under the ritual rules of the Law, to touch a sick person, or a dead body, was to make yourself unclean. Jesus ignores such rules. The woman is healed by touching him, and he takes the young girl by the hand and restores her to life. We are all in need of Jesus’ healing touch, and all we have to do is reach out to him in faith.

Please Pray

Please pray for Rev Luke Wilkinson, who will be ordained a priest for our diocese this Tuesday, 29th June, at 6pm at St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle. Due to Covid restrictions, attendance at the Ordination Mass is by invitation only, but you can watch a live stream on the Cathedral’s YouTube channel. 

Master, do you not care?

Jesus’ disciples were experienced fishermen, used to sailing on the Sea of Galilee with its changeable weather. But even they were frightened when a sudden gale and storm blew up. They feared for their lives, and they woke up Jesus, who was asleep in the boat. How could he sleep through such a frightening storm? Did he not care? When Jesus calmed the wind and the sea with a word, his disciples were amazed. ‘Who can this be?’ they asked. They knew that only God has power over the forces of nature, and now they saw that Jesus was exercising that power.

Our own lives can seem as stormy and uncertain as the Sea of Galilee. Like the disciples, struggling to stay afloat in a tiny boat, we may feel afraid as we look into the future. Like them, we might want to ask Jesus, ‘Master, do you not care?’ Jesus asks us to believe and to trust in him. He does care, and he is never far from us; in fact, he is closest to us at the most stormy times. Jesus has power to calm the storms that threaten us. We only have to have faith in him

Sowing the seed

We all love a good story. A story makes us think, and stimulates our imagination. Jesus often used stories – parables – as a way to get the attention of the people. He wanted his teaching not only to enter their heads, but their hearts, too.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells two little parables about seeds. Many of those listening  were farmers. They knew what it was to plant seed and to wait anxiously, watching for the rain and the sunshine, hoping that the crops would grow. It would seem like a miracle when the precious crops grew and ripened and the harvest was ready at last. Jesus’ disciples knew, too, how a tiny mustard seed could grow into a tough and straggly plant.

What does the seed in the parables represent? It could stand for Jesus’ own teaching. Starting with a few disciples, he had now gathered a crowd of followers. The kingdom of God was growing, and it would go on growing. The tiny seed that Jesus planted has sprouted until, today, his disciples are all over the world. Or, the seed could stand for our own response to Jesus’ teaching; our words and actions of love. Whenever we show our care for one another and witness to our faith, we are planting seeds of the kingdom of God, and the Lord will make them grow.