’My God, my God, why have you deserted me?’

Today we hear the story of Jesus’ suffering and death; a story of one betrayal after another. Judas sits at the table at the Last Supper, knowing that he has already promised to hand Jesus over for money. Peter, James and John can’t stay awake while Jesus, desperately afraid, is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. All of the disciples run away when he is arrested. Peter denies three times that he even knows his friend. The chief priests bring false evidence against him. Pilate knows that Jesus is innocent, but has him crucified out of fear of the crowd. In the end, Jesus feels that even his Father has abandoned him, as he cries out in the words of the Psalm: ‘My God, my God, why have you deserted me?’ He is absolutely alone. God is silent.

God was silent but not absent. On Easter Sunday, the Father raised Jesus up. The last word was not death, but life; not condemnation, but glory. 

Jesus is still being crucified today. Whenever people are betrayed, bullied, falsely accused or tortured, he suffers with them. And God promises to raise up all those who suffer. God will have the last word and the last word is life.

Foot Washing

If any member of the parish or chaplaincy communities are willing to take part in the foot-washing at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday Evening (28th March, 7pm), then please sign up on the list on the noticeboard or let Fr Andrew or Andy Doyle know. Remember that even St Peter was reluctant to have his feet washed (John 13:8) – but relented!

Holy Week Volunteers

If you can help with welcoming, reading or administering Holy Communion at our Holy Week and Easter services, please sign up on the rota on the noticeboard as soon as you can. We need lots of volunteers to avoid overloading just a few people and to ensure that our liturgies are celebrated with dignity, reverence and joy. Members of both the parish and chaplaincy communities are invited to volunteer, so please do sign up.

Lent – Donation of craft materials for Family Days, Low Newton

Nepacs is a local charity supporting prisoners and their families in the North East. For children attending Family Days at Low Newton activities are provided by Nepacs staff and volunteers to make them as happy and relaxed as possible. Supporting family contact helps during difficult times and is important in reducing the risk of reoffending. During Lent please put any of the following items in the labelled box in the Narthex. All donations will be very gratefully received. 

Canvases – medium sized (to do handprints of mother and child), Assorted buttons – for button art, Sharpie Pens / Biro pens / Sellotape / Double sided Sellotape, Ready mixed paints (child friendly), Coloured Card – A4 / Various stickers/ Tissue paper – all colours, Plastic sur cissors – no metal at all, Glue Sticks / glue spreaders / Colouring books / Tracing books, Blank trinket boxes – decorate their own, Plain white cheap t-shirts– age 5 – 10 years (they design their own t-shirts), Plain White baseball caps – (they design their own)

Parish visit to Auckland Castle, Gardens and the Faith Museum

The parish is planning a visit to Auckland Castle, gardens and the Faith Museum on Thursday 11th April. The group admission fee is £17.10 per person, although anyone who already has an Unlimited Pass would be able to use that to enter free of charge. Anyone who is interested should give their name to Helen Schofield after Mass or get in touch via the parish office office@stcuthberts-durham.org.uk or 0191 3843442, before Monday 25th March.

An important notice for existing Gift Aid Donors

As the parish’s financial year is drawing to a close, we will soon be compiling our Gift Aid return. If donors have signed up for Gift Aid but now believe that they will not have paid sufficient income tax to cover the Gift Aid on their donations (e.g. if you have donated £400 over the year, then you must have paid Income Tax or Capital Gains Tax of at least £100 over the same year) then please let Fr Andrew or Andy Doyle know as soon as possible. Also, if any donors have changed address in the last year and have not already informed the parish or the Gift Aid team at the Diocesan Offices then, again, please let Fr Andrew or Andy Doyle know.

If a grain of wheat falls on the ground and dies, it yields a rich harvest

As we come closer to the feast of Easter, today’s reading from John’s Gospel shows Jesus calmly preparing to face his death. He tells his disciples that ‘the hour has come.’ He will give his life on the Cross and his death and resurrection will open the way to eternal life for us.

Jesus says that in his death, he will be glorified and he will glorify his Father. It may seem a strange saying. How can such a brutal and shameful death be glorious? On the Cross, God’s love for us is fully revealed. God gives his only Son for us. Jesus does not try to escape the Cross, but gives his life freely, in obedience to his Father. As he says, ‘it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour.’ Both Father and Son are glorified in Jesus’ sacrifice of himself – the wheat grain that falls to the ground and dies, yielding a rich harvest.

Jesus makes it clear to his disciples that anyone who follows him must also be prepared to sacrifice themselves; ‘Wherever I am, my servant will be there too.’ Jesus gives himself, freely and completely, to save us. He challenges us to follow his example and give ourselves for him.

CAFOD Big Walk 2024

Cafod Big Walk 2024 – starting 2pm-meet outside church on Saturday 23rd March – In partnership with parishioners from other local churches a walk of about 5km to raise money for Charity. Participants are requested to make a donation. For anyone wishing to get sponsors for Cafod the form can be downloaded from the link below. Scroll down to ‘Resources’. https://cafod.org.uk/fundraise/sponsored-challenge-events/community-big-lent-walk.

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