The Struggle

After his baptism, the Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness. Alone and hungry, he is tempted by the devil. The first temptation is to use his divine powers to meet his own needs, by turning a stone into bread. But Jesus does not waver from his trust in God his Father. The second temptation is to become a secular Messiah and seek worldly, political power. But Jesus is following a different path. Finally, the devil tempts Jesus to do something sensational – a miraculous stunt that will attract the attention of the crowds.

The temptations that Jesus faced in the wilderness were real. In rejecting them, he set himself on the road that his Father had planned for him – to save humanity from our sins by his suffering, death and resurrection. Luke tells us that, at the end of the forty days, the devil left him, ‘to return at the appointed time.’ The struggle between good and evil would come to its terrible climax on Good Friday. The same struggle takes place in the life of each of us. During Lent, we symbolically go into the wilderness with the Lord, and renew our desire to reject temptation and follow him – all the way to the Cross.

Gift Aid

Please read the following important items if your are part of our Gift Aid Scheme. If you are not part of the Scheme and would like to be, then contact Andy Doyle, our Gift Aid Co-Ordinator:

Audit and Review: If you donate via Planned Giving Envelopes, could you please, within the next few weeks, insert a slip of paper with your name into the envelope along with your contribution. This will help us to show auditors that the Gift Aid claim records are being compiled accurately.

Eligibility: If you are part of the Gift Aid scheme, whether through planned giving envelopes or by giving directly through the bank then, for the parish to claim Gift Aid legitimately on your donations, you need to be paying at least £13 per year in Income Tax for each £1 per week you donate. If you are not paying sufficient income tax to cover the amount to be reclaimed from HMRC then please let Andy Doyle know as soon as possible. Andy can be contacted on 0798 543 4185 or andydoyle1066@sky.com.

The Event Roadshow

Spirituality in Times of Trauma: A day led by Bishop John Wilson, Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, who will share his experience and insights on this subject. With workshops, space for reflection and a marketplace offering resources. Saturday 23 March at Ushaw College; 10.15am–3.30pm (refreshments from 9.45am.) Soup & roll lunch provided. To book, contact the Diocesan Department for Spirituality on 0191 243 3302 or email spirituality@diocesehn.org.uk

Mgr Denis Edwards RIP

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Monsignor Denis Edwards, who lived and ministered at St Cuthbert’s in 2007-8 as the first St Cuthbert’s Visiting Fellow in Catholic Theology. Denis died on Monday 4th March after suffering a stroke. He was a priest of the Archdiocese of Adelaide and a distinguished theologian: a Fellow of the International Society for Science and Religion, a member of the International Methodist-Roman Catholic Commission and of the national Australian Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission. He was made a Monsignor by Pope Francis, held the Medal of the Order of Australia, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Fribourg. During his time at St Cuthbert’s, he formed a lasting friendship with Fr Tony Currer, who shared his love for jazz, cricket and Karl Rahner. RIP.

A full obituary for Fr Denis is shown here on the website of Australian Catholic University.

Ash Wednesday

Is this week, a day of Fasting and Abstinence and the beginning of the season of Lent. Mass will be celebrated at St Cuthbert’s at 12.15 and 7.00pm.
Mass will also be celebrated on Ash Wednesday at St Patrick’s, Langley Moor at 9.30am and 7.00pm, St Godric’s School at 9:15am, St Godric’s at 10:00am and St Joseph’s at 7:00pm..

Avoiding the Pit

The images used by Jesus in today’s Gospel hit home. It’s easier to spot the splinter in someone else’s eye – their trivial faults or mistakes – than to acknowledge our own, perhaps far more serious sins. If we have the responsibility of guiding others, we can only find the right way if we first allow the Lord to open our eyes. Otherwise, we fall into the pit of hypocrisy. The Greek word ‘hypocrite’ means an actor – one who wears a mask. If our apparent holiness is a mask, we cannot guide others well. We cannot produce good fruits for Christ unless we have been converted and had our hearts turned to him.
This teaching of Jesus challenges us; not to give up on our responsibility to witness to our faith, to teach and to lead, but to be constantly aware of our own need for God’s mercy. True humility is a sincere recognition of our own weakness and sinfulness. In humility, we can guide and help our fellow disciples, and we can be fruitful.

Palms to Ashes

Ash Wednesday this year is on 6th March. After the 10am Mass on Sunday 3rd March we shall, as is traditional, burn your palm leaves and crosses from last year in order to provide the ashes – so please bring your palms to church and place them in the box provided in the porch.

Mass on Ash Wednesday will be at 12:15pm and 7:00pm.

A Hard Teaching

In today’s Gospel, we hear one of Jesus’ hardest teachings. When we suffer injustice, our instinct is to fight back, even to seek revenge. If we see someone as an enemy, we want to make them suffer. But the Lord calls us to do the opposite: to love our enemies, and to offer no resistance to those who do us violence. It’s an incredibly radical message. We might wonder if it’s even possible to live by such a teaching. But when we look at our world, we see the damage that is done by violence, the will to power and the desire for revenge. Surely someone has to break the cycle, by responding with forgiveness instead of vengeance.

It is impossible to live out this teaching, in human terms. We can only live it by God’s grace. Our example is Jesus himself, who, as he was nailed to the Cross, prayed for his executioners. If we reflect on the mercy and compassion that we ourselves have received from God, perhaps we can learn to show the same compassion to one another.

Diocesan Refugee Project -next collection Sunday 3rd February -toilet rolls and biscuits

A big Thank You for the generous response in February. 93 toilet rolls and 43 packets of biscuits in all that month.
The next collection of these is next Sunday 3 March.
Asylum seekers who have been refused leave to stay lose their homes and all Government funding and are effectively destitute. They may subsequently have their applications granted on appeal but this can take a very long time. There is a Fund to provide some financial support to the destitute and all contributions are gratefully received. If you would like to contribute to this fund please consider starting a standing order or increasing your current one or sending a cheque.
Cheques should be made out to D.H&N Destitute Asylum Fund and sent to Leah Stephenson ,Our Lady of Lourdes Deaf Centre. 2 Summerhill Grove, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE4 6EE. Standing orders can be set up using the following link http://www.rcdhn.org.uk/social_ concerns/justice_ and_ peace.php or forms are available on the noticeboard.
Please also see the Refugee Project Spring 2019 newsletter on our notice board.

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