Justice & Peace

The current CAFOD campaign is about fixing the world’s food system and many of you may be thinking about what you can do practically about this.  One contribution may be to grow some of your own food.  St Margaret’s Allotments on Margery Lane are opening their gardens  2-5pm this Sunday 10th July. Entry is £5  and there will be over 100 plots to visit and lots of enthusiastic gardeners (including several parishioners) willing to offer advice.

The kingdom of God is very near to you 

In today’s Gospel, we hear Jesus speak about ‘the kingdom of God.’ But God’s kingdom is not a place that we can travel to. Christians always live in the kingdom of God. If our hearts are given to God, then God is ruling in our lives and we are living in the kingdom.

Jesus sent out seventy-two disciples to announce the coming of God’s kingdom. The signs of the kingdom that they were to proclaim were peace, and healing for the sick. The coming of the kingdom is good news for those who welcome it; but Jesus foresaw that some would reject the message. The Lord told the disciples to travel light, with no money or possessions, and to rely on the hospitality of strangers. The power of their witness would come from their own experience of Jesus. They would tell others how he had changed their lives.

This Gospel challenges us to travel light too, and to let go of anything that stops us from witnessing to our faith in Christ. To live as his disciples, we have to leave behind all of our prejudices and hatred, and carry with us only the Good News of the kingdom of God. We are witnessing to how Jesus has changed our lives.

Memorial Mass

Judith Endean, who was a regular here at St Cuthbert’s for many years, died in April 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic. Her family are gathering in Durham next weekend to lay her ashes in the grave of Geoff, her husband. The 12.15 Mass this Friday, 8th July will be offered for her. Parishioners who remember Judith and the family are warmly invited to attend.

Total commitment

Luke tells us that Jesus ‘took the road for Jerusalem.’ As he set out, Jesus knew what was almost certainly waiting for him in Jerusalem. In the capital city of his own nation, he would be arrested, betrayed by his friends, and put to death on the Cross. Jesus knew what lay ahead, but he set out on the road in obedience to his Father’s plan of salvation. He was ready to give his life.

Jesus was completely obedient to God the Father, and the three little stories that we hear in today’s Gospel show us that he asks for 100% commitment from his disciples, too.  One man says he is ready to follow Jesus ‘wherever he goes.’ Jesus warns the man that he and his disciples have no fixed home and no stability – nowhere to lay their heads.  One disciple wants to bury his father, another wishes to say goodbye to his family. Jesus tells them that nothing – not even family – is more important than spreading the Good News of the kingdom of God.

But that is not the most startling thing that we hear in today’s Gospel. When the people of a Samaritan village refuse to welcome Jesus and his disciples, the brothers James and John want to take revenge. But Jesus tells them off. The Samaritan villagers may regard Jews as their enemies, but Jesus is teaching his disciples to love their enemies. This is, perhaps, the hardest of Jesus’ teachings – to love our enemies – but he gives us the example himself.

Do this in memory of me

Today’s Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ celebrates the greatest gift that Jesus has given us – the gift of himself. Our faith tells us that, in the Eucharist, we receive his Body and Blood, under the appearance of bread and wine. In the Gospel reading for the feast, Luke tells the story of Jesus feeding a crowd of five thousand people. First, though, Jesus makes them welcome; he teaches them and cures the sick. Everything that Jesus does is done out of love for the people. When it grows late in the day, and the crowd are hungry, Jesus does not send them away, but instead works a miracle to provide enough food for everyone. More than enough, in fact – twelve baskets of scraps left over.

Jesus tells his disciples, ‘Give them something to eat yourselves.’ He wants his disciples to continue his loving care for the people, feeding them and providing what they need. In the Second Reading, St Paul describes how the first Christians passed on what they had received from Jesus, and how they continued to gather at the table to receive his body and blood. Today, when we celebrate Mass together, we celebrate in communion with Christians all over the world. Whoever comes to the table, the love of Christ is generous enough to make sure that there is plenty for everyone.

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