The Catholic Parish of Frenchs Forest

We are in the season of Lent

If you’re a visitor or new to our parish, we extend a very warm welcome to you.

If you have any questions, please chat with Fr Shiju, Fr Satheesh or myself, or browse our website.

We want you to feel at home with us. - Fr Jose

Each of our special communities is centred on a different church and has its own story to tell.

Together, as a parish, we are united in 'Sharing One Faith in Christ’.

Here at Frenchs Forest Parish we offer many opportunities for personal growth,

spiritual enrichment and social interaction.

from Fr Jose (27th March)

My Dear Parishioner,

How are you coping in this difficult time?

For many of us we have never known a time when our Churches were closed and no Masses were celebrated. Please know that Fr Satheesh, Fr Shiju and I offer Mass for you each day.

If any of you are suffering hardships in any way please do not hesitate to contact any one of us and we will always be happy to talk with you and support you.

Please follow all the health advice from our Government and stay safe and well during this time.

You may be aware that Pope Francis has asked us all to join with us for Eucharistic Adoration and Prayer tonight at 6pm Rome time or approximately 4am tomorrow, our time (Saturday), he will give a special blessings to the World, this can be accessed online just by going into your search engine and typing in Pope Francis Blessing to the World. But no doubt this will be televised and be on our News channels too.

One of our Parishioners Joan Swift passed away this morning (Friday) please keep her and her family in your prayers. You may be aware that we can only have 10 people attending a funeral during this time.

Once again please be assured of our continued prayers and our support for you all and please pray for us too.

(also see latest Diocesan Update)


Yours in Christ,

Fr Jose Philip OSH

Parish Priest.

We will endeavour to maintain contact and bring to everyone resources that can be used at home.

Check the website regularly for updates.

A new resource is the Parish Youtube Channel, we will be providing live stream of Masses and other messages, please check the Parish Youtube Channel regularly or subscribe to get notification of schedule live streams or new video messages.

SUNDAY MASS

5th Sunday of Lent

Sunday Readings and Reflections

5th Sunday of Lent

First Reading

A reading from the prophet Ezekiel

The Lord says this: I am now going to open your graves; I mean to raise you from your graves, my people, and lead you back to the soil of Israel. And you will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and raise you from your graves, my people. And I shall put my spirit in you, and you will live, and I shall resettle you on your own soil; and you will know that I, the Lord, have said and done this – it is the Lord who speaks.

Second Reading

A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Romans

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he will give life to your own mortal bodies.

People who are interested only in unspiritual things can never be pleasing to God. Your interests, however, are not in the unspiritual, but in the spiritual, since the Spirit of God has made his home in you. In fact, unless you possessed the Spirit of Christ you would not belong to him. Though your body may be dead it is because of sin, but if Christ is in you then your spirit is life itself because you have been justified; and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then he who raised Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.

Gospel

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (Shorter form)

The sisters Martha and Mary sent this message to Jesus, ‘Lord, the man you love is ill.’ On receiving the message, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will end not in death but in God’s glory, and through it the Son of God will be glorified.’

Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, yet when he heard that Lazarus was ill he stayed where he was for two more days before saying to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judaea.’

On arriving, Jesus found that Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days already. When Martha heard that Jesus had come she went to meet him. Mary remained sitting in the house. Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died, but I know that even now, whatever you ask of God, he will grant you.’ ‘Your brother’ said Jesus to her ‘will rise again.’ Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said:

‘I am the resurrection and the life.

If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

‘Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’ Jesus said in great distress, with a sigh that came straight from the heart, ‘Where have you put him?’ They said, ‘See how much he loved him!’ But there were some who remarked, ‘He opened the eyes of the blind man, could he not have prevented this man’s death?’ Still sighing, Jesus reached the tomb: it was a cave with a stone to close the opening. Jesus said, ‘Take the stone away.’ Martha said to him, ‘Lord, by now he will smell; this is the fourth day.’ Jesus replied, ‘Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. Then Jesus lifted up his eyes and said:

‘Father, I thank you for hearing my prayer. I knew indeed that you always hear me, but I speak

for the sake of all these who stand round me, so that they may believe it was you who sent me.’

When he had said this, he cried in a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, here! Come out!’ The dead man came out, his feet and hands bound with bands of stuff and a cloth round his face. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, let him go free.’

Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what he did believed in him.


Gospel Reflection by Richard Leonard

The plunging of an adult or an infant into the baptismal font three times is the most important moment in the ceremony and meant to be the most moving one as well. Most of us think that this action is associated with the Trinity. It is. But the more ancient association is with the three days Jesus lay in the tomb. This is one reason why the Church now encourages candidates for baptism to be fully immersed wherever practicable. The sprinkling of water over a catechumen’s head just doesn’t capture the drama which the ritual intends. But when we see a person take a breath, plunge under the water and come up for air three times, we can powerfully see the identification between Jesus’ time in the tomb and the person rising to new life in Christ.

The season of Lent has its origins in third century Egypt where there was a commemoration of Jesus’ forty days in the desert. In the fourth century these forty days are moved to their present location in the Church’s calendar as the final preparation time for baptismal candidates at Easter and by the fifth century these penitential and baptismal focuses came together as one season for all believers to observe. Even the word Lent, from the old English word Lencten meaning Spring, alerted Christians in the northern hemisphere that this season was linked to the waking of nature after the long sleep of winter. Lent is about waking up to see that light and life have come in Christ.

Over the centuries the Church has tended to place more emphasis on penance than baptism. The Second Vatican Council, however, went back to the most ancient sources of this season, re-established the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and encouraged us to see the link between our acts of penance and our ongoing conversion to Christ expressed in the baptismal promises made for us many years before.

On this last Sunday in Lent Lazarus is given to us to help us think about the tombs in which we lie hidden and the life to which we are called. The bad spirit seduces most of us into having some form of secretive life. It might be a secret we can’t tell, a sin we can’t confess or a memory we want to bury. At its worst it can be a lifestyle or a pattern of unethical behaviour we have divorced from the rest of our lives. We may even con ourselves into believing that all of this is normal and ‘not so bad’.

These tombs often look similar. They seem small on the surface, but as we get away with our secrets we bury ourselves in them more deeply. We jealously guard the entrance, displacing energy to defend our tombs and we’re ashamed if anyone rolls away the stone and sees the mess inside.

But this Sunday Jesus stands at the entrance of our tombs and calls us out of them. We’re asked to face down the bad spirits that keep us locked in secrecy, to move away from shame, embrace repentance, recognise the price to be paid for being true to what’s best in ourselves and we’re invited to know the light and life of Christ’s healing and forgiveness.

No one can pretend that this journey is easy, but it’s what Lent is all about: the journey from the tomb of our own particular deaths, through penance to the new life of Easter. May this Eucharist allow us to see the Lord stand at our tomb and gently call us by name, ‘Come forth’. And at His word may we be unbound and let go free.

(other reflections https://ocarm.org/en/content/lectio/lectio-divina-5th-sunday-lent )

Reflection


A message of Courage and Hope from FR Jose, Fr Shiju and Fr Satheesh

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