The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

The Word This Week ~ 22 March 2015

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First Reading: Jeremiah 31: 31-34
John Lennonís song Imagine proclaimed a world without religious, political or social divisions. Although it was fundamentally atheistic in its ideology there is something inexplicably charming in its simplistic utopianism. It resonates with a deep need for peace. It may be a stretch for most but the reading from Jeremiah reminds me of the song Imagine. Jeremiah calls upon the people to imagine a future free from religious and political bigotry. However, Jeremiahís vision is founded on the promise of God and not human fantasy.

Second Reading: Hebrews 5:7-9
One way of reading the letter to the Hebrews is as a theological reflection on the priesthood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Blessed Columba Marmion in his Christ the Ideal of the Priest states that the priesthood of Jesus Christ is the result of his humanity. It is not Christís divinity that makes him a priest. For Marmion, as for the author of Hebrews, a priest is an intercessor between God and humanity. Therefore, the Son could not be a priest before his incarnation as he was God himself. His assumed human nature made him a priest. Effective priestly ministry is born out of our connection to all humanity; to be able to empathise and sympathise.

Gospel reading: John 12: 20-30
The cross is the premier symbol of Christianity. No matter the culture or theological tradition, some form of the cross will denote the Church. It is incredible to note the variety of crosses from a simple bronze cross standing on an altar in a Protestant Church, to Celtic High Crosses, to beautiful ornate wooden hand crosses carried by Ethiopian priests. They all bear testimony to fact that Christianity is born not out of his sacrifice on the cross. One is often struck by how little emphasis is given to the teaching of Jesus in the four Gospels. The whole drive of each narrative is towards Calvary. In todayís Gospel, we see Jesus publically embracing his destiny.

Published Mon 23rd Mar 2015 21:57:05
Last Modified on Mon 23rd Mar 2015 21:57:05

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