Dear friends,

As well as bearing the rather prosaic name of the “Third Sunday in Ordinary Time”, this coming Sunday is also the “Sunday of the Word of God”, as well as the Sunday within the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity.

The purpose of observing a “Sunday of the Word of God” is to remind us how important it is for us as a Christian community, and as baptised individuals, to refer daily to the Word of God in the Holy Scriptures. The handbook for this year’s celebration explains that the way in which God speaks to us through His Word constitutes a personal conversation, by which we are drawn more deeply into His friendship. Jesus, who is himself the Word of the Father, calls us friends, and invites us to abide in him.

Practically speaking, this may be a good time to relocate our own copy of the Bible, or to buy one if we do not yet possess a copy of the Scriptures. There are several editions of the New Testament, or of the Gospels, which fit easily into a bag or back-pocket. Alternatively, there are various Bible apps we can download onto our smartphones. Use the link above to find three proposals (pp.11-20) for lectio divina (spiritual reading), for use by oneself, or as a group or family.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity occurs each year 18-25 January: this year’s theme is to ‘love the Lord your God… and your neighbour as yourself‘. We are called to cross boundaries – of class, culture and religion – to challenge indifference and to work in solidarity to build the bonds that unite the whole human family. To whom might we reach out – across denominational divides, and/or to the vulnerable in our community – to foster a spirit of inclusion and of love? You can read more about the Week of Prayer here, and access a set of daily reflections.

Our service times this week coming are all as usual, save that there will be no public Morning Prayer next Tuesday. PCC members: please note that we meet after the 6pm Mass next Thursday, 25 January.

May God, who has revealed his truth and charity in Christ, make you apostles of the Gospel and witness of His love in the world;

May the Lord Jesus, who promised his Church to be present until the end of the ages, guide your steps and strengthen your words;

And may the Spirit of the Lord be upon you, that as you walk the streets of the world you may evangelise the poor and heal the contrite of heart.

Fr Richard