Dear friends,

Christ’s final words on the Cross (‘It is finished‘) are reflected in the first words of his public ministry, ‘The time is fulfilled‘. Each explain to us that Jesus’ life and death are the culmination of the passage of history (with, indeed, historical time divided into the period before Christ (B.C.), and then the time thereafter, the anni domini (A.D., the years of the Lord)). Time is for us as Christians very important: the time is now, the time is at hand.

Compare this with the way in which so often we live our lives, daydreaming of the future, dwelling on the past, procrastinating, idling and absent. But our faith tells us that the present moment matters, and that we should not put off for tomorrow what we can do today. An unresolved tension, a good intention delayed – why not instead act decisively in this very moment, recognising that with Jesus, the kingdom of God is at hand?

There are two ways in which I would encourage us to be decisively present with Jesus, as we look to the liturgy to train us up in faith. First, let us make sure we arrive for Mass in good time to make proper preparation: to be on time is already to be five minutes late! If we rush into church as the entrance procession is passing, how can we get ready in heart and soul for our worship – where will we find those prior minutes of quiet prayer? This is important not only for ourselves but for our brothers and sisters, who should see in us an example of arriving at Mass in good time.

Relatedly, it is my duty to remind you that those who arrive late to Mass at any time after the Gospel reading should not present themselves for Communion: the obligation is not fulfilled if we are not in time for the Gospel reading, and our Communion – if it needs to be made – should be requested humbly at the end of the Eucharist. If we would not arrive ten minutes late for a doctor’s appointment, why would we think it acceptable to arrive this late to receive the medicine of immortality, the remedy for our souls? Accidents happen, traffic jams appear – sometimes we will be delayed unavoidably. But take care: if we are routinely late to Mass, something must change – for ‘the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.’

We are very much looking forward to our parish barbecue this Saturday, 15 July in the memorial garden from 3pm. Assistance setting up (from around 1.30pm) would be greatly appreciated: please remember to bring your tickets for admission, as well as any final offers of sides, salads and desserts.

Please now return any outstanding “Sea Sunday” donations (in the envelopes provided): we will be counting and sending the total amount to the Mission to Seafarers a week on Sunday, 23 July.

This coming weekend is likewise the final opportunity to sign up to come on the next parish outing to St Alban’s, on Saturday 5 August. The cost is just £10 for adults, and £5 for under-16s: please now also give payment to me.

Our friends at St Andrew, Kingsbury invite us to join them for a day trip to Brighton, on Saturday, 19 August. A coach will leave St Andrew’s at 8am prompt: the cost is £20 for adults, and £12 for under-16s – please see Cynthia to reserve a place.

On Saturday, 26 August the 6pm Vigil Mass will again be celebrated in the Vicarage garden (weather permitting), with drinks and light refreshments afterwards: all welcome.

Next week there will be several changes to the Mass schedule: unfortunately, there will be no services at all on Tuesday, 18 July (as I will be on retreat Sunday afternoon – Wednesday afternoon, and Fr Mike will be in Walsingham); on Wednesday morning, 19 July, Fr Jason will kindly celebrate Mass at 9.30am (no public Morning Prayer). Similarly on Saturday, 22 July the only service will be the 6pm Vigil Mass (no morning services, public Evening Prayer or Confessions).

With the assurance of my love and prayers,

Fr Richard