Dear friends,

Who do you think you are? For most of us, the answer to this question involves looking back – both into our family history, and into the past experiences which have shaped our lives – and looking forward, with reference to our aspirations and hopes and dreams.

As Christians, our past and our future are indeed very special, because both bear the traces of God’s grace – His creative care. God first formed us as unique individuals, and by Baptism incorporated us into the redemption wrought by Christ His Son. God also now calls us to acknowledge our inherent importance as those made in His image, to turn away from sin (repentance) and to walk day by day in holiness, in closer friendship with Him.

This Sunday’s Gospel reading tells us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world: Jesus is in these words referencing both our creation-beginning as God’s children, and our future-calling as His disciples – looking back to discover our dignity, and looking forward to witness to our worth. We have, from Jesus, a mission, we are sent out with a purpose – to shine as lights which call our fellow men and women out of darkness, and by whose goodness and kindness a glimpse of God’s glory is revealed.

Sunday morning’s Mass will begin with the ceremonies of Candlemas, the fortieth and final day of the Christmas season, when we recall the Presentation in the Temple of the Lord. The theme of God’s great light shining in darkness – a theme which began in the shadows of our Christmas Midnight Mass – has been a theme continually referenced throughout the subsequent Christmas season, in the Epiphany, in the Lord’s Baptism, in Isaiah’s prophecies to a people who saw a great light. What it means for us to receive and then share that light now becomes the theme of this Sunday’s liturgy, for the Fifth Sunday of the Year, in Ordinary Time.

And, as the next great season of Lent approaches, we will be thinking in turn about the three pillars of that solemn season – about prayer and almsgiving, and this Sunday about what it means to fast.

Join us therefore for Mass this weekend, and rejoice in the light of the Lord. Who do you think you are? Know that you are God’s beloved children – called and created, sanctified and sent. May God’s light guide your footsteps until we meet around His altar: may the Lord bless you and keep you, and grant you His goodness and his grace.

Fr Richard