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St James the Great Weekly Newsletter

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 11th NOVEMBER 2019 SUN 17th NOVEMBER 2019 New

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Today's gospel is pretty difficult. Suffice it to say the Pharisees believe all the old law, oral and written. The Sadducees on the other hand, believe only the written law. So from the beginning they are on different footing. And by and large, Jesus, in being dragged into their argument ignores them and the question, and just goes on to say it is a futile argument because things will be so different: as it is written, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him." So live your life as someone who loves God and then your reward will be great.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 4th NOVEMBER 2019 SUN 10th NOVEMBER 2019

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1. God has created me to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission; I never may know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I have a part in a great work; I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good, I shall do His work; I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it, if I do but keep His commandments and serve Him in my calling. 2. Fear not that life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning. 3. I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared: “Go down again – I dwell among the people.” 4. A cloud of incense was rising on high; the people suddenly all bowed low; what could it mean? The truth flashed on him, fearfully yet sweetly; it was the Blessed Sacrament – it was the Lord Incarnate who was on the altar, who had come to visit and bless his people. It was the Great Presence, which makes a Catholic Church different from every other place in the world; which makes it, as no other place can be - holy. John Henry Newman could “advocate without accusation, could disagree without disrespect and could see differences as a place of encounter, not exclusion.”

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 28th OCTOBER 2019 SUN 3rd NOVEMBER 2019

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We are very familiar with today's Gospel. But pride comes in many shapes. Not trusting in God. I want to do it my way. The opposite is also a problem, presumption. It does not make any difference what I do, it is all planned out anyway. God is in charge. Fact. But I plan my life and God has given me the freedom to do as I wish. He has also given me a brain and the Gospels to show how to live. Trust in Him, follow his advice and life will be yours.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 21st OCTOBER 2019 SUN 27th OCTOBER 2019

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NEWSLETTER MON 21st OCTOBER 2019 SUN 27th OCTOBER 2019
We will ever be grateful to Paul for his legacy. And he "never saw Jesus." But since his conversion he truly has empowered billions of people. Today talking to Timothy he says how THE WORD OF GOD can be used:- - to inspire - to teach wisdom - to teach - refuting error - guiding - teaching Thus equipping the person of God, not only to get to heaven, but also how to live a fruitful, happy life and help make the world a better place. Read the word every day.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 14th OCTOBER 2019 SUN 20th OCTOBER 2019

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Today, Paul talks about the Good News; Christ died and rose again. But in practical terms, do I carry that confidence in my heart? That, yes, I will not die, but live for ever with Christ. We need to have that confidence and joy that all will be well. For the believer, death is only the moment of passing over to a more beautiful life with those we love and Jesus. No room for tears. This month of October is a special month of mission, going out to tell people about Jesus. The world, UK, Peckham was never more in need of mission, to tell people about the love of God. Don't ignore the call of God. Talk to someone/family about God, bring them to church; introduce them to me, to others. "Go out to the whole world, proclaim the Good news."

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 7th OCTOBER 2019 SUN 13th OCTOBER 2019

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FAITH IN ACTION. What is faith? If it is the size of a mustard seed...... that does not seem to be too much to ask. But faith without action is dead. Never ask if you have faith, show me your good works St James says. People in the first reading are having problems and ask ‘why does God not intervene’. But God answers, ‘the just man will stand firm by faith’. In the second reading Timothy has received the gift of faith and Paul urges him to stir it up boldly, it is not a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. In both cases, faith and relationships are key: Paul's relationship with God and Timothy's relationship with Paul. Jesus finally tells us to be patient and do our duty.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 30th SEPTEMBER 2019 SUN 6th OCTOBER 2019

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I hope you enjoyed the video, our common home over the last two Sundays. Suggestions that have come in:- 1. Get a dynamic speaker. 2. Organise the churches to do a peaceful march. 3. Each one to do something personal. Today's gospel puts the gun to our head.... take notice and help the poor. Rich man's problem, not that he is rich. But he did not notice. Friday is FAMILY FAST DAY, let each of us do our little bit and we will send the money to CAFOD. Also next Sunday we will collect any non- perishable food for the Manna Centre. But do bring along some food, fruit or cakes, we can share after mass....our harvest festival. Time to stop talking and take action.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 23rd SEPTEMBER 2019 SUN 29th SEPTEMBER 2019

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As last week with the prodigal Son, so this week with the unjust steward. Both are scoundrels, but then the parables are not about them. The first one is about The Loving Father and the second one is about a just Landlord. So often we take the gospels at face value, instead of reading them for what they are: A Book about Our God. About our loving father who cares passionately about all his children, loving them and moulding them into what he intended them to be… True reflections of Himself. We are created in the image of God, truly beautiful creatures reflecting his love. But from the moment we pop out of the womb we start getting damaged, some worse than others. And God spends a lifetime trying to mould us back into what we are meant to be. Read the first reading again. Does it say anything to you in the light of today’s care for the environment?

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 16th SEPTEMBER 2019 SUN 22nd SEPTEMBER 2019

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NEWSLETTER MON 16th SEPTEMBER 2019 SUN 22nd SEPTEMBER 2019
When Pope Francis became Pope, he put two things at the top of his agenda. 1. THE POOR 2. THE ENVIRONMENT. Today is Mission Sunday, so I thought it would be good to have a look at the environment. Hence the video, which you can watch again on:- www.ourcommonhome.co.uk Discuss with your family or colleagues:- 1. Has the video challenged you? 2. What hinders you from making practical changes? 3. How can you recycle more? 4. How can you conserve more water and energy? 5. How can you reduce your carbon footprint? 6. What can you do to educate yourself more? 7. How can we use our political voice? 8. How can we respond practically as a parish? 9. Would you be interested in spearheading something in the parish? Please drop any ideas or suggestions in the suggestion box, or send through the parish website.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 9th SEPTEMBER 2019 SUN 15th SEPTEMBER 2019

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Laudato Si (continued) 19. Following a period of irrational confidence in progress and human abilities, some sectors of society are now adopting a more critical ap¬proach. We see increasing sensitivity to the en¬vironment and the need to protect nature, along with a growing concern, both genuine and dis¬tressing, for what is happening to our planet. Let us review, however cursorily, those questions which are troubling us today and which we can no longer sweep under the carpet. Our goal is not to amass information or to satisfy curiosi¬ty, but rather to become painfully aware, to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 2nd SEPTEMBER 2019 SUN 8th SEPTEMBER 2019

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Laudato Si (continued) 17. Theological and philosophical reflections on the situation of humanity and the world can sound tiresome and abstract, unless they are grounded in a fresh analysis of our present situation, which is in many ways unprecedented in the history of humanity. So, before considering how faith brings new incentives and requirements with regard to the world of which we are a part, I will briefly turn to what is happening to our common home. 18. The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called “rapidification”. Although change is part of the working of complex systems, the speed with which human activity has developed contrasts with the naturally slow pace of biological evolution. Moreover, the goals of this rapid and constant change are not necessarily geared to the common good or to integral and sustainable human development. Change is something desirable, yet it becomes a source of anxiety when it causes harm to the world and to the quality of life of much of humanity.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 26th AUGUST 2019 SUN 1st SEPTEMBER 2019

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Laudato Si (continued) 16. Although each chapter will have its own subject and specific approach, it will also take up and re-examine important questions previously dealt with. This is particularly the case with a number of themes which will reappear as the Encyclical unfolds. As examples, I will point to the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet, the conviction that everything in the world is connected, the critique of new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology, the call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress, the value proper to each creature, the human meaning of ecology, the need for forthright and honest debate, the serious responsibility of international and local policy, the throwaway culture and the proposal of a new lifestyle. These questions will not be dealt with once and for all, but reframed and enriched again and again.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 19th AUGUST 2019 SUN 25th AUGUST 2019

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Laudato Si (continued) 15. It is my hope that this Encyclical Letter, which is now added to the body of the Church’s social teaching, can help us to acknowledge the appeal, immensity and urgency of the challenge we face. I will begin by briefly reviewing several aspects of the present ecological crisis, with the aim of drawing on the results of the best scientific research available today, letting them touch us deeply and provide a concrete foundation for the ethical and spiritual itinerary that follows. I will then consider some principles drawn from the Judaeo-Christian tradition which can render our commitment to the environment more coherent. I will then attempt to get to the roots of the present situation, so as to consider not only its symptoms but also its deepest causes. This will help to provide an approach to ecology which respects our unique place as human beings in this world and our relationship to our surroundings. In light of this reflection, I will advance some broader proposals for dialogue and action which would involve each of us as individuals, and also affect international policy. Finally, convinced as I am that change is impossible without motivation and a process of education, I will offer some inspired guidelines for human development to be found in the treasure of Christian spiritual experience.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 12th AUGUST 2019 SUN 18th AUGUST 2019

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Laudato Si (continued) 14. I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. The worldwide ecological movement has already made considerable progress and led to the establishment of numerous organizations committed to raising awareness of these challenges. Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation”. All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 5th AUGUST 2019 SUN 11th AUGUST 2019

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Laudato Si (continued) 13. The urgent challenge to protect our com-mon home includes a concern to bring the whole human family together to seek a sustainable and integral development, for we know that things can change. The Creator does not abandon us; he never forsakes his loving plan or repents of having created us. Humanity still has the ability to work together in building our common home. Here I want to recognize, encourage and thank all those striving in countless ways to guarantee the protection of the home which we share. Particu¬lar appreciation is owed to those who tirelessly seek to resolve the tragic effects of environmen¬tal degradation on the lives of the world’s poor¬est. Young people demand change. They wonder how anyone can claim to be building a better fu¬ture without thinking of the environmental crisis and the sufferings of the excluded.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 29th JULY 2019 SUN 4th AUGUST 2019

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Laudato Si (continued) 12. What is more, Saint Francis, faithful to Scripture, invites us to see nature as a magnificent book in which God speaks to us and grants us a glimpse of his infinite beauty and goodness. “Through the greatness and the beauty of creatures one comes to know by analogy their maker” (Wis 13:5); indeed, “his eternal power and divinity have been made known through his works since the creation of the world” (Rom 1:20). For this reason, Francis asked that part of the friary garden always be left untouched, so that wild flowers and herbs could grow there, and those who saw them could raise their minds to God, the Creator of such beauty. Rather than a problem to be solved, the world is a joyful mystery to be contemplated with gladness and praise.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 22nd JULY 2019 SUN 28th JULY 2019

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Laudato Si (continued) 11. Francis helps us to see that an integral ecology calls for openness to categories which transcend the language of mathematics and biology, and take us to the heart of what it is to be human. Just as happens when we fall in love with someone, whenever he would gaze at the sun, the moon or the smallest of animals, he burst into song, drawing all other creatures into his praise. He communed with all creation, even preaching to the flowers, inviting them “to praise the Lord, just as if they were endowed with reason”. His response to the world around him was so much more than intellectual appreciation or economic calculus, for to him each and every creature was a sister united to him by bonds of affection. That is why he felt called to care for all that exists. His disciple Saint Bonaventure tells us that, “from a reflection on the primary source of all things, filled with even more abundant piety, he would call creatures, no matter how small, by the name of ‘brother’ or ‘sister’”. Such a conviction cannot be written off as naive romanticism, for it affects the choices which determine our behaviour. If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously. The poverty and austerity of Saint Francis were no mere veneer of asceticism, but something much more radical: a refusal to turn reality into an object simply to be used and controlled.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 15th JULY 2019 SUN 21st JULY 2019 Popular

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Laudato Si (continued) Saint Francis of Assisi 10. I do not want to write this Encyclical without turning to that attractive and compelling figure, whose name I took as my guide and inspiration when I was elected Bishop of Rome. I believe that Saint Francis is the example par excellence of care for the vulnerable and of an integral ecology lived out joyfully and authentically. He is the patron saint of all who study and work in the area of ecology, and he is also much loved by non-Christians. He was particularly concerned for God’s creation and for the poor and outcast. He loved, and was deeply loved for his joy, his generous self-giving, his openheartedness. He was a mystic and a pilgrim who lived in simplicity and in wonderful harmony with God, with others, with nature and with himself. He shows us just how inseparable the bond is between concern for nature, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 8th JULY 2019 SUN 14th JULY 2019 Popular

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Laudato Si (continued) 9. At the same time, Bartholomew has drawn attention to the ethical and spiritual roots of environmental problems, which require that we look for solutions not only in technology but in a change of humanity; otherwise we would be dealing merely with symptoms. He asks us to replace consumption with sacrifice, greed with generosity, wastefulness with a spirit of sharing, an asceticism which “entails learning to give, and not simply to give up. It is a way of loving, of moving gradually away from what I want to what God’s world needs. It is liberation from fear, greed and compulsion”.17 As Christians, we are also called “to accept the world as a sacrament of communion, as a way of sharing with God and our neighbours on a global scale. It is our humble conviction that the divine and the human meet in the slightest detail in the seamless garment of God’s creation, in the last speck of dust of our planet”.

pdf NEWSLETTER MON 1st JULY 2019 SUN 7th JULY 2019 Popular

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Laudato Si (continued) 8. Patriarch Bartholomew has spoken in par-ticular of the need for each of us to repent of the ways we have harmed the planet, for “inasmuch as we all generate small ecological damage”, we are called to acknowledge “our contribution, smaller or greater, to the disfigurement and de¬struction of creation”. He has repeatedly stat-ed this firmly and persuasively, challenging us to acknowledge our sins against creation: “For hu¬man beings… to destroy the biological diversity of God’s creation; for human beings to degrade the integrity of the earth by causing changes in its climate, by stripping the earth of its natural forests or destroying its wetlands; for human be¬ings to contaminate the earth’s waters, its land, its air, and its life – these are sins”. For “to commit a crime against the natural world is a sin against ourselves and a sin against God”.