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11th Sunday of Year B – 13th June 2021

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today, we begin the Ordinary Sundays of the Year B. This is a time when we reflect on the preaching ministry of Our Lord. Jesus, after having spent 30 years quietly in Nazareth living a life in secret, now realizes it is the time to fulfil the mission that his Heavenly Father had sent him to do. After being baptised by St John the Baptist in the river Jordan, he starts his ministry in the region of Galilee. This ministry starts with small beginnings. At first, it is only a few disciples, but gradually the group grows. Those 30 years that Jesus spends in Nazareth, are not wasted years. It is a time for him, in his humanity, to grow in faith. This faith, he would have learnt from Mary and Joseph, the leaders of the synagogue and his other elders. Part of the learning would have included having to learn what was written in the Torah and Prophets, as well as the Psalms.

In the Gospel we read about the planting of seed which is done by the farmer. After he has done this he has to wait for nature to take its course. There is nothing that the framer can do, other than to wait for the rain to water the crop. The growth of the harvest takes time. Overtime the seed sprouts and we find the beginning of a young tree or plant. As it grows, the fruit eventually appears. This takes patience on behalf of the farmer. He can do minor adjustments to try and enhance growth but slowing the plant grows to maturity. This patience can vary in length. Some crops grow quickly while others grow more slowly. For example, I have been told that an avocado tree can take up to seven years to produce fruit. Therefore, for the farmer, it is patience and trust that he has to have in order for him to enjoy the fruits of his labour.

Looking at what Jesus is trying to teach us in this parable, it is to give us encouragement in our journey of faith. The seed of faith is planted in our hearts at baptism. That seed of faith then, over time, begins to grow until eventually we see the fruits of our faith. This is where we are challenged to have patience as our faith slowly grows in each of us. The one important aspect that we need to take notice of is, that we should never stop growing in faith. It is an ongoing process. The other challenge that we need to be aware of is that when we look at our faith we need to realize that our faith will go through trials and tribulations. Jesus did warn us that if we want to be followers of his, we need to be prepared to take up our cross and follow him. It is in these times that we really need to be patient. This is particularly when we notice that there are certain sins that we struggle to overcome. This is not a time to despair. We may be tempted to give up and say “What is the use of me asking God to forgive me, when I commit the same sin time after time”. This calls for us to be patient and know that God is patient with us. He does not get tired of us asking for forgiveness even if it is the same sin each time. This parable teaches us about patience.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, this is a time when we need to pray for the gift of patience. It is the time to open up to the Lord and allow him to nurture the faith that we have received and allow him to build on that faith in order for us to be better Christians.

God bless.

Fr Mark

Corpus Christi – 6 June 2021

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today we celebrate the Feast of Corpus Christi, also known as The Body and Blood of Christ.

We have all in our lives have received gifts. Some gifts have been better than others. Some we have appreciated more than others. The question that we need to ask is “What have I done with that gift?” Have I treasured that gift and have I used it or have I put it to one side and just let it gather dust? Today we celebrate one of the greatest gifts given to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ. The gift of his Body and Blood. This is the greatest gift because it is not like the gift that we read about in the First Reading where Moses ratifies the covenant that God had established between him and the People of Israel. That gift of the old covenant was something that needed to be renewed each year. The new covenant that Jesus Christ had established with mankind is eternal. We celebrate this eternal covenant each time we celebrate Holy Mass. It is a wonderful gift of total sacrifice of Jesus to his Father in reparation for the sinfulness of all mankind before Christ came amongst us and after Christ who now sits at the right hand of the Father.

The question that we need to ask ourselves is: Do I give thanks to Christ for the gift of himself in the Eucharist each time that I attend Holy Mass? The Mass is an enactment of Christ’s Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection on the sacred altar. The communion that I receive is my utmost belief in the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine which is products of our hands that through the words of consecration has become the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Is there a longing to receive the physical Body and Blood of Christ constantly in my heart? Or have I come to look at the Act of Spiritual Communion as sufficient for me? Yes, under the circumstances of the pandemic it is maybe what is possible at the moment, but we shouldn’t see this as what should satisfy us but rather long for the day when we will be able to attend Holy Mass again and receive Our Lord physically again. Another question needs to be: Am I open to receive the graces that receiving Holy Communion will give to me? The grace to be filled with all the love and hope that the Lord wants to give to me. The blessings that will help me to become a better Christian. A person who is an example to others of how the Lord Jesus came and brought to us the love of God. It is when we open ourselves to the Lord and allow him to give us the strength to be guiding lights to others in spreading goodwill to each other. A last question that we may want to reflect on is: Do I participate fully in Holy Mass? All too often we just become spectators at Mass. It is like we are attending a wonderful performance enacted out by the Priest. In many ways it is just a ritual we take part in to satisfy our conscience. The Holy Mass is where we are called to be fully involved in, participating in full, in order to be fed with the Word of Christ and nourished by his Body and Blood.

My encouragement is to show great reverence for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and develop a great love for God in the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless.

Fr Mark

Trinity Sunday – 30 May 2021

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today, we celebrate Trinity Sunday. This is one of the great mysteries of our faith, yet it plays a very important part of our Liturgical Liturgies. We start all our liturgical celebrations in the name of the Trinity, when we say “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. At the end of the opening prayer and closing prayer of the Mass the priest prays, speaking to the Father “We ask this through your son Our Lord Jesus Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit”. During the Creed when we profess our faith we say “I believe in one God”, yet we express our belief in the three persons of the Trinity when we say we believe in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Also importantly when the priest prays the words of Consecration, he calls on the Father to send down the Holy Spirit to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The question that we can ask is what are the characteristics of the Trinity. At the very depth of the Trinity is the unconditional Love that exists between them. It is the unconditional love that the Father has for the Son and the Son has for the Father and the love that exists between them and the Holy Spirit. In that love they are united with each other. This unconditional love and unity that they have is what Jesus wanted for his disciples. This is the same love and unity that the Lord wants for us today. This is the commandment that Jesus gives to us today. He calls us to be united with each other. He wants us to speak about the love that exists in each and every one of us.

When we speak about the Father the creator of everything, we need to express our love for his creation by the way, we the stewards of creation look after the environment, by trying to lessen our carbon footprint. We need to ask ourselves: do I try not to destroy the environment by my actions. In other words, do I try and recycle what can be recycled? Do I try not to litter by throwing my waste into the refuse bin and not just leave it lying around? This environment needs good stewards and we need to try and play a positive role in the protection of the environment. Speaking about Jesus, our redeemer, we need to reflect that we truly believe that he did indeed redeem us, that he died for us and rose again in order that we may have hope in eternal life. This really needs to be in the very depth of our faith. Then looking at the Holy Spirit that Christ sent to us is indeed dwelling within us that we allow that Holy Spirit to lead us on our pilgrim way towards eternal life. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to guide us with God’s love. It is there to give us the strength to be faithful to our calling to be better disciples of Christ. We are all called to go and proclaim God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit yet one God united in love and hope.

My prayer for you today is to be faithful to Almighty God, united in your love for him and our neighbour.

God bless.

Fr Mark

Pentecost Sunday – 23 May 2021

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today we celebrate the Birthday of the Church. It is the Solemnity of the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is a day of great rejoicing. This Holy Spirit that descended on Our Blessed Mother, the apostles and the others in the upper room, is the same Holy Spirit that comes down like a dove at the Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the same spirit that was present at the Transfiguration of Our Lord and now at Pentecost. When we were baptised, we received the Holy Spirit, which is strengthened in us in all the other sacraments, especially the sacrament of Confirmation.

When we were filled with the Holy Spirit, we received the seven gifts of the Spirit, namely Wisdom, Understanding, Council, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord. These gifts were given the apostles, and us, by the Lord to help us to live a good Christian Life.

Let us look at each gift.

Wisdom: This is to give us the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Helps us to seek and uphold truth and justice and gives us the ability to strike a balance between personal good and common good.

Understanding: In this gift we gain intelligence and enlightenment. It helps us to think clearly and helps us to have insight and be able to discern what they Lord is trying to teach us.

Counsel: Helps us to give others good advice, it gives us the ability to teach, guide, challenge, and encourage others in their relationship with the Lord. It also gives us the ability to be open to advice, and receive it graciously.

Fortitude: In this gift, we are given courage to be faithful to the Gospel and have the strength to stand up and be true to the teaching of Scripture and the teachings of the Church. This gift is to help us be committed to our faith.

Knowledge: This gift is to help us to learn, acquire information and to put what we have learned to good use in building up the Kingdom of God.

Piety: In piety we learn to develop our own holiness, which includes our devotion to God, prayer, goodness, innocence and helps us to avoid sin in our lives and develop our obedience to God.

Fear of the Lord: This is not a negative fear of God as a punishing, condemning God but rather a fear of not been faithful to God and the Gospel. It encourages us rather to seek a sincere reverence and respect for God. It helps us to acknowledge that all the blessings that we receive are wonderful gifts from God.

These are all wonderful gifts that the Lord has given us and we need to make sure that we use these gifts. These gifts are given to help us to be better Catholics and are needed to guide us through our Christian Life. We can’t do what we may do with other gifts that are given to us and put them aside and only use them when we feel like it. They are not meant to be admired as something beautiful that stands on our mantelpiece, but rather, used in order that they help us to gain our full potential as Christians.

God bless.

Fr Mark

Solemnity of the Ascension – 16th May 2021

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Ascension. This event happened forty days after the resurrection and is the culmination of his life on earth. Jesus had completed his mission for which he was sent, namely, dying on the Cross and rising again to have that victory over death and gain for us the hope of eternal life. In the First Reading, we hear about the apostles staring up towards heaven when two men dressed in white appeared and asked why they were staring into the sky. He assures them that Jesus, who they had seen ascend, will come again in the same way. What these two angels were trying to convey, was that the risen Christ will return to them in a way that they would recognize him. Departure of a loved one is not easy and at times can be very traumatic. We get a sense of loss and sadness, but as time goes by, we tend to learn to cope with it in some way. This is what might have happened to the apostles. They were experiencing a sense of loss but Jesus, just before he ascended, told them to wait because he would send them the Holy Spirit who would help them to fulfil the mission that he had given them, namely, to go out to all creation and preach the good news and baptise them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, as we read in the Gospel. This command shows us that his salvation was not only meant for the People of Israel, but in fact, all people, Jews, Gentiles, Pagans etc. The Ascension, is therefore, not something of sorrow, but rather something of great joy.

The Ascension, therefore, should bring us great joy because when Jesus ascended into heaven in his glorified body and was seated on the right side of his Father, he has become for us a wonderful representative who is willing to intercede for us to his Father. In fact, he tells us that if we acknowledge him here on earth, he will acknowledge us to his Father in Heaven. He also tells us that we must believe in him and continue to put our trust in him. He assures us that if we believe and trust him, then we can ask anything of him and his Father will grant it. Of course, he is speaking about things that are spiritual, not material things that maybe we don’t need. Asking for things of this world that are for our good we can pray for but if we are not going to benefit properly from them we might not get them.

During this week between the Ascension and Pentecost we are encouraged to pray for the unity within the Christian Churches. As we read in the Gospel of John, Jesus prayed that his disciples would be one, that they would be united with one another. Unfortunately, this is not the situation at the moment in the world today. We are divided and we need to pray that we can overcome our differences and look for ways that can unify us. This will call us to ask ourselves if there are things that I am doing that contribute to the disunity. If this is so, then we need to try and correct it. I, therefore, encourage you to say an extra prayer during this week for our unity.

Another disturbing situation at this time is the unrest in the Middle East. This is the land where our Lord came to spread Love and Peace and at the moment, there is violence and destruction. Our prayer should be that the warring factions should sit down and try and find a peaceful solution to the problems. The group of people that need our special prayers are the Christians in the region who are caught in the middle of the conflict. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, let us keep people of all faiths in our prayers.

God bless.

Fr Mark

MASS INTENTIONS for St Bernard’s & St Ignatius

Mass is once again open to public, but with restricted numbers. Our parish according to the restrictions and protocols of the government and our Archdiocese is limited to 50 attendees. Please book to avoid disappointment.

Mass at St Ignatius is on Saturday evenings at 5.00pm, Sunday mornings at 10.30am and Wednesday mornings at 9.00am

Mass at St Bernard’s is on Sunday mornings at 9.00am & Sunday evenings at 6.00pm, Tuesday mornings at 9.00am, Thursday evenings at 5.00pm and Friday mornings at 9.00am

JUNE 2021 Mass Intentions

1 Tue Don Juan Luca RIP
2 Wed Mortuary List
3 Thu Mortuary List
4 Fri Manuel Araujo Intention/ Deceased members of Walter Family
5 Sat Pothier Mortuary List
6 Sun Richard Swain RIP / Pro Populo
7 Mon No Mass
8 Tue Edwin Rosslind RIP
9 Wed Mortuary List
10 Thu Mortuary List
11 Fri Don Juan Luca RIP
12 Sat Mario Bui RIP
13 Sun Ruth & Ronnie Doyle RIP / Pro Populo / Manuel Araujo Intention
14 Mon No Mass
15 Tue Elaine & Grahame RIP & Eugene Calitz Intention
16 Wed Mortuary List
17 Thu Edwin Rosslind RIP
18 Fri Tony De Costa Intention
19 Sat Mortuary List
20 Sun Mike Sedgewick RIP / Pro Populo
21 Mon No Mass
22 Tue Tracy Sampson RIP
23 Wed Mortuary List
24 Thu Caleb Stellenboom RIP
25 Fri Jim & Margaret Gallagher Snr RIP
26 Sat Mortuary List
27 Sun James & Margaret Gallagher Jnr RIP/ Pro Populo
28 Mon No Mass
29 Tue Mortuary List
30 Wed Mortuary List

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We remember in our prayers those who have gone before us:

St Ignatius:

18 March 2020 – Marjorie Van Rensburg
13 June 2020 – Yvonne Beckam

13 November 2020 – Edmund Peter Nasson

12 January 2021 – Christopher Shelmerdine

St Bernard:
4 March 2020 – Henry Hugo
5 May 2020 – Stephanie Poezyn
May 2020 – Maurizio Allugrecia
19 June 2020 – Cecil Bradley
20 July 2020 – Paul Dobson
8 August 2020 – Jacqueline Petersen
9 August 2020 – John Kellett
1 December 2020 – Patrick Moore

15 February 2021 – Sandra Nel
18 February 2021 – Theresa Naidoo
2 March 2021 – Eve Griesson
25 March 2021 – Colin Burgess

13 May 2021 – Brian Louw

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