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Evangelium on Special Feast Days

Here are the homilies given by Father Andrew Pinsent & Father Marcus Holden on special feast days during the year ie the Solemnities of the Most Holy Trinity & Corpus Christi, & the feast days of Christ the King & All Saints.

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Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

by Father Andrew Pinsent, in Year A        

"After years of studying what Aquinas wrote about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, I have concluded tentatively that the best way of thinking about what they do is that they help to remove a condition that we are all born with, namely our spiritual autism. It is only by these gifts of grace that we can enjoy a supernatural life in which we are moved by God, as by a second person, and we can come to know and love the Persons of God. Perhaps this is why Trinity comes after the celebration of Pentecost. So, in conclusion, human reason can help to clear away erroneous conceptions of the Trinity, and it is also possible to trace the fruits of the Trinity for our civilisation, but to know the Holy Trinity personally we need ourselves to become holy."

Readings: Gospel - John 3: 16-18 - God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."

by Father Marcus Holden, in Year B       
- The Queen's Jubilee & the Family

"The Christian Catholic faith does shed a new light on that created reality, like a bright torch. We come to realise that the family is a natural icon for God. Through Jesus, we have come to know that God is not just a singular person but a communion of persons and that the eternal Father and his Word have so much love between them that this constitutes a third eternal person, the Spirit or Wisdom. This is the Trinity. As we celebrate Trinity Sunday also today it is time to remind ourselves that creation comes forth from God who is eternally a family. The family is an expression of our dignity as beings made in God's image, made with a body and a soul."

Readings: Gospel: Matthew 28: 16-20: Then Jesus approached and said to them, "All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age."

Solemnity of Corpus Christi, Body & Blood of Christ

by Father Andrew Pinsent, in Year A        

"Today we celebrate the institution of the Eucharist, a feast still known by its Latin name of Corpus Christi, the Body of Christ. This is the day in the liturgical year when we celebrate the most extraordinary gift that God has given to us: God in His love and mercy gives us Himself, under the appearances of bread and wine."

Readings: Gospel - John 6: 51-58 - I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.""

by Father Andrew Pinsent, in Year B      

"So why does God give us the Eucharist as a sacrifice as well as a sacrament? One way of answering this question is to recall that God ultimately wants us to bring us to heaven, where, as St John tells us, “We shall be like Him.” Now the attribute that we most naturally associate with God is power, but the attribute that is most central to God's knowledge of Himself is love. “God is love,” as St John tells us. So becoming 'like God' does not simply mean sharing in the power of God, but most essentially sharing in the love of God, of loving as God loves. Now love is intimately connected with sacrifice, the notion of a sacrifice being associated with an outpouring of something that is precious to oneself for the sake of another person. So in the Mass, God gives us not only the opportunity to participate in the strength of God by means of a sacrament, but also in the love of God by means of a sacrifice. More specifically, in the Mass we participate in the perfect sacrifice, that of Christ on the cross in which the Son of God gave His life to save us."

Readings: Gospel: Mark 14: 12-26: While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." "

Feast of Christ the King

by Father Andrew Pinsent, in Year A      

"A first lesson from this parable is that it is not only what we believe but also what we do that matters for our salvation. Now there has been some confusion over this point for the last 5 centuries, partly because of the teachings of Martin Luther, who started the Protestant movement. In his new doctrine, Luther claims that we are saved by our faith alone, regardless of our deeds, whether good or evil. Luther also accused the Catholic Church of teaching that we can merit our salvation by good works, like earning our way to heaven. Now what Luther taught was wrong, or at least incomplete, as today's Gospel shows. Neither the Bible or the Church has ever taught that we earn our salvation through good works; salvation is an unmerited grace. This grace is however like a divine seed that should generate the fruits of divine love, these fruits being actions in which we love in union with God. Without such things we have merely a dead faith. St Thomas Aquinas, for example, describes benignity, a fruit of the Holy Spirit, as being like a holy fire by which a person melts to relieve the needs of others."

Readings: Gospel - St Matthew (25:31-46): Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' ..

by Father Andrew Pinsent, in Year C      

"How is it that the Cross of Christ does have such power? What is it about Christ on the Cross that even those who reject the kingship of Christ are frightened of its power? I do not think any one explanation could ever give a complete solution to this mystery, but it seems to me that Christ on the Cross is at the centre of all Christian mysteries, making the crucifix the supreme Christian symbol. First, the crucifix witnesses that God was made man, not an inhuman super-hero, not a man of steel, but a man of flesh and blood that bled and suffered as one of us. Second, it is the ultimate sign of our redemption, "for God so loved the world that He gave his only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life". The very contemplation of Christ crucified can enlarge and melt even the most hardened hearts of stone, a power that nothing else on earth can do."

Feast day - last Sunday of the liturgical year

Feast of All Saints

by Father Marcus Holden, in Year C      

"Today we celebrate our fellow human beings who have made it .. those who've reached the goal of goals, the only one worth reaching - heaven. We're talking about the entire population of heaven .. What are saints but human beings who have realised that they are not just beasts of burden, pleasure seeking machines, alone in the universe as accidents of creation or merely subjects of a distant creator or cause, but rather that they are children of God, given an eternal destiny. They have realised what John the Divine realised, as he wrote in the 2nd reading today. They have realised that Love that created them, that saved them and which brings them home .. Saints produce other saints; sanctity, holiness, is attractive, it's contagious, because we see how we're supposed to be ..This is the Gospel, the Evangelium today - Dare to become a saint!"

Feast day - 1st November (the month of special prayer for Holy Souls)