Third Sunday of Lent– Year C – 24th March 2019


Exodus 3:1-18    Psalm 102

I Corinthians 10:1-12  Luke 13:1-9



An irritating expression. But John Paul II said one could become one very easily. (Well, actually he said “… manifest true human dignity…”). For good measure he said we could become spiritual giants (“…spiritual greatness…”). How? By going to Confession.

And Canon Law, no less, asks parish priests to “strive” to get their people to come frequently. Many decent Catholics put it off longer than they should: all decent Catholics start thinking about it in Lent.

One understands the “wonderful human being” bit. With Absolution we are judged by God – and acquitted: every bad moment of the past is covered by the Blood of Jesus: therefore every bad moment of the past becomes a thing of beauty in God’s eyes – and the worse it was, the more beautiful it is now. Our whole life becomes a complete success story in God’s eyes – because of what we have allowed His Son to do.

We have it in our power to do this for God, let alone for ourselves.

But why? Can’t God do this whenever I turn to him in sorrow, whether I go to Confession or not?

Depends on the sorrow. If my sorrow is simply for myself (“sorry, Lord, because I’ve let myself down; sorry Lord because I’m feeling dirty; sorry Lord because I’m feeling frightened”) it’s hard to see how God can forgive: it’s selfish love, inadequate sorrow, “imperfect contrition”.

But if my sorrow is also “for” the person primarily offended in all sin – namely God – if it is love-sorrow, then separation ends, His Life returns in its fullness. This sorrow, “perfect contrition”, might be: “Sorry Lord, because I spat in your face; sorry Lord because I crucified you; sorry Lord because I deprived you of what you demanded”. Remember the long Act of Contrition? “…because I deserve (imperfect)…because I crucified… because I offended … (perfect)… ”

But you don’t get this sorrow just by saying words; nor by working up a feeling. It needs a massive input from God, an enormous grace. A rebirth, in the case of serious sin: Conversion Grace. And God has covenanted to give us this grace in the Sacrament of Penance.

How? Think about Luke 7:36-50. This girl didn’t stay at home and tell God she was sorry, she got her arms around Jesus. We can do virtually the same, for a Sacrament is when Christ works directly through His BODY, the Church. And Jesus praised her..! It’s worth going even for routine small sins.  What a prayer for freedom, blame oneself before God and one witness!

Required? Seriously to want to try to live the way God asks, the Church asks; to list the sins, with approximate frequency if it is heavy stuff. Of course if one wants advice, details, motivation and circumstances might help. Not really a big deal.

“If anyone is still hesitating” says J.P.II, “let him hesitate no longer”. Couldn’t put it better myself.


 Fr John Edwards, S.J.

From the archives. First published on the third Sunday of Lent 2010.


5.30pm Mass Readings

We are currently in Year C for the Sunday Mass readings. For the next three weeks, the readings from the 5.30pm Mass will be from Year A to fit in with the scrutinies for those preparing to be baptized into the Church at Easter. The readings for the 5.30pm Mass this week are


Exodus 17:3-7               Psalm 94

Romans 5:1-8                John 4:5-42


O that today you would listen to his voice:

‘Harden not your hearts’.


Gospel Acclamation

Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!

Lord, you are really the saviour of the world;

Give me the living water, so that I may never get thirsty.

Glory to you, O Christ, you are the Word of God!


Lenten Exposition

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament will take place at Farm Street Church between 2.30pm and 5.30pm on Sunday 7th April. Priests will be available in the church to hear confessions during this time. Confessions will also be heard before and after each of the regular Sunday Masses.


Novena for Syria

A Novena for Syria will be prayed at every Mass at Farm Street Church starting on 7th April, the 4th anniversary of the martyrdom of Fr Frans van der Lugt SJ and ending on the 16th April. The Novena will be offered for the release of Fr Paolo dall’Oglio SJ. Farm Street Church is home to the Middle East Shrine which is a focus of prayer and solidarity for the region.




Dr Gemma Simmonds, CJ, Cambridge, will address the subject:

‘Happy Landings: Accompanying the Return to Faith and Practice’. This will take place on Thursday April 11th at 7:00pm in the parish hall. Mass in the church at 6:00pm; buffet reception to follow

Suggested donation: £10

All most welcome – to book e-mail or ‘phone Fr Dominic Robinson SJ on (020)-7529-4802




Carey Schofield, a former journalist and now educator in Pakistan, will speak about her work in Sunday March 31st at 12:30pm in the Meeting Room. All are most welcome to what should be an extremely interesting talk.



On Thursday 4th April at 6.45pm, Dr Martin Poulsom will present a talk on the theology of integral ecology. Exploring ideas of striving for a just world which opposes economic injustices and growing inequality, the despoiling of the earth and exploitation of people, and searching for a better way of living, this should be an interesting presentation about very lively contemporary issues. Admission is free. For details, visiting the


Lent Day of Prayer & Reflection 

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? 

Reflections on the Passion of the Lord Jesus Christ with the Dominican Sisters. Wednesday, 3 April (9.30 for 10.00 until 3.00) Please bring a packed lunch. Suggested donation £14. Niland Conference Centre, Rosary Priory, 93 Elstree Road, Bushey Heath WD23 4EE. To register or ring 07746 707 247



40 Days for Life is a pro-life group praying to end abortion. The current 40 days began on the 6th March and will end on the 14th April, during which a vigil is being kept outside the Marie Stopes clinic in Whitfield Street. If you can spare an hour to pray and to offer love and support for women and babies facing abortion, contact Sarah on 07776 256383 or visit


Mount Street Jesuit Centre

114 Mount Street, London W1K 3AH  

Book online for any of these events

Information: 020 7495 1673 or

Why not come to our Regular Events? (No need to book!)


• Drop-in Prayer

Every Monday 6.30-7pm

• Lunchtime Lectio

Every Tuesday 1.40-2pm

• Wednesdays at the Well – Come to Rest & Be Refreshed

3rd Wednesday of each month 11.30am-3.30pm (Next meeting: April 17th, 2019)


• Book Club

2nd Thursday of each month 7-8.30pm (Next meeting: April 11th, 2019)

Book: “‘Man’s Search For Meaning”

by Viktor Frankl




Facilitated by David Cherry

Saturday 30th March 11am-4pm

As Holy Week draws near here is an opportunity to reimagine salvation, to think and begin to feel your faith in a free-er way. Using Girardian themes of mimesis and the scapegoat mechanism David will attempt to draw you into a vaster & life giving conversation about believing in Jesus.



Facilitated by Maria Shapero

Thursday 4th April 11.30-1pm

Grief is a particularly isolating experience that can affect all aspects of your life physically, emotionally and socially. There are many kinds of grieving…


You are welcome to just come along or contact Maria Shapero or 0755 324 2322 for more details.



Facilitated by Abigail Graham

Saturday 6th April 11am-4pm

This workshop invites you to use this very special devotional music to prepare for hearing St John’s account of the Passion read on Good Friday and to reflect on what Easter means to you.



Facilitated by members of the Mount Street Jesuit Centre team

Saturday 13th April 11am-4pm

These are retreat days of prayer run in an Ignatian way, in which there is talk, time for personal prayer and the opportunity to listen to each other.


There is no need to book for these days, just come along.




Facilitated by Michael Smith SJ

Saturday 27th April 11am-4pm

What do we mean when we say that in his life, death and resurrection Jesus redeemed the human race?


During this day we will look at the meaning and use of the word redemption and related ideas such as salvation, atonement, and being freed from sin, as they occur in scripture, and in later thinking in the Christian church.  We will also think how that work is being carried on today, focusing on what that means for each of us individually, and for the whole human race.