Deuteronomy 30:10-14 Psalm 68
Colossians 1:15-20 Luke 10:25-37
THE HELPER OF THE AFFLICTED
Help is something we all need from time to time; when we look to others to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves, and we also seek to help others when they are in difficulties. Sometimes, however, we seek the kindness of strangers and this is the theme of the parable of the Good Samaritan in today’s gospel.
For us, our need for God comes usually at times of real crisis when we are in desperate need and have only prayer and petition to turn to. Whether it’s a child or a spouse or a parent who may be ill or in difficulties, or at times when we ourselves realise we are lost or trapped, these kinds of situations tend to be when our need for God’s help is felt most keenly. But then the dreaded event occurs or is not alleviated and we are left wondering why God did not answer our prayer.
Take a look at our Prayer Petitions book in the small chapel at the back of the church and you will see reams of requests asking for help from God. Such requests are never in vain. However, often we pray for a particular outcome, one which we want and can recognise. It is the case that God sometimes gives us what we want in prayer but there is, I think, something more important which we need to see.
As we know, our loved ones will fall ill and die and reconciliation between people can be difficult, if not almost impossible, for us fallen creatures. Prayer in all these circumstances is not asking for magic but asking for what God wants. In His eyes there is absolutely nothing to fear: even the worst human affliction or event is saved and redeemed by Him. Not for nothing did His Son enter into death since this is the one event that comes to everyone and appears to be the end of everything. We often think of it as catastrophic, but in God’s eyes it means only a change of life for us and not the end.
Jesus urges us to follow his example of taking care of everyone we meet and castigates the people of his own Jewish faith for preferring to help some people and not others especially if they are Samaritans who were a despised and dehumanised people. He does this to remind us that to follow him, there can be no discrimination of race, colour or creed in those whom we should look after and care for, and we see this in the current example of the Church which is the largest provider of healthcare and education on the planet.
We have to face sometimes traumatic things in our lives but we must learn to look at personal and communal affliction as times of change and growth, given that God is all-powerful and is present to us, even if we cannot recognise that. He does answer our prayers. We have to live with the simple faith that everything is in His hands even when this seems contrary to appearances and we remain afflicted by what is within each one of us, whether through illness, sin or our sometimes awkward and difficult nature. We have to rest in our dependence on Him and accept the humility that comes with that acknowledgement. Then we can accept that God does help us and that our lips can tell of His help for events which, at the time, make no sense to us but which our faith assures and comforts us: that God is very near to each of us; closer than we can imagine for, as Scripture says, the Kingdom of God lies within.
Fr James Campbell, S.J.
(From the archives. First published 11th July 2010)
ST IGNATIUS DAY ALUMNI MASS
All are welcome, and most especially alumni/ae of Jesuit schools and universities here and abroad, to celebrate the Feast of St Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Jesuits, on July 31st at 6pm, when there will be a solemn Mass with the Farm Street Choir, followed by a party. All welcome to this joyful annual event – please do spread the word and bring friends and family.
JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE
JRS UK are seeking volunteers to go with our friends when they approach an Embassy to request documentation about nationality. For some it offers a way forward in the efforts to obtain the protection and recognition they need and have a right to. The volunteers will offer moral support and act as witnesses.Please could you advertise this opportunity in your parish newsletter/circulate to those who you think might be interested? More information is available on the JRS UK website: www.jrsuk.net/volunteer
31 DAYS OF ST IGNATIUS
Where will God find you this July? Join the Jesuits on a journey guided by the Spiritual Exercises via a series of 31 daily e-mails leading up to the Feast of St Ignatius on the 31st July. Each week, a theme will be examined from the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius with the use of scripture and prayer to help you find God in moments of Conversion, Call, Challenge, and Consolation. Even if you have missed the start of July, it is not too late to sign up.
For more information, visit:
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION
Preparation start date: 6th October 2019
Celebration: 14th June 2020
If you would like your child to take part in this preparation, please contact us to request an Application Form or collect one from reception at 114 Mount Street.
Forms must be returned by:
30th September 2019.
Bookings are open for this year’s Farm Street Camino in the Steps of St Ignatius, walking this year in the steps of the founder of the Jesuits through the Basque Country from Alda on the Rioja border to Loyola, the birthplace of St Ignatius. The Camino is a spiritual as well as physically challenging experience, with prayer and Mass each day and a day’s retreat in Loyola followed by a final day of sightseeing in Bilbao. September 23rd – October 3rd 2019. For more information please speak to Fr Dominic or, to request a brochure and to book, contact Pax Travel direct on (020)-7485-3003; email@example.com For full details visit www.paxtravel.co.uk or request a brochure at Reception.