Jesus returns to a surprise in his hometown Nazareth

Who knows how long they’d been waiting to welcome Jesus home?  To see for themselves the wonders they’d heard about via the grapevine?  That the heavens opened in Jesus’s presence.  That water turned into wine.  That diseases disappeared and demons scattered to oblivion.  Surely, they must have thought, if their boy was willing to peddle miracles to perfect strangers “out there,” he’d do a hundredfold back here at home.  Among his kin.  His insiders.  His favourite’s.    But they were dead wrong.

 As far as I can tell, the story turns precisely when Jesus refuses to go home in the ways that matter most to his kin.  He refuses to be at home.  To stay at home.  To allow his home to define him.  Everything goes wrong when Jesus essentially says, “I am not yours.  I don’t belong to you.  I am not yours to claim or contain.”

He does this by citing God’s long history of prioritizing the outsider, the foreigner, the stranger. Elijah was sent to care for the widow at Zarephath, he reminds them.  He wasn't sent to the widows of Israel.  Elisha was instructed to heal Naaman the Syrian, not the numerous lepers in Israel.  In other words, God has always been in the business of working on the margins.  Of crossing borders.  Of doing new and exciting things in remote and unlikely places.  Far from home.  Far from the familiar and the comfortable.  Far from the centres of power and piety.

As I meditated on the Gospel reading this week, I had to remind myself to linger (uncomfortably) at this point of provocation.  If Luke’s account is accurate, then Jesus is the one who pushes his own way into this story. He is the one who rejects their version of welcome, who refuses to abide by the tribalistic claims of their hospitality. He is the one who overturns their notions of home and of God’s place in it.  “You can’t go home,” he basically tells them. “You can’t hunker down and stay where you are, expecting God to hang out with you.  God is on the move.  God is doing a new thing.  God is speaking in places you don’t recognize as sacred, privileging voices you’re not interested in hearing, and saying things that will make your ears burn.  Can you handle it?  God is not yours. You are his.”

29th January 2019

Scripture from Scratch

 A Journey Through Lent with the Gospel of Luke with Sr Anne Walsh OP. These five sessions explore the Sunday Readings of Lent, inviting us to open our hearts to God's Word in preparation for Easter. Thursdays, 14 & 28 February; 14  & 28 March; 11 April (7.30-9.00 pm refreshments from 7.00). Suggested donation £5/session. Niland Conference Centre at Rosary Priory, 93 Elstree Road, Bushey Heath WD23 4EE (www.nilandconferencecentre.co.uk/programme-of-events or  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for details).

Thank You.

Christian Unity Week/2019 at St Joseph & St Clare

To mark the week for Christian Unity, it was with great joy that a small group of Parishioners from St Joseph/Clare’s and St. Mary the Virgin met each morning to pray the morning Prayer of the Church. The week culminated in the members of St. Mary the Virgin joining with us for Mass on Friday. As a result of our experience throughout that week a real desire to explore other ways of sharing was expressed. We offered our sincere thanks for the hospitality received at St. Mary the Virgin and look forward to other opportunities to come together.

Cafod/ Friday Morning Teas/Coffee January 2019

A Big Thank you to all those who support the Friday tea and coffee after Mass. Through your Kindness we have been able to send £935.97 to CAFOD for the period Jan 2018-Jan 2019 

 

Faith in Politics

Bishops’ Conference Faith in Politics Internship 2019

“The Catholic Parliamentary and Public Affairs Internship Scheme is recruiting at least six recently graduated Catholics to learn from an intensive experience of political and social action in a spiritual context. The scheme will run from September 2019 until July 2020. Internship positions are given with Christian MPs and Peers in Parliament, the Catholic Education Service, CAFOD and the Caritas Social Action Network.

All interns also gain from retreats and spiritual guidance, as well as living in a vibrant, young Catholic community in the centre of London. During the year, as part of their overall formation, interns will study for a Postgraduate Certificate in Catholic Social Teaching from St Mary’s University, Twickenham.

Further information can be found at www.faithinpolitics.org.uk. Applications are open, and the closing date is 28 February 2019. Applications should be made through the website. Please direct any questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or visit @faithinpolitics on Facebook or @catholicinterns on Twitter for more information.”

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