When we gather for worship, we do so before the altar of Christ the sacrifice, as the body of Christ alive and active in the world. We commence our worship with the Sign of the Cross, and we remember the words of Jesus, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am with you”. We are led in our worship by the priest, who stands “In Persona Christi”, representing the face of Christ. We listen to Christ’s presence in the Word, and through the homily we delve into it so that we are called to metanoia, a change of heart, conforming our will to the Divine will.
We then present, in the wonderful exchange of gifts, those things God has given us, grape and grain, which we have collaborated with to form bread and wine, which we offer to God, which he takes and transforms through his Holy Spirit into the redemptive real presence of his one begotten Son ,Jesus, in the Body and Blood of Christ, which we then receive as a sacrificial gift of God to us in Holy Communion.
So many encounters with the presence of God, Community, Altar, Priest, Word, Sacrificial real presence in Body and Blood, Communion…but we are not finished. We also encounter the presence of God, who is going to accompany us on our journey in His name, from our worship of Him into His world which he has entrusted to us. We do this through the announcements and dismissal. Yes, I did say the announcements. The announcements are not merely a repeat of the bulletin but a call to mission. Usually about 800 bulletins are taken each week but, 2,800 faith-filled parishioners come to worship so all need to hear what focus we are taking in the mission ahead. This engages us as His community that is commissioned to go forth and be the alive and active presence of God in the world…see how it has come full circle to recognizing the Christ present in us as we go out?
I have written this in response to an anonymous and rude rant against the announcements that I received via the offertory basket. Normally, I cannot respond to such anonymous pieces as obviously I do not know to whom I should reply. Please, I ask that if you have concerns, any concerns, don’t fulminate and then anonymously vent; come and see me face to face. To put it directly, I think it rather cowardly to hide behind anonymity and expect me, or any of the pastoral team, to respond. Also, if you do have concerns, that is good and proves to me your love for the Church, which is wonderful. What is not wonderful is the rudeness and anger of some of the comments that come to me. That is unfair. I am a firm believer in the words of Thumper the rabbit’s Mother in Bambi, “Thumper, if you haven’t got anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all!” My door is always open so come and see me and I promise I will listen, and we can grow in our knowledge and understanding of each other and our faith as companions on the journey. Thank you.
May God bless you, your families, and the week ahead,
Fr Aidan Peter