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Readings & Reflections

Eaglais na hÉireann  

The Church of Ireland 

THE MALLOW UNION 

of Parishes 

Sunday 28th February 2021 

The Second Sunday in Lent 

RECTOR’S BULLETIN  

WELCOME to a new format for a weekly newsletter. It is very much work in progress, but I  hope it will provide all the information you need for the coming week, combining the weekly  prayers and readings from the Book of Common Prayer, along with a reflection, as well as other  news that is important to our life as a Union of parishes. Please do share this with others,  wherever they are and whoever they are, if you think they may be interested in our life as a  Christian community. 

THIS WEEK 

Sunday’s Gospel reading, with a short reflection on the reading, is also available in video  format at the following link  

https://www.facebook.com/Mallow-Union-of-Parishes-153486538476524/ 

Please find a dedicated time – and space – in your home for a time of worship and reflection each Sunday,  either by reading the scriptures and reflection, or watching the video presentation. 

For each day of the week, the Church of Ireland lectionary provides readings from  Scripture for daily prayer and reflection which can be used at any time of the day. 

  • Monday Psalm 19: 7-14; Matthew 25: 31-46
  • Tuesday Psalm 34: 4-6, 21-22; Matthew 6: 7-15
  • Wednesday Psalm 51: 1-5, 17-18; Luke 11: 29-32
  • Wednesday morning at 10.30am – VIRTUAL COFFEE BREAK by zoom. Please  use this link – and invite anyone along you know who may enjoy and appreciate  some company. Just drop in with a cup of tea or coffee and bring your unique self to our  gathering! 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83457039316?pwd=S0VSSklPZzE4V2JFOVBkejd3T2k2QT 09 

Meeting ID: 834 5703 9316 Passcode: 369698 

  • Wednesday evening at 8.00pm – LENT STUDY GROUP exploring the Gospel  according to St Mark. This takes place each Wednesday in Lent. Do feel free to join us when  you can – there is no obligation to ‘be there’ every week. Each session is self-contained. You can  access the link here 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/7550331231?pwd=b0VhVVRPZkdpRVdtSkNsUEVua3FRUT0 9 

Meeting ID: 755 033 1231 Passcode: 1QGTzz 

  • Thursday Psalm 138; Matthew 7: 7-12
  • Friday Psalm 130; Matthew 5: 20-26
  • Saturday Psalm 119: 1-8; Matthew 5: 43-48

WHILE SUNDAY WORSHIP AND OTHER EVENTS 

TAKE PLACE ONLINE 

During this period of Level 5 restrictions, when we cannot safely gather in our churches for worship, our  Cathedral church of St Fin Barre in Cork broadcasts a weekly celebration of the Eucharist by livestream  at 11.00am every Sunday. It offers an act of worship in the Cathedral, with music, that enables us to join  our prayers to the worshipping life of our wider Church and Diocese. You can access it here 

https://corkcathedral.webs.com/ 

The Church of Ireland also publishes extensive listings of full services being broadcast or taking place  online each Sunday. It can be accessed here: 

https://www.ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/news/Press/2021/Broadcast-Online-Worship February-2021.pdf

READINGS FOR THIS SUNDAY COLLECT 

Almighty God, you show to  those who are in error the  light of your truth that they  may return to the way of  righteousness: Grant to all  those who are admitted 

into the fellowship of Christ’s  religion, that they may reject  those things that are contrary  to their profession, and  

follow all such things as are  agreeable to the same; 

through our Lord Jesus  

Christ. Amen 

If any want to become my  followers, let them deny  

themselves and take up  

their cross and follow me. 

The cross he bore is life and health, though shame and death to him; his people’s hope, his people’s wealth, their everlasting theme. 

Thomas Kelly (1769-1855) 

Genesis 17: 1-7, 15-16 

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to  Abram, and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me,  and be blameless. And I will make my covenant between me  and you, and will make you exceedingly numerous.’ Then  Abram fell on his face; and God said to him, ‘As for me, this is  my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude  of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your  name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a  multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I  will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will  establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring  after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting  covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring*after you. God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call  her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. I will bless her, and  moreover I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she  shall give rise to nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.’ 

Mark 8. 31-38 

Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must  undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief  priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise  again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside  and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his  disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! For  you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human  things.’ He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them,  ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves  and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to  save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my  sake, and for the sake of the gospel,* will save it. For what will it  profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their  life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those  who are ashamed of me and of my wordsin this adulterous and  sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed  when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’

THE WISDOM OF 

CHRISTIAN TRADITION THROUGH THE AGES for this Sunday 

From a commentary by 

Cyril of Alexandria 

(c. 376-444) 

Jesus commanded them to tell no-one, ‘for the Son of Man is  about to suffer many things…’ But wasn’t it the duty of  disciples to proclaim him everywhere? Sacred Scripture,  however, says ‘there is a time for everything.’ There were things  yet unfulfilled that must also be included in their preaching of  him: the cross, passion, death in the flesh and the resurrection  from the dead, that great and truly glorious sign which gives  witness that the Emanuel is truly God, the Son of the Father.  He utterly abolished death, spoiled hell, overthrew the tyranny  of the enemy, took away the sin of the world, opened the gates  above to the dwellers upon earth, and united earth to heaven…  He commanded them, therefore, to guard the mystery by a  seasonable silence until the whole plan of salvation should  arrive at a suitable conclusion.

 

THE RECTOR’S REFLECTION ON THE GOSPEL 

Long before the days when we all had a sat nav in our cars, I once bought a road atlas. It had a  strap-line printed across the front cover: ‘Never Use Yesterday’s Maps for Today’s Journeys’ it read.  That strikes me as a good moto as we ponder Jesus’s invitation in todays Gospel reading – and as  we continue our journey together through this season of Lent. 

What does Jesus mean when he invites those who want to follow him to ‘take up their cross’? 

Perhaps we should think, first of all, about what he does not mean. He doesn’t say ‘take up my cross  and follow me’. We are not going to Calvary in the sense that Jesus did. There is only one Saviour  of the world – and it isn’t me or you! But nor does Jesus say, ‘Take up the cross’ as though there  were only one cross, only one way of responding to this call and invitation, only one pattern of faith  which is meant to fit everyone’s life and circumstances. Rather, Jesus says, ‘Let them …take up their cross.’ That leaves us with a question: what is your cross? What is my cross?  

Some people believe it is about spectacular, attention-grabbing gestures, a willingness to take big  risks for the Gospel of God, to make heroic sacrifices of time and money, self-giving on the grand  scale that honours God. This can be inspiring. We see it in people who give up lucrative careers or,  literally, sell everything they have and go to work among the poor – like St Francis of Assisi in the  13th Century. We should never laugh at such heroic dreams, because they are often the seed bed of  the Christian life. Sometimes I wonder whether one of the reasons Christianity appears to be  unappealing to the young today is that we may have made it all too comfortable and too  predictable, without demands and risks and challenges. 

But, even if it may begin in heroic dreams, any invitation to set out along the Christian way soon  settles down. I often think about Mother Teresa of Calcutta who was such an inspiration because of  her generous self-giving for the poor. She may have been an icon of holiness, but she was also  immensely practical. She would have needed to deal with the complacent, the hostile and  complaining, who carped and grumbled at the changes she brought about in her religious order.  The cross for her was, surely, not the ceaseless demands of Calcutta’s numberless poor; but the  everyday demands and frustrations that came with doing what she had to do, to ensure the poor 

were fed and washed and given hope day after day. Taking up our cross and following Christ rarely  comes with a one-way ticket to an endless roller-coaster of thrills and spills. 

That’s worth pondering because it provides a good reality check. We don’t have to go looking for a  cross, or choose one from a range of options on the supermarket shelf of beliefs and ideas.  Someone else’s cross – even if it belongs to such inspiring people like St Francis or Mother Teresa  – can never be my cross or your cross. The point of Jesus’s specific words in the Gospel is this: the  cross is already in our lives, today. What weighs me down here and now, what crushes us and hurts us, what frustrates you, the things that I seem to be unable to do anything about. Over this past  year, we can be in no doubt about the cross so many people have taken up, as infection, illness,  grief and death have engulfed their lives and the life of our world.  

For most people, this is what taking up our cross means. It is about responding well to the twists  and turns of life as it is – instead of being tempted to deny them or blame them on someone else.  Jesus asks us to take up our cross as the unique and cherished people we are: to face up to these  things, to carry them for ourselves and for him. He asks us to respond with realism and generosity  – and to journey forward using today’s roadmap, not yesterday’s. By taking up the cross which is  your cross and my cross, the crucified and risen Christ is forming us into his own likeness. It’s the  grit in the oyster which eventually produces the pearl. Christ sees us not only as we are, with all our  frustrations, hurts and regrets; but as we shall be, as whole and glorious and fully alive as God longs  for us to be.  

Lent offers us a time to ponder the cross in our lives and how we can respond to Christ’s invitation  to walk into a new future. On the face of it, it’s not an easy or attractive invitation, following him all  the way to hill of Calvary. But Lent also reassures us that Calvary is not the end of the journey. This  season of Lent ends, not on Good Friday but on Easter Day. It assures us that, whatever the cross  

represents in our lives, it will be transfigured by the promise of new life and new beginnings. The  cross may be a symbol of suffering, shame and death; but it gives us the confidence to go forward  in the knowledge that life will prevail, not death. This is the real vitality and energy of our faith. And  not only faith but hope: hope that the Church has always had, that Christ will raise us as he was  raised. And not only hope but love: love which prepares us for life in all its fullness. It’s how we  take up our cross in order to share in that risen life of Jesus Christ, which is the destiny and glory of  each one of us – and of all creation. As we continue our journey through Lent, this is how we can  discover that the way of the cross is none other than the way of life and peace.

Preparing for Holy Week &  

Easter 2021 

The Church of Ireland has an  excellent range of resources at 

www.cm.ireland.anglican.org/lent easter-newsletter-2/ 

Keep in touch with the Church  in the wider life of our  

Diocese by visiting 

www.cork.anglican.org

The Mallow Union  of Parishes 

The Church of Ireland  

serving people at the ‘Crossroads  of Munster’ 

The Reverend  

MEURIG WILLIAMS 

Rector of Mallow Union 

(022) 21473 

mllwyd@aol.com 

Please contact the Rector or the  churchwardens at any time if you  need pastoral support – or know of  anyone in our parishes who would  appreciate and value being  contacted. 

Parish Website 

www.mallow.cloyne.anglican.org/ Follow us on social media

NEWS ITEMS FOR THIS WEEK 

  • The Annual International Interdenominational World Day of Prayer 2021 prepared by the Christian Women of Vanuatu (formerly The New Hebrides in the South Pacif ic Ocean) will be broadcast on Sunday coming 28th Feb ruary at 11 A.M. on Rté 1 Television. 
  • The Doneraile organisers of the World Day of Prayer are preparing a virtual local service to celebrate this Christian event (Friday 5th March) and would welcome suggestions  and expressions of interest. Contact:  

inalillis100@gmail.com or aileenakelly@gmail.com 

  • As the phased re-opening of schools begins from  tomorrow, the Bishop has written to the chairs of school  Boards, along with Principals and staff, of primary  schools across the Diocese, to express his gratitude,  encouragement and solidarity as the demanding and  detailed work of opening and operating our schools safely  happens. The Bishop is aware (as we all are) that this has  been a frenetic few days for all involved in educating our  young people. I know we will want to join him in adding  our thanks, as well as keeping those who teach and learn  in our schools (and their families) much in our prayers. 
  • The Select Vestry met virtually last Thursday evening. As  well as undertaking routine parish business, we discussed  arrangements for worship during Holy Week and Easter  under Level 5 restrictions. In next week’s bulletin, I will  share in more detail the opportunities for worship via  Zoom as we approach this significant time in the  Christian year when we celebrate the events at the heart  of our Christian faith. Our next meeting is scheduled for  Tuesday, March 23rd. A provisional date for our Annual  General Vestry: Thursday, April 15th. Both meetings at  2000 
  • Please remember in your prayers all who are isolated  and anxious, the sick at home and in hospital (as well as  the health service professionals who care for them, along  with family and neighbours), all who are grieving. We  pray, too, for all exiles and refugees (including those  seeking asylum in our own country who are in Direct  Provision). 
  • We commend to God’s mercy all who have recently  died, along with those we have loved and lost whose  anniversary of death occurs at this time of year.

 

https://www.facebook.com/Mallow-Union-of-Parishes-153486538476524/