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Reflection on the Word – ‘Love is His Name’
JCFL Prayer Vigil, 7th August, 2014

The Heart of Christ

Since the beginning of Creation God has found a multitude of ways of expressing His Love to us. Jesus uses the words of the Torah to teach us the commandments which His Father also instructed the People of Israel, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus, through His Word and Example, shows us how to live these commandments. Here are just a few examples of how Jesus expresses this Love to us in Scripture.

In the Gospel we see how Jesus, the Christ, responds when the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees bring to him a woman caught in the act of adultery telling Him, “the law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” Jesus understands they are trying to trap him and, having taken a moment to reflect, says to the crowd, “Let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Her accusers, on hearing this, one-by-one leave until Jesus, the only righteous judge, is left alone with the woman to express God’s desire not to condemn but to forgive. Here we see the tenderness of God’s Loving Heart expressed in the life of Christ

In the Gospel Jesus enters the temple and drives out those buying and selling in the temple, overturning the tables of the money changers and the seats of those selling doves. He says to them, “It is written, ‘my house shall be called a house of prayer but you are making it a robbers den’ Here we see the strength of God’s Justice expressed through the loving heart of Christ.

In the Gospel, as Jesus is crucified with criminals on his right and left He pleads to His Father saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” The God of Love on the Cross, the innocent One condemned by us sinners, continues to plead our cause to the Father. Here we see the depth of God’s desire to forgive.

To learn what it is to Love we can do nothing better than look to Christ who teaches us, through His Word and Example how to live with a simplicity of heart, a generosity of spirit and a limitless compassion. As we come in to His presence now in the Bread of Life perhaps we can spend a little time thanking Jesus for this gift of Love and reflect on how we can be a little more Christ-like in our own lives.

This month’s JCFL Prayer Vigil (‘Love is His Name’) will be taking place at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street on 7th August at 7.30pm.
The Heart of Christ
The JCFL Prayer Vigil offers an encounter with Jesus, in Word and Sacrament, taking a Christ-centered theme and weaving together a simple liturgy with readings from Sacred Scripture, Music and Song from a variety of Church Traditions, a Reflection on the Word, Adoration, Intercession and Silence.

After the JCFL Prayer Vigil all are welcome to join some of the JCFL team in a local pub to share a little in the light of our common Christian faith.

The JCFL Song Practice takes place at 6.30pm offering those who enjoy singing with the change to sing through the music for the evening’s liturgy (this takes place either in the Church or in the Farm Street Choir Room). All are welcome!

If you would like to help with the music or in any other way please do not hesitate to contact the team at info@jcfl.org.uk.

Thank you!

July’s JCFL Prayer Vigil is taking place at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street at 7.30pm.
This month’s theme: ‘I desire Mercy, not sacrifice’

The JCFL Prayer Vigil offers an encounter with Jesus, in Word and Sacrament, taking a JCFL Prayer Vigil - 3rd July 2014Christ-centered theme and weaving together a simple liturgy with readings from Sacred Scripture, Music and Song from a variety of Church Traditions, a Reflection on the Word, Adoration, Intercession and Silence.

After the JCFL Prayer Vigil all are welcome to spend a little quality time in a local pub offering the opportunity to get to know one another a little better.

There is a Song Practice, to run through the music for the JCFL Prayer Vigil, in the Church (or in the Farm Street Choir Room) at 6.30pm. All are welcome!

If you would like to serve JCFL with a musical gift, or in any other way please do not hesitate to contact us at info@jcfl.org.uk.

Thank you!

Julian Whiting’s Reflection on the Word
JCFL Prayer Vigil, 5th June, 2014

What do we understand by the meaning of the word PEACE?JCFL Prayer Vigil - June 2014

Is it the absence of war and strife, is it a general feeling of physical and mental wellbeing or is it just a general sense of satisfaction with one’s current life plans?

There is power in Jesus and his words. Receiving the gift of peace is a powerful state to be in to deal with the many challenges and situations we face daily. We need this Peace.

What are we like for example with our work colleagues or indeed with close members of our families? How do we demonstrate such peace that Jesus talks about to others? Are we at peace?

For me for example, peace has come at times when space has been given to share life experiences with others, experiences that have been hard to articulate. Being heard has resulted in a sense of peace. However, I have wondered many times what real peace was. I believe it requires some effort and some rewiring of our hearts and minds to grasp peace and determine its true value and meaning.

Jesus I don’t think meant it to be a casual ‘peace be with you’ like we do with each other on a Sunday, for example, with smiles sometimes that may hide stuff that we are reluctant to show or indeed share. No, I feel Jesus meant much much more. Life changing Peace which will transcend all understanding; Peace that has power at its core; the Peace which Jesus gave to his disciples; Peace Jesus I presume wishes us all to own and experience and share.

Jesus would more than likely have greeted the disciples with the Aramaic Shalama (equivalent to the more well-known Hebrew Shalom). Shalom is a rich term which means more than peace as absence of war or inner turmoil. The Hebrew word Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.

It is of course difficult for us to achieve a consistent state of Peace.

What for us then when we read horrific news items which move us at times to the very opposite of Peace? How do we deal with that? How can we maintain this Peace whilst raging inside and wrestle with thoughts that go no further than our own space?

Whatever comes our way, however challenging or difficult, my sense is that Jesus is asking us to embrace the ‘Gospel of Peace’ through all of life’s trials and tribulations.

Jesus breathed Peace over his disciples directly whereas we in our lives search for Peace.

There are various ways of finding Peace, but again we need to be clear as to what this Peace actually is and what it actual means. The disciples went out to the world and were able to communicate the good news in the PEACE that Jesus gave them.

Are we yearning for the same Peace that Jesus gave the disciples in our daily lives?

Let’s try and embrace Jesus’s words for the rest of this week and into the next and console those who may be very far off from any sense of Peace within their lives.

Amen

 

June’s JCFL Prayer Vigil is taking place at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street at 7.30pm.
This month’s Pentecost theme: ‘Peace be with you!’

The JCFL Prayer Vigil offers an encounter with Jesus, in Word and SacrJCFL Prayer Vigil - June 2014ament, taking a Christ-centered theme and weaving together a simple liturgy with readings from Sacred Scripture, Music and Song from a variety of Church Traditions, a Reflection on the Word, Adoration, Intercession and Silence.

After the JCFL Prayer Vigil all are welcome to spend a little quality time in a local pub offering the opportunity to get to know one another a little better.

There is a Song Practice, to run through the music for the JCFL Prayer Vigil, in the Church (or in the Farm Street Choir Room) at 6.30pm. New singers are always welcome!

If you would like to serve JCFL with a musical gift, or in any other way, and would like a little further information please contact the team at info@jcfl.org.uk.

Thank you!

Deacon Peter Kingsley’s Reflection on the Word – JCFL Prayer Vigil, 1st May, 2014

In the readings we have just heard from the Word of God – the Word of Compassion, the Word of Truth and the Word of Eternal Life – the God of our Salvation calls us to reflect: to reflect and give thanks for the God who Counsels us along the path of justice and peace; to reflect and give thanks for the God who in Christ gives us His precious blood and restores us to a right relationship with our Heavenly Father by taking our sins and iniquities upon Himself on the Cross of our Salvation; to reflect and give thanks for the enormous gift of His Word and the Bread of Life revealed to us anew on the Road to Emmaus.

In the New Testament Reading we hear the Lord telling us, “You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish of defect”

We know “all that glitters is not gold” and we know we are given that daily choice to either follow the True Light of Christ or follow the false light of Lucifer. We know, the Prince of Lies, the Deceiver, Tempter, will not lure us with what is uglThe Lord is Risen!y but with what glitters – money, power, sex. However, when we follow the way of Satan and his empty promises, we soon get trapped in a life of sin, with the darkness and sadness that accompanies it. Yes, anew today in this liturgy, as we did on Easter night, we renounce Satan and all his wicked scheming and say Yes to Christ forgiving us, taking the darkness of our sins upon Himself. He alone is the innocent and beautiful lamb of our redemption healing us by His life-giving sacrifice on the Cross, offering us, and every human being without exception, a new life in His presence each and every moment of every day.

In the Gospel Reading the disciples on the Road to Emmaus have their eyes opened to recognize the presence of the Risen Lord in their midst.

JCFL - May 2014We, too, are invited to celebrate in the victory of Christ over death. The temptation, the abandonment of his disciples, the rejection of those whom he loved, the betrayal, the lies, the bitterness, the envy of the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law. None of these has the last word. No not even death itself has any power over the Lord of Life. He has Risen!

We thank God for opening our eyes to the presence of the Risen Christ – the God of Joy and Peace who longs for His People to be with Him – speaking to us through the Word of Life we have just received and silently present in the Bread of Life we now adore. Jesus, God of Compassion and Truth, we trust You, heal us by your presence, teach us by your spirit and forever be the source of our humanity so that, with you, we can enter your Kingdom of Justice & Peace. Amen.

May’s JCFL Prayer Vigil is taking place at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street at 7.30pm.
This month’s Easter theme: ‘The Lord is Risen!’

JCFL - May 2014The JCFL Prayer Vigil offers an encounter with Jesus, in Word and Sacrament, taking a Christ-centered theme and weaving together a simple liturgy with readings from Sacred Scripture, Music and Song from a variety of Church Traditions, a Reflection on the Word, Adoration, Intercession and Silence.

After the JCFL Prayer Vigil all are welcome to join us for a little quality time in a local pub offering the opportunity to get to know one another a little better united in the friendship of Christ.

There is a Song Practice, to run through the music for the JCFL Prayer Vigil, in the Church (or in the Farm Street Choir Room) at 6.30pm. New singers are always welcome!

If you would like to serve JCFL with a musical gift, or in any other way, and would like a little further information please contact us at info@jcfl.org.uk.

Thank you!

Fr. John Hunter’s Reflection on the Word – JCFL Prayer Vigil 03.04.2014

The Gospel reading we have just heard is the one set in the Church’s Liturgy for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday. It was, of course, at that supper that Jesus gave the Church his greatest gift, the Sacrament of his Body and Blood, the Eucharist, the Mass.JCFL Prayer Vigil - 3rd April 2014

But, before giving us that inestimable gift, he did something which demonstrated in a very special way his particular – you might almost say his peculiar – style of kingship. He knelt down and washed the feet of his disciples. He, the Lord and Master, became the servant, and a servant of the lowliest sort. After all, I am pretty sure that none of us here this evening would want to wash twenty-four feet, especially when those feet had walked in sandals – or even bare-foot – through streets untouched by the Council’s road sweepers!

If you read the rest of this thirteenth chapter of Saint John’s Gospel you will reach the point where Jesus says, “I give you a new commandent, that you love one another, even as I have loved you.” He is not speaking of love in the way modern people too often use the word, as something to do with passing infatuation or affection and self-indulgence, but as something which always wants the best for others, not for my own personal enjoyment or satisfaction.

In Jesus’s way of thinking, love is essentially to do with service, service of God and service of our fellowmen and women, without distinction of how smelly their feet might be, or how dislikeable or unwelcome we might find them. If you read how the Gospels record his ministry from start to finish you will find that it is all about service to the least accepted members of the society of his day. He called a tax collector named Matthew and common working men like Peter and John to be his disciples; he spent time talking with a Samaritan woman; he healed cripples and lepers, the classic outcasts of his day; he sat down and talked with a host of ordinary men and women because they ‘looked like sheep without a shepherd’.

His parables emphasised his idea of the true nature of love and service when he spoke of a Wayward Son; a man who was attacked by thieves; the lost sheep which needed rescuing. All of these – people and sheep – were, in one way or another, undeserving, but Jesus keeps making the point that they all need the practical application of his teaching about love – not the sort of love you see in Hollywood films or TV soap operas – but the sort of love which involves the total giving of self. And that was the sort of love he himself demonstrated in his Passion and Death. And the reward of his kind of love became obvious in his Resurrection and Ascension, when the Servant was revealed as the King.

As Saint Paul pointed out in his letter to the Philippians, it was because of Christ’s ‘taking on the form of a servant’ that he was then ‘highly exalted’. And that must be the message for us. As disciples of Jesus Christ, the Fulness of Light, we are called to be servants of all those who have no-one else to serve them, all those who are disregarded by the world, all those who are counted of no worth in the eyes of those who are living the good life in our modern world.

If we are to hope for the blessings of Resurrection and eternal life we have to learn the lessons taught by the Servant King. Life is, indeed, for living, but not simply for living for self. Jesus showed that our true humanity is to be realised in our interaction with others, especially those who are in any kind of need. Saint Paul tells us that he perfected his humanity and achieved his exaltation by his self-offering for those who needed his help, even though they certainly did not deserve it.

That should be the abiding lesson of Lent and Passiontide for us – service of God and service of all the Father’s beloved sons and daughters, wherever they are to be found.

This month’s JCFL Prayer Vigil is at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street at 7.30pm.
The theme is ‘Jesus Christ, the Servant King’

JCFL Prayer Vigil - 3rd April 2014The JCFL Prayer Vigil offers an encounter with Jesus, in Word and Sacrament, taking a Christ-centered theme and weaving together a simple liturgy with readings from Sacred Scripture, Music and Song from a variety of Church Traditions, a Reflection on the Word, Adoration, Intercession and Silence.

After the JCFL Prayer Vigil all are welcome to join us for a little quality time in a local pub offering the opportunity to get to know one another a little better united in the friendship of Christ.

There is a Song Practice, to run through the music for the JCFL Prayer Vigil, in the Church (or in the Farm Street Choir Room) at 6.30pm. New singers are always welcome!

If you would like to serve JCFL with a musical gift, or in any other way, and would like a little further information please contact us at info@jcfl.org.uk.

Thank you!

This month’s JCFL Prayer Vigil is at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, on 6th March at 7.30pm.

JCFL Prayer Vigil - March 2014The JCFL Prayer Vigil offers an encounter with Jesus, in Word and Sacrament, taking a Christ-centered theme and weaving together a simple liturgy with readings from Sacred Scripture, Music and Song from a variety of Church Traditions, a Reflection on the Word, Adoration, Intercession and Silence.

After the JCFL Prayer Vigil all are welcome to join us for a little quality time in a local pub offering the opportunity to get to know one another a little better united in the friendship of Christ.

There is a Song Practice, to run through the music for the JCFL Prayer Vigil, in the Church (or in the Farm Street Choir Room) at 6.30pm. New singers are always welcome!

If you would like to serve JCFL with a musical gift, or in any other way, please contact us at info@jcfl.org.uk. Thank you!