Fr Adrian offers a short address for the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2020 - based on the Old Testament Lesson and the Gospel of the day - as we continue the slow and cautious process of emerging from the Covid-19 temporary suspension of public worship. We are settling down to our interim pattern of Mass on Sundays (10 a.m. – livestreamed on Facebook) and Thursdays (8:45 a.m.) but, as many people are still shielding, this scheduled message is continuing.
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▶ THE COLLECT ◀
whose only Son has opened for us
a new and living way into your presence:
give us pure hearts and steadfast wills
to worship you in spirit and in truth;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
▶ THE OLD TESTAMENT LESSON (Genesis 50.15-21) ◀
Realizing that their father was dead, Joseph’s brothers said, ‘What if Joseph still bears a grudge against us and pays us back in full for all the wrong that we did to him?’ So they approached Joseph, saying, ‘Your father gave this instruction before he died, “Say to Joseph: I beg you, forgive the crime of your brothers and the wrong they did in harming you.” Now therefore please forgive the crime of the servants of the God of your father.’ Joseph wept when they spoke to him. Then his brothers also wept, fell down before him, and said, ‘We are here as your slaves.’ But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not be afraid! Am I in the place of God? Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today. So have no fear; I myself will provide for you and your little ones.’ In this way he reassured them, speaking kindly to them.
▶ THE NEW TESTAMENT LESSON (Romans 14.1-12) ◀
Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgement on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. Who are you to pass judgement on servants of another? It is before their own lord that they stand or fall. And they will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. Let all be fully convinced in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honour of the Lord. Also those who eat, eat in honour of the Lord, since they give thanks to God; while those who abstain, abstain in honour of the Lord and give thanks to God.
We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
Why do you pass judgement on your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgement seat of God. For it is written,
‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall give praise to God.’
So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
▶ THE GOSPEL (Matthew 18.21-35) ◀
Then Peter came and said to him, ‘Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.
‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.” And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, “Pay what you owe.” Then his fellow-slave fell down and pleaded with him, “Have patience with me, and I will pay you.” But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow-slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, “You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?” And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he should pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’
▶ POST COMMUNION PRAYER ◀
Lord God, the source of truth and love,
keep us faithful to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,
united in prayer and the breaking of bread,
and one in joy and simplicity of heart,
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
▶ RESUMPTION OF PUBLIC WORSHIP ◀
At St Ambrose Church we are settling down to our interim pattern of Mass on Sundays (10 a.m. – livestreamed on Facebook) and Thursdays (8:45 a.m.). Some restrictions remain but we follow our normal Common Worship liturgy as closely as is safely practical. Following a safety audit with the Diocese of Winchester the Covid-19 measures we have adopted include:
· separate entrance and exit doors,
· sanitiser stations,
· an internal one-way system with floor signage,
· roped off rows,
· availability of facemasks (now mandatory unless exempted),
· recording everyone who visits for track-and-trace purposes (records kept for 21 days),
· a thermometer-gun,
· no offertory procession or collection,
· no corporate singing yet,
· the distribution of communion from the front of the nave,
· Communion in one kind only, the host being dropped into the communicant’s hand,
· books and leaflets quarantined for 72 hours after use, and
· no refreshments afterwards (socialising is best done outdoors, weather permitting).
Access to the church at other times is still possible by private arrangement with Fr Adrian on 01202 911569 or [email protected]