Fr Adrian offers a short address for the Eighteenth 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 have settled down to an 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 ◀
Almighty and everlasting God,
increase in us your gift of faith
that, forsaking what lies behind
and reaching out to that which is before,
we may run the way of your commandments
and win the crown of everlasting joy;
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 (Isaiah 25.1-9) ◀
O Lord, you are my God;
I will exalt you, I will praise your name;
for you have done wonderful things,
plans formed of old, faithful and sure.
For you have made the city a heap,
the fortified city a ruin;
the palace of aliens is a city no more,
it will never be rebuilt.
Therefore strong peoples will glorify you;
cities of ruthless nations will fear you.
For you have been a refuge to the poor,
a refuge to the needy in their distress,
a shelter from the rainstorm and a shade from the heat.
When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rainstorm,
the noise of aliens like heat in a dry place,
you subdued the heat with the shade of clouds;
the song of the ruthless was stilled.
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear.
And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
he will swallow up death for ever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
▶ THE NEW TESTAMENT LESSON (Philippians 4.1-9) ◀
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.
I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
▶ THE GOSPEL (Matthew 22.1-14) ◀
Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, “Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.” But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, maltreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests.
‘But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, “Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen.’
▶ POST COMMUNION PRAYER ◀
We praise and thank you, O Christ, for this sacred feast:
for here we receive you,
here the memory of your passion is renewed,
here our minds are filled with grace,
and here a pledge of future glory is given,
when we shall feast at that table where you reign
with all your saints for ever. 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 congregational 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]