Feasts and Saints

C10th icon of the Baptism of the Lord by Lawrence OP via Flickr
Console my people, console them, says your God.  This line, Isaiah chapter 40, verse 1 captures something very central about our faith.  Comfort ye my people is the King James’ version. That translation of the verse appears at the very beginning of Handel’s Messiah. The coming of Christ is a consolation to us.  Our Saviour’s work among us is a comfort. Console my people, comfort them, says your God.  On the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord we understand this comfort and...
Gift of love Credit Nick Fewings
The Homily of Fr Damian Howard SJ for Luke Taylor’s Vows Mass on 21st December 2018, Feast of St Peter Canisius.      With Christmas so close, I assume that we have all been busy buying presents for friends and family. Which is either a great pleasure or, if you are like me, a trial like no other. I remember when I was young an elderly uncle who used to come and stay at Christmas and who would always buy me an Airfix model of a ship or an aeroplane. And I dreaded...
Adoration of the magi tapestry by E Burne-Jones
Paolo Beltrame is a Jesuit novice who previously worked in astro-physics. He reflects on the connections between the gifts of the Magi and the life of the Jesuit novice.    Gold, frankincense and myrrh – three gifts that, gradually, entered our traditional celebration of Christmas, together with the story of the Wise Men, the Magi, and of the shooting star, or comet, or whatever it was.There might be a strong, even though invisible, connection between the route that the men...
The Sacred Heart of Jesus by Stephen B Whatley
Jesus Christ...the ruler of the kings of the earth, loves us and has washed away our sins with his blood and made us a line of kings, priests to serve his God and Father. That Jesus has authority over all earthly rulers, whether they acknowledge it or not, is important to us, His disciples.  We have accepted the kingship of Christ over our life.  In one way that acceptance is a matter signed, sealed and delivered some time ago when we were baptised.  For most of us, however...
Padre Pio used with permission
The 23rd of September is the Feast of Padre Pio, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. He died fifty years ago on this day in 1968.  For fifty years before that, Padre Pio bore on his body, the stigmata. The stigmata are the marks of the sufferings of Christ. The five precious wounds are the holes in the feet, in the hands and in the side. The stigmata are the marks of the nails and of the centurion’s spear.  The strange miracle of the stigmata, which seems like the very opposite of healing, was...
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
The Sixth Station of the Cross: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.  An act of kindness on the road to the crucifixion leaves a physical memorial: an image of the face of Jesus is vividly impressed on a towel or veil.  The name Veronica is sometimes said to mean ‘true icon’, ‘true image’ although it could also be a form of Berenice. True images of Jesus Christ can be imprinted by compassion.  Acts of tenderness towards those who are suffering are icons of the loving kindness...
Madonna della Cintola from Wikimedia Commons
Old paintings of Saint Thomas the Apostle sometimes show him carrying a belt.  According to pious legend the doubting of Thomas extended to the Assumption of Our Lady.  He had been convinced of the Resurrection when the Risen Lord appeared to him and allowed him to inspect on his body the traces of the crucifixion.  My Lord and My God said Thomas when he believed.    He was again away from the group of apostles who witnessed the Assumption. Once more,  it is...
Fr Peter Edmonds SJ
Jubilarian and biblical scholar Fr Peter Edmonds SJ reflected on a life of service in this homily, given at Farm St Church on the Feast of St Ignatius 2018.Today is the feast day of St Ignatius, a special day of celebration for members of the Jesuit order, the Society of Jesus; it is also a special day for those who have been educated at Jesuit colleges which for over four centuries have flourished in so many parts of the world. But today is also a special day of celebration and gratitude for...
Bishop Hudson and Kensy Joseph SJ during the ordination
“I will give you shepherds,” we hear the Lord promise on the lips of the prophet Jeremiah. And today we see that promise marvellously fulfilled. As Kensy and Philip are ordained here in Stamford Hill, the ordination of six more priests draws to a close this afternoon a few miles from here in Westminster Cathedral.Eight more men for the mission! How their forebears, the likes of Saints Edmund Campion and Ralph Sherwin, who led the mission to England and Wales four hundred and thirty-five years...
This Sunday we celebrate the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. Do you remember why Zechariah had been struck dumb?They made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. You remember why Zechariah had been struck dumb? The beginning of Luke’s Gospel tells the story. Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were exemplary people, living a good and holy life in the hill-country of Judea. They would have liked to have had children but had not been able to do so. They still prayed for a...

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