With grateful hearts we bow to St. Matthew as we take leave of him for a while. His absence will be filled by St. Mark who will be our leader and guide as we journey through this new year. St. Mark has much to teach us, and we have much to learn. The Gospel of St. Mark tells the story of Jesus, the Beloved Son of God. All good stories are good when the one telling the story is also listening to it, or telling it to themselves. So please spend time in St. Mark’s company this year and, each week, prepare the Text chosen for the Sunday Eucharist in your prayer and reflection.
Today is the first Sunday in Advent. The text chosen for today is high drama. We are commanded to 'Be on our Guard'. Three times the Teacher tells us to 'Stay Awake' in the dark time of uncertainty. The importance of this is underlined by the ending, 'What I say to you I say to all: Stay Awake!' What's all that about then?
St. Mark will be inviting us to listen to the conversations, encounters and teachings of Jesus that communicate spiritual wisdom. All of these are intended to bring the listener from blindness to sight, from deafness to hearing, from lost to found, from sleeping to awaking and from dead to risen. St. Mark wants us to pay close attention to the teaching style of the Master - how he gears what he says to the mindset of his listeners, how he gives them the power to have a breakthrough in understanding.
Jesus, the Teacher, isn't just giving out information. Sitting at His feet, listening to His Word is an encounter with a higher consciousness which is bent on opening whoever is listening to the indwelling Spirit. Everything He says is geared towards the spiritual transformation of His disciples, crowds, religious authorities and individual seekers. To watch Him at work is to grasp the power of the Word made Flesh. Jesus is the embodiment of spiritual wisdom, bursting with grace upon grace and seeking to share its blessings.
Reuven Gold was a modern day sacred storyteller and spiritual teacher. Here is one of his stories.
A very advanced disciple was very distraught and pounded insistently on the door of their teacher’s house at midnight. The teacher opened the door. The house was in darkness, but the teacher held a candle in his hand. The disciple blurted out that they were filled with anxiety and had to see the teacher at once. The teacher opened wide the door. The disciple entered, and the teacher closed the door. Then the teacher blew out the candle.
Reuven tells the story and waits to hear what sense it makes to those who have heard it. Then in a loud voice he shouts, "Don't worship your emotions!" His eyes widen. He grins then shakes with laughter. I got the story. I could see the disciples' problem. I saw how flashes of light can push away the darkness. It was a momentary shining but not a steady seeing. St. Mark will teach us, if we let him, how to hold the light that never fails.
Saint Matthew paints a great picture of the Judgement at the end of time. His imagination runs riot in a heavenly courtroom, complete with angels. A room filled with suspense. The fact of judgement is a given but the criteria are not yet clear. The Son of Man King begins, as Matthew always likes Him to begin, by dividing the nations in two. Sheep to the right, goats to the left. The goats are nervous now, but it is not yet clear what the Son of Man King is looking for in terms of success or failure.
This text is often called, 'The Gospel of the Final Surprise!' But in reality the criteria have been there since the foundation of the world. Now, the Father of the Son of Man King is blessing those who were good to His Beloved Son. The 'sheep' ministered to Him when he was in need or in trouble. This is the "Open Sesame" into the Kingdom of the Father. The sheep are surprised. What about keeping the rules? Or making great Art? Or visiting the Temple/Church/Synagogue/Mosque? Is all that counts how you treated the Son of Man King? The sheep are confused. They cannot seem to remember seeing the Son of Man King in distress. But He reassures them that he is so connected to all creation that even when they did it for the 'least' they did it to Him.
And it seems there is also a fire which has been prepared since the foundation of the world. The goats warrant this final home because they did not help the Lord in distress. They did nothing. The goats are confused, asking the same question as the sheep. But the Son of Man King is clear that they did not care for the least.
Although the sheep and goats share the same confusion, the sheep clearly just attended to the suffering of people around them without considering their 'status' or their ability to pay them back in money or influence. The goats did not see the Son of Man King, but if they had known it was He, you can be sure they would have helped. This would have been a good deed with a guaranteed payback. 'If we had known it was you, O King, and not some miserable nobody, of course we would have helped. Sheep care without calculation.
Goats care only with calculation. Saint Matthews' Judgement scene is exciting. It suggests that the genuine qualities of those who have been filled with the Spirit of God are first, that they act without hesitation to help someone in need. Secondly, they do so without calculating if there is anything in this for themselves. Lastly, their actions remain hidden. This reminds me of the story of a woman who went with some friends to an Ashram. She described this experience as touching the 'real thing'. Asked what she meant, she said that they stayed about six weeks, at the end of which she had a chance to talk to the famous spiritual teacher who lived there. She told him that everything they had experienced during their stay was remarkable. Without missing a heartbeat, he replied, "Everything you see here is because of the grace of my grandmother". You see, she said, he had no need to promote himself or call any attention to his abilities. He knew they were a gift from elsewhere. When caring just happens, and no one is claiming the credit, we know the Spirit of God is present.
So if I was a reporter interviewing the sheep lounging around in their newly inherited Kingdom, and asked them how they managed to find themselves such amazing digs, I imagine them saying, "We just cared for every person we met, immediately and without calculation. And it wasn't a big deal". Or so it seemed!
Wise sayings, or proverbs, are usually written on the back of experience. 'Too many cooks spoil the broth.', 'A stitch in time saves nine'. Our first reading this weekend is taken from the Book of Proverbs. In a nutshell, if we are looking for a perfect wife, husband, friend or partner - we will never find them. But if we are lucky enough to find someone who is wise, we will probably be as close as we're going to be to the dream. So, while Wisdom is praised, and praised again as more precious than money, so too is reverence for Sacred Things. The Psalmist declares that those who move with reverence in the world, in their homes and communities rarely lack anything, and are never lonely. We can find many examples of this through all Sacred Scripture. Then, just when we thought that we were beginning to understand the spiritual laws that govern our lives, Jesus comes along and stands them on their head. The format of this weeks' Parable is tried and tested. Usually, after the Master has given his gifts and instructions and then departs, the first two get it wrong and the last one gets it right. When it is told in this way, everyone loves the comedy and are delighted to see the underdog winning for a change. But Jesus' version turns the story into a tragedy. Worst still, the one who has the least going for him, gets it wrong and loses even that! What is going on here? Notice that the servants are not in a competition with each other. But they are in a competition with themselves. What will they do with what has been given two them? Well, first they have to understand the spiritual laws that govern their lives. God gives everything to them freely. They are then invited to give away what they have received. According to physical laws, when we give something away, we no longer have it. But according to spiritual laws, when we give it away, we are astonished to see that it doubles! Now comes a new understanding of how Spirit grows and a greater responsibility to make that happen. This is what the Parable calls, 'entering into the joy of your Master.' The Master who knows spiritual laws, calls these servants 'good and faithful'. They have been faithful to goodness by imitating it. It was given to them, they gave it to others, and now they watch it grow and unfold. But alas, the same law of the spirit proposes a 'use it or lose it' adventure. If Spirit is given away, it increases exponentially. If it is buried, it is lost. The Master, who knows the flip side of the law of happiness, takes the talent away from the one he calls, 'wicked and lazy'. And, since it cannot stand alone, it is given to the one who has ten. The Master calls this servant, wicked and lazy but the servant rejects this description claiming that his whole life was diminished by being afraid of everything - especially the Master! Notice, the Master does not disagree. In fact, he repeats what this servant has said. But then he draws a different conclusion. Either way, he should have acted to double the gift he had been given. His failure to understand puts him into deeper darkness with only tears of regret for company. So, here's the thing. We should not take God for granted and instead, nurture in our lives a healthy reverence for what we do not yet know. At the same time, we must never, ever, ever, turn God into a terrorist. Our own experience in prayer should give us a clearer view of the tenderness which enfolds us. If fear immobilises us, we need to find a new strength with the support and presence of good and faithful servants of the Lord. They have much to teach us. But perhaps the most shocking aspect of what Jesus does with this Parable is to remind us that when we lose the Icon of Gods' Face from our hearts, we can talk ourselves into spectacular loss.
It's turning colder and the days are getting shorter. It's great to be able to flick a switch to push the darkness and the cold away. We live in blessed times! But how do we switch on to the teaching of Jesus, especially when we sit with Parables like the one given for this Sunday?
The Kingdom of Heaven is first, a new way of seeing reality and a new way of living in that new reality. Disciples must be transformed away from the ordinary and have the courage to act in the world in an extraordinary way. This is not easy. Saint Paul, writing to the new community in Corinth (2:5,17) said that 'anyone who is in Christ is a new creation.' Today's Parable explores this theme but highlights the danger of missing the main event.
From the outset the Parable is strange. Usually only one person awaits the bridegroom - the bride. But here we have ten. The bridegroom is obviously Christ but who are these others who are separated as wise or foolish? The call goes out that in the darkest moment the bridegroom has arrived. Lamps must be lit so He can recognise the faces of those who are waiting for Him. But lamps don't work without oil. The foolish have none, and the wise seem to be really selfish when they tell them to 'go and buy some for yourself'. The truth about the oil is that we have to have our own. Each of us must listen to the teaching of the Christ and make it our own. We cannot fly on the ticket of anyone else. Each person’s lamp must produce its own wattage.
In the writings of the early Christians, Isaac of Nineveh wrote, " There is a Love like a small lamp, fed by oil, which goes out when the oil is ended; or like a rain-fed stream which goes dry, when rain no longer feeds it. But there is a love, like a spring gushing from the earth, never to be exhausted". The wise virgins are in touch with this river. So their oil is continuously replenished and not consumed. The foolish have not found it yet. They live by buying and selling. They keep looking outside of themselves for what can only be found within. Worse still, right to the end, the foolish think that it is Jesus, implored as Lord, who will open the door for them. They have not understood that the Kingdom of God has been given to them and they can only open the door by themselves. It is the lamp of their new vision and the oil of Love which will open the door. The Parable insists that we must grow up, stand on our own feet and do the will of the Father for ourselves. Even the disciples who claim to have healed, prophesied and cast out devils 'in Jesus name' (Matt,7:21-23) are told it is not enough. The Parable concludes with a caution that we must stay awake to this truth. Every breath we take is the day or the hour when He might come.
Ghandi once said, "My life is my message". St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the Gospel, but use words only when necessary". The last words of Bhudda to his followers was, "Be a light unto yourself". Martin Luther cautioned, "You are going to die alone, you better believe alone". Silesius asked, "What good if Gabriel hails the virgin and does not hail me?"
This is the delicate balance needed to be a disciple of Jesus. On the one hand we proclaim from the heart that "He is Lord". Yet worshipping Him from afar with extravagant praise and petition is not enough. We cannot ride Him as if he was a horse. He must be invited to take up residence in our hearts. Allowed to build us up from the inside. To confirm us a beloved daughters and sons of God and as sisters and brothers all who really, really care for each other. This is how the Divine pleasure flows through us. Perhaps that is why Saint Paul wrote to the Galatians, "it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ living in me". (Gal:2,20). The Parable of the ten virgins alerts us to the situation where we might know everything about Him, except the one thing necessary. But if we awaken to the truth. If we take His Truth to heart. The door opens. We are like a person locked in a room, calling to be freed, who realises we had the key all the time.
This weekend, let us joyfully unite ourselves with all people of good will, and remember the special bond of love we have with our sisters and brothers in the Diocese of Bamenda.
Ask anyone what they want to be and they will hardly ever say they want to be a saint! Perhaps the way 'Saints' were presented was so 'holy' it was hard to understand or get near them. These people were the first victims of air brushing, where all their humanity was edited out of the story of their lives.
One line from Flannery O'Connor’s short stories suggests that when the sun strikes the trees in a certain way, even the meanest trees sparkle. In this way all of us, no matter our shortcomings, say or do things that bring the light of love into the world.
Did you know, for example, that St Patrick was a slave in Ireland and the thought of going back there wasn't his first choice. He arrived carrying his hurt, his anger and resentment. But as he listened to the people's stories, he grew to love them. This is a Patrick who seized the opportunity to grow through his pain into Love.
Did you know, for example, that St Francis sought an audience with the Sultan Malik Al Kamil with the intention of converting him or making him kill him as a martyr. The Sultan silenced Francis by insisting that it was irreverent for humans to speculate about God. Then told him he could tell the difference between a crusader and a holy man and he had no intention of killing a holy man. After this, Francis instructed his Friars to treat Saracens and Christians as equals. And each time he blew that Sultans gift of a horn, calling people to prayer, he was sounding the end of the Crusades.
Two stories of people constantly converting to Love. Both open to every opportunity that rose before them and rising to meet it. Is this readiness the heartbeat of true Sanctity?
When Blessedness knows it is poor in itself, the Kingdom of God is near.
When Blessedness mourns in the face of sin and death, comfort comes.
When the Blessedness of the meek does not resort to violence they outlive to violent.
When Blessedness seeks a better world, it will not be denied.
When Blessedness shows mercy, mercy grows more quickly.
When Blessedness holds onto its interior communion with God, it will see Gods activity in the world.
When Blessedness works for peace, Gods parenthood becomes clearer.
When Blessedness is persecuted because it threatens the rich and powerful it stands as a powerful ambassador for the Kingdom of love and service.
All Saints and Sinners struggle to live their spiritual communion in the tumult of the world. But we still have to answer the question, what do we want to be?
A lawyer tries to drag Jesus into the labyrinth of laws. Perhaps he hopes he can lose Him there. Around 600 laws governed the daily life of a Jewish person. How would it be possible to choose one which is greater than all the others? Do not all of them come from the mouth of God and have equal weight?
I love the way Jesus doesn't choose one as the greatest. I'm not even sure that He chooses two! Instead, he invites the lawyer to touch the underlying structure of Love that all law and prophecy is built on. Choosing to be a loving person and expressing that Love for God and for others is the heart of the matter. Love is an interior dance and Jesus stresses the inner space from which Love and action flow.
And it is probably true that in the modern world, we have even more laws than the mere 600 in the Torah. If we thought about it too much, we would all get the screaming ab dabs. They surround every human activity. Laws about loans, living and dying, gift giving, parenting, driving or riding a bicycle, crime, food, sex, relationships. And let's not forget health and safety and the protection of vulnerable children and adults. Whether religious or secular the big question is always, "Did I behave in the right way? Did I keep the law? As long as I can say that I acted properly, the lawyers will be happy.
Once upon a time there was a very hard-working father who was hurrying out the door to work. His little boy was playing with his cars in the hallway. His dad patted him of the head and went out the door. But as he put his key in the ignition, he had an epiphany. "What am I doing? I'm too busy to spend time with my little boy. He'll be old before I know it". Harry Chapin was singing 'The cats in the cradle' inside his head. The man goes back in the house, sits on the floor and starts playing cars with his boy. After two minutes the boy said, 'Daddy, why are you angry with me?'
Once upon another time, a woman took her elderly mother into her home after she had had a mild stroke. The daughter was very attentive to her mother’s every need. But one day a huge fight erupted over a boiled egg. In the middle of the war of words the mother asked her daughter, 'Why are you doing all this for me anyway'. Her daughter started a litany of reasons. I want you to feel safe. I want you to be well. I think I ignored you a lot when I was younger and wanted to make up a little of that lost time. When she finished her litany, her mother said, "A load of old rubbish!" Her daughter was furious until her mother added, ' You don't need a list of reasons. We love each other. It's enough".
Father and daughter were behaving correctly but their actions did not flow from the heart centre of Love. Doing something because it is expected and doing something from the heart are two different experiences. A three-year-old, and a little old lady can see it clearly. Do you think that Jesus' interest in the heart space is clear enough for us? Perhaps that is why he insists that real forgiveness can only come from the heart.
It seems that when we are fluent with the inner landscape of sacred and human love, we can move more freely among the laws knowing their ultimate purpose. So, we know when to heed them, when to modify them and when to dismiss them. We might even heal a sister or brother who is crippled, on a sabbath day.
The Pharisees construct a trapdoor for Jesus under which lies a bottomless pit. They want Him to say something they can use against Him. This is why they invite the Herodians into their scheming. The Herodians want to keep Herod in power, and Herod stays in power only if the Romans say so. The Romans keep him in 'power' because he is their first and best tax collector. If Jesus says something against taxes - and who doesn't! - he can be accused of sedition against Rome. The Herodians will testify that they heard it with their own big ears.
If, however, Jesus submits to the tax, he will discredit Himself among his followers. They hate everything Roman, but especially taxes, which were often raised from painful to excruciating by bribery and corruption. If Jesus sanctioned the tax laws, He would have to contradict most of His teaching.
So, the Pharisees swing a two-edged sword at Jesus. He drums his fingers on the heart of God asking, what to do, what to do? Worse still, the Pharisees have iced the ground beneath Him. He might slip on their flattery as He tries to reveal himself with plain speech. They remind Him of his honesty and integrity and that He is a prophet who will say what most people are thinking. What to do, what to do?
Their flattery is right, of course. Jesus knows the malice in the hearts of those who are trying to set him up. He sees their hypocrisy - their untrustworthiness. What they are saying with their mouths does not match what they are saying in their hearts. They are not interested in taxes. Worse still, they are even less interested in God! Their real interest is in obliterating the message of the Saviour of the World.
Jesus does not have a Roman coin and has to ask for one. What does that mean? He then invites them to answer their own question and rounds His response off with the now famous, 'give unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God'. He just won't answer their question!
So, let's tell the story one more time. We might find it helpful to identify the 'trapdoors' when we are dealing with a difficult situation. Trap One: The Ego Massage. Trap Two: Did you win or lose? Trap Three: Choose between two false alternatives, Yes or No.
Notice how Jesus avoids all three. He does not give too much weight to the compliments being dished out. Instead, He names the malice and the egos behind the game that is being played. Then, He doesn't seem to be overly invested in winning. Isn't it better when everyone wins? Finally, He offers an alternative to yessing or no-ing everything by offering new terms for discernment - the everlasting tension between God and those who think they are God - like, say, a Roman Emperor. Is this a better map in a complex world and especially in the places where faith commitments and social responsibilities meet? Well, there was once a man who screamed at the people in the boat that was heading towards a collision with his own. They seemed to be ignoring him so he screamed louder. He only stopped when he realised the other boat was empty and no real threat. He steered clear, reminding himself that it can be easier to fight to be right than it is to be empty to be true.
The Antiques Road Show is brilliant. Trying to guess the current value of something old is great fun in my house. It's funny how we seem to like old things. From a global perspective, it sometimes seems that we defend, shelter and protect them with more care than we have for the people living with us. The same is true of the 'deposit of faith'. We love and cherish and protect it. Any talk that God may be revising ancient agreements is suspect. The guardians of truth don't like new claims. The big stuff happened long ago and far away. With this mindset, the arrival of an invitation to a wedding feast where God is about to do something new, might not be well received.
The Kingdom of Heaven is an experience. A special moment has arrived, and we are invited to be part of it. Something never seen before is unfolding before our eyes. God is here and we find on our doorstep and invitation to a wedding feast. The religious leaders politely refuse to go. Some of them not so politely! Now, a select guest list becomes indiscriminate. The main roads carry universal traffic. There is no ethnic, gender, age or moral requirement. The wedding of the Son is a beggar’s feast. A gathering of those who accept the invitation. But a great surprise awaits them. They were not invited to witness a wedding but to be married to the Son. The garment they wear signals their readiness to understand and act on the teachings of Jesus. They must marry the revelation and bear the children of Justice, Compassion and Love in the world. If they do not do this, they are reduced to silence. They cannot remain at the feast for this is a wedding only for those who want to be married.
A story that began as a cautionary tale to the leadership of Israel now ends as one to us. Belonging is important but it is only the first step. Each one has to take seriously the task of growing in our understanding of the teachings of Jesus. Hearing is a beginning but just hearing is a fatal end. Hearing must be followed by understanding and understanding must be followed by action. As Jesus himself states in John 13:17 ' If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.'
In the end it comes to this. The Beloved Son of God asks us to marry him. As in all such moments, timing is crucial. The moment to go deeper, the moment to touch the heart of God, the moment to fall in love, comes to different people at different times. Some are drawn when they are very young, some in midlife, some in older age. Some arrive at the wedding on the back of a huge failure, some in gratitude for some blessing. Some come only after death has knocked at their door and taken away someone who shared their table. It would be too easy to say that eventually everyone will find their wedding garment. But it would be too cynical to say that some might not. We are all Christians, but the timetable of our lives is not the same. If home is a place that when you go, they have to take you in, the Christian community is a place that welcomes you when you are ready for more.
I don't know about you, but for me the story of the wedding feast is the story of an open invitation, and this is more important pastorally than the wedding garment. Saint Matthew, lover of dual endings might not agree. But it is clear that all are invited. Good and bad alike. But good and bad are strange designations. What do they mean to those who know themselves well? Still, the Beloved Son of God finds us desirable. Even if we did not come with a wedding garment, the groom has one for us and He has chosen it with great love.
This week’s Parable (Matt:21: 33-46) targets those who like to have power over others. Those who do, open themselves to many temptations. One can quickly switch from being a guardian to becoming an owner, from being a humble servant to being a person who likes to make their authority hurt. Removed from the world of ordinary people, they believe they are above criticism. They silence anyone who calls them to account for their behaviour. They reject anyone who reminds them that only God has authority and laugh at the idea that they will be judged for their cruelty.
Our Parable tells us that God has already done all the hard work. Could not have done more as far as Isaiah (5,4) was concerned. The problem is with the tenants. Instead of producing the new wine, they waste their energy on violence. A violence which escalates each time they think they have got away with it. Believing they can still be persuaded; God sends His Beloved Son.
But instead of seizing this as an opportunity for repentance, their true nature is unwittingly revealed. They want it all for themselves. In reality, they have no love for God in them. They do not want communion but exclusion, and the only way to get that is to obliterate the Beloved Son of God. They avoid with a passion the very thing that could save them! It was a high-risk strategy that cost them everything. It always does in these cases.
Wanting it all is not a sensible desire. Neither is the desire to have power over others or seek to injure them. But we know it goes on all the time, globally, nationally, locally, in our families and even in our parish community. It is a greedy sin which is born out of imagining that we own God and can do what we like with His gifts to us. Sadly, and usually too late, people like this find that God has moved elsewhere. When people find they are having problems with prayer, it's usually because there is some dark sin in their hearts, something that needs to lean more towards compassion in their lives.
Here is another mini Parable on this theme:
The water of life, wishing to make itself known on the face of the earth bubbled up in an artesian well and flowed without effort or limit. People and animals came to drink of this refreshing water, and were nourished by it, since it was so clean and pure and invigorating. But some humans were not content to leave things in this idyllic state. Gradually they began to build fences around the well, charge admission, claim ownership of the land around it, make elaborate laws as to who could come to the well and who couldn't, and put locks on the gates. Soon the well was the property of a powerful elite.
The water became angry and offended. It stopped flowing and began to bubble up in another place. The people who owned the property around the first well were so engrossed in their power systems and ownership that they didn't notice that the water had vanished. So, they continued selling the non-existent water and few people noticed that the power was gone. But some searched with great courage and longing and found the new artesian well. Soon that well was under the control of the elite and the same fate overtook it. The spring took itself to another place and will always do so till the end of time.
We are co-workers in Gods vineyard. When we start wanting it all, we inherit nothing.
People in authority and people with power spend a lot of time checking for erosion. So, in today's Gospel, the leaders and elders are less interested in what Jesus is doing, and more interested in who authorised it, especially if it wasn't them! Remember the time Jesus healed the man with the withered arm. They could have said, "Nice Arm!" But they couldn't see the arm. If all you have is a hammer, all you can see is a nail.
They are, of course, looking to set a trap. If Jesus says he acts on Divine Authority, then God help him because that is their area of expertise. So, He resets their trap and springs it on them. Now watch them squirm. And they squirm so much they get all tangled up to the point where all they can say is that they don't know. Not a great answer from those who claim to speak for God.
Jesus, like John, wants Metanoia, a new mind. By profession the priests and elders are expected to be close to God. By profession, tax collectors and prostitutes are expected to be far from God. The only difference being that when the latter heard the call to change, they changed. New Mind, New Heart, New Shoes.
From the Sufi Wisdom stories:
Once upon a time, there was a court case against Mulla Nasruddin.
The judge asked him, "How old are you Nasruddin?"
And he answered, " Of course, you know and everybody knows I am forty years old."
The judge was surprised. "But five years ago, you were also in this court.
When I asked you then how old you were you said forty.
How is this possible? After five years you are still forty?"
Nasruddin said, " I am a consistent man, sir. Once I say I am forty, I will remain forty.
I'm not going to keep changing my mind about that."
Loyalty to the mind is useless. Holding the same position despite the evidence carries a very high price tag. The Sufis say the mind is a good servant but a poor Master. Clinging to what we ' think' robs us of the ability to tune into the deeper rhythms of our hearts. The religious leaders could not listen to Jesus because their minds were already made up.
I wonder if the same dilemma still plagues us today?
CATHOLIC PARISH OF ST JOSEPH & ST MARGARET CLITHEROW
St Joseph’s Church. 39 Braccan Walk, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 1HA (Directions)
Tel: 01344 425729
South Berkshire Pastoral Area
The parish is part of the Diocese of Portsmouth.
Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust registered charity 246871
St Joseph’s Church. 39 Braccan Walk, Bracknell, Berkshire, RG12 1HA (Directions)
Tel: 01344 425729
South Berkshire Pastoral Area
The parish is part of the Diocese of Portsmouth.
Portsmouth Roman Catholic Diocesan Trust registered charity 246871