This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

 

Sunday 19th July 2020 

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray:

Father, we offer to you this day, all our thoughts, words and actions, all our sufferings and disappointments, and all our joys, and we unite our lives with that of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Confession

Holy God, giver of light and grace, we have sinned against you and against our brothers and sisters, through ignorance, through weakness, through our own deliberate fault. We have belittled your love and betrayed your trust. We are sorry and ashamed; we repent of all our sins. In the name of Jesus Christ, please forgive us and lead us out from darkness to walk as children of light.

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

The almighty and merciful Lord forgives you from all your sins.

In gratitude we say:

God of love, give us a heart to love you and to love one another; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. 

Amen

New Testament Reading:

The Gospel of Matthew 10:5-15

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, “The kingdom of heaven has come near.” Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, 10 no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for labourers deserve their food. 11 Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. 12 As you enter the house, greet it. 13 If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. 15 Truly I tell you; it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgement than for that town.

This is the word of the Lord

Reflection

Here you are. Jesus called you to be his disciple. What now? What does it mean for you today, in this time, in this space of your life?

Jesus sent his disciples to a mission. The mission was to proclaim the good news that the kingdom of heaven is now near. It is near because Jesus, God the Son, the promised Messiah was here on earth. And He came to us because there was nothing that humans could do to reverse the effects of the fall in Genesis 3. We could not go to God or do anything possible to reach God. God had to come to us – Emmanuel: God with us. 

Earlier in the previous chapter Jesus looked on the crowds that came to him and He had compassion on them, because they were lost. That is the human condition when we live without God in our lives; lost, driven by the things of the world, living in darkness. We must be grateful that God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to save us from our sins and from ourselves.

In our reading today, Jesus gives authority to his disciples to cure physical and spiritual afflictions. They are to go to the people of Israel first because they are the people who had the prophecies first. In the same way, we are to nurture and grow our people in our churches and make them strong and confident of the gospel message before we send them out to deliver the good news of Christ. 

Jesus calls you and sends you out. But you are not going out on your own. You are given the authority of Jesus Christ Himself. His Spirit is with us as we go out to bring the good news of God’s love into the world. This is the altruistic nature of our mission: We go out to bring God’s love to others because we know that He loved us before we even realised that. We are not going to just hide and keep it for ourselves. God loves you and me as much as the next person and every one deserves a chance to hear what Jesus has to say, what Jesus had done for us.

So, our mission is to bring that news that Jesus offers a reversal of the human condition. What has been broken by us, is fixed by God. Our mission is to tell each person that even though they have no faith in God, God has faith in them and is knocking on the door of their hearts, right now. That is the mission of this passage.

The miracles, done under authority of Jesus and in his name, are only a sign to show that the Kingdom of God is real and it is here.

But there is also a warning that Jesus gives us as we go out in his name. When we go from place to place proclaiming God’s kingdom of peace and love, we must be aware that many will not be glad to receive you and the message you carry. They will reject you because they reject the One whom you represent. Earlier in the gospel, Jesus warned us not to put our treasure in front of those who will not appreciate it. We must discern between those who are keen to receive the message of God and those who will reject it. 

As I write this for you, so many Bible passages come to my mind:

When Samuel goes to God in despair because Israel wanted a king like other people, God said to Samuel, “They are not rejecting you, they are rejecting me”. 

And Jesus, in John’s gospel said to us that if they hated Him, they will also hate us.

Does this scare you? Being a Christian has never been easy. But this is the mission that we are called to. All of us are called to go out and bring the good news to the world. Jesus is making it clear, however, that we must trust Him to provide what we need in practical terms and (in the next passage) in spiritual terms too. 

If you are confident in the mission and in the One who sent you, you don’t need to be afraid. Remember, therefore, that you have been given authority from God Himself to proclaim His kingdom on earth. But you are not going by yourself, you are following in the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is His mission, His Church and His people. The secret of success lies in that; to follow Jesus all the way. Do nothing and say nothing without Jesus being in it. Are you ready for the mission?

Amen

Hymn: Guide me, O Thou great redeemer

 

Prayer of Intercession:

Dear God, creator and preserver of all, we pray for people of all sorts and conditions. Make your purpose known on earth, your saving power among the nations. We pray for the well-being of the catholic Church. So, guide and guard it by your good Spirit that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in the unity of the Spirit and in righteousness of life. We commend to your generous goodness all those who are in any way afflicted or distressed, in mind, body or circumstances. Comfort and relieve them according to their individual needs; give them patience under their suffering and a happy release out of all their afflictions, according to your will. All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

Amen    

The Lord’s prayer

At the Saviour’s command and formed by His divine teaching we pray together:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

Benediction:

The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini

This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

 

Sunday 12th July 2020 

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray:

Father, we offer to you this day, all our thoughts, words and actions, all our sufferings and disappointments, and all our joys, and we unite our lives with that of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Confession

Merciful God, we are sorry for our unfaithfulness to the love you show us by the gift of life and the greater gift of union with you through the grace of baptism. Lord, we beg you to forgive our sins and to heal the wounds that our sins have caused. We thank you, Lord, for your mercy that brought us to repent and for the forgiveness that you offer so freely when we truly repent.

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

The almighty and merciful Lord forgives you from all your sins.

In gratitude we say:

God of love, give us a heart to love you and to love one another; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. 

Amen

New Testament Reading:

The Gospel of Matthew 9:9-13

As Jesus was walking along, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.

10 And as he sat at dinner in the house, many tax-collectors and sinners came and were sitting with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax-collectors and sinners?’ 12 But when he heard this, he said, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.’

This is the word of the Lord

Reflection

Matthew must have experienced something really powerful indeed to leave the source of his income and go and follow Jesus. Clearly, he must have felt that Jesus was not just a prophet but the promised Messiah of God. 

Today many people identify themselves with their jobs, their careers, their status in the family or in society. But then when a role comes to an end, (loss of a job or a person or a position), then they suffer an identity crisis and they feel lost and confused. When we think that way, one must wonder what makes a person leave the things that form their identity in their mind, their financial security and all that makes them who they are, just so that they can go and embrace a life that, in the eyes of the world, seems full of uncertainty and hardship. 

Obviously, this person must have found a new identity, a new purpose, a new meaning of life, and therefore, a new way of life. Suddenly, those things that gave them the illusion of security and stability, power and control, don’t make any sense anymore. Suddenly, the values have changed, the point of view has changed; before I was looking at life from the ground but now, I am flying and I am able to see further away from this height. Have you ever found yourself looking outside the window of the aeroplane and thinking that the world and all its problems seem so irrelevant from so far in the sky?

Matthew, just like anyone called by Jesus, experienced this change of perspective, this eye-opening flash that makes everything clear in light of eternity. It is natural that when the Holy Spirit moves us to know Him, we rejoice and we want to embrace a new way, a new life. We want to embrace Jesus and all that He has to say to us.

Matthew, a tax collector, a sinner, a man that worked against his own people to selfishly accumulate possessions for himself, suddenly changed course in his life. Unlike the pharisees, Matthew does not know all the correct practices of worship and the law; he does not know how to discriminate between good or bad people, he came from the bad lot. But he has a reason to rejoice because, even though he knows that he does not deserve this honour, God chose him as a disciple. Out of all the people, God chose him, a sinner. 

The pharisees and all those people engaged in practicing righteousness in their own eyes, look upon Matthew’s record and they judge God! God is not good enough for them because He is doing something that goes against their expectations. He has mercy on the sinner. “How can this be?” they wonder; “we are righteous, we follow the law and this Jesus calls a sinner?!” 

But their understanding falls short of God’s standard, their point of view is too in line with the ways of the world. Jesus replies to them with a double-edged sword, cutting through the hypocrisy of following the law without love and mercy on one side, and on the other side, indicating that God comes to those who need Him most, getting His hands dirty to wash our sins away. Indeed, His hands will be dirty of His own innocent blood which He poured out for us and for our salvation. 

Jesus quotes the prophet Hosea in the words “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” but also, Jesus brings out the whole meaning of Leviticus in a practical sense: Worship to God must come from the heart, with love towards God and a spirit of mercy, forgiveness and understanding towards our fellow humans. Earlier in the gospel, Jesus taught us to pray “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. Matthew is showing more worship to God with his enthusiasm towards Jesus, than the pharisees can show by correct procedures and passionless applications of the law. Matthew, just like many of us, knows how much God has forgiven him. For this reason, he rejoices and displays his joy in sharing his faith and new way of life with all those he knows. Matthew, a forgiven and forgiving sinner, just like us.

Today, I hope and pray that you can hear the voice of Jesus calling you. If you hear His voice, do not turn away from Him, do not remain at the tax booth because of your sense of duty. Duty will not save your soul, but faith in Jesus will.

Amen

 

Hymn: Are you washed in the blood?

 

Prayer of Intercession:

Dear God, creator and preserver of all, we pray for people of all sorts and conditions. Make your purpose known on earth, your saving power among the nations. We pray for the well-being of the catholic Church. So, guide and guard it by your good Spirit that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in the unity of the Spirit and in righteousness of life. We commend to your generous goodness all those who are in any way afflicted or distressed, in mind, body or circumstances. Comfort and relieve them according to their individual needs; give them patience under their suffering and a happy release out of all their afflictions, according to your will. All this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

Amen    

The Lord’s prayer

At the Saviour’s command and formed by His divine teaching we pray together:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

Benediction:

The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini

This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

 

Sunday 28th June 2020 

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray:

Father, we offer to you, this day, all our thoughts, words and actions, all our sufferings and disappointments, and all our joys; and we unite our lives with that of your beloved Son Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Confession

Merciful God, we are sorry for our unfaithfulness to the love you show us by the gift of life and the greater gift of union with you through the grace of baptism. Lord, we beg you to forgive our sins and to heal the wounds that our sins have caused. We thank you, Lord, for your mercy that brought us to repent and for the forgiveness that you offer so freely when we truly repent.

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

The almighty and merciful Lord grant you pardon and remission of all your sins.

God of love, give us a heart to love you and to love one another; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. 

Amen

New Testament Reading:

The Gospel of Matthew 7:1-5

Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgement you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, “Let me take the speck out of your eye”, while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye. 

This is the word of the Lord

Reflection

Self-righteousness is a very big problem in every society today, and even in our churches. Jesus attacks this attitude of some people by using a parable filled with humour. I can almost hear the giggles of Jesus’ disciples as they try to imagine a person with a log (or a plank) in their eye! But, unfortunately, the issue of criticism is very real in our churches today as always. Maybe God is looking down on us and thinking that in all these years we have not learnt to live together as He meant for us to live together. 

When one feels that they know better than others, and/or they fail to realise their flaws and mistakes, we see that these people are full of criticism for the people around them. Of course, they do, they know better than me and you. They analyse what you do and tell you how you can be better or do better. Not because you need correction but only because then you can better fit in their world. Because, unless you are just like them you fail to meet the standards; unless you do it the way they would do it, it’s just not good enough. The worst thing is when you find yourself doing exactly the same as these “judges” of right and wrong. Judging others, criticising others, looking down on those who fail to meet your standards, and measuring them according to your understanding. Well, this is a sin. Jesus condemns this attitude, when we judge others unfairly and remain ignorant of our failings and flaws. Jesus is talking about our blindness to see ourselves for what we are when all others can see this arrogant attitude in us. In verse 3 He clearly says that “you do not notice the log in your own eye…” Therefore, we are invited to reflect on who we are when we are measured by God. 

When we surrender to God, truly surrender to Him, we find that our concern is to fit within His standards, not our own. Jesus is calling us to stop criticising others and focus on our ways, our flaws and our learning in relation to God’s will. If we keep our eyes on who we are with God, then we will be able to appreciate with love and grace the diversity of what others bring within the assembly of disciples that is the church. Be careful though, Jesus here is not saying that we must not discern what is right and wrong or what is good or bad. This passage is not about that; this passage is about criticism of other people. It calls us reflect with self-criticism before God every day so that we can live within God’s standards, within God’s will.

Those who kneel before God and pray to be moulded according to His will can stand before anyone. Therefore, the focus is to be honest and open to God about who we are and therefore appreciate others for who they are with all their ways. Let God judge them for who they are. You, Christian man or woman, are called to love them not judge them. Do not try to take God’s job, but surrender to His grace and ask God for guidance on the things that you are getting wrong. Don’t forget the words of Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…”. This is not about being terrified about God’s judgment on us, but wanting to meet His standards because we understand His love for us. It is fear to fail the One who loves us more than words can say. Therefore, Jesus is calling his disciples to form their identities on God’s measure, not our own. Then, we will learn to love others as ourselves.

Amen

 

Hymn: All to Jesus I surrender

 

Prayer of Intercession:

God of all comfort, in this time of distress and grief, we have come to tell you our sorrow, and to rest ourselves within the circle of your love.

Lord, we lift before you those who suffered and suffer in health because of the pandemic, we lift before you those who are suffering the economic consequences of this crisis. Help us all, Lord, to redesign the society we live in, so that it may reflect more and more a community of your love and your grace, where no one wants more and everyone has what they need.

Lord, you have created humankind in such beauty. Each one of us is unique and beautiful in your eyes, and yet some of us use those differences as a reason to hate and divide between races, nations or cultures.

Help us all, Lord, to see the beauty of your creation through your eyes. So that we can be united in our diversity, celebrate our differences and give glory to you Lord for the beauty of all humankind. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen    

The Lord’s prayer

At the Saviour’s command and formed by His divine teaching we pray together:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

Benediction:

The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini

This is the service, prepared by Bruno, for this day.

You can listen to it by clicking the play button below, and/or follow the service in the text (also below).

 

 

Sunday 5th July 2020 

Call to worship

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Let us pray:

Father, you have brought us to the beginning of a new week. We offer our lives and hearts to you. May we always do your will and love our neighbour as ourselves. Amen.

Confession

Merciful God, we are sorry for our unfaithfulness to the love you show us by the gift of life and the greater gift of union with you through the grace of baptism. Lord, we beg you to forgive our sins and to heal the wounds that our sins have caused. We thank you, Lord, for your mercy that brought us to repent and for the forgiveness that you offer so freely when we truly repent.

(Silence)

Assurance of Pardon

The almighty and merciful Lord forgives you from all your sins.

In gratitude we say:

God of love, give us a heart to love you and to love one another; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, our Saviour. 

Amen

New Testament Reading:

The Gospel of Matthew 8:5-13

When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, ‘Lord, my servant is lying at home paralysed, in terrible distress.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and cure him.’ The centurion answered, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, “Go”, and he goes, and to another, “Come”, and he comes, and to my slave, “Do this”, and the slave does it.’ 10 When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, ‘Truly I tell you, in no one[d] in Israel have I found such faith. 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 13 And to the centurion Jesus said, ‘Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.’ And the servant was healed in that hour. 

This is the word of the Lord

Reflection

Just before this event Jesus healed a man with leprosy. This man went to Jesus for healing. But here the centurion went to Jesus on behalf of one of his servants. So, first of all, he is showing compassion; secondly, he is showing his respect to Jewish laws by saying that he is not worthy to receive Jesus under his roof. The centurion is a gentile and an officer of the invading army, and yet, he believes in Jesus. He believes that Jesus does not need to go to his house to heal the sick servant. As he, the centurion, has authority from his superiors to direct the lives of those under his command, he believes that Jesus has authority from God himself that He can exercise over the lower powers that are making the servant sick. By drawing from the experience in his own life, the centurion explains what he believes about Jesus and his power. This is why Jesus is amazed. The centurion is showing to have such a clear faith in Jesus and who He is. Therefore, Jesus makes a reference to the Old Testament about the children of God who will gather from all parts of the world to be reunited with God’s people in Jerusalem. Also, Jesus’ words remind us of what John the Baptist said about who will be part of God’s people. It is not enough or even necessary to have a hereditary link with Abraham. One must repent and believe in Jesus in order to be part of the true Israel, the true people of God.

The centurion shows such faith when he encounters the Lord. He does not take God for granted. This Roman soldier does not feel good enough to have Jesus coming under the roof of his house. That is a sense of inadequacy that Peter felt when he realised that Jesus was the Christ. That is the sense of inadequacy that we feel when we realise that we are in the presence of the Lord. It is spiritually healthy to feel like the centurion did because it shows that we are not taking God for granted and we are giving God the due respect. 

The centurion did not tell Jesus what to do, he only explains to Jesus what the problem is and waits for Jesus’ response. Here is true faith. The centurion did not tell God how to be God, he just presented the problem to God. Very often, when we pray, we ask God to do things for us in a way that it’s like if we are telling God how to be God! Perhaps, that is why sometimes our prayers are not answered. Perhaps, sometimes we put faith in ourselves (and our self-righteousness) rather than God. Of course, the centurion wants Jesus to heal his servant, but he does not ask that to Jesus. He waits for Jesus to say what He is going to do. That, in itself, is a sign of faith. And Jesus saw that. 

Even more faith is shown when the centurion says that he is not worthy to have Jesus under his roof. The centurion’s words echo the words of the congregation at Holy Communion in the Catholic tradition. I remember saying those words when I was a teenager just before Communion “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and I shall be saved”. In these words, we acknowledge our unworthiness to have Jesus enter the roof of our souls, yet we trust in Jesus saving our souls as He becomes the most intimate guest within us when we receive Him in the Holy Communion and in our everyday relationship with Him.

Therefore, open your heart to Jesus and let Him in to dwell in there for ever. We are not worthy to receive Him but He chooses to enter the roof of our souls. Jesus made a choice to come to us. How are you going to receive Him? Learn from the centurion’s faith and let Jesus’ word heal your soul today.

Amen

 

Hymn: Be still for the presence of the Lord

 

Prayer of Intercession:

Gracious God, rejoicing in your blessings, trusting in your loving care for all we bring you our prayers for the world.

We pray for those who are trying to rebuild our world after suffering from the consequences of this pandemic. Indeed, many are still suffering and many are still getting sick. Lord we lift before you all that is happening and we trust in your loving grace. We think in particular of the sick and those who have become poor and in need.

We pray for those who are suffering loneliness, despair, pain or loss. Lord, we pray that they may know the light and love of your Kingdom in this life and the next.

We pray for your Church. Help us, Lord, to find ways to communicate the good news of your love to those you call to yourself; and to care for them in new ways so that we will all stay safe and enjoy fellowship with you and with one another.

Amen    

The Lord’s prayer

At the Saviour’s command and formed by His divine teaching we pray together:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen

Benediction:

The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you always. Amen

Rev. Bruno Boldrini