Mgr Gerard’s Reflection – 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time (World Youth Day)

Diocese of Middlesbrough Group arrives at the John Paul II Field, Panama City, for the World Youth Day Vigil on Saturday (Picture: Rev. Peter Taylor)

This week a small group of young people, accompanied by Fr. Phil Cunnah and the Bishop, have journeyed to Panama for World Youth Day 2019. This is a wonderful occasion where young people from all over the world journey to a particular place, this time in Panama, to pray together, to become friends together and learn of each other’s churches and cultures.

I have been following the journey on Twitter and it’s been great to see our young people grow deeper in their faith and hear such great catechesis. There has been some great advice given to our young people in catechesis. One bishop asked young people to keep close to your rosary. Another said ‘those who pray learn to listen’. The Pope, this weekend, will give his message to our young people and I’m sure they will look forward to this wonderful visit. The kindness of the people of Panama has been amazing, so much good which is all part of the joy of the Gospel.

Indeed today congratulations were given to Bishop Terence on his 11th anniversary of being Bishop of Middlesbrough. In our Gospel we hear Jesus quote a passage from Isaiah “The spirit of the Lord has been given to me, for he has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives… This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.” Fulfilled in Panama, fulfilled in this parish, fulfilled all over the world

Mgr Gerard’s reflection: Baptism of the Lord

One of the most important facts when celebrating any sacrament is to prepare well to receive that sacrament. The Sacraments of Confession, Holy Communion and marriage are sacraments that people are able to do themselves. Usually though the Sacrament of Baptism is something that the parents need to do for their children.

When a child is born he/she is born into a family and from and in this family life grows. The child learns love and care as well as many other things. The family is the first school in life and is immensely important. Part and parcel of the Christian family is coming to church to receive the sacraments. This is part and parcel of the Christian nourishment a family needs to grow together in prayer and in love with Jesus Christ being at the centre of that family. It is sad when parents decide that this preparation is not necessary and start looking for quick fixes in order to ‘get them done’.

This Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord a time when Christ’s public ministry began. This was an important moment in Jesus Christ’s life. “You are my son, the beloved” and these words are also for all who have been baptised. We are God’s beloved children

Mgr Gerard’s New Year Reflection

Traditionally New Year’s Day is a time for resolutions and instinctively we know that we are people that try to do things better either improving ourselves, our attitude, our world. A New Year is a time of new hope, a time of new life and a chance to begin again. 2018 comes to an end and is over and 2019 is just about to begin and lies ahead of us. It is God’s gift to us that we can try to be kinder and happier people and so what we do with it is our gift to God. Mary, Mother of God, will be an inspiration to all in treasuring the way of light and peace in this world.