11th November, Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Remembrance Sunday

Dear Friends,

       Today, Jesus has very strong words for the clergy of his day. Their attachment to garments that set them apart from all others, the love of titles and places of honour in the synagogue and in the public domain and their love of money, even that of widows who had to battle hard to raise a family and were very often the poorest of the poor. As my mother would say, “is there no shame on them at all?” The fact that they led worship and were glad to be seen only annoyed the Lord.

 

It is the nature of God to be generous, merciful and just. Jesus expected no less from his followers then and the same applies now. There is plenty of evidence that some of us (clergy) have still not got the message.

 

Remembrance Sunday

Today (Sunday) we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Armistice Day on 11/11/1918. It was the end of a killing spree over four years that cost 20 million lives of servicemen and civilians. Sometimes called the ‘Great War’ or ‘the war to end all wars’; it was neither. The main protagonists - King George V and Kaiser Wilhelm II - were two grandchildren of Queen Victoria and first cousins. A very domestic affair really, but just like family feuds, the collateral is more bitter than ever. Killing like this on an industrial scale had never been seen before. From so many countries they came and the flower of youth of a whole generation of men and women were devastated, because of the killing machinery and the maimed were another 20 million. What is now referred to as post-traumatic stress was not heard of in those days but the legacy lived on in those who survived. It was all so horrible that leaders should have recoiled at the idea of war again, but as we know only too well, war mania is very much part of what makes up part of our history in nearly every decade since then.

 

Harry Patch, who was the last known survivor of the 1914-18 war and died at the grand old age of 111 years in 2009 should be our teacher. In his memoir, The Last Fighting Tommy, he recounted incidents that he could not bring himself to talk about for decades. Two quotes I give you from Harry: “War is organised murder and nothing else…” “Irrespective of the uniforms we wore, we were all victims.”

 

So why Remembrance Sunday? To my understanding of it, it’s not about leaders but the victims, countless men, women and children who suffered the ultimate cost of life selflessly in response to the foolishness of a few. The conflicts of world wars and regional wars and their epitaph may be for their families an empty bed, the voice never heard again, the child who never knew his father etc. Yes, much sacrifice by many in the cities, towns and villages on far distant fields.

 

Our humanity cries out that we remember them. May they rest in the peace of the Lord.

 

Woking Deanery Plan on the yellow paper.

God Bless you all,

Fr John

Events to Plan for by Date:

Sunday 18th November              Deanery Care Mass 3pm at St Tarcisius, Camberley. All adults/children with physical/learning disabilities and their families and carers are very welcome to attend. 

 

Sunday 25th November              World Youth Day 10:30am Mass. Everyone is invited to wear costumes/national dress

or the colours of your national flag to celebrate. If you would like to bring in some native food to share after Mass at coffee time you are all most welcome.


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