Father Christopher writes:-

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As the church's year starts around the beginning of December, we are now at the half way point. The liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, lent and Eastertide have come to an end and we have celebrated Christ's ascension into heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit on the church at Pentecost. We are now once more in the season of Ordinary Time. The very designation ordinary time may give the impression that there is nothing special about this season of the year which runs until the feast of Christ the King in November. But, as is often said, there is nothing ordinary about ordinary time as we hear and reflect on the life and teachings of Jesus during his active ministry, life and teachings which are anything but ordinary.

Rather than focusing on one particular aspect, the Sundays of ordinary time reflect on the mystery of Christ in all its aspects. And ordinary Sundays are still days of obligation when the faithful should come to Mass. The reason they are called 'ordinary' is because they are ordered by the numbered weeks of the liturgical year.

Apart from the standard Common Worship wedding service, there was little ordinary about the recent wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan, even if it lacked some of the usual trappings of a royal wedding. "Two young people fell in love and we all showed up" said Bishop Michael Curry in his sermon. Words that I'm sure will be often quoted henceforth. We are told that getting on for two billion people worldwide watched the wedding and witnessed the couple making their vows before God, far more I'm sure than would ever dream of walking through the door of a church. But they will have learned a great deal about God's love and the redemptive power of love from Bishop Michael's sermon. In both content and delivery, the sermon was perhaps unusual for a wedding, especially a royal one, but now one knows what to expect it pays re-watching on You Tube or BBC iPlayer. Just as the wedding ceremony began by reminding everyone that God is love, so Bishop Michael's sermon was a very moving address on the power of love taking the reading from the Song of Solomon as its text.

Part of the Song of Solomon is often read at weddings, though people are sometimes surprised to learn that this account of love between a young man and young woman is a book of holy scripture. It has its place in the Hebrew scriptures because it was understood as an allegory for the love between God and his people, Israel; and it can be read by Christians as an allegory for the love between Christ and his church or alternatively for the love between Our Blessed Lady and the church community. Perhaps the strangest thing about the Song as a book of the bible is that nowhere in it does God appear. However, as the Bishop and the Dean of Windsor reminded us, God is love and those who live in love live in God and God lives in them.


Fr Christopher.

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