Mass for the 5th Sunday of the year live from the Cathedral Church of St Mary and St Helen Brentwood. Preacher: Fr Martin Boland (Cathedral Dean); Celebrant: Fr Mark Reilly; Master of Music: Andrew Wright; Organist: Stephen King; Producer: Philip Billson.
Due to copyright restrictions on the Roman missal, only the introduction, homily and music details can be put on the website.
This script cannot exactly reflect the transmission, as it was prepared before the service was broadcast. It may include editorial notes prepared by the producer, and minor spelling and other errors that were corrected before the radio broadcast.
It may contain gaps to be filled in at the time so that prayers may reflect the needs of the world, and changes may also be made at the last minute for timing reasons, or to reflect current events.
Opening announcement from Continuity: BBC Radio 4.
It’s ten past eight and time now to go direct to Brentwood Cathedral in Essex for Mass. The preacher is the Cathedral Dean Father Martin Boland. The service is introduced by the Celebrant Father Mark Reilly, but first a plainchant introit: Venite, adoremus Deum: Come, let us worship God and bow down before the Lord.
Introit Venite, adoremus Deum
Fr Mark: Good morning and welcome. Cathedrals were built to proclaim and celebrate the Christian mysteries in an environment of excellence and beauty, and thus to lift the spirit. When we wish to express our experience of the sublimeness of God, the most eloquent way is often in stone, music, colour, art, vestments – all enhancing worship and so combining to raise the heart and mind to God. We hope your spirit will be lifted as you join our Mass this morning. The lntroductory Rites help the faithful come together as one, prepare themselves to listen to the Word of God and celebrate the Eucharist worthily. The Mass begins with one of the most popular hymns which celebrate Jesus, the gift of God to all the faithful: Amazing grace.
Hymn Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
The Gloria Lourdes Gloria (G Major) – Jean-Paul Lécot
Job would have been familiar with slavery in all its various forms - the slavery of the body, the slavery of the mind and the spirit. It’s not surprising, then, that he uses it as a vivid image of all that brings humans beings to their knees and demeans them. Job asks, Is not man’s life nothing more than pressed service, his time no better than hired drudgery? Like the slave, sighing for shade.
Pope Francis has called modern forms of slavery “an open wound on the body of contemporary society, a scourge upon the body of Christ.” These come in many forms. We might think of the trafficking of men, women and children. Today, the fifth Sunday of the Liturgical Year, is set aside by the Church as ‘the Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking,’ the day on which we remember in a special way the thousands and thousands of victims of trafficking throughout the world.
[It has chosen January 8th to do this on because this is the feast day of St Josephine Bakhita. In 1877, aged nine years old, she was kidnapped by slave traders and for the next twelve years she was sold three more times in the slave markets of Sudan. Her life was one of physical, verbal and emotional abuse. When she died in 1947, she bore the 144 physical scars received as a slave. The trauma of her childhood abduction caused her to forget her own name. She was given the name Bakhita, which means “lucky”.
It was providence, not luck, that an Italian merchant bought her and took her to Italy in 1882. Here, she came to know a new master. A master who actually loved her and wanted her to flourish as a human being. A master who wanted her to be his child. That master was Jesus Christ.]
But, there is also the slavery to an ideology or prejudice. A slavery to consumption or a loveless promiscuity. A slavish belief in a materialistic world view that disregards the supernatural dimension of reality. A slavery to the powers of darkness. These and many other open wounds need healing. And how we are to begin this process of healing is found in today’s Gospel. They brought to him all who were sick and those who were possessed by devils.
Christ is the healer, a healing that is not cosmetic or superficial but a healing that transforms us and our world from within. And we all need that healing.
Christ does make the blind see. He heals the cataracts of indifference so that we have the sight to recognise those who are enslaved around and among us. He gives us the sight to penetrate the darkest, most hidden expressions of slavery so that we might bring our brothers and sisters out into the light.
Those who have been deaf to the cries of the suffering are now given hearing that is canine. We can hear every whimper and moan. We have no excuse but to bring our brothers and sisters to the one who says, “I no longer call you servants…I call you friends, for everything I learned from my Father, I have made known to you.”
The manacles of slavery are hammered loose by the love of Christ, calling us back to the fullness of life, offering us the possibility of a new society based on friendship with God and each other, an anticipation of what we will, one day, know fully when we share in God’s life.
The open wound of slavery, that so many know, so many experience, is cauterised by Christ’s gentleness. The scourge is kissed clean.
Tongues are loosened so that those who have been slaves are given a grammar of hope.
The hope that we have a new master in the living God, the God of life and hope and justice.
The hope that we are called to be free men and women in Jesus Christ.
At the end of the Homily it is appropriate for there to be a brief silence for recollection.
Choir A Prayer of Saint Patrick – Andrew Wright
Hymn Lord accept the gifts we offer
Hymn The Church’s one foundation
Organ Voluntary Bach C Major Prelude & Fugue (BWV545)