Lent 5


FIRST READING Jeremiah 31.31-34 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord’, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Responsorial Psalm 51.1–12 R : A clean heart create in me, O God.

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness;

in your great compassion blot out my offences.

2 Wash me through and through from my wickedness, and cleanse me from my sin. R

3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

4 Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.

5 And so you are justified when you speak and upright in your judgementR

6 Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, a sinner from my mother’s womb.

7 For behold, you look for truth deep within me, and will make me understand wisdom secretly. R

8 Purge me from my sin and I shall be pure; wash me and I shall be clean indeed.

9 Make me hear of joy and gladness, that the body you have broken may rejoice. R

10 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

11 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

12 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your holy Spirit from me. R

SECOND READING Hebrews 5.5-10 So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him, ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you’; as he says also in another place, ‘You are a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchizedek.’ In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

GOSPEL John 12.20-33 Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour. ‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—“Father, save me from this hour”? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgement of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

Could you pass this sheet on to someone else who might like to see it?


A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. A special welcome and thanks to Fr Paul Matthias, our celebrant this morning. If you are new to St Michael's, do join us in the Vestry Hall after the service, so that we can welcome you properly.

Please note: No Mass on Thursday morning, the 21st. But do come and support Fr John, and the parish, at his Licensing Service at 7.00 pm.

Holy Week and Easter: This most important part of the Christian year is almost upon us. Let's all take our full part in its worship:

Sunday 24th March -

Palm Sunday procession and Sung Mass, 10.15am.

Stations of the Cross, 5pm.

Monday 25th March – Said Mass and Homily, 7.30pm.

Wednesday 27th March – Said Mass and Homily, 10.30am.

Thursday 28th March -

Maundy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper, 7.30pm.

Watch of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament until Midnight.

Good Friday 29th March – Good Friday Liturgy, 3pm.

Holy Saturday evening, 30th March - Vigil and Easter Ceremonies, 7.30pm.

Easter Sunday 31st March – Sung Mass for Easter Day, 10.30am.

NB Our Palm Sunday service starts in the Parish Hall at 10.15 am.

On Palm Sunday afternoon, Stations of the Cross – a fitting, reflective act of worship for Passiontide.

For the first time in many years, we shall have the opportunity to draw near to our Lord in the Holy Eucharist every day this Holy Week, here at St Michael's and, on Tuesday, at the Chrism Mass in Canterbury Cathedral at 12 noon.

We are hoping that the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is spending most of Holy Week in Maidstone, will be joining us for the Vigil and Easter Ceremonies on Holy Saturday. There will be joyous drinks and nibbles at the end of this wonderful service. Come and greet the risen Lord, and welcome the Archbishop to our church!

Today's Mass is the last Mass of our interregnum. We are deeply grateful to Fr Paul for all the help and support he has given to us over the last 20 months – so much so that it's impossible to imagine how we could have managed without him. Do sign the card – and the one for Bishop Norman. We thank God for the inspiration and encouragement of their ministry to us.

The Annual Parochial Church Meeting takes place on April 28th after Mass. This includes a review of the past year and also the important elections to the Parochial Church Council. If you have joined our congregation in the past year and would like to have voting rights, Martyn will shortly be updating the church Electoral Roll; please have a word with him and he will explain the procedure. The Electoral Roll is important to the parish for other reasons too – if you have joined us recently and want to play a full part in the life of St Michael's, do think about signing up when the time comes.

Easter flowers! Margaret G has been ordering lilies…. But we shall also need plenty of greenery to decorate the church, and if you have anything else suitable in your garden, please bring it along. It will be warmly welcomed on Maundy Thursday morning from 10.30 am and on Holy Saturday morning from 10 am. On both mornings there will be a chance for everyone to give a hand – by arranging flowers, by filling and emptying buckets, and by tidying up!

All Saints', Hollingbourne, is hosting a Scam and Fraud Awareness Presentation, by a police officer from Maidstone Community Safety Unit, on 27th March from 10 am – finishing time around 11.30. All are welcome – do you know someone who might find this helpful?

Could you be an Eco-Rep? At this time when we are all being challenged to think about Net Zero, and churches are being encouraged to give a lead in concern for the environment, all churches in our deanery are being asked to have a “link person” to attend occasional meetings and pass on information to their congregations. St Michael's needs one – could it be you? If you think it could, please speak to Eleanor, who will put you in touch with the Revd Joyce Addison, the organiser.

A gentle Spring Woodland Walk, Saturday 23rd March, 10-11.30 am , is planned by Cllr Stuart Jeffery and the Friends of Oaken Wood. Meet at The Redstart in North Street, Barming.