Our Clergy



2018 - February - From our Priest

A group of us from St Catherine’s go into New Brancepeth Primary School on a monthly basis and do ‘Open the Book’. Open the Book is a great way of getting children familiar with the stories of the bible and I think all of us have played very different characters over the time we’ve been doing it, from ‘goodies’ to ‘not so goodies.’ Maybe even ‘baddies’.
The latest story we will do will be from Luke’s Gospel, the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector, who climbs the tree to see Jesus when he enters Jericho. Zacchaeus climbs the tree because he is not very tall and in the midst of the crowds, he wouldn’t be able to see him. Tax collectors were not very well thought of by the people at the time of Jesus. Under occupation from the Romans, the tax collectors were seen as collaborators with the occupying forces and were thus not only traitors to their own people, the Jews, but they also got rich on what they did, not only collecting money for the taxes but charging extra and keeping some to themselves.
You can guess, Zacchaeus wasn’t a popular man! No doubt folk who judged him thought that Zacchaeus would always be the man he was, just like the person who will ‘always be immoral’ or ‘always be the one who served time in prison.’ But we know that as human beings who make mistakes; as human beings who live lives with the potential to be both ‘goodies’ and ‘not so goodies’; even ‘baddies’, we can all change. We don’t live life with just one fixed script.
And that was the case with Zacchaeus.
Zacchaeus had a need in his life and all the riches of the world were not going to fill that need. He needed something else. And the only thing that was going to fill that need was to let Jesus into his life. Maybe Zacchaeus felt his life needed to change and he didn’t want to ‘always be an unfair tax collector’. Well he took a risk, went amongst the crowds who despised him and climbed the tree to see Jesus. And yes, he did see Jesus, and Jesus saw him. Jesus calls him by name and tells him to come down from the tree and says ‘I’m eating at your house today.’ The crowd can’t believe it. Jesus a ‘goodie’, eating at Zacchaeus house?’ To so many, Zacchaeus would ‘always be the worst man in town!’
As he climbed down from the tree Zacchaeus couldn’t believe either, that Jesus wanted to eat at his house. He a ‘baddie?’, but Jesus does and when Jesus enters his house, he comes in to Zacchaeus life. And this changes Zacchaeus. For Zacchaeus stands before Jesus and says he will give half his possessions to the poor and if he’s defrauded anyone of anything, he will pay them back four times as much. And Jesus says to Zacchaeus and the listening crowds,
‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he too is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek out and save the lost.’
Jesus saved Zacchaeus from his sin. Just like he saves the person who will ‘always be immoral’, or the person who will ‘always be the one who served time in prison.’ Just like he save us from our sins.
So let us look out for him. And if we can’t see Jesus, let us try harder and climb to a higher vantage point. Because if we really want to see Jesus like Zacchaeus did, we will see him. And he will see us, so we can open our door and let him truly into our lives.
If we ‘thought’ we were a ‘goodie’ or ‘not so goodie’, or even a ‘baddie’, our lives will be changed, and salvation will come to our door and inhabit our house.
Fr Carl
How about trying the Lent Course to help ‘see Jesus’?

     The Clergy House
     Sawmill Lane,
     DH7 8NS

     Tel: 0191 680 3875

Other Contact Telephone Numbers

Brandon, St. John's

Churchwarden - David 0191 3789718
P.C.C. secretary - Carolyn – 0191 6803875

New Brancepeth, St. Catherine's

Reader – Liz – 0191 3731554,
Churchwarden - Joe - 0191 3739927







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