Friday, 27 November 2020

Advent in the Parish

This First Sunday of Advent, 29th November, we are still under the lockdown restrictions, and so Mass continues only with me in private for your intentions.

However, on 6th December, the second Sunday of Advent, our Masses will resume, as they have been previously at 8.30am and 10am only, with the Covid 19 safety measures in place. A reminder that if you do have any symptoms, you should stay at home.

Today is also our parish festal day: St Catherine and the Miraculous Medal. Let us ask Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal for an end to the pandemic and the return of all Catholics to Holy Mass.

We also need to look forward to Christmas itself. Barring any re-imposition of restrictions, I am presuming we will be able to celebrate the Christ-MASS!

However, due to the numbers usually attending at Christmas, we will have to have a booking system in place. I will explain how this will work next week and provide details of how you can book. Please wait until then to do so.

I leave you with these words of Pope Benedict (for whom you might offer a prayer for, as it is said he is now very poorly).

Advent begins this Sunday. It is a very evocative religious season because it is interwoven with hope and spiritual expectation: every time the Christian community prepares to commemorate the Redeemer's birth, it feels a quiver of joy which to a certain extent it communicates to the whole of society.

In Advent, Christians relive a dual impulse of the spirit: on the one hand, they raise their eyes towards the final destination of their pilgrimage through history, which is the glorious return of the Lord Jesus; on the other, remembering with emotion his birth in Bethlehem, they kneel before the Crib.

The hope of Christians is turned to the future but remains firmly rooted in an event of the past. In the fullness of time, the Son of God was born of the Virgin Mary: "Born of a woman, born under the law", as the Apostle Paul writes (Gal 4:4).

Today's Gospel invites us to stay on guard as we await the final coming of Christ. "Look around you!", Jesus says. "You do not know when the master of the house is coming" (Mk 13:35). The short parable of the master who went on a journey and the servants responsible for acting in his place highlights how important it is to be ready to welcome the Lord when he suddenly returns.

The Christian community waits anxiously for his "manifestation", and the Apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, urges them to trust in God's fidelity and to live so as to be found "blameless" (cf. I Cor 1:7-9) on the day of the Lord. Most appropriately, therefore, the liturgy at the beginning of Advent puts on our lips the Psalm: "Show us, O Lord, your kindness, and grant us your salvation" (cf. Ps 85[84]:8).

We might say that Advent is the season in which Christians must rekindle in their hearts the hope that they will be able with God's help to renew the world.

Indeed, we will find the good fruits of our hard work when Christ delivers to the Father his eternal and universal Kingdom. May Mary Most Holy, Virgin of Advent, obtain that we live this time of grace in a watchful and hardworking way while we await the Lord.

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