5th December 2021 – 2nd Week of Advent
We continue our journey through the season of Advent, a chance to renew our relationship with God and with each other. The season of Advent is a time to pause, to take stock and to reflect, as we prepare to receive the gift of God’s love coming amongst us through the birth of the Christ child at Christmas. The Bishop in his letter to the clergy, in this months Ad Clerum, shared the following lovely reflection from a homily by St John Henry Newman entitled ‘Watching’. I thought it might be something you too might like to reflect upon in the next few weeks of Advent:
‘He watches for Christ who has a sensitive, eager, apprehensive mind; who is awake, alive, quick-sighted, zealous in honouring him; wholooks out for him in all that happens, and who would not be surprised, who would not be over-agitated or overwhelmed, if hefound that he was coming at once… This then is to watch; to be detached from what is present, and to live in what is unseen; to livein the thought of Christ as he came once, and as he will come again; to desire his second coming, from our affectionate and gratefulremembrance of his first.’
We still have some copies of Walk with Me, a journey of Prayer for Advent do take as many as you might like now home with you and give them out to your family and friends. These handy little pocket Prayer Books have been specially designed by the Diocese of Nottingham to follow the daily Mass Readings during Advent and to help us to journey and prepare together as individuals and as a diocese for the coming of Christmas. There is a short Preface written by Bishop Patrick, and the theme of this useful little booklets daily reflection and prayer is, ‘An Encounter with Jesus, the Word made Flesh.’ It mirrors our own diocesan seasonal theme of ‘Encounter’ and I am offering these booklets to you as a small free gift this Advent from your parish. Please do take copies home with you and use them each day during the Advent season and take some extra copies too to share with your family and friends.
There will be a series of Advent Services of Recollection throughout the Deanery during these next few weeks of December before Christmas. Details are now up upon the parish website, and you will find a poster on the church glass entrance doors and in the corridor into church. I would really encourage you to come to one of these services whether it be here at St. Mary’s, or to one of the other services being held throughout the Deanery.
Taking time to prepare for Christmas is an important part of the Advent Season. Part of our preparation must be to renew our relationship with God and with each other. An important part of becoming reconciled to God and to one another involves making a good Confession, as we seek forgiveness for our sins and many human failures and are given the grace to journey forward and as we become restored again into God’s love. Let’s begin this Advent by making time for God and for each other and let’s start by makings time too to come to Confession. I will be available during Advent most days in the week before or after Mass to hear confessions and I am always available up to 15 minutes to hear confessions before the weekend Masses.
Total Forgiveness: In many places in the Gospels Our Lord makes the point that the measure of forgiveness we grant to others will be granted to us; and in the Our Father we pray to emulate the generosity with which God forgives us: this is illustrated in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The Father in the story goes to meet the prodigal son halfway, in fact he runs to meet him. In this way Our Lord emphasises that our act of sorrow has its effect without delay; absolution, which we receive in Confession, we have no right to expect, but it follows instantly. The father shows no sense of grievance; the pardon is complete; everything is to be exactly as it was before. This is what happens when we receive absolution after making a good confession, but to appreciate God’s generosity and love for us, we too must attempt to imitate it; we must forgive others as we ourselves have been forgiven; we must forgive from the heart, for only then can we be truly counted children of the Father who is always more anxious to forgive us than we are to be forgiven.
Christmas Crib Offerings: Christmas time recalls the needs of our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land. Many parishes across the country already adopt Friends of the Holy Land as the beneficiary of their crib collections. I hope that this year we can do the same here at St. Mary’s. FHL help the most deprived Christian families, especially those living around Bethlehem, in Gaza, Israeland Jordan. With no pilgrims and tourism since March 2020 and no government support to individuals or businesses, manyfamilies, especially in and around Bethlehem have lost all their income and are increasingly calling on FHL for help with day today living. FHL remains the only registered UK Charity with its own office, staff and volunteers in the City of Christ’s birth. From Christmas Day and until the end of the Christmas season there will be a basket to collect your offerings placed before the Nativity in church. All donations given will be sent directly to FHL to help support their important aid work.
With my prayers for you and for your families during this Advent season,
Your friend and Parish Priest,
IMPORTANT Newsletters – Our Parish Newsletters are available to be viewed and downloaded from our Parish website.
The online version will not include the Sunday Message
The Sunday Message and Newsletter will be available to download but this will be password protected – the password can be obtained from the Parish.
2021 5th December – Newsletter – Download
2021 5th December – Newsletter (Including Sunday Message – Password Protected)– Download
2021 5th December – LOOK – (Password Protected)– Download