St John the Baptist appeared as the first witness to Jesus. He is often referred to as the last of the Old Testament Prophets and the first of the New Testament Saints; a bridge between the two Covenants. He himself declares, so as not to cause any conflict with Jesus: He must increase and I must decrease. We ask St John in these days of Advent to direct us always towards Christ, who must be centre-stage in all that we undertake.
The First Sunday of Advent is a new beginning. We begin to prepare for Christmas, but more importantly, we renew and intensify, our preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The first part of Advent focuses us on the way we look-out for the Saviour. We have the Prophets to point us in this direction. Above all Mary - whose Immaculate Conception which we shall celebrate on Saturday 8th - shows us how to adopt the stance of readiness. You will see that the window ledges of the church have been adorned with various scenes reminding us of these realities: The Jesse Tree (cf image on the Newsletter), the Annunciations, Visitation etc. Thanks to all those who have contributed these lovely and catechetical displays.
The liturgical year concludes this weekend with the Solemnity of Christ our Universal King. However, the image of Christ as King has more to do with His dominion over our hearts and minds than with any connotations of worldly sovereignty. The image that Scripture puts before us today is Jesus as our Suffering Servant; the One who reigns from the Cross. Each year in our Parish, the final three days of the liturgical year are marked by the exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. This begins with the Mass on Thursday evening and concludes with the final solemn Benediction on Saturday afternoon.
We are soon approaching the end of the liturgical year: next Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King. This is followed by our three days of Solemn Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament - the Forty Hours Prayer - just before Advent begins. Candles which will burn - and be used also throughout the year as the sanctuary lamp - can be had from the Sacristy for five pounds. Please find the lists for watching which are at the back of Church