Before Our Saviour arrives in the world, John the Baptist appears. He is a herald, like those of ancient times, who would announce the arrival of the king. The whole of his life is determined by this mission. This is to be his vocation. By being fully conscious of his mission, he is also aware of the humility needed so that he can say: He must increase, I must decrease. This is a prayer for us as we prepare to receive Our Lord. It is a fitting prayer for all who would seek to serve Christ and His Church. Only by letting Christ shine-through us will the image of God be evident in our society now. Like St John, the Church needs us to be both witnesses and precursors: witnesses to the Faith we profess as Catholics in the midst of the world; precursors by the way we pave the way for the One Person who alone brings hope and salvation to our world. Our great joy is that of being able to bring to Christ, our family, our workmates, those people we are in contact with frequently. With our example and our prayer we should reach even people we don’t have much chance of speaking with. The world stands in need and, in a certain sense, in readiness for the Messiah. May the person, life and teaching of St John the Baptist move us to be more like him in his witness and in his teaching.
Next Sunday - the Third of Advent, ‘Gaudete' - children and families are invited to bring a gift (during 9.30am Mass) for a needy child. As in previous years these will then be distributed by the Brentwood Catholic Children’s Society in the coming weeks. I am sure you will respond, as you have done in previous years, with characteristic kindness and generosity.
Thanks to all those who helped organise our Parish Bazaar last Saturday: those who made the preparations and all of you who gave gifts, bought draw tickets and who supported the event. I propose sending half of the proceeds to help persecuted Christians (through Aid to the Church in Need) and the remainder to go towards the costs of running the Parish Centre. God bless you all during this Advent season!
Msgr Kevin Hale