News for The Fourth Sunday of Advent

News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th December 2020: The Fourth Sunday of Advent

One week today (Friday) we shall be celebrating The Nativity of The Lord recalling God's greatest gift to us in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ; Emmanuel – God with us. However, we still have one final Sunday of Advent to celebrate as we light the fourth purple candle on our Advent wreath, the Angel's candle which represents peace. It is appropriate therefore that this Sunday's Gospel from Luke, retells the events of The Annunciation.

“The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. He went in and said to her , “Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”

We recall The Annunciation every time we say the Angelus:
“Behold, the handmaid of the Lord.”
“Be it unto me according to thy Word.”
and as we will be celebrating in just a week's time:
“And The Word was made flesh”
“And dwelt among us.”

As the Covid pandemic seems to be tightening with London entering Tier 3 restrictions, we continue to pray in earnest for an end to the pandemic. Whilst we contemplate a very different Christmas “socially” – and consider how we are to manage not meeting up with family and friends as we would normally; we can start to understand more about the isolation of those who are left to 'celebrate' Christmas alone, through bereavement or living on the streets, in self-isolation or reducing their social contact for fear of the virus. We can also start to empathise just that little bit more with those who are being unjustly treated at this time, like Nasrin Sotoudeh, (ACAT Harrow's Prayer case for July 2019). She had been released from prison in Iran temporarily because of Covid-19 and it was hoped that her release would be permanent. Instead it appears that she has now been returned to prison although, apparently she is still ill with the virus. She is a human rights lawyer who was sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes because of her work in supporting human rights. She, like many others, need our prayers.

The first Mass of Sunday will be at 6.00pm on Saturday 19th December. Parish Mass at 10.30am on Sunday 20th December. Tier 3 restrictions still permit public worship – but all the usual mitigating precautions must be followed, with strict adherence to social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.

David Griffiths