News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th December 2020: The Second Sunday of Advent
The second candle on our Advent Wreath, which will be lit this weekend, is sometimes referred to as the Bethlehem candle; and represents the journey of Mary and Joseph as they head towards the Town of David, where Joseph is due to register for the world-wide census demanded under the orders of Emperor Augustus Caesar. It's a journey of about 80-90 miles from Nazareth and probably would have taken the best part of a week – on foot and with Mary VERY pregnant riding on a donkey! We tend to overlook the gruelling reality of Our Lord's birth, hidden amongst the radiance, joy and peace of the Nativity.
The second candle is also said to represent PEACE, and isn't that something we pray for daily? So many people at “war” with one another. Eveyone wanting their own way. Little or no degree of compromise. One extreme example is given in this month's ACAT (Harrow) Prayer case of the month. A Christian, Asif Pervaiz, imprisoned in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy. It is unfortunate that the authorities there have not taken note of the “Fratelli Tutti” issued by Pope Francis earlier this year – that there should be a journey of peace amongst the religions and that the death penalty should be banned. But peace must start within our own hearts, as we “forgive those who trespass against us”. As we pray The Lord's Prayer, let us focus on asking for that grace to forgive and to pray in earnest for peace.
The second Covid lockdown has ended and vaccines are on their way – but we must be patient. We are waiting expectantly. As Mary waited for the birth of Jesus; and as we wait for His coming at Christmas. As the prophet Isaiah is reported in the Good News from Luke this weekend: “A voice cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight” and we hear of John the Baptist preaching about the coming of the Messiah. It is coming! HE is coming! We WILL celebrate Christmas … and there's not long to wait!
The first Mass for the Second Sunday of Advent will be at 6.00pm on Saturday 5th December. Tier Two restrictions are in place, so the now customary wearing of face masks, hand sanitisation, social distancing and other rules remain in place. The Parish Mass will be at 10.30am on Sunday 6th December. Remember that various devotions and Masses take place during the week (although NO Mass on Monday 7th Dec) and you are very welcome to attend or to join in online. We are pleased to attach the Bishop of Ebbsfleet's Advent meditations and readings for your personal preparations during this season.
“Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.”