St. Mary-the-Virgin, News for Sunday 26th January 2020

News for Sunday 26th January 2020: The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light.

As we head towards the end of January, there are just a few glimmers to suggest that the depths of winter are starting to mellow. The daffodils are poking their stems through the soil and some are even starting to bloom; the sunrise is just starting a few minutes earlier each day and there is some warmth in the sunshine when it manages to break through the clouds. We can easily relate to the words from the Prophet Isaiah “The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light” as this clear description of a group of people wandering “in a land of deep shadow” not just physically but mentally, and most importantly spiritually too. We sometimes see this in those people we meet who have no faith, or have lost hope – they are in the darkness. We too can at times be caught up in this darkness, as we become laden with different challenges in our lives.  But Christ is our light and our hope. When Matthew referred to this prophecy of Isaiah in his Gospel he adds “on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death a light has dawned. From that moment Jesus began his preaching…”

We shall be celebrating the marvellous feast of Candlemass in just over a week’s time, but until then we continue to pray that those who are overcome with darkness will find Christ as their everlasting light. We continue to pray for the unity of Christians throughout the world and round off our Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity with a United Service at Kenton Baptist Church at 4.00pm on Sunday afternoon.
The 9.00am Mass on Monday morning will commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. This indeed was a darkness that few of us can ever comprehend and we thank God for those who lived to make us all aware of the atrocities that must never be allowed to be forgotten.
This Wednesday, we shall say our farewells to our beloved friend and brother in Christ, Norman Beszant. In the darkness of our grief, we see Christ our Light represented in the Paschal Candle. There will be a Funeral Mass at 11.00am and there are refreshments afterwards at the Grimsdyke Hotel, Old Redding  to which all are invited. 

We have been warmly invited to St Andrew’s, Kingsbury on the evening of Sunday 2nd February, for Candlemass Evensong with the Saint Alphage Chorus. Now that will indeed be a great occasion to hear the words of the Nunc Dimmitis in which Jesus is described as “A light to lighten the Gentiles”. Let us not forget that each of us has been entrusted with Christ’s light at our Baptism. That is not something for us to keep hidden, but to share with those around us and bring them out of their darkness into Christ’s marvellous light.
David Griffiths