St. Mary-the-Virgin, News for Sunday 8th December 2019: Prepare a way for the Lord.
On Sunday, the 8th December, we keep the Second Sunday of Advent and our Gospel Reading comes from Matthew’s Gospel. You may recall mention (in last week’s blog) that we have started a new liturgical year (Cycle A) and that means we will be hearing from Matthew’s Gospel quite a lot over the next twelve months. Matthew wrote his Gospel for a Jewish audience – to convince them that Jesus really WAS the Messiah that had been foretold by the prophets; and in this week’s Gospel we hear from John The Baptist. Matthew explains to his Jewish readers that this was the man of whom Isaiah wrote: “A voice cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.” A quote taken from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah (40 v. 3). So are we doing exactly what John the Baptist told us? “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand” or are we too busy thinking about all the other things that take over our lives in the build up to Christmas?
This week, we were treated to the first in a series of Advent teachings on “The Lord’s Prayer”. You are most welcome to come along to the second teaching session: either on Wednesday morning after the 9.30am Mass or on Thursday evening after the 7.00pm Mass. Each session lasts about 30 minutes – but it is half-an-hour of time to step back from the hustle and bustle and frenzy of our secular build-up to Christmas; and to take some time to pause and reflect on Jesus’ teaching on prayer.
If you were at the Parish Mass last Sunday, you would have seen the first of the candles lit on the Advent Wreath. Not only do these represent the four Sundays of Advent, but each one has a special meaning attached to it. The first is sometimes called the “Prophecy Candle” and it represents hope and the message of the prophets, particularly Isaiah, in predicting the birth of Jesus, our Messiah. The second candle, which will be lit on Sunday represents faith and is called the “Bethlehem Candle” and symbolises the journey that Mary and Joseph made to Bethlehem. They too were preparing a way for the Lord. What preparations should we really be making now?