Takehomenews 10 January 2021
The Baptism of the Lord (B)
Fr Colin writes:
We would like to thank you for your co-operation over Christmas. A Special thank you goes to the stewards and all who helped prepare the church for Christmas. Although we weren't able to sing any Christmas carols, we did have the benefit of hearing Christmas music before the Masses. As far as we could tell, the booking system and allocation of places seemed to work well. Unless the situation changes, the next time we will need to have a booking system will be for Holy Week, but possibly before that on Ash Wednesday.
Keeping the social distance in the church, particularly around the crib and when you leave church is paramount. The fact that churches have been able to remain open while other places have had to close is a testament of our social distancing and abiding by other guidelines. Remember, please do not come to church if you are feeling unwell. The Sunday obligation is still suspended.
We were hoping to have the Livestreaming system installed by Christmas, but the installation was delayed. However, we hope by the time you read this, it will be up and running.
Fr David and I would like to thank everyone for their generosity at Christmas, for the cards and the gifts. We wish you every blessing for 2021.
White Flower Appeal
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) will be holding its annual appeal this weekend.
SPUC is currently campaigning to stop home abortion, which gives women abortion pills to take at home without medical supervision. This is one of the most dangerous threats to unborn children and their mothers in decades.
Please be as generous as you can to help us defeat this latest attack on unborn babies and help protect mothers from increased risk of coercion and serious health risks. Donations can be made online at www.spu.org.uk/donate.
Delayed 2020 Confirmations
We are hoping that we can have the delayed 2020 Confirmations this month. Because of the restrictions on numbers at any one time, we have allocated candidates into 7 groups. The confirmations will be ministered by Fr Colin and Fr David. The Catechists are contacting the candidates to inform them to which group they have been allocated. The dates in January are as follows:
Friday 15th 7pm
Saturday 16th 2pm and 3.30pm
Sunday 17th 3pm
Friday 22nd 7pm
Saturday 23rd 2pm and 3.30pm
Father David writes:
The Prophet Isaiah invites us to think about our lives. To think about what satisfies us. We hear in the press in recent days that peoples spending habits have changed with the pandemic. Different sectors of the economy are experiencing quite troubling times, whilst others are thriving. There is a shift in the experience of famine and plenty.
In looking at our lives, Isaiah invites us to re-evaluate our priorities. The Holy Spirit through Isaiah is inviting us to listen to the Lord in the depth of our heart with the promise that our soul will live.
Isaiah foretells of the everlasting covenant that will open up the life of faith to those outside it, they will come hurrying. We are those people today hurrying to the Lord. We are being invited to change our ways, to leave behind all that does not lead us to God. No one should feel ashamed, for the Lord is rich in his forgiving. Our first experience of God’s forgiveness is at our Baptism.
Isaiah uses the image of the winter weather as an image of God’s gift to us and whilst we might not automatically think of rain and snow as a gift, the image is good as the earth is nourished. When we hear the Word of God, we are nourished too. Just like the Wise men both arrive by one route and return by another. The Word of the Lord comes down to us through the scriptures and infuses our hearts and minds with His wisdom and love, and in return we give thanks to God for this gift of knowledge and creation as light in our lives.
St John in our second reading invites us to think of the three-fold action in the life of Christ. The Spirit, the water and the Blood. Jesus was conceived through the Holy Spirit in the womb of the virgin Mary. Today we celebrate the baptism of the Lord in the waters of the River Jordan. At Mass we celebrate the memorial of Christ’s passion, death, and ascension into heaven - where he shed’s his blood for the atonement of our sins once and for all. In our Gospel today we will hear the voice of the Father at the moment of Christ coming up out of the waters and the Holy Spirit coming down to rest on him. So, you see, we meet today the economy of the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit all together in the one place unified and as St. John puts it, they are in agreement. God’s voice and the decent of the Holy spirit is confirmation of the Son, the evidence that Jesus is who John the Baptist says he is – the Christ the anointed one: ‘This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.’
The Old Testament scriptures foretell what is later recorded as testimony and formed in Tradition which is found in the truth of the New Testament. Our Faith which is laid and sustained from the foundation of the reading of scriptures, with prayer, using both heart and mind is held up through our activity in faith, through our participation in the sacraments. Our faith is more than just a reading of history, it is given to us through the Holy Spirit in truth which enkindles within us the living truth of Jesus’ action that breaks through into our time from the event of eternity.
Jesus is baptised in the Jordan by John not to be purified himself but to purify us at the moment of our Baptism, when the Lord takes us and heals us from our sins.
We give thanks to the Lord today through our solemn worship for having made us his adopted sons and daughters through our Baptism – as his beloved children we are given his favour. We must remember to be gracious and accept all that he gives us, whether we are in a time of famine or in a time of plenty – God's love exists out of time and is for ever shall be – without end. Amen
Thank you to those who have applied to join the confirmation programme this year. The catechists will be contacting you at the end of the month to explain how we are going to proceed.
First Communion Programme 2021
Thank you to the families who have applied for their child to receive First Holy Communion. We drew up a programme for sessions for parents and children but this is having to be re-designed because of the extra restrictions on groups meeting imposed last week. We will let you know in due course how we are going to proceed.
“As we celebrate the baptism of our Lord, we recall our own baptism and the promise of life we have gained through it. We pray that all would be given the opportunity to experience life in its fullness, both in this world and the next. Lord hear us.”
Dates for 2021
It is customary on or near the Feast of the Epiphany to announce the important dates in the liturgical calendar for the coming year:
Ash Wednesday 17th February
Annunciation Thursday 25th March
Palm Sunday 28th March
Good Friday 2nd April
Easter Sunday 4th April
The Ascension Thursday 13th May
Pentecost Sunday 23rd May
Corpus Christi Sunday 6th June
St Peter & St Paul Tuesday 29th June
Assumption of our Lady Sunday 15th August
All Saints Sunday 31st October
All Souls Tuesday 2nd November
Christmas Day Saturday 25th December
Sunday of the Word of God
On Sunday 24th January, we celebrate the Sunday of the Word of God. At each Mass, including Saturday evening, we will be re-commissioning Ministers of the Word.