1st Sunday of Advent
Hoping for a time when things will be different
This Sunday, the first of the Advent season, and the first of the liturgical year, the Church presents to us a set of readings with clear Apocalyptic echoes. It is the Church’s tradition to begin the year in that way, so there are no surprises. However, this year, after all we have been through, it makes more sense and it is more appropriate than ever. Apocalyptic texts are very often referred to as the “literature of the dispossessed”. The oppressed, the alienated, those who have been trampled over and have little to no chance of fight back, those who do not have the capacity to challenge the political, military and economic powers, those for whom life has been one tragedy after another. They are the “little ones” who have always found hope and consolation in Scripture passages such as the ones we have today.
Most of the Apocalyptic passages in the Bible were, in fact, inspired in moments of great crisis. When Mark was writing this Sunday’s gospel, for example, the Roman emperor Caligula was planning to erect in the Temple of Jerusalem a statue of himself. This was not the first time that a disaster of that scale happens in the history of Israel, but that only made it all the more painful. Once again, there was no one who could stand against the overwhelming power of the Roman Empire. Their sole hope and consolation were the words of Jesus, who promised not just better times – because better is not good enough – but the end of these times and the beginning of something radically different.
To some, this will only seem as form of alienation, but it isn’t. It is not a form of escaping from the current pain, but a way to find meaning in the pain and also consolation, hope and courage. Faith is not about dreaming of a time – hopefully soon enough – when things will be well again. Anybody without faith can do that. And indeed, for some, better future times will never compensate the pain they have already gone through. Faith is looking forward to a time when things will be different. As St Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us”. So, let us embrace courageously and patiently the sufferings, trials and difficulties of the past, the present and the ones still to be endured while we look forward to a time beyond this life when God will wipe every tear from our eyes. A time when there will be no pain, so suffering, no illness, no death. When there will be no sin and we will suffer no longer its consequences. A time when we won’t miss our loved ones. A time when we won’t have to struggle to find God because we will see him face to face. Hopefully the year ahead is better than this one, but if that is not good enough, don´t despair. The time will come when things will be different, perfect.
Fr Daniel Herrero Pena
From Tuesday December 2nd, we come out of lock down and go into tier 2 restrictions.
This means that we can begin our communal celebration of Mass, which is good news.
Weekday Masses will again be at 10.00 am.
Sunday Masses will be Saturday 6.00pm vigil, Sunday 9.00, 10.30, 12.00 noon and 6.30 pm.
Confessions at request.
The normal social distancing and covid restrictions will be in place in the Church. It is essential that you book your place before you come to Sunday Mass.
Thank you for your patience, prayer and cooperation.
Planning for Christmas:
We will publish our Christmas Mass times next week.
Masses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will be ticketed.
We will not be able to accommodate everyone who wishes to come on those two days.
For the Church throughout the world, Christmas day begins on the 24/25th of December and lasts until the 1 of January. (Octave of Christmas)
If you are not able to join us on 24th/25th why not consider coming for your Christmas Mass on one of the days of the Octave.
All our Masses will be livestreamed.
Light a candle:
The Kensington Council of Churches, are inviting every Christian in our neighbourhood to light a candle in their window on this Frist Sunday of Advent at 6pm.
This is a sign of our faith, payer and hope.
As you light your candle pray with these words: "Come Lord Jesus, come. Dispel the darkness and bring us your light. Amen".