Blank Image
St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
Just some images of our church
blank image
blank image
blank image blank image blank image blank image blank image blank image
Click here to go back

Monday, November 28, 2011
1st Sunday of Advent – 27th November 2011
Hybrid Holy Father

My priest friends and I who spend Christmas Day together never have turkey. This is because by the time the day actually comes we’ve had so many Christmas dinners that we’re beginning to look like turkeys. Indeed, last year I was at my first such meal before Advent had even begun.

Before Easter we have the season of Lent during which we pray more, fast and give alms and generally try to get our spiritual lives in good order. Before Christmas we have the season of Advent and generally any sense of fasting (dieting), almsgiving (gym membership) and more physical and spiritual exercises start in the New Year. Thus we can easily miss the point of this holy season because, like children who seem to be growing up faster than ever, Christmas seems to begin earlier and earlier each year. Advent used to be called St Martin’s Lent so it is related to those six weeks in the Church’s calendar which fall before the fullest celebration of the Paschal Mystery. And as such, this season too should be marked by some sense of extra prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Of course, its not as “heavy” a season as Lent as you can tell from the liturgy – we still have Alleluias but the Gloria is omitted. It’s sort of a halfway house, if you like, but is still a valuable time of preparation for the coming of our Saviour in history and at the end of time and we should take the opportunity to make ourselves ready. For example, we might save the greatest delights to our taste buds until Christmas. Or when we are doing our Christmas shopping spare a thought for those who have little and pick up a small gift that we can give to the Catholic Children’s Society or make a donation to Aid to the Church in Need to help Christians in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East. Above all, we might take a few minutes each day to ask the Lord to make us ready to welcome him through reading the scriptures of the day with My Day by Day, reflecting on them with Bible Alive or praying with the latest Diocesan resource A Foretaste of Heaven. There are also websites with daily reflections such as godzdogz and The Hermeneutic of Continuity has links to many other religious sites. And of course there is the rosary, particularly the Joyful Mysteries which we could use to meditate on the forthcoming Incarnation.

The Archbishop commented recently on the silence and stillness of the Holy Father even in the midst of his busy schedule on his visit here. Indeed, because of seeing that serenity and contemplating it over the past 12 months a man is coming to see me about becoming a Catholic. Our Archbishop likened Pope Benedict to a hybrid car in which the engine cuts out when it comes to a standstill – when the Pope isn’t doing something he seems to have stopped completely. I suspect that’s a tall order for us but it would do us good to try just for a few minutes each day that we may be found ready when the Son of Man comes.

Fr Kevin

posted by Sinead Reekie at 8:41 am