Advent is a time of preparing for the coming of Jesus and the scriptures lead us in those preparations. Today our scripture readings focus not on the first coming of Jesus when He came as a baby being born in a stable in Bethlehem. Today our readings are reminding us, as Christians that He will come again, but this time to judge us. The readings this week are telling us to always be prepared for that day.

There are beautiful words in the excerpt we have from St Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, “May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you.” St Paul goes on to hope that those in Thessalonica are found to be ‘holy and blameless’ when Jesus returns to judge them.

This past week has seen men, women and children perish trying to get to our country. These people have been exploited by ruthless traffickers who prey on these vulnerable people without a thought for keeping them safe. They see the people as disposable commodities and will have little or no interest in them once they have paid to get on to the boats which are woefully inadequate for the crossing when the water is still and calm in the summer, never mind attempting the crossing in the winter seas.

I pray for the repose of their souls and for the comfort of their families. But I also pray that we in the western world will look at ways to accommodate the people who seek a place of safety. As Christians we are called to “love one another and the whole human race”. Our Head of State is a Christian, our Prime Minister was married in a Christian Church. As Christians why do we talk about processing these people? Where is the humanity? Where is the compassion? Help us to remember that Jesus, Mary and Joseph were once refugees, fleeing for their lives from a jealous tyrant. May we see the Holy Family in those who seek a place of safety for their families.

As we start our preparations for Christmas this year, we have been told there might be empty shelves in the shops. As Christians may our hearts be overflowing with love for our neighbour so that we are not tempted to overstock our cupboards ‘just in case‘ perhaps leaving little else for others. May we be measured in only buying what we will actually use.

This is a time when we may find ourselves invited out for a Christmas meal with friends or work colleagues, some of these occasions can be quite expensive. When we are being generous with our friends is it possible for us to think about those who are in need at this time of year. Perhaps we could pledge the cost of a drink or the cost of our meal or maybe even the cost of a round of drinks and donate it to charity? This could be a way of loving the whole human race and help us to be in a position to ‘stand with confidence before the Son of Man’ when He comes again.

Further Reading

Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)1

CCC 668-677, 769: the final tribulation and Christ’s return in glory
CCC 451, 671, 1130, 1403, 2817: “Come, Lord Jesus!”
CCC 439, 496, 559, 2616: Jesus is the Son of David
CCC 207, 210-214, 270, 1062-1063: God is faithful and merciful

Please keep in your prayers

  • The men, women and children who perished in the English Channel this week, their families and friends.
  • Those who are sick, those recovering from surgery, those who are dying, the recently deceased and those who mourn. Especially those who attended the bereavement event at St Bede’s on Saturday.
  • The Year of the Eucharist, that this will lead to a fresh outpouring of love by the people of God for the Body and Blood of Christ.
  • The listening stage of the 16th Synod of Bishops which is entitled “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission” that all Catholics will take part.
  • The three families who will have their children baptised in Holy Ghost Parish this weekend.
  • The success of the Eco -Tea event being held in St Bede’s Hall this Sunday.

1 Catechism of the Catholic Church (vatican.va)