Weekend message Jan 7
The Baptism of Our Lord
John the Baptist was in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance, for the forgiveness of sins. Many people came to him to listen to him, and to be baptized. Jesus also travelled from Galilee to the Jordan wilderness to him to be baptized by John. Why did he do this? Surely Jesus, of all people, did not need a baptism of repentance, did not need forgiveness of sins. John himself was surprised. “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?” he said; but Jesus replied “Let it be so, for it is fitting for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.” So John consented, and baptized Jesus. (Matt 3: 11 – 15)
Jesus was known to be a godfearing man. A little later, according to St. Luke’s gospel, we hear of him going to the synagogue on the Sabbath Day, ‘as he usually did’. So in one sense it is not surprising that Jesus went, along with many other good people, to the wilderness to hear what John had to say – for the people revered John as a man of God, someone who spoke words of wisdom, even as a prophet. And, although he was not in need of ‘repentance’ and ‘forgiveness of sins’, perhaps we could understand that Jesus would also wish to join with all the other good people in making this pilgrimage, and having done so, also join with them in being baptized, much as those who make pilgrimage to Lourdes in our own days will join in all of the holy ceremonies which take place there.
Undoubtedly there were many other preachers in Galilee and Judaea and in the Jordan district at that time. Many of them would have been gathering support for action against the Roman authorities; others would have been proclaiming an apocalypse – God would come with great signs and wonders from heaven to restore the fortunes of the chosen people. But John was different. John simply proposed ways in which the people could live in a good and proper relationship with God, by showing practical love for God and by being honest in their dealings with one another.
John also proclaimed that this required a change of heart, a re-commitment to what the people already knew was the will of God. Baptism was a sign of that change of heart, the ‘repentance’ which he preached. Jesus knew that his own mission from God was bound up with the same approach: not violent overthrow of the political order, nor expectation of God coming with power to restore Israel, but of a change of heart, loving God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength, and our neighbour as ourselves. Jesus allied himself so closely with John’s message that he also preached alongside John, and his followers also baptized (John 3: 22-23; 4: 1-2). So Jesus started to assert his own prophetic role, similar to John’s, but going beyond it. John himself recognized that Jesus would surpass him. He was the forerunner, the one preparing the way, the bridegroom’s assistant making way for the bridegroom.
Jesus began his prophetic mission, the work of salvation which would be accomplished by his death and resurrection, by being baptized, a sign that the whole people of Israel – indeed the whole world – needed to repent, to have a change of heart, to follow God’s will and God’s ways, to love God and to love their fellow men and women.
But Jesus, ‘the one who is to come’ went further than John ‘the forerunner’. John proclaimed to the people that they should make ready for the coming of salvation, and showed in his way of life the manner of preparation, living in the wilderness, eating little, dressing in poor clothes. Jesus was that salvation prophesied by John, and introduced to the people the ‘feast of the kingdom of God’, eating and drinking with everyone, even sinners and tax-collectors.
So Jesus and his disciples gathered greater crowds, and Jesus’ disciples baptized more people than John and his disciples, and John started to send his disciples to Jesus. ‘He most grow greater, I will become less’ (John 3: 30).
Father John and Deacon Kevin thank you all for your cards, gifts, and good wishes for Christmas, and we both wish you every blessing for the new year. God bless you all.
Face coverings – Sunday Obligation – feeling marginalized
Some of our parishioners may feel marginalized because they still don’t feel safe in Church, or in any enclosed space where people gather. They may also feel guilty because they have not been going to Church, and this may lead them to feel even more ‘on the margins’ of our community.
Our Bishops have suggested that we should all consider very carefully how important it is to attend Church with the community on the ‘first day of the week’ to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together. But they also recognize that there are many who are still vulnerable, and that Christian charity requires of all of us that we take appropriate steps to try to avoid infecting others, or at least minimize the chances of doing so. The spread of the omicron variety has made it all the more urgent that we exercise Christian charity.
Our willingness to continue to wear face coverings in Church is one aspect of this Christian charity to others. Another aspect, however, is to understand that there are those who are exempt from face coverings for medical reasons, and that some may be unable to wear them (for example because of difficulties with breathing) even though they may not be officially exempt. Please note that from last weekend it is the law that all attending Church must wear face coverings unless exempt.
Another aspect of our Christian charity is to ensure that we do not attend Church if we are feeling unwell. In the past we may have been told that we should attend Church if (for example) we have a heavy cold – but that is no longer the case. If we feel unwell, we should stay at home and pray there – perhaps (if we wish) accessing Mass online, or otherwise ensuring that we read some passages from Scripture and say prayers for the community and for those in need. But we really should avoid, so far as possible, spreading our illnesses to others.
I usually still have to attend Church, even if unwell, because I need to preside at Mass – but even so I will take steps to avoid as much contact as I can.
This Sunday is the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (Year C).
Confessions: I will hear confessions from 9 until 9.30am on Saturdays at St. Pius X, Narborough; and from 4.30pm to 5.00pm on the first Saturday of the month at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth.
There is still no advance booking for Mass. Welcomers will be at the door of the Church, and your name will be noted on the list, or else you will be asked to provide your name and a means of contact. You will also be asked to sanitize your hands on arrival. It will not be necessary to return to the prior booking arrangement, unless the law or government advice changes again.
At St. Pius X, Narborough:
Times of Mass for next weekend:
- 10am Saturday 15th January;
- 9.30am Sunday 16th;
- 10am Monday 17th.
At Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus, Lutterworth:
Mass will also be celebrated on Thursday morning at 10.30am. We are grateful to Father Maloney for agreeing to celebrate this Mass.
Times of Mass next Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday:
- 5.30pm on Saturday 15th January;
- 11am on Sunday 16th;
- 10.30am Tuesday 18th;
- 10.30am Thursday 20th.
At Narborough the intentions for Mass this week will be Saturday (8th)Danny & Robert Murphy RIP; Sunday (9th) Neville Wilson de Roze RIP; Monday (10th) Samuel Victor Burton RIP. Wednesday Deceased members of the Wood family; Thursday People of the Parish; Friday Holy Souls. Next weekend Saturday (15th)David Sullivan RIP; Sunday (16th) Deceased friends & relations of M O’Connor; Monday (17th) Deceased family & friends of T Corr.
At Lutterworth the intentions for Mass will be the Holy Souls on Saturday and on Tuesday, and for the People of the Parishes on Sunday.
Prayers for the living and the dead:
Please pray for Philip Jacques, Ian Benson, Mario Maneggio, Father Isidore Clarke OP, Brigid Davies, Vincent Roe, and for all who have died recently.
Please also pray for Tony Thorlby, Hayley & Kaci Dunnill, John Southern, Monica Teeling, Peggy Merrell, Jane Bolsover, Suzanne Foxon, Jim Oxley, John Burns-Sweeney, Tom McDermott, Dave Knapper, Teresa Maugham, Mary Dunne, and Juanita Zaman and for all who are ill.
Please let me know of any others who have died, or anyone who is ill and asks for prayers.
Message from the Dean, Fr. Raphael Imoni: Firstly, Happy New Year. I hope you have had the time to relax after the hectic weekends of Christmas and New Year celebrations.
With the ongoing uncertainties about the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID, it has become imperative that a face-to-face meeting for the Synodal discussion is NOT likely. Consequently, the meeting will be on Thursday 20 January from 7 to 8 pm. I shall send the Login details will be nearer to the date.
The meeting shall include the clergy and two representatives from each parish and chaplaincies.
We need two representatives from each parish to take part in this pre-synod discussion with representatives of other parishes. I will be looking for volunteers.
LACY Have Your Say Synod ’21 ’23. Latest new from LACY (Leicestershire Active Catholic Youth).
Due to the current COVID situation we’ve changed the venue to ON LINE VIA ZOOM! We’ve changed the time to 4.00 P.M. A great opportunity for all young people, their families and friends to join us! All young people under the age of 18 should be present with an adult. Link information: Topic: “Have Your Say Synod” with Young People Time: Jan 9 2022 at 4pm.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82612564814?pwd=Y1JzbW1VbkY0NXluZVg4d1FuSHNyUT09 : Meeting ID: 826 1256 4814: Passcode: 1guH1F
Bring your thoughts and ideas and tell us how you would like to share your Faith and become more engaged and involved in your parishes and in your area! We look forward to seeing you. Contact email@example.com for further information.
Exciting times with Exciting Young People! Sincere thanks for your continued support of LACY – let’s move forward in 2022 with more involvement with our young people. Pauline and the LACY Working Team Mobile: 07885 187374
First Holy Communion: Those preparing to make their First Confession and First Holy Communion will meet on Saturday mornings at St. Pius X Parish Hall, and on Sunday mornings at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus Parish Hall. I am very grateful to those who have already indicated that they wish to be included. Candidates should be in Year 3 at school from September (or older).
Confirmation: Bishop Patrick is willing to start administering the sacrament of Confirmation. I am grateful to those who have already said they wish to be confirmed. Are there any others who would like to join the group? Please let me have any names and contact details. Candidates for Confirmation should be in secondary education (or older) in September this year. I have tried to contact all candidates to arrange for preparation to begin, and will shortly be trying to make contact again. If you asked to be included in the preparation for Confirmation and have not received an email from me, please let me know.
Social Activities: can resume. However, “It is strongly recommended that a risk assessment for both the activity and the space is completed for the gathering.”
The Universe Catholic Weekly is thrilled to announce that we have launched our new online newspaper with the full support of our first subscriber none other than His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols. If you are interested in subscribing, go to www.universecatholicweekly.co.uk or call us on 0743661 7650 and ask for Michelle. Special offer: Only £20 for 3 months.
Encountering God in your daily work – For four Wednesdays, starting on 12th January at 7pm, the diocese will be running an online course looking at how we can encounter Jesus in our daily work and how it can help us to grow in holiness too. We spend more hours in a week at work than doing most other activities (including going to church) so let’s make an experience of daily glory rather than a daily grind. For more information visit: www.dioceseofnottingham.uk/onlineevents
Next weekend is the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time
Reminders from previous weeks:
Home Visits, including Confession, Holy Communion, Sacrament of Anointing, for housebound people: These are now permitted, but anyone visiting a housebound person (whether to administer Holy Communion or just a visit) should not visit anyone else during the same morning or afternoon. Visits should be short (in order to minimize the likelihood of passing on an infection) and hand sanitization must be used before and after the visit. If you would like a home visit, or know anyone who would like to be visited, please let Father John know. Please also let Father John know if anyone wishes to make confession or would like to receive the sacrament of anointing for the sick.
Standing Orders: I will provide the parish Bank details to anyone who would like to donate by Standing Order or similar electronic means – many of you already do so (and I am very grateful indeed). I can provide standing order mandates for anyone who wishes – please just ask.
Gift Aid: I have copies of the form to complete, so if you are a taxpayer and would like the tax paid on your contributions to be given to the parish, please ask me for a form.
Recycling Textiles: At the moment the firm are no longer collecting in the Leicester area and has no plans to restart collections here. I hope to have better news soon.
**Important notice concerning car parking** Please park in the Church car parks whenever possible. If that is not possible, for whatever reason, please ensure that you are not causing an obstruction of the roadway or driveways to properties, and please remember that homeowners may wish to park outside their own homes. Please exercise Christian Charity when parking your car.
With my prayers for your wellbeing and salvation, Father John