Reading 1: Isaiah 40: 1-5, 9-11; ‘Console my people, console them, says your God’
This reading is addressed to the People of God when they were captives in exile, thousands of miles away from their homeland. The reading offers them hope and joy. God promises that they will return home, across the desert. God is their defender and shepherd who gathers, guides and nourishes them. Reflect: Is there an area of your life where you need to hear God’s message of hope? Talk to God about it. Has there been a time in your life when you felt that God was guiding and nourishing you like a shepherd? Think back to that time and thank God for it.
Psalm Resp: Send forth your Spirit, Lord; Send your Spirit, renew the earth; Send forth your Spirit, Lord; renew the face of the earth.
Reading 2: Titus 2:11–14; 3:4–7,
St Paul tells us that God came into our world as a gesture of pure love: God wanted to share our lives; he wanted to show us a way of living that would bring happiness to ourselves and others; and he wanted to gather all people into his family. This becomes possible through the gift of Baptism. Reflect: In what sense is Jesus a gift for you?
Gospel Acc: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Someone is coming, said John, someone greater than I. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Alleluia . . . .
Luke 3: 15–16, 21–22, The Baptism of Jesus, You are my Son, the Beloved
Jesus wanted to begin his work for God by making a commitment. That’s what his baptism was about, and it gave him great joy. But imagine the joy that he felt when he heard God say those words, You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you. When Jesus heard those words he felt filled with the Holy Spirit. God says those exact same words to each human being who is baptised or makes a commitment like Jesus to live in service of others, whether that be family, friends, colleagues at work, or helping people in any way. Reflect: Who are the people whom you help in any way? Who are the people to whom you are committed? See yourself with any of those people, and listen for a moment to God saying to you, You, . . . (your own name) . . . are my beloved Son/Daughter. My favour rests on you. Imagine the Holy Spirit coming down on you as it did on Jesus. What does that feel like? Tell God what’s in your heart.
Covid and Social Distancing
Please continue to observe Covid- 19 safe practices: Sanitise hands and maintain one metre distance on arrival and when leaving the Church; wear masks; use only the assigned pews; allow the stewards to show you to your seat and to invite you to join the line for Communion. Thank you.
Last Thursday, January 6th, there was a sacramental preparation meeting for those parents unable to attend the December meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to talk through with parents the ways in which they, as first educators of their children, can support the children in the important step of being prepared for the Sacraments. The catechists have provided each child in the programme with a Mass
booklet which the parents will help them follow at Sunday Mass. We are also encouraging parents to observe Children’s Liturgy of the Word so that they know what the children learn there. We would like to thank the parents for attending these meetings and we look forward to the Circle of Friends meetings for children and parents which begin on February 24th. We hope to organise prayer partners among parishioners for children. So, keep an eye on this space!
From the Justice and Peace Group
THANK YOU for the biscuits, chocolates etc. that you donated to the Wayside Club in December. They were gratefully received.
In line with last year, we now offer you the opportunity to get rid of any boxes of sweets, chocolates,
biscuits, etc. that you received at Christmas and do not need. There will be baskets at the back of the church next Sunday for anyone who is struggling to get through the mountain of sweet things received at Christmas. Anything donated will be given to those less fortunate than ourselves. Thank you.
Remembering the Sick and Deceased
We continue to ask God to bless and strengthen our sick and housebound parishioners, relatives and friends.
We also remember those who have died recently and their families, especially James Alexander and Colleen Daly, and those whose anniversaries occur around this time, especially Archbishop Philip Tartaglia and Joanne Harvey. May God grant them eternal rest.