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Could you be a School Governor? 
Clifton Diocese is seeking to recruit people to serve on school governing bodies. If you believe in Catholic education, have enthusiasm and commitment, then you can make a valuable contribution to the governing body of a Catholic school. It also provides the opportunity to use your life/work skills and experience, for the benefit of the children in our schools. Please visit https://cliftondiocese.com/news/could-you-be-a-school-governor/ for more information and to complete an online nomination form or contact bill.mcentee@cliftondiocese.com or  07710094976 – he would be delighted to hear from you. Your support for our schools would be much appreciated.

Newsletters
We continue to produce newsletters with all the latest information for Mass times, prayer intentions and news. We publish them weekly and they can all be found under the 'Newsletter' section of this website - and are saved in date order, along with the Bulletin cover sheets from the Redemptorist publications co.


Thank you to Deacon Vincent for your Reflections for Baptism of the Lord, Year B

1
st Reading from the Prophet Isaiah 55: 1-11.
This extract is taken from the final passage in what is called Deutero-Isaiah (Second Isaiah), which covers the period after Cyrus has decreed that the people of Israel can return to their homeland. This Isaiah sees it as their new and better Exodus. It is full of the most beautiful poetry of the Bible. It covers Chapter 40 to 55, so we are reading its final section. Some think it is referring to the cry of the water sellers, others that the hunger is for Wisdom, whichever you choose the message is the same, if you keep close to the Lord and his covenant, all good things will come to you. There is this lovely phrase, “Seek God, and when you find him, call upon him, and when he comes near you,”, there is no doubt that when you call upon God, he will come near to you. We need to remember that God is always listening for us and seeking us out. Sinners need not fear to return to him, “God will abundantly forgive your sins,”.  This passage concludes with the affirmation that God is in charge and will not rest until his will is accomplished.

Responsorial Psalm is taken from one of Isaiah’s Psalms 12: 2-6. This psalm is one of thanksgiving and praise, and it is very noticeable that in this first section of Isaiah we come upon reference to God’s proclamation is also for the Gentiles (Us), and this is a major move in Judaism, to be reaching out to the Gentiles as part of God’s plan.

2nd Reading is from the 1st Letter of St. John 5: 1-9. It is sometimes better to just sink into the atmosphere of this letter, that try to follow his logic. Note his absolute insistence on Jesus humanity, hence the insistence on blood and water, which ensures his humanity and so emphasises exactly what a great gift Jesus, God made man, means for us. For John it is summed up as eternal life. We can only realise what God has done for us when we accept not just Jesus as God; but realise that he is God made truly man for our redemption. It is truly awesome to come face to face with God’s great generosity in bestowing himself to us as a vulnerable human being, so he can show us the way to Him. Let us always be truly grateful for such a gift!!

Holy Gospel according to Mark 1: 7-11. John’s message is presented as being all about Jesus’ superiority, John poses himself as his slave, as dealing with sandals was the task of a slave, also Mark has John telling us that Jesus will baptise with the Holy Spirit, an idea that Mark has yet to explain to us. We must find it puzzling that if Jesus is so superior to John, why does he come to be baptised by John? We see the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descending onto Jesus, and Jesus is publicly affirmed as God’s Son, so it is obviously God’s will that Jesus comes to John. It also shows us how God himself establishes his solidarity with us vulnerable humans in drawing close to God’s mercy. Jesus is there right alongside us in our struggles. He is not a remote God. He is at one with us, so we should not turn away from him in shame; but turn with confidence for him to wash us clean. We see again just how God wants to be at one with us. We can have confidence in his abundant love and care for us. Let us truly rejoice and be glad that he has called us.

God Bless you all, particularly in these difficult times. Deacon Vincent.

Photo of Nativity scene in St Andrew Bobola Church, London (c) Mazur


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