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Please keep an eye out for a special Advent surprise as you go past the Church - especially at night - Thanks to Martyn Poole for organising this for us. 💓

Thank you to Deacon Vincent for your Reflections for 2nd Sunday in Advent Year C.

1st Reading from the Prophet Baruch 5: 1-9.
Baruch, a name which means “Blessed” came from a distinguished family in Jerusalem. He was Jeremiah’s secretary and recorded his preaching’s. Unfortunately this book is not part of his writings, but that of a later author or editor, using the name of this famous prophet and he re-interpreting Jeremiah for a new situation. Israel is still under foreign rule, with extortionate taxes, with the leading families still in Exile in Babylon. As with all occupying forces, there are the usual abusive actions inflicted. This book is giving a re-read of Scripture to put fresh hope into the people . The book is formulated in four sections, the Introduction, then Confessions of Sins, a Wisdom poem and the section we are reading, a poem of consolation. The only copies of the original scrolls are in Greek, which might suggest that it was written for Jews of the dispersion, living in the Greek speaking world. Hence it begins with casting off robes of mourning and affliction and put on the the majesty that comes from the glory of God. The way home to Israel will be made smooth just like that great causeway which led the exiles to Babylon. It is re-affirming that “All things will be well”. Trust in God’s redemption. It is very appropriate for our own enforced isolation and separation.

Psalm 125.
This song continues the theme of God’s trustworthiness, as it rejoices in the return of the Exiles from Babylon to their homeland. God does put things right, it is a very true statement from the Lord that, “All things will be well.”

2nd Reading taken from the letter of St. Paul to the Philippians 1: 4-6, 8-11.
Paul always includes in his greetings a clue as to the contents and import of his message, so we see references to “all of you”, encouraging us to recognise that there is some disunity in the community, also his mention of “joy”, although it was written from his prison; it is one of his most joy filled letters. He encourages love for each other as the key to creating solidarity. This message is ever before us as the key to creating a truly Gospel led community.

The Holy Gospel according to Luke 3: 1-6.
This list of the most important worldly people, at the time, provides us with the only date in the entire New Testament (AD28-29). We are introduced to this motley crew in descending order of importance, then we are introduced to Pontius Pilate who we will meet later, and Herod that “wily fox”, as Christ called him, the son of King Herod of the first chapter, who had tried to kill off the young Jesus; eventually, last in the listing, we are introduced to the Religious Leaders, Anna and Caiaphas. As we absorb this mixed bag of self-motivated people, we are introduced to the person, Luke really wants to tell us about; John the Baptist. We find him in the desert, where Luke had left him in the previous chapter. John introduces us to a theme that is very important in the Gospel of Luke, “repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” We have the quote from the Prophet Isaiah, to lend authenticity to John’s mission. Despite John’s forceful and abrupt message for the people, they still flooded out to hear him and start to change their spiritual direction, enabling them to recognise Jesus, when he comes among them. It is a theme for all of us to take on board, in readiness for the Lord’s coming. Let us change our drift away from God and return to the shelter of his wings, and prepare to meet his only Son, Jesus Christ.

God bless us all, on our return journey to the Lord. Deacon Vincent

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