Friday, 31 December 2010

Christmas Octave Day

From the Palace of His Holiness the Catholicos, Etchmiadzin, Armenia
In giving thanks for the past year we pray that the New Year will be fruitful and full of blessings, full of harmony and unity in Christ. Theotokos, God-Bearer, Mother of God and all Christians, unto your unending prayers we hope to enter on this first day of 2011, our first Mass dedicated to you who point, not to yourself but to the Word made flesh who bears the Holy name of Jesus your son. May we leave our old selves behind with the old year and re-dedicate lives to the new paths of the New Year in Christ's service which is perfect freedom.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Seeing the Birth of Salvation

Christmas Day Homily. Who can describe or explain the wonders and mysteries of the season as God is born as man from the womb of the Virgin in His Son Jesus? All we need is to believe and to accept the birth of this holy One we see at Christmas as the incarnation of salvation itself. Here is none other than the Son of God among us. Of course there is unbridled joy that this saving event should happen and be re-enacted sacramentally in the Christmas Liturgies each year. There is also the knowledge that as fully human He will suffer as we all suffer, indeed he will share our sufferings, transform them and save us through the Resurrection...if we let him. He will lead us and guide us….if we let Him. He will save us from ourselves, our sins and our failings and our cruelties to others too ...if we let Him. Where are we at this time of His birth, are we fully believing, fully absorbed, wholly accepting of all the teachings and witness of the many who have gone before us? Or are we wanting to make up our own interpretations, re-work the events to make them seem somehow more acceptable? This is not a sort of Father Christmas option; to accept  the Christmas presents in the stocking but not the man responsible for bringing them. Our faith has to be founded on truths and the good news of the Gospel without equivocation. This Christmas solemnity did happen as we read of it in the familiar scriptures on which we rely. So where are we in our lives, in our faith at this time? Are we at the foot of the crib really worshipping and praising and listening to the word of God made flesh? Are we really prepared to join with ordinary believing Christians in their millions and millions over two thousand years without us putting up barriers and unnecessary doubts? Are we up for being with the ordinary shepherds and the extra-ordinary Angels and the exotic Kings who have yet to arrive? If not then why not ? 'Come to me and I will refresh you' says the Lord. We can be with Him and rejoice, looking into the eyes of God in this crib before us and if not sure still, then seeing Him in the eyes of the little children and those of all ages around us and catching some of their faith, the true faith, the real story. If further help is needed then we can repeat the words of Mary the mother of Jesus, the Mother of God ''Be it unto me according to thy word'' again and again until the faith of Christ washes through us and fills us to the brim until there is no going back only onwards, listening to the words of the Angel ''do not be afraid''. Let us not be afraid to believe, to join with the shepherds, the Angels, Christians everywhere as we rejoice and realize that the Lord is among us, can never be taken away from us, will never die and be ever present in our homes, our hearts, our lives. In the words of the Angel again "I bring you news of great joy. Today the Saviour of the world has been born to you". May the Holy family of Mary Joseph and Jesus give us the pattern and witness to our faith, through their prayers may we have enough love in us, enough humility and enough openness of faith to believe these things and welcome Jesus into our hearts now and for ever. +

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Thought for the Day

It is good that the normalisation of the Roman Catholic Church continues apace in these islands as The Holy Father is invited to give the Radio 4 slot 'Thought for the Day' on The Eve of Our Lord's Nativity at 7.45am. See here

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Mary Immaculate. Mother of God

If you believe that Mary is the Mother of God and is awaiting this Advent to conceive Him in His son then she can not be anything other than immaculate at her own birth. As they say round here "not a problem"!!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Ordinariate in Wales

After Welsh PAB Ordinations 2004 
We already have provision in Wales for the forthcoming Ordinariate by virtue of the Roman Catholic heirarchy covering both English and Welsh Anglican Provinces. It is good that at last some interest is being launched within Wales via the new web site which has been launched click HERE not necessarily to instantly sign up to the Ordinariate but simply to explore it. It has been slow here perhaps to gather momentum due mainly to the tiny size of the Welsh Anglican province and the apparent lack of enthusiasm within the Welsh province of SSC which like all provinces of SSC is supposed to be in favour of corporate re-union with Rome. There are however Welsh Anglicans on the Bristol group for the time being exploring their way forward towards the Ordinariate. It is good to know that the Welsh bench of Bishops has among its number members who have expressed concern for traditionalists among their flock by saying that there is no antagonism towards them and they do not take issue with the fact that promises have in fact been broken. If this is so, it begs the question why there is no Provincial Assistant Bishop for providing sacramental care for them then? The message is clear though that traditionalists do not have a long term future in the Church in Wales. Come to that nor perhaps in the short term either. For example where will they go for the Chrism Mass in four months time? To the college of female and male priests with the Diocesan? What also about Ordinations and Confirmations? Time for waiting and listening upon God this Advent for discernment of these most important issues.