It is hard to believe, but Christmas is over for another year. It was certainly celebrated in a different way in 2020. Let us pray for God’s continued protection as we await our turn for the antivirus vaccination, and ask God’s help to try and stay level headed amid the many new different problems the epidemic has thrown up.
We can be sure of God’s forgiveness when we make mistakes, and we endeavour to be ready to forgive those around us when they annoy us or get on our nerves. It isn’t easy to accept living alone, but it is sometimes harder to live in peace with another person, even a loved one. I can feel a cliché coming on:
“These things are sent to try us!”
May God grant to all of us the grace we need to cope.
I took the decision not to put on public Mass on the feast of Epiphany on 6th January, and discovered that the churches in Latchford and Appleton had done the same. Now we are in lockdown, more of you will be carefully weighing up the dangers to yourselves, and deciding what degree of isolation is right for you. I notice only two thirds have booked for Mass this coming weekend. The powers that be have chosen not to close churches, so we can choose to come to Mass, but don’t expose vulnerable people to contagion. I keep wondering what it must have been like during the war, with bombers roaming the skies and churches being destroyed. Many must have chosen prudently to stay at home.
Meetings have largely been declared unlawful. The Churches Together are having a Zoom- based meeting on Wednesday. If any representatives are willing and able to take part, please let me know. They also propose daily prayer sessions together during the week of prayer for Unity, 18-25th January, and a ‘virtual’ shared prayer breakfast via the internet.
The coming weekend sees the celebration of the Baptism of the Lord, with Ordinary Time (Week 1) commencing on Monday 11th January. We follow the gospel readings about the early ministry of the grown-up Jesus, and the continuing ‘epiphany’ or manifestation of the presence on earth of the God-Man, the Messiah. Early Christian writers repeat their astonishment and reverence for the willingness of the second person of the Trinity to submit to the human condition, even seeking the washing clean from sinfulness like everybody else. Sometimes people behave in just the opposite way, not accepting that they ever sin.
I have offered Mass during the week for John Dodd, for the deceased members of the Kelly family, for Margaret Coffey, for Rose Geoghehan who is sick, and for John and Pat Lowe. We had the funeral for Phyllis Lundy today.
Did any of you see the Ayatollah talking about the fragile nature of Western Democracy following the extraordinary scenes in Washington the other day? It is fragile – thinking that the will of the majority following a vote necessarily commits the minority to conform. The Brexit referendum reminded us in Britain of that. When democracy is accepted it works – but there has always been a violent contrary force lurking somewhere.
May God keep us safe from mob madness. God bless you all.
Fr Tony Elder