Fr. Aidan Writes:
Here on the fourth Sunday in Advent we are presented with the Gospel of the Visitation. Elizabeth, Mary’s kinswoman, greets her with the words we now say as the opening part of the Hail Mary. A greeting that responds to her presence with the child in her womb; Mary is full of grace. John the Baptist, in Elizabeth’s womb, leaps for joy in the presence of the Christ child in Mary’s womb. This
is for us Catholics one of the bedrock texts supporting our profound belief in the life and integrity of any child in the womb. We must pray for the right to life and safety of such pre-birth infants, something at this time we must be very clear about.
We are also introduced to another character in the Advent Christmas story, Bethlehem. Bethlehem, a very small city, described as the least and too small for consideration amongst the tribes of Israel, will be the source of salvation for all. This insignificant, marginal place will be the start of the Messiah’s journey to the center, Jeru- salem. The name Bethlehem has two meanings; in Hebrew it means “House of Bread”, but in the Aramaic/ Arabic of the time it means “House of Meat”. So you can see how for us Catholics, with our developed sacra- mental theology, we get the symbolism of “the Word made flesh (meat)”, whom we receive at Holy Commun- ion in the form of Bread and wine, comes to us from the very beginning of the time Jesus, the Emmanuel, walks with us.
Next weekend is our very full Christmas weekend. Please check the Mass times in the Bulletin thoroughly and remember that the next day is a Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family, so we have a full set of Masses to cele- brate together again!
God bless and a Merry Christmas to you all for next Saturday.
Fr Aidan-Peter CJ
May God bless you, your families, and the week ahead,
Fr Aidan Peter