newsletter 15th December 2019

5, Cresswell Park, SE3 9RD

Tel. 020 8852 5420



Mass times: Saturday: 6.30 pm (first Mass of Sunday) Sunday: 9.30 am, 11.00 am, 7.30 pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 10.00 am Tuesday and Thursday: 7.30 am Eucharistic Service: Tuesday 10.00 am Confessions: Saturday 12 to 1.00 pm

Newsletter 15th December 2019.

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent.

We are half way through Advent so today we use the rose coloured Vestments rather than the purple ones.

Today is also known as Guadete Sunday from the first word of the Latin Introit – Gaudete – rejoice in the Lord.

There will be a rehearsal for the cycle of Christmas mystery plays after the 9.30 Mass this Sunday. The first of the plays takes place at the 9.30 Mass next Sunday. Children – remember to arrive in good time – to the big hall to collect your costume and come to your place in the Church.

Thanks to the choir for a wonderful Carol Service last Sunday. It was very much appreciated by many people and it was good to see how well it was attended.

Lots of things to do at present – the crib is up together with the lights in the Church. There are many things to be printed and folded. The flowers will appear in the last days before Christmas.

Out on Tuesday visiting schools in Lewisham. We are undertaking a project on children who have to move out of the Borough due to housing problems and are left with a long journey to school. We are seeing what might be done to resolve this problem.

A special Mass on Wednesday at Christ the King College celebrated by Bishop Lynch to mark the retirement of the principal and the director of finance.

No saints this week as we concentrate on the season of Advent. From Tuesday we begin to use the “O” antiphons at Vespers. I see if I can remember to put up a list in the porch.

A recipe which is worth trying to use up some odds and ends. Brown a couple of cloves of garlic in some oil. Add some slices of partly cooked potato and some leeks. Season with some pepper and serve hot. This is typical of one of the dishes we might have at our College in Spain.

Today at the College we are celebrating the feast of Our Lady Vulnerata, the mutilated statute above the High Altar in the chapel. I have put up some pictures in the Angelus room showing the High Altar and the paintings around the dome which illustrate the story. There will be a full account in the magazine next week.

A prayer from St. Ambrose who as Bishop of Milan in the fourth century and who converted St. Augustine;

Lord teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me as I look for you. For I cannot seek you unless first you teach me, nor find you unless first you reveal yourself to me.

Mr. Pooter in his pre-Christmas diary: To sae the postman a miserable Christmas, we follow the example of all unselfish people and send out our cards early. Most of the cards had finger marks, which I did not notice at night. I shall buy all future cards in daytime.

Careful attention to the basil plant and it seems to be surviving the winter days, though I think it would like a little more sun.

The problems with the railway at Waterloo continue and there seems to be no solution in sight. New train sets are under construction and are due to come into service next year but this may well be delayed if the staff refuse to operate them. Also the continuing delays with Crossrail. It seems that there were serious problems with the fire alarm systems at the Stations – following an error by the in-house contractor, a new system is required at Canary Wharf.

Best wishes to you all

Monsignor Nicholas Rothon  

Third Sunday of Advent 2019.

Following from last week – the gospel today tells us about John the Baptist – but a very different John – last week he was in his prime – preaching to the crowds from all over Judea who came to listen to him and baptising them in the Jordan – condemning the Pharisees as a bunch of vipers and warning them of the punishments that they might face – the chaff will burn in a fire that will never go out – but today the situation is very different – John is in prison – he has publicly condemned Herod Antipas for his moral behaviour – and not unexpectedly has ended up in Herod’s prison at Machaerus – a rocky castle on the far side of the Jordan – it is suggested that Herod was fascinated by John and used to like to speak with him – but he was hated by Herod’s wife, Herodias and was eventually put to death.

But here in his prison John has heard reports of the Lord’s mission as he travels around the villages of Galilee. John knew the Lord – he had pointed him out to his own disciples and had baptised him in the Jordan – we know that they were cousins – and yet they were not close associates – it is not as if the Lord immediately began to share in the work and Mission of John – John is obviously obsessed by what he sees as the purpose of his mission – but now it seems that he is beginning to have doubts – it is not what he had expected – his thoughts were of a Messiah who would continue to condemn the evils of his age and make threats of the punishment which was to come – and so at least from the gospel texts, it is possible that he has some doubts and sends some his disciples to ask – are you the one who is to come – this is one possible interpretation, but it is also possible to think that John himself had no doubts – but rather it was some his disciples – they had witnesses the preaching of John – they are disappointed that in the end, John’s mission does not appear to have been successful and he has been imprisoned – and they had asked why is the new Messiah – the one you have pointed out to us not at all like you – he seems to be very different – and so John sends them to discover for themselves –

And as always the Lord does not give a direct reply – he does not say – yes, I am the Messiah – the one who is to come – rather he tells them to go back to John and tell him what they have seen – the Good news is proclaimed it might not be what they expected – even what they had wanted but this is the reality –

And this leads to the question as we come towards the end of the Advent season – how might we have planned the coming of the saviour into the world – probably very different from the gospel story – the confusion at Bethlehem caused by the census and the birth in the stable – the anger of Herod and the flight into Egypt – looking at it all for the first time, we would be hard pressed to recognise that this is the Son of God coming into our world – and yet this is the reality – but it is a reminder that faith is not something that we construct for ourselves – almost a reflection of our own wishes an desires – it means going outside ourselves – trying to discover a new reality as God reveals himself to us – it may not always be comfortable – it can disturb our preconception and even our desires – so part of the Christmas message for us is contained in the words of the Lord to John’s disciples – go back and tell what you hear and see – not what you would like or expect to see – but what is really there – and this is the mystery of Christmas – what we might expect – what we might hope for – and the reality as we recall the details of the birth of the saviour – again to recall the words of the Lord – go back and tell what you have seen.  





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