This Sunday we celebrate the feast of the Baptism of the Lord and, with it, Christmastide officially ends (though some traditions will keep it until Candlemas on 2nd February). The Baptism is one of the few events that is recorded in all four Gospels, though St John does not mention the voice of God directly: the voice that says 'This is my child, the Beloved, on whom my favour rests', and which will speak these words again at the Transfiguration (also mentioned in three Gospels and the second letter of St Peter). As we enter 'ordinary time' can we believe that, as we have been baptised in Christ, we are beloved sons and daughters? Can I allow myself to hear the voice that says 'you are my beloved child, my favour rests upon you'? It is only if I truly believe myself to be a beloved child of God that I can respond to His goodness, His mercies and His forgiveness and His love, made visible in Christ Jesus Our Lord. And, if I can believe that of myself, can I believe that God says it to each of His daughters and sons; even those of whom I struggle to believe it? That is part of the challenge of life.
RECENTLY DECEASED Please remember in your prayers all who have died recently, especially;
Cecilia Appiah (Funeral; 9 February, 1pm TBC) Patricia Cameron (Funeral: 12 January, 11am) Rebecca Nwaozuzu (Funeral: 13 January, 11am)
Christine Murray (Funeral: 17 January, 11.00 am) Diana Klein (Funeral: 10 January, 11.30 am)
and all those who have died during this time of pandemic. We continue to remember in our prayers all those who are sick and those who care for them. ST RICHARD REYNOLDS SCHOOL The deadline for SRRCC Sixth Form applications is Friday 14th January. Apply at https://www.strichardreynolds.org.uk/sixth-form/sixth-form-admissions. We welcome applications from all faiths and none. If you have any questions, we would be really pleased to help. Further information at firstname.lastname@example.org. RESULTS OF THE RECENT PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL RAFFLE Still a few prizes to be collected at the Presbytery! THOUGHTS ON ENTERING A NEW YEAR; Each of us stands at the gate of tomorrow, facing the future. At times, we have walked in wonder and awe. At other times, we have moved along in the flood of fear. Looking back, we may recognise that, amid the joys and the struggles of the journey, we have been companioned by a graceful Presence that has held us together and led us on. This is not simply a journey through a string of days and months. Rather, this is a sacred journey, one that is held in and surrounded by mystery. Although we long for someone to translate the risks of the journey into logical explanations, we often find ourselves in the foreign land of faith. We stand on the edge of our hopes and dreams and ask in trust to be led and supported by a Love and Energy much larger than we can imagine. We ask to walk here in courage and integrity, as we attempt to discern the voice of God amid the cacophony of our doubt and fear. To risk the journey and face the future is simply to walk in faith, but always, both in our knowing and in our unknowing, we are escorted into tomorrow by Love, who gives us everything we need. Doris Klein CSA
AND FINALLY... We have just celebrated the feast of Epiphany and the beginning of a new calendar year. On Monday we enter what the Church calls 'Ordinary Time' but we acknowledge that no time is ever really 'ordinary'; each day brings blessings and challenges, successes and failures, peace and turmoil, grief and joy. The poem above, from Brendan Kennelly, is particularly appropriate; Though we live in a world that dreams of ending that always seems about to give in something that will not acknowledge conclusion insists that we forever begin. May we forever begin, safe in the knowledge that the love of God supports and redeems us. Rev Eugene Curran CM