2nd Sunday of Advent – 08.12.19
Please note there is no Mass on Sunday at 9am STM or 11am JCROM. One Mass only at 4pm prior to the Parish Christmas Party.
There will be a second collection next Sunday for Number Five Homeless Charity
Dear Brothers and Sisters
This week, the character of St John the Baptist looms large over the liturgy. John was the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin. The story of John raises questions for us – how do we feel about our faith? Do we believe faith to be require of us a certain ‘something’ a something that asks more of us than lip service? Are we ready to encounter to the Living God and through that encounter be changed for ever?
There is a great deal to the story of our redemption through Jesus Christ. First of all there is the apparent desire of God for justice, and truth and holiness. It is not enough to be merely religious, or even accounted as ‘holy’ by others. What is required is a kind of authenticity, sincerity of heart that is always going deeper than the mere surface of things.
So, we are encouraged to look behind the appearance of things to what lies beneath. With the birth of John the Baptist we are actually engaging with what we might call a ‘stream’ of revelation to God’s people through individuals we call the prophets. The Old Testament prophets were rather hilariously lampooned in Monty Python’s Life of Brian as somewhat mystical people who probably never washed, had huge matted beards and spoke in a kind of random sing-song voice of things beyond human ken. The point they were making is that they often remained well beyond human ken too!
But in fact, the prophets often had miraculous beginnings in un-looked-for ways. Often they come from parents who had given up on the idea of children – they were ‘on in years’ we might say. However, unexpectedly, they have a child – think of Hannah and Samuel, Manoah and his wife who gave birth to Samson, even Abraham and Sarah giving birth to Isaac who would go on to be the father of Israel and all its tribes.
Today, the miracle is with Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth and their child will be someone whom Jesus will later call “the greatest of all the prophets” and yet also “the least in the Kingdom of God.”
John’s role in the story of our rescue from alienation from God is to call us to our senses – almost literally. His call to “Repent!” has about it the command to “wake up and smell the coffee.” If we keep on sleepwalking, as we are, if we keep up the pretence of religious observance without heartfelt engagement, if we think we can keep God ‘quiet’ by giving an hour of our valuable time each Sunday but have not converted our whole lives as much as we are able – then we are in for a shock. For the Lord is going to sift His wheat or, as he calls it, to winnow it, to separate the grain from the chaff, the useful and valuable from the rough and ready, or even completely useless and the wind will blow away the chaff leaving only the pure grain.
John the Baptist had the privilege of announcing the Kingdom of God as a reality. All the other prophets could only call the people back to the Torah and faithfulness to the Law. John in his direct and powerful testimony challenges all who hear to a swift and searching reappraisal of their lives. Am I going in the right direction, or going astray? Am I being faithful? Or kidding myself and in the process losing something of great worth. One is tempted to say that John the Baptist would not have gone down well in Surrey! He would have been too challenging. The question, then, is – Am I open to the searching honesty that John requires? Or am I content to go through the religious motions, as it were? Or get God off my back for another seven days? Or another year even! Or am I intent on seeking the truth about life and life in abundance? The choice is always mine and as they say there are no difficult questions only difficult answers!
God bless you all. Fr David
|Parish Mission Statement
Through our worship, in prayer and liturgy, we seek always to become a community of faith, hope and love, building inclusive relationships with people of faith and none, reaching out to those in need.
This Sunday we are coming together for a big pre-Christmas celebration for the whole parish. This idea was proposed by the Social Committee and the pattern that prevailed when it happened every year at St Thomas More’s Church in Bramley has been adopted. That is to say, in order to bring people together who normally wouldn’t manage that we are having, once again, just ONE big Sunday celebration. This has been timed so that we can all enjoy a big party, too, immediately afterwards. Whether the Party is a success or not depends upon us as a community. Do we wish to strengthen our friendships, or do we just want ‘mass’ – and mass when I want it or expect it? Do I want to socialise with the people I know, or do the friendships I could make but haven’t yet, matter?
One of the things that is said about Christmas as it is generally experienced nowadays is that it can be a lonely affair for many people – the elderly, those whose children have left home or are far away, the divorced or bereaved, or for those who have just got into the habit of doing their own thing. We are trying to find ways to strengthen the bonds of community and church in as many ways as we can. It’s not just about that though – it’s about having some fun together and letting our hair down a bit, perhaps. Have you signed up to come? And could you offer a dish of something yummy to share? Please do.
We regret to inform you that Bridget Eacott passed away after a brave battle with cancer on Thursday morning. Please keep Bridget her husband John and her family in your prayers. May she rest in peace and rise with Christ in glory.
Mass will take place in Bramley at 11am on Thursday 12th December
The next Cranleigh Coffee Morning will take place on 10th December 10.30pm. Please join and bring a friend from the village. All are welcome.
Christmas Lunch – this month’s lunch will be a Christmas Dinner on Tuesday 17th December after the 11.30 Mass at Bramley. £7.00 for a 3-course traditional dinner in the Bramley Parish Room! Please sign up on the sheet in the Bramley porch or call Dinah (tel: 271 241) or Bev (tel: 892 712) to book a seat. We look forward to seeing you there!
What is a Week of Guided Prayer? It’s a great opportunity to further your own spiritual journey wherever you feel you’re at . . . accompanied by a trained Prayer Guide. Intrigued? Interested? Want to know more? The week will be held from 8th -14th February 2020 at St Joan of Arc Church, Farnham, GU9 8DJ. Keep a look out for more notices/information – and grab that booking form when it comes your way soon!
With the shortage of priests, it is becoming increasingly difficult to gather a large number together all in one place – especially at busy times of the year. And yet, certain things should have a priority – and some of those things are the sacraments. This year I am offering you a:Day of Reconciliation on Saturday the 14th December.
We shall begin with a Mass of Reconciliation at 10am in the morning at Cranleigh and then there will be several (many) opportunities during the day to come and make your confession, or to come for a spiritual chat. It will be with me, but I hope that by now you understand that I am, like you, a sinner. I do not judge you but am there for you to unburden yourself to the Lord and speak on His behalf the words of compassion, mercy and forgiveness that he wants to say to you. I am also excellent at forgetting!
I will be in the church on the hour every hour throughout the day after mass until the Vigil in the evening. I will stay in the confessional for 10 minutes if no one is around but return the next hour. I will leave several copies of a little examination of conscience and a small penitential liturgy for you to pray through before you come to confession and reconciliation. You might, for instance come at ½ past the hour and spend half an hour in prayer preparing for the sacrament.
I do hope many of you will use this opportunity to “make a straight way for the Lord.”
May God bless you all. Fr David
The Cranleigh Villages Carol Service will take place in St Nicolas Church on Sunday 22nd December from 6.30pm.
6pm JCROM First Mass
11.30pm STM Midnight Mass
9am STM Mass at Cockcrow
11am JCROM Mass of Christmas Day
Wintershall Nativity – Experience the Christmas story in a new way.
Dramatic and intimate, the story begins in the open air with the shepherds. The audience then take their seats in the atmospheric barn, where the story unfolds of how Jesus changed the world.
It is a beautiful production, with a large cast of players and animals. This is the perfect opportunity to catch a show and reflect on the birth of Jesus at Christmas.
Book your tickets to one of our sell-out 90-minute performances and enrich your experience of Christmas forever.
Hot food and drinks are available before the show. Parental guidance advised for under 5s. Book early to secure your preferred date and time.
Please call 01793 418299 to book for groups larger than 10 people.
300 Club Applications are Open
Over the years, the 300 club has been here to help raise funds for the church. Over the past 10 years, over £11,000 has been raised. The draws start in January with a New Year draw and end in December with a Christmas draw, with 12 monthly draws during the year.
Entry forms are available at the back of each church in the parish and should be returned no later than 19 January 2020 to be included in all the draws for the year. Return entries by putting them in an envelope in the collection at a Sunday mass or direct to the parish office in Cranleigh.
In the current year, there are 104 entries, each one costing £12. After taking away the prize money this had left £468 as a contribution to the church’s funds. In 2019, we used these funds to buy a new set of vestments for Fr David. Let’s see if we can make 2020 a bumper year and raise over £1000 for the church. Good luck!
CHRISTMAS Collection for Number Five. On 14th and the 15th December we will be holding our annual collection for Number Five homeless project in Guildford. The collection which will be taken at all masses provide us with the means to buy each resident in the project over Christmas a cinema voucher and a gift voucher for the Friary Centre and depending on the amount we collect possibly a coffee or mobile phone top up voucher. The remainder of the collection is given in cash to the project to be used for emergencies such as bus or rail fares in times of personal crises, or for a taxi to A and E etc, as Number Five have no funds for use in such circumstances. You can be really sure that these gifts from our parish are very much appreciated by the residents when they know that someone is thinking of them at this time of year. Many thanks again, Pat.