St Peter's Church


What must we do?”

We have a long historical habit in our house of pausing at the top of the stairs and taking a look out the landing window to see what’s going on. Recently every time I look out the window in the evenings I see a gradual increase in the number of twinkling lights appearing up the road and across the road and I see the gradual increase of lit Christmas trees in the windows and the gradual increase of Santa’s appearing in front porches, many of us are really well prepared for Christmas this year.

            “What must I do?” I’m getting a little anxious now that I should have more of my decorations up, that I should be racing to the shop for last minute bargains to add to a surplus of Christmas decorations for the house already stored in the attic and the shed. But what I have done is to place my Nativity scene in the hall, with the baby Jesus hidden in the front room behind a Christmas card and the three Kings on the kitchen mantel piece making their way to the incarnation.

            “What must we do?” The Advent season seems at times to get lost in the craziness of preparing for Christmas Day. Rather than being a time to sit and ponder the mystery of the coming Of the Word into human existence and the coming of Christ at the end of time what do we actually find ourselves doing? I find myself filling my time with preparations for Christmas Day, yes, rather than using Advent for preparing myself for the Christmas season to come which gives us the head and spiritual space to think about the reality of the Incarnation that had happened, and contrary to commercial pressure, the season of Christmas doesn’t begin until Dec 25th so I wish people a happy Advent over these days and get a funny look from some! Today is Gaudete Sunday! The Sunday of Joy as we have only one more week before the Solemnity of the Birth of Jesus Christ on Dec 25th. It’s also the Sunday that we bless the figures of the Baby Jesus. I should be really happy that we are so close but I’m still that bit anxious because I feel I have nothing ready at home but my deeper question is: is my heart and soul ready for it?

            “What must I do?” This is the question asked of John the Baptist in the Gospel today not just from the gathered community around John but from Tax collectors and Soldiers too, John message was powerful and had spread far and wide. Share what you have; food and clothes. Be fair and equal to everyone, be content with what you have, don’t intimidate and don’t extort! Wise words from John the Baptist. Today we hear some of the message he had spread but at the end of the Gospel we are told that John said a lot more, the more was the Good News. The Good News today on this Gaudete Sunday is that God is close to us, God became one of us to let us know what God was like, the Good News of the great mystery of Christmas the great belief of the Incarnation: God with us – Immanuel.

            “What must we do”? Grasp the beauty of the mystery and celebrate whatever way helps us to understand in a deeper way that God is with us. Share, be fair, live and respect equality, be the face of Jesus to your neighbour and so much more… We light up our houses, put up the Christmas trees, put Santa in the porch and place our cribs in the hall or the window not just because Christmas is coming but because this is what we do to celebrate the Christian belief that God broke into our space and time and lived as one of us for a brief few years then leaving us His Spirit to change this world for the Kingdom. “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” the Angelus says.

            What must we do? Remember the reason for the season. Amen.

Kevin Mullally

Parish Pastoral Worker