The Cathedral Connection 2 December 2018

The full newsletter can be viewed here.

On Jordan’s Bank

Today is the First Sunday of Advent, in which we begin our spiritual preparation for Christmas.  We will be invited in the next weeks to reflect and pray, and to give as we might to those in material need.

One of the features of the Advent Gospel readings is a focus on John the Baptist. He features in all four Gospels – the three ‘synoptic’ gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, so-called because they are identifiably similar in much of their material – and the rather different Gospel of John.  In all the gospels he is presented as the forerunner of Jesus, a witness to what is to come. He is also the subject of that beautiful English hymn, ‘On Jordan’s Bank’.

Like the older prophets of Israel, John preached both warning and reconciliation. He warned his listeners that they were not to rely on their status as children of Abraham; that what we do and how we treat others is what matters, and is how we are to be reconciled with each other and with God.

When the people asked him ‘what should we do?’ his message was simple. Be honest with yourselves and change what needs changing.  Turn away from greed, selfishness and abusive relationships.  Share your goods with those in need, and live in peace with each other.  Then, reconciliation will begin.

Simple advice, but I don’t find it easy to follow. In reflecting on Luke’s account of John the Baptist I am reminded of Pope Francis writing this year in ‘Rejoice and Be Glad’ that the call to holiness is for all of us, where we are, in our ordinary lives. During Advent we might reflect on the ways in which our hearts need to change, and where we need to be reconciled.

Jim McAloon, chair, Parish Pastoral Council

The full newsletter can be viewed here.