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Spiritual Communion -

Second Sunday of Advent

✠ In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God,

and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us.

(You are invited to light a candle)

The prophet Isaiah says: For unto us a child is born,

unto us a Son is given, and the government will be on his

shoulders. He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. He will reign on David’s

throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with

justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.

Lord Jesus, light of the world, the prophets said you would bring peace

and save your people in trouble. Give peace in our hearts at Christmas

and show all the world God’s love. We ask this as we wait for you

to come again. Amen.

Let us prepare ourselves

to meet with Christ in this Spiritual Communion.

I confess to almighty God that I have greatly sinned

in my thoughts and in my words,

in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,

through my fault, through my fault,

through my most grievous fault;

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever Virgin,

and all the Angels and Saints,

to pray for me to the Lord our God.

May almighty God have mercy on us, ✠ forgive us our sins,

and bring us to everlasting life.

Today’s Collect: Almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Liturgy of the Word

FIRST READING: Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11

‘Console my people, console them’ says your God.

‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her

that her time of service is ended,that her sin is atoned for,

that she has received from the hand of the Lord

double punishment for all her crimes.’

A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord.

Make a straight highway for our God across the desert.

Let every valley be filled in,

every mountain and hill be laid low.

Let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges a valley;

then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed

and all mankind shall see it;for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’

Go up on a high mountain, joyful messenger to Zion.

Shout with a loud voice, joyful messenger to Jerusalem.

Shout without fear, say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God.’

Here is the Lord coming with power, his arm subduing all things to him.

The prize of his victory is with him, his trophies all go before him.

He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms,

holding them against his breast

and leading to their rest the mother ewes.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 84(85):9-14

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.

I will hear what the Lord God has to say,

a voice that speaks of peace.

His help is near for those who fear him

and his glory will dwell in our land.

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.

Mercy and faithfulness have met;

justice and peace have embraced.

Faithfulness shall spring from the earth

and justice look down from heaven

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.

The Lord will make us prosper

and our earth shall yield its fruit.

Justice shall march before him

and peace shall follow his steps.

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help.

SECOND READING – 2 Peter 3:8-14

There is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget:

that with the Lord, ‘a day’ can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises, as anybody else might be called slow; but he is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up.

Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for is what he promised: the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.

The word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Alleluia, alleluia! Prepare a way for the Lord,

make his paths straight,

and all mankind shall see the salvation of God.


The GOSPEL - Mark 1:1-8

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark.

The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:

Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;

he will prepare your way.

A voice cries in the wilderness:

Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.

and so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.



Whose voice will have been the voice of 2020?

“Boris at Five” has, since the beginning of the Pandemic,

been a familiar voice on many a late afternoon this year.

I don’t know about you, but there have been times

when, having listened to Boris at Five,

I have become none the wiser than I was before Five o’Clock.

It has sometimes been a confused voice;

at other times an authoritative voice,

at odd times an embarrassed voice

glossing-over all the Cummings and Goings to and from

Barnard Castle SpecSavers!

The Voice of Government in Pandemic – the Voice of Boris.

“The Voice” to whom we are introduced today

is of one that cries out with purpose and conviction,

a voice that gives clear instruction:

“Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.”

Mark describes him further: John was clothed with camel's hair

and wore a leather belt around his waist

and ate locusts and wild honey” (Mark 1:6 ).

I’m sure people went out to see John because of his appearance,

He was, to say the least, “retro”….a living anachronism,

a prophet of old like Jeremiah and Malachi, to whom the word of God came, “shattering 400 years of prophetic silence”. John the Baptist would have appeared most-similarly to the prophet Elijah,

who also wore a garment of camel hair and a leather belt.

… and it is Elijah for whom the Jews still wait to precede the Messiah.

BUT - John was “THE VOICE” – a man and a prophet with much to say;

a mouthpiece of God, preparing the way for Christ.

A compelling voice, but an uncomfortable voice to hear!

(Herod’s wife was none-too-pleased with the directness

and accusatory sound of that voice!)

Bizarre clothes, and a man of many words, most of them challenging!

SAINT NICHOLAS, whose day it is today, in contrast to John the Baptist,

is bedecked in royal red, wearing the clothing of a splendid Bishop, and, in contrast to John the Baptist, is a man of kindly action RATHER than challenging words. Saint Nicholas was someone who genuinely cared for others, who saw Christ in the down-trodden and those badly-treated,,

through whom the love of God spilt

over into everything he did.

He was as courageous as John the Baptist, but his actions rather than his words

did all the talking.

When, for instance, a citizen of Patara had lost all his money

and his three daughters could not find husbands because of their poverty…..

Nicholas quietly threw into the window a bag of gold for each of his daughters, “to save them from a life of shame.” Those three bags of gold came later to represent “Uncle” at The Pawn Shop”…

The Tournai Font, Winchester Cathedral

Then there was the account of the boys abducted by an unscrupulous innkeeper whose purpose was to sell the boys as meat whom Nicholas rescued. Not only did St. Nicholas restore the boys to life he converted the innkeeper to Christianity as well!

All this Nicholas did quietly in the background, without fuss.

He didn’t want the Father of the girls to know where the bags of gold had come from;

nor did he want the parents of the boys to find out who had rescued and restored the children to them. Similarly the many other “good works” attributed to Nicholas,

he didn’t want his goodness paraded about. All was quietly done for God to be glorified.

John the Baptist turned people to faith through challenging words;

St.Nicholas of Myra turned people to faith through loving activity.

John’s task was to disturb the quiet of the desert

with the noise of his voice booming out the challenge of repentance,

of the need for people to turn their lives around

to face Godward rather than inward.

Prophets can be difficult people with whom to live,

but we need them, we need their courage,

their outspokenness in the face of all that is wrong

with the world today.

But we also need the Nicholases as well, who, use a few words,

but whose vocabulary speaks through good actions.

Both John the Baptist and Nicholas served God exceptionally well.

Something that combined elements of both

would make for a brilliant Christian!

The prophetic word to a society that has difficulty accepting it,

combined with humble and Godly kindness, service and generosity.

That’s the Church’s job for 2020 – to be prophetic and loving,

a combination of the two.

Your job and my job for Christ?

To be who I am to the best of my ability, and to be only myself,

not to try to be a John the Baptist or a St Nicholas.

It’s YOU that God wants you to be.


I abandon myself into your hands;

do with me what you will.

Whatever you may do, I thank you:

I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me,

and in all your creatures.

I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Charles de Foucauld


I believe in one God, the Father almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,

the Only Begotten Son of God,

born of the Father before all ages.

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;

through him all things were made.

For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,

and became man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,

he suffered death and was buried,

and rose again on the third day

in accordance with the Scriptures.

He ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory

to judge the living and the dead

and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son,

who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins

and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Prayer of the Faithful

Keep us, good Lord, under the shadow of your mercy in this time of uncertainty and distress. Sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may rejoice in your comfort knowing that nothing can separate us from your love in Christ Jesus our Lord. Lord Jesus Christ, you taught us to love our neighbour, and to care for those in need as if we were caring for you. In this time of anxiety, give us strength to comfort the fearful, to tend the sick, and to assure the isolated of our love, and your love, for your name’s sake.

God of compassion, be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation. In their loneliness, be their consolation; in their anxiety, be their hope; in their darkness, be their light; through him who suffered alone on the cross, but reigns with you in glory, Jesus Christ our Lord.

We pray for all who are affected by the present pandemic - the seriously ill, the dying, the bereaved, those exhausted in their care of others; those who have lost jobs, and all anxious for the future. We ask Mary to pray with us as we say:

Hail Mary, full of grace,

the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,

pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death.

Be with us, Lord, in all our prayers, and direct our way toward the attainment of salvation, that among the changes and chances of this mortal life, we may always be defended by your gracious help. Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of your Son,our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.


Let us lift up our hearts.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation,

always and everywhere to give you thanks,

Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,

through Christ our Lord.

For he assumed at his first coming the lowliness of human flesh,

and so fulfilled the design you formed long ago,

and opened for us the way to eternal salvation,

that, when he comes again in glory and majesty

and all is at last made manifest,

we who watch for that day may inherit the great promise

in which now we dare to hope.

And so, with Angels and Archangels,

with Thrones and Dominions,

and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven,

we sing the hymn of your glory,

as without end we acclaim:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.

Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.

Glory be to thee, O Lord most high!

Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest.

At the Saviour’s command

and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

hallowed be thy name;

thy kingdom come,

thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our trespasses,

as we forgive those who trespass against us;

and lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from evil.

Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,

graciously grant peace in our days,

that, by the help of your mercy,

we may be always free from sin

and safe from all distress,

as we await the blessed hope

and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours

now and for ever.

Lord Jesus Christ, who said to your Apostles:

Peace I leave you, my peace I give you,

look not on our sins,

but on the faith of your Church,

and graciously grant her peace and unity

in accordance with your will.

Who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,

grant us thy peace.

My Jesus,

I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

I love You above all things,

and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment

receive You sacramentally,

come at least spiritually into my heart.

I embrace You as if You were already there

and unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You.

Soul of Christ, be my sanctification; Body of Christ, be my salvation; Blood of Christ, fill all my veins; Water of Christ's side, wash out my stains; Passion of Christ, my comfort be; O good Jesus, listen to me; In Thy wounds I fain would hide; Ne'er to be parted from Thy side; Guard me, should the foe assail me; Call me when my life shall fail me; Bid me come to Thee above, With Thy saints to sing Thy love, World without end. Amen.

(Anima Christi, attributed to Pope John XXII

and translated by St John Henry Newman)

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your disciples,

‘I am with you always’.

Be with me today, as I offer myself to you.

Hear my prayers for others and for myself,

and keep me in your care. Amen.


May God the Father, Judge all-merciful,

make us worthy of a place in his kingdom.


May God the Son, coming among us in power,

reveal in our midst the promise of his glory.


May God the Holy Spirit make us steadfast in faith,

joyful in hope and constant in love.


.....and may the blessing of Almighty God,

the Father, the Son, ✠ and the Holy Spirit

come down upon us, and remain with us for ever. Amen.


The angel of the Lord brought tidings unto Mary. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost.

HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to thy word.

HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death. Amen.

And the Word was made flesh. And dwelt amongst us.

HAIL Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.

Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now,

and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

WE beseech thee, O Lord, pour thy grace into our hearts,

that as we have known the Incarnation of thy Son Jesus Christ

by the message of an angel, so by his Cross and Passion

we may be brought unto the glory of his Resurrection;

through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Let us go forth in peace.

Thanks be to God.

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