Pastoral Notes November 30th, 2014

The First Sunday of Advent starts a new year for the Church, Year B, when the second Gospel, St Mark’s, is read for the main part through the year. It is the shortest Gospel, starting immediately with the titles of Jesus and then the coming of John the Baptist: no nativity story. A famous Russian Orthodox archbishop, Anthony Bloom, who wrote many books on prayer from his church in London, described his conversion to Christ, when he was a young man in France. There was a young priest there who had been leading a youth group, who both intrigued and annoyed this young Anthony in his ‘unbelief’. When he went home, he decided to read about Jesus for himself. He got hold of a Bible, and started reading the Gospel of Saint Mark. Very quickly he experienced a sense of Jesus standing there in front of him. It was a great turning-point in his life. For us too, as we read or listen to the Gospel, it is Jesus speaking to us, inviting us again to follow him.