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14 December 2014
posted by Canon Dakin on 24-12-2014

There was once no Mass today. Yesterday was formerly Saturday of Ember Week and a day for ordinations which took place during a long Saturday night vigil ending with Mass at dawn. The vigil, like the Easter vigil, began to be anticipated on Saturday morning and it was only then that a Mass was put together for this fourth Sunday of Advent.  Today, naturally, the anticipation of Christmas is more intense. You can imagine Mary’s sense of anticipation as she drew nearer to Bethlehem, but the imminent birth of Jesus was set within a much deeper longing for the coming of the Messiah, the anointed one, the future king promised by God, who would set his people free. All her life, as a pious Jewish girl, she had prayed for the fulfillment of God’s promise so that when the angel came with his message Mary’s mind was so attuned in hopeful expectation that quite spontaneously she was able to say: Be it done unto me.

I began with a reference to ordination which prompts the idea of vocation, calling. The Annunciation was Mary’s vocation or calling and every single one of us is called, not by an angel, but by the circumstances of our lives, to serve God in a particular way and within that broad vocation there are lots of smaller invitations to make particular choices. In order to cooperate we need, as Mary was, to be tuned in, to be on God’s wavelength, to be aware that we are called to live in partnership with God. We need to have faith, a Mary did in Bethlehem, finding herself without shelter, that when things go badly we have not been abandoned by God - that he is always there with us, supporting and sustaining us  

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There was at one time no Mass today. Yesterday was once Saturday of Ember Week and a day for appointments which occurred amid a long Saturday night vigil finishing with Mass at day break? The vigil, similar to the Easter vigil, started to be foreseen on Saturday morning and it was at exactly that point that a Mass was assembled for this fourth Sunday of Advent.


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