Isaiah 40:1-11 Psalm 103
Titus 2:11-3:7 Luke 3:15-22
THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
Most weeks we have one or two baptisms here at Farm Street. Most of these of children but sometimes adults, especially at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night. Baptisms are a particularly joyful occasion, not just for the families but also for the priest involved and for the whole Church.
In Luke’s version, which we have for today’s Gospel, Jesus joins the crowds being baptised by John the Baptist. Following his baptism, he experiences the Father’s voice saying “You are my Son, the Beloved: my favour rests on you”. For Jesus his baptism by John represents the start of his ministry. For us our baptism marks are entry into union with Christ and our membership of his Church.
Our second reading from St Paul’s letter to Titus reminds us that it is through baptism in Christ that we are saved. This is not something we deserve but “for no reason except his own compassion.” Through baptism we share in the death and the resurrection of Jesus. The rite of baptism contains a number of reminders of the Easter Vigil service I mentioned earlier. As at Easter we bless the water, the baptised person’s candle is light from the Paschal Candle brought into the church on Holy Saturday and the profession of faith we use is the one we use at Easter. Through baptism we come to share in the life of Easter.
However, the baptism service reminds us that baptism is not simply something passive. Through baptism we become part of the Body of Christ, the Church and, in the baptism of infants, the words of the service talk about the way the child will grow in faith to take a full part in the Church through the sacraments and be taught to live a Christian life. The one being baptised is anointed with the oil of Chrism. This is blessed by the bishop during Holy Week and is used in baptism, confirmation, the ordination of priests and the coronation of kings and queens. This is something we share with the Anglican communion. In 1953 the anointing of the Queen with chrism was thought to be too sacred to be shown in the televisation of the coronation service. This anointing with chrism is a sign of sharing in the life of Christ as priest, prophet and king, sharing in that active ministry that we see Jesus beginning today.
As we reflect on the baptism of Jesus so we can give thanks for the gift of our own baptism. We give thanks that through the life, death and resurrection of Christ we can come to “share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity”, as the priest says as he mixes the water and wine at the offertory of the Mass. We can reflect to on what it means for us in the way we live our lives and ask ourselves how we are called to share in the ministry of Christ.
Fr Chris Pedley, SJ.
BLESSING OF HOMELESS JESUS
Archbishop Edward Adams, Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, will celebrate a solemn Mass and bless our new sculpture Homeless Jesus on Tuesday January 15th at 6pm. This will be followed by presentations by those working in homeless services and a reception afterwards in the hall. All are welcome to this very special evening to raise awareness of homeless issues in our city and to formally dedicate our new piece of artwork in the church, the first Homeless Jesus to be housed in a London church.
FAITH MATTERS QUESTION TIME
VIOLENT CRIME IN LONDON:
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
All welcome to an informative evening on an important topic. Speakers will include Barry & Margaret Mizen from the For Jimmy Foundation; Fr Michael Holman, SJ, former Headmaster Wimbledon College; and a representative of the Legatum Institute. The evening will take place on Thursday 7th February at 6.45pm in the parish hall. Recommended donation: £10 on the door. To book please contact Farm Street Office on (020)-7529-4829; or firstname.lastname@example.org
FARM STREET CHARITY BALL
The annual Farm Street Church Charity Ball will take place at the Savile Club on Saturday 2nd February. Tickets cost £140. Booking forms can now be requested in the hall after the 9.30am and 11am Sunday Mass or at reception. Online bookings can also be made by the following the link at www. farmstreet.org.uk. The closing date for booking is 20th January 2019.
Request for Raffle and Auction Prizes
The raffle and auctions held during the ball help us to raise funds to support various good causes including Farm Street’s Homeless Shelter. Prizes have included theatre, sports, concert and opera tickets, luxury items, holiday stays and one-off experiences. If you would like to donate a prize, please leave this at reception marked FAO: Charity Ball Committee. Thank you in advance for your generosity.
Farm Street Church will be hosting the choir of Ellesmere College Saturday 19th January. They will be singing a repertoire of choral and sacred music at a concert in the church at 7pm. All are most welcome to attend.
WESTMINSTER DIOCESAN LOURDES PILGRIMAGE
To take place on July 20th – 26th 2019. If you are interested in joining the Westminster Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage, as an assisted pilgrim, helper or praying pilgrim, please speak to Fr Dominic or drop a line to email@example.com leaving your name and contact details
MARTYRS PLAQUE UNVEILING
All are warmly invited to the unveiling of a new plaque commemorating those Catholics executed at Tyburn Gallows in 1679 and 1681 and whose remains are buried in unmarked graves in St Giles-in-the-Fields Churchyard, near Tottenham Court Road. These include 6 Jesuit priests. The Service of Unveiling takes place during Choral Evensong at St Giles-in-the-Fields at 6:30pm on Sunday January 20th, the Sunday of Christian Unity Week. Please do come along to participate in this important and historic event. It would be very good to have a good turnout from Farm Street.
The Helpers of God’s Precious Infants reach out in love and compassion to mothers who are in crisis pregnancies and to those who have suffered the effects of abortion. The next Rosary Procession Vigil, led by Father Jacob Hausman, CFR, will be held on the morning of Saturday 19th January at St. Thomas of Canterbury Church, 557-559 High Road, Woodford Green, IG8 0RB. For more information contact 01727 763832 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The Bridge Club meets here every Tuesday evening, starting at 6.30pm, all levels are welcome. Funds raised go to the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).
MOUNT STREET JESUIT CENTRE
114 Mount Street, London W1K 3AH
Book online for any of these events
Information: 020 7495 1673 or
Why not come to our Regular Events?
• Drop-in Prayer
Every Monday 6.30-7pm
• Lunchtime Lectio
Every Tuesday 1.40-2pm
• Wednesdays at the Well – Come to Rest & Be Refreshed
3rd Wednesday of each month 11.30am-3.30pm (Next meeting: January 16th, 2019)
• Book Club
2nd Thursday of each month 7-8.30pm
(Next meeting: February 14h, 2019)
BEGINNERS’ GUIDE TO IGNATIAN SPIRITUALITY
Facilitated by Lynne Galloway
6 Wednesdays, January 16th – February 20th, 11.30am-1pm
For those who are new to Ignatian spirituality, from any background. During each session you will be introduced to a different aspect of Ignatian spirituality or prayer, guided through a prayer exercise, invited to share your reflections in a small group and at the end of the session gathered together again in the larger group. You will be invited to pray the prayer exercise during the week, for just like physical exercise the more you ‘practice’ the more benefits you will feel.
THE SPIRITUALITY OF ST PAUL: A MODEL FOR OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE?
Facilitated by Brian Purfield
Saturday 19th January 11am-4pm
All through his letters, Paul encourages his converts to imitate him; for in him they have a model of what it was to follow Christ. As we enter Christian Unity Week and prepare to celebrate the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, we will look at the model of the Christian life that Paul presents and what grounds his spirituality. The way Paul lived his life in Christ can provide us, even today, with a model for growing in the spiritual life.
WORK, WORSHIP and WHOLENESS
Facilitated by Audrey Hamilton and David Hothersall
Saturday 26th January 11am-4pm
How to bring together our work and our worship (our spirituality) for the mutual enriching of each and the wholeness of the person.
BEREAVEMENT AND LOSS GROUP
Facilitated by Maria Shapero
Thursday 7th February 11.30-1pm
Grief is a particularly isolating experience that can affect all aspects of your life physically, emotionally and socially. There are many kinds of grieving…
You are welcome to just come along or contact Maria Shapero Mariashapero@hotmail.com or 0755 324 2322 for more details.
IGNATIAN RETREAT DAY
Facilitated by members of the Mount Street Jesuit Centre team
Saturday 9th February 11am-4pm
These are retreat days of prayer run in an Ignatian way, in which there is talk, time for personal prayer and the opportunity to listen to each other.
There is no need to book for these days, just come along.
ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE AND MINDFULNESS
Facilitated by Chris Goodchild
Saturday 16th February 11am-4pm
This workshop will explore in detail how the Alexander Technique evolved, how it can be applied and, most importantly, how it can be combined with mindfulness in giving us tools to be more present in life.
SHOW ME the WAY I SHOULD GO: TOOLS FOR MAKING LIFE CHOICES
Facilitated by Chris Chapman
Saturday 23rd February 11am-4pm
How do we learn to become more aware of the presence and guidance of God in the midst of daily life? How do we discern the Spirit when we have to make choices about the work we’ll do, our relationships or our priorities?