Our Lady Queen of Heaven
Catholic Church, Harwich, Essex

3, 10 and 17 December 2023 First, Second and Third Sunday in Advent

First Sunday of Advent  (Mark 13:33-37)

Today’s reading is from the speech of Jesus about waiting for the return of the Lord. This is the most prominent theme in the first weeks of Advent. With the coming of the Lord, we are forced to wait. We need to grow in maturity and generosity, in wisdom and love, in order to be ready for our encounter with the One who is wisdom and love made flesh. We are encouraged to be watchful for the Lord’s coming.

Do I wait in joyful hope for the coming of the Lord?

What do the words ‘stay awake’ mean in my life?

Let us welcome this liturgical time of waiting which will teach us how to wait for the Lord.

Let us welcome the good news again as we begin to read from the Gospel of Mark


Second Sunday of Advent (Mark 1:1-8)

These opening verses deal with the preaching of John the Baptist and culminate in the encounter of Jesus and John at the Jordan. John’s call is like that of the prophets. He urges a change of heart among the people. His preaching is accompanied with a ritual washing, a ‘baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins’. The climax is John’s proclamation that one who is ‘more powerful’ is coming, one whose sandal-straps John is unworthy to undo. It is He who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.

Am I ready to hear the good news again?

What does the message of John the Baptist mean to me?

Let us pray for readiness to change our minds and hearts.

Let us pray that like John we will have the right priorities and make the right choices.


Third Sunday of Advent (John 1: 6-8, 19-28)

In this gospel reading it is made quite clear that John was a witness. He was not the Word-Light himself, but only ‘a witness to speak for the Light’.

His whole ministry is to prepare the way, by baptising with a baptism of repentance, and by proclaiming the coming of the one who truly is the Messiah. To bear witness is the task of every Christian. We bear the name of Christ. Bearing witness to him means bringing his light and truth to those in darkness.

In what ways should I be imitating the self-effacing humility of the Baptist?

What does it mean to be a witness?

Let us pray for those called to martyrdom in today’s world, that they may have the necessary courage and wisdom.

Let us welcome the Light, as John did.


                                                                                                       Fr Adrian Graffy