Rt Rvd Alan Williams, Bishop of Brentwood Second Pastoral Letter

We had a lovely pastoral letter here in Brentwood Diocese from our recently consecrated Bishop, Alan Williams on Sunday which is well worthing sharing with you all!

Pastoral Letter of Bishop Alan Williams, SM

First Sunday of Advent

Last Sunday’s gospel talked of the difficulty in recognising Christ in our world - “Lord when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison?”

We can so easily forget God though he never forgets us. In the words of one Rabbi, “We are half-heartedly searching for God, but God is whole-heartedly searching for us.”

As we begin the season of Advent today we are called to be ever more aware of God’s search for us and our response. We need to look upwards to the gaze of God, “for only in his gaze is our future to be found” [Pope Francis].

Advent is a graced time of waiting for the coming of the Lord - our children delight in Advent calendars; in our churches we light candles in the Advent wreaths - but in today’s gospel Jesus urges us to stay awake, we must not be half-hearted or found sleeping.

Yet Advent competes with frantic and seemingly all-consuming preparations for the celebration of Christmas. We can be conscious only of unfinished tasks or the number of shopping days left. It is so easy to arrive at Christmas exhausted after all our efforts.

During the Sundays of Advent the scripture readings focus on the examples of John the Baptist and Mary - John’s ministry prepared the way of the Lord and in his personal life he was filled with the spirit of Jesus - “Christ must increase and I must decrease” [John 3.30].

“Hail Mary full of grace” - at Nazareth Gabriel, God’s messenger, comes unexpectedly; Mary is startled by the Annunciation and she questions, she ponders, but she offers herself totally to God.

When people are Christ-filled, like Mary, John the Baptist and so many other faithful disciples of the Lord, their lives are transformed and the Almighty works marvels for them.

Since being ordained as your bishop on the 1st July I have travelled around the diocese and have met many of you in parishes and schools and elsewhere. Throughout the diocese great things are being done in the name of Christ through the faith and generosity of many people.

The opening prayer during today’s Mass asks that we might hurry forward to meet Christ who enriches us in so many ways.
I wish you a joyful and blessed Advent in Christ and Mary,

+Alan, sm


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