Advent 4


FIRST READING 2 Samuel 7.1-11,16 Now when the king was settled in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies around him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that you have in mind; for the Lord is with you.’

But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan: Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built me a house of cedar?’ Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the Lord of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house.

Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.

*RESPONSORIAL PSALM 89 *Response: I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord. **

1. I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord; through all ages my mouth will proclaim your truth.

Of this I am sure, that your love lasts for ever; that your truth is firmly established as the heavens. R.

2. I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant:

“I will establish your dynasty for ever: and set up your throne through all ages.” R.

3. He will say to me: “You are my father; my God, the rock who saves me.”

I will keep my love for him always; with him my covenant shall endure. R.

SECOND READING Romans 16.25-27 Now to God who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings is made known to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory for ever! Amen.

GOSPEL Luke 1.26-38 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her.

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A very warm welcome to any new readers, and to visitors and newcomers to St Michael's. Everyone is warmly invited to coffee in the Vestry Hall after Sunday's 10.30 Mass. If new to St Michael's, please come and join us so that we can welcome you properly!

We assure Fr Paul of our continued prayers. As well as the painful aftermath of his eye procedure last week, he is now suffering from a chest infection, and is unable to lead our Christmas worship. We are so grateful for all his help, and wish him a swift recovery.

We warmly welcome and thank Fr Richard Bolton and Fr Paul Kish, who have generously stepped in, at very short notice, to celebrate our Masses on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Thank you to Margaret, Sue and helpers who decorated the church on Friday, and to Martyn and Ralph for setting up the stable and the Christmas trees.

Bishop Norman has emailed his Christmas blessing to all at St Michael's.

Our services later today – and tomorrow:

Family Crib Service, 4.30 pm

Midnight Mass, 11.30 pm

Mass on Christmas Morning, 10.30 am.

An Extra Epiphany service of readings and music will take place at St Michael's on January 7th at 5 pm, followed by refreshments. Come and join in, and invite your friends!

Pilgrimage to Walsingham, 19th-24th August 2024. A chance to spend time at this lovely Norfolk shrine of Our Lady – praying, unwinding, learning and, with fellow-pilgrims, enjoying the beautiful surroundings and unique atmosphere. If you think you might be interested, please speak to Eleanor – Fr Peter Harnden of Harbledown, who is arranging it, would like a rough idea of possible numbers for the initial booking in January, but of course no one is committed at this stage.

Can someone very kindly take charge of washing and ironing the altar linen (corporals and purificators)? We are most grateful to Katja, who has done this in the recent past but is now unable to continue. We can arrange to deliver and collect if transport poses a problem. Please speak to Jonathan if you think you may be able to help.

Make a Difference Maidstone is engaged in a new project for empowering women suffering domestic abuse. This will require volunteer women mentors who are willing to support sufferers over a period of a year. Training will take place in February, and Open Days for anyone interested will take place at the Living Word Bookshop (49 Church Street) on January 8th and 11th. For further information please telephone Rob Foley – 01622 687414.

From our Tower: Kent County Association; Maidstone, Kent, St Michael and All Angels

Friday, 15 December 2023 (6–1–24 in C)

1320 Cambridge Surprise Minor

  1. Charlotte Elvers
  2. Jacqueline M Barlow
  3. Mark Elvers
  4. Terry Barnard
  5. Emma Jarvis
  6. Philip Jarvis (C)

Rung on the Saint's Day of Saint Mary di Rosa 1855

January 2024 readers' list:

Warmest thanks, and Christmas wishes, to all our readers. If unable to read on the day listed, please try to arrange a swap with another reader.

7th January OT Team Kwalombota, NT Mike Trout

14th January OT Alison Heywood, NT Ralph Baldock

21st January OT Margaret Gatehouse, Catherine Garland

24th January OT William Danes-Volkov, Eleanor Relle

Refreshment Rota: Sue has kindly created a January rota for people willing to serve tea/coffee on Sunday mornings after Mass. Could YOU sign up for a Sunday? Please think about supporting the St Michael's family in this way, and thus also offering welcome and encouragement to people who may be with us for the first time!

Among the sick, we pray today for Fr Paul and for Paul, Margaret, Ellie, Pauline, Rue, Fr Leon, Antony, Fran, Ellie, Tom, Joseph, Valerie, Peter, Joan, Margaret, Lindsay, Glynis, Ethan, Sarah, and Yvonne.

Among the departed, Michael Houghton (bishop), Rosetta Towner, Carol Crisp, Margaret Farrington, David Amphlett.