First Sunday of Advent, Year B, 3rd December 2017

‘Stay Awake!’

We begin Advent with a call to prepare – and to stay awake! We are called to wake up to our true reality: to become alive to God at work in our lives, and to be ready to greet Jesus Christ as he comes to us in each and every moment. We are reminded, too, of our hope of Christ’s second triumphant coming.

In the First Reading, the prophet tells – despite us being God’s children – of how we lost our way. Isaiah yearns for the time when God will come down to his people. He reminds us that we are all the work of God’s hand.

The Psalmist also longs for God’s help and care. Using images of a shepherd and farmer, we are encouraged to recognise how tender God’s love is for us – the love that became incarnate, the light which shines upon us and saves us.

The Second Reading reminds us of the blessings and graces we have received from God. It is God’s spirit that gives us hope as we wait for Christ coming again into our lives.

In the Gospel, Jesus teaches us to be ready and alert to God coming into our lives. We have each been given a task, and Jesus wants us to be prepared to receive Him.

Throughout this Advent season, let us remember each other in prayer, and ask for the grace to be able to make time to become silent and still.

In the silence, let us watch and wait for the Lord.

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Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year C, 20th December 2015

Drop down dew from above, you heavens, and let the clouds rain down the Just One; let the earth be opened and bring forth a Saviour.

Entrance Antiphon (Isaiah 45:8)

On this last Sunday before Christmas we are invited, through the readings, to prepare ourselves for the celebration of the memory of Jesus’ birth.

Micah, in the First Reading, promises that, from unexpected and humble beginnings, great things will come. The ruler of Israel and the bringer of God’s plan of salvation will come from an obscure town called Bethlehem. The psalmist shares with us a prayer for God’s salvation and calls from us an attitude of faith and trust in that salvation.

In the Second Reading we hear how Christ, by being obedient to the Father, sanctifies all for God. The Gospel shows us how Mary, also obedient to God and sensitive to the promptings of the Spirit, welcomes Jesus as Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. She goes out in service to Elizabeth who recognises her as the mother of her Lord.

We pray this Christmas that, whatever our standing in life, we show our obedience to God by believing in his loving salvation and by demonstrating this belief when we go out in service of others.

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Third Sunday of Advent, Year C, 13th December 2015

Sing and shout for joy! The Lord is near!

This week, we continue to celebrate Advent, the coming of Christ our Lord. Indeed, we rejoice now because he is already here in the midst of us.

As the Psalm says, “The Lord is my strength, my song, he became my saviour”. “Give thanks to the Lord, Praise his name!”

The First Reading celebrates with joy the God who is among us and so we shout for joy, rejoice, exult with all our hearts at his presence. And God rejoices in his people, renewing us by his love.

St. Paul (Second Reading) encourages us to have confidence in God, to be happy in the Lord. We do not need to be anxious or fearful because, if we need anything, we can ask God for it. He will give us his peace that is far greater that we can grasp or understand.

In the Gospel, the people come to John the Baptist to ask him, “What must we do?” to prepare for the coming of the Christ. For each person there is a different answer, but everyone is asked to help the poor and the hungry.
I may like to ask Our Lord Jesus, “What must I do to prepare for your coming this Christmas?”

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Second Sunday of Advent, Year C, 6th December 2015

Put on the beauty of the glory of God forever

“A voice cries in the wilderness…”: this Sunday the word of God cries out to us from across the ages to this very moment. We are invited to prepare our hearts and minds for the joyful coming of the Holy One. In the midst of the busyness of this beautiful season, God draws us to spend time in silence with Him.

In the First Reading, the Prophet Baruch uses rich poetic imagery to comfort and encourage the people of Israel who were living in exile. These prophetic words speak to me today, reminding me that my sorrow can be transformed into joy as I am wrapped in the love of God. This theme of shedding our distress and sorrow, for laughter and songs of Joy in the Lord, is echoed in Psalm 125.

In Luke’s Gospel, it is John the Baptist delivering the prophetic message– we are loved sinners called to repent, called to put God at the centre of all that we do.

In the Second Reading St. Paul writes from captivity to encourage the Christians of Philippi. I am reminded that God gave me my gift of faith, and that it is through sharing the love of God with others that I will be prepared for Christ’s glorious coming.

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First Sunday in Advent, Year C, 29th November 2015

Stay Awake!

Aware that a new season of Advent is opening, I take time to pause before these readings and prepare to welcome prayerfully the new liturgical year.

The First Reading from the prophet Jeremiah strikes a note of hope and confidence. The Lord is going to fulfil his promise to his people —the Messiah will come from the house of David.

Psalm 24 underlines the path we should follow as we wait for the coming of the Lord—he will teach and guide us in his ways of faithfulness and love.

The Second Reading speaks of the Lord’s second coming with all his saints. St. Paul exhorts us to live in the present according to the life and teaching of Jesus Christ.

The Gospel tells us to be ready for this second coming, Christ’s coming in glory. The cosmic upheaval may sound terrifying but the followers of Christ, wide-awake and praying, can stand upright, confident that the Lord will come.

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