Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, 20th January 2019

‘Your words are Spirit, Lord, and they are life.’

We begin the Sundays of Ordinary Time in Year C with readings that remind us of God’s eternal relationship of love for his people.  The imagery of a wedding as a symbol of that everlasting bond is used in both the First Reading and the Gospel.

The Prophet Isaiah paints a poetic picture of how the Jewish people in exile will be delivered from their suffering. God delights in his people and the intimacy of that love is compared to the way that a bridegroom rejoices in his bride. (First Reading)

This relationship of rejoicing is mirrored in the way that the Psalmist describes his love for God.

In the Second Reading, the Church in Corinth hears how God’s Spirit of love is at work in each of them, in very different ways. There are many gifts and talents in the community, but they are united in this one Spirit. Paul would later teach the Corinthians that Christ is married to the Church.

This first Gospel reading of Ordinary Time is from the Gospel of John. The wedding at Cana sets the scene for the beginning of Jesus’s ministry in the world.  This passage is full of symbolic meaning. Although the scene is a wedding, the imagery is not of Jesus as bridegroom, but as a guest who brings new wine to the wedding feast.  He will fulfil the promises of the old prophets. Later he will become the bridegroom who rejoices in his bride, the Church.

Let us pray that we will be drawn into a deeper relationship with the God who rejoices in each one of us.

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The Baptism of the Lord, 13th January 2019, Year C

‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’

In today’s joyous readings we are reminded of God’s kindness, compassion and love for all mankind; so much so that he sent his beloved Son, and poured out the ongoing gift of his creative Spirit upon us to redeem us.

The First Reading offers words of consolation and hope to God’s people in exile. The Lord comes with power to restore and protect his people, like a shepherd who guides and nourishes them.

The Psalm is a meditation on the glories of God in creation, where he looks after all he has made. The psalmist also reminds us that God’s spirit is the spirit of life, rebirth and renewal.

Paul’s letter (Second Reading) tells us that through his life and his giving of himself, Jesus embodied the kindness and love of God. The life-giving gifts of the Holy Spirit were revealed and shared with all.

Today’s Gospel describes the descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus whilst he was at prayer, emphasizing the importance of both the Spirit and of prayer in Jesus’s life.
This week, let us pray for an openness and understanding of what the Holy Spirit is offering us and asking of us.

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Christmastide, December 2018 to January 2019

Welcome to You, our heavenly King!

St Beuno’s Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham wishes you a Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!

This Christmastide, as always, we invite you to pray with the beautiful, familiar texts of the Gospel. Alongside them, you may also like to reflect this year on five early Christmas carol texts and some related images, all inspired by Scripture passages dealing with some aspect of the Nativity. Most of the texts were written between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries in either English or Latin, and all were set to music by the composer Benjamin Britten for his Ceremony of Carols (1942), for choristers and harp. You can listen to a recording of this work by the choir of St John’s College, Cambridge here.

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Your next Prego for the Baptism of the Lord will be published on 4 January 2019

Fourth Sunday in Advent, Year C, 23rd December 2018

‘Christmas is God’s response to the drama of humanity in search of true peace’           (Benedict XVI)

As we leave the season of Advent and step into the celebration of Christmas, we are given a liturgy filled with promise and hope.

In his Gospel, St Luke shows how salvation dawns through the meeting of two women.  The Father’s promise for humanity is fulfilled in Mary, the “most blessed of all women”. Elizabeth recognises this through the movement of her own child within.

Micah, the prophet, draws together the great expectations of the people (First Reading) and shows how God’s power is revealed in peace and security.

The letter to the Hebrews (Second Reading) calls those seeking security in past rituals to a new way of worship, that of self-giving love.

Finally, today’s Psalm is a plea for God’s continued protection, which is a source of both life and strength.

This week, let’s pray that God’s life and strength, rooted ever deeper in our hearts, may give rise to a new and hopeful way of worship through self-giving love.

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Third Sunday in Advent, Year C, 16th December 2018

The Lord is near!

This week, ‘Gaudete Sunday’, we are called to rejoice, for the coming of the Lord is near. At the same time, we are invited to live out our preparation in the details of our daily lives.

The First Reading from Zephaniah is a joyful exultation, because the Lord is bringing back Zion, his people.  God is in our midst and he dances for joy in his love for us.

The Responsorial Psalm does not come from the Psalter, but is a Song of Joy from the Book of Isaiah.  It is a joyful canticle of trust in the Lord and of thanksgiving for all that he has done for us.

St Paul, in the Second Reading, speaks of his desire of happiness for the Philippians.  The Lord ‘is very near’, so we need not worry –but trust in God who will grant us the peace of his Son.

In the Gospel this Sunday we meet John the Baptist again.  But this time we hear his direct teaching and advice to the different groups among his followers.  He also tells them of the One who is to come, who will baptise us with the Holy Spirit and fire.

This week, may we remind ourselves that the Lord is very near, in our midst, and that this is our joy.

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Second Sunday of Advent, Year C, 9th December 2018

What marvels the Lord worked for us! Indeed we were glad!

The beginning of the Church’s New Year, the Season of Advent, is a good time to look back as well as forward. We begin our prayer in the present moment with God, but we are not the same people as we were a year ago. Our journey of life with God has changed us, sometimes in surprising ways.

We may be able to sing with the Psalmist of the marvels of God, our hearts filled with laughter and gladness. Or it may be that our experience has been one of tears and, like the exiled Israelites, we need the words of encouragement from the First Reading to remind us that sorrow can be transformed by God into joy.

St Paul (Second Reading) remembers the faithfulness of the Philippians and prays that they may continue to grow in holiness and knowledge of God. We, too, might pray to have their faithfulness and to continue to grow in the love of God during the coming year.

John the Baptist hears the word of God in the wilderness and emerges to proclaim our Lord’s coming (Gospel). His promises are anchored in a particular moment of history.

Here, in our own time and place, we listen to God’s word knowing that we, too, are invited to “Prepare a way for the Lord” in our own lives and in our world.

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First Sunday of Advent, Year C, 2nd December 2018

As I wait, to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

On this First Sunday of Advent, we are reminded that we are waiting for the Lord’s coming not only at Christmas and at the End of Time, but also in our hearts.

Many centuries before the birth of Christ, the prophet Jeremiah reassures the people that God will fulfil his promises. Honesty and integrity will arise from the line of David. The Messiah will come. (First Reading)

St Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians, urges them to grow in holiness and in love for one another as they await the Lord’s return. (Second Reading)

Luke describes in striking language the day of the Lord’s second coming. He exhorts us all to be ready for his arrival. This way, we can hold our heads high and survive all that will happen. We can then meet the Lord with confidence. Our liberation is near at hand. (Gospel)

While we wait, as the psalmist suggests, we can pray to the Lord that he will teach us his ways, his faithfulness and his love. (Psalm)

As I begin my waiting for the Lord this week, I may like to decide to spend a little time each day in his presence, telling him how much I long to welcome him anew in my heart.

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