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First Sunday of Advent (Year A)

Dear Parishioners,  “The hour has come for you to arise from your sleep… the night is almost over, it will be daylight soon. Let us cast aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light!” In the second reading St Paul describes the whole of human history as a long night to be succeeded by an eternal day. The world at large conceives of this night as all there is, and as such it sleeps. But while living in this night Christians have received in Christ a light that enables them to begin to awake. They can await with hope the day that is already beginning to dawn, and cast its light back on the night of this present age. In this light Christians see the world and their own lives differently and so must cast off “the works of darkness”. What St Paul means by this he expresses bluntly in describing for the Christians of Rome the pagan world that surrounds them: a world gone wrong in limiting its horizon to purely material hopes and desires, a world of outer excess and inner strife, which the Christian must break with. And if both St Paul and Christ in the Gospel insist so much on staying awake, it is because Christians are just as capable, despite the light they have received, of pursuing as blindly their own worldly ends without reference to God. But in the measure that we resist and live by the light of our Faith we awake: in Pope Benedict’s words, “to rise from sleep means to rise from conformity with such a world, courageous in virtue, courageous enough in faith to shake off the dream that prevents us from recognizing our vocation and our highest potential”, and able “to lift up eyes to acknowledge promises so much greater than those based on money, power and pleasure!”  The prayer after Communion today speaks beautifully of these greater promises: “Even now as we walk amid passing things, you teach us by them to love the things of heaven and hold fast to what endures, through Christ our Lord.” To hold fast to what endures through Jesus, this is what counts. The saints tell us that when the day at last dawns only what was lived in charity will remain of us, that everything that isn’t given will be lost. We are not there yet and when we will be it will be the work of grace! But to be actively seeking God’s light, to be always trying to live our lives in view of what is of real and eternal value: this is the essential wakefulness that is asked of us. And never forget that we do not stay awake for ourselves alone! The world that sleeps is the world which Christ died for! “To keep vigil for God and for our neighbour- this is the meaning of the Advent call to stay awake.” The more we live in the light the more we will become lights for the rest of the world. Let us ask Our Lady by her prayers this Advent to keep our lamps burning for her Son and our hearts awake!  Br Jan Quotes from “Co-Workers of the Truth”, Pope Benedict XVI

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe (Year C)

Dear Parishioners, The Church closes the year with the Feast of Christ the King. The kingdom of God is the kingdom of the Father’s only son, Jesus, whom we contemplate today on the cross, giving His life for the world. He is mocked and treated like an evil man, an impostor, a total fraud. He dies among thieves and one of them has a most unusual attitude of faith and hope in a situation of utter despair. Isn’t it quite amazing to see the way the Gospel today presents us the kingship of Our Lord? We’re privy to a theological discussion of two thieves rightfully condemned to die for their misdeeds. The faith of the “good thief” is so impressive because he affirms the absolute innocence of Jesus and from there he leaps into a prayer: “remember me when you come into your kingdom”. If one was a cynic one could say: “that was not impressive, it was rather easy, for this man had nothing to lose”. In reality, without faith and hope, he also had nothing to gain. There is no motivation to entertain a cordial dialogue with Jesus unless this man experienced something about this “innocent” man that left the door open to that possibility that He just might be a King! Wouldn’t it be easy for us to join this King and be a part of His kingdom if we could see for ourselves all the benefits that come with membership? Are we not still today in the situation of the “good” thief, confessing his faith in dire circumstances? We still die, we still suffer, the world is still a place of good and evil, and there are so many ways one could challenge the notion that Christ governs this world of sin and death. We could easily go the route of the “other” thief and say: “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us as well”. All those who have submitted to Christ in their hearts have discovered that He is indeed the King of heaven and earth. The human heart is made to submit to this man, the Son of God. To find Him on the cross, the cross of our shame and sin, is not a demerit to Him, rather, it is the very sweetness of His rule over us. We may very well not like it and even reject Him, but He has chosen to rule from within our conscious choice to belong to Him. In whatever situation you are in you can come to Christ and although you are desperate, convinced of your own destruction, Jesus will open up the gates of paradise: “Today you will be with me in Paradise”! Fr Sean Mary


Tuesday 24th December – 7.30pm

Midnight Mass

Wednesday 25 December 8am and 10am