Christmas Day Sermon 2020

Posted on the 25th December 2020 in the category Resources


Now I am one of you.

 

There is a beautiful detail in St Luke’s description of the birth of Jesus (Lk 2.7) where it is said that Mary ‘wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger’. It is the moment that every parent longs for throughout any pregnancy: seeing the face of the one who has been so intimate a part of their lives and yet until now hidden. Truth be known at every birth parents long for it and fear it. It is a moment of truth. It will be a face that will be with you a lifetime. And what mother would wrap their new-born, and recline them in even the poorest bed, without first lifting the child and taking a long and wondering look into that face, hoping for those tightly closed eyes to open? Mary was the first to see the face that would address the whole world with the word and love of God. In that moment before he was laid in the crib ‘she saw him who was the manifestation of the living God!’ (Guardini, The Rosary). Α divine mystery hidden at the heart of what is most common and concerns everyman: being born, wrapped for protection, and nursed at a mother’s breast. Mary’s knowing gaze was possible because of her faith. Because she believed that what was spoken to her by the Lord would be fulfilled. Because faith recognizes the presence of God in everyday life, especially in helplessness and vulnerability.

 

And tonight in every virus-torn nation on earth, and those few that might be free of it—among the rich, among the poorest, in hospitals, prisons and refugee camps—men and women are celebrating this birth. This Feast is always what it has always been: a great sign of the love of God in the midst of the often painful and always precarious conditions of our lives.

 

We are living through a restless and worried time when it is hard to believe in the love of God for the world. What we believe and what we experience don’t seem to fit together, and many even Christian believers are siding with the confusion and anxiety. But the face of the Incarnate God which was first revealed to Mary that night calls for our faith and trust instead, for which we need to use our hearts rather than our minds. We will need to be ready for our ideas of God, and of love, to be changed if we want to grow in faith.

 

Perhaps some of you know the astounding story of St Damian the Leper (1840-89), a Belgian priest who became a pastor and missionary isolated in a major leper colony in Hawaii in the late 19th century, before there was a known cure. One day, inadvertently putting his leg into scalding water he had no sensation, and he knew (after 11 years of priestly ministry among the lepers who lived in an atrocious condition) he too had become a leper. He is said to have begun his next sermon, ‘Now I am one of you’, and for the remaining four years of his life he addressed them, ‘we lepers’. That is not just inspiring, especially in the time of a virus which touches us all. But it is a parable of the incarnation. Jesus the Son of God, with his uplifted face, addresses us as he did his virgin mother, ‘We humans: now I am one of you.’ How could it be otherwise if God is indeed love and mercy itself?

 

Not everyone in the New Testament saw that face, and perhaps you remember Jesus’s words to Thomas, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe’? But one who did see him, through eyes of faith and often through tears, St Peter, says this to us—and I leave it with you as a motto to hold onto, daily, in the coming months while we learn the unity and compassion that only God’s charity brings: ‘Though you have not seen him, you love him … you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and heavy with glory, obtaining already the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls’ (1 Pet 1.8).


Christmas Day Homily 2020


Advent Daily Reflection - Thursday 24th December

Posted on the 24th December 2020 in the category Resources


Christmas Eve

Jesus, our Peace

 

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

 

Hail Mary, Full of Grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

 

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done to me according to Thy word.

 

Hail Mary, Full of Grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

 

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

 

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

 

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Let us pray:

 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that as we have known the Incarnation of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, by the message of an angel, so by His Cross and Passion we may be brought to the glory of His Resurrection; through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Read this verse – Titus 3: 4-7  [or the Gospel of the day: Luke 1: 67-79]

 

But when the goodness and loving-kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

 


After a short meditation, say this prayer:

 

O JESUS, help me to accept, with total openness of spirit, you who for love made yourself my brother. You came to bring to the world the gift of peace, which is the precious gift of Christmas. You are my true peace. You knock at my heart to grant me peace—peace of the soul. May I dedicate myself each day to building in every situation an authentic culture of encounter and peace. Amen.   (Pope Francis)


Advent Daily Reflection (24th December)


Advent Daily Reflection - Wednesday 23rd December

Posted on the 23rd December 2020 in the category Resources


Wednesday, Week 4

Witnessing to Your Presence

 

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

 

Hail Mary, Full of Grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

 

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done to me according to Thy word.

 

Hail Mary, Full of Grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

 

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

 

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

 

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Let us pray:

 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that as we have known the Incarnation of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, by the message of an angel, so by His Cross and Passion we may be brought to the glory of His Resurrection; through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Read this verse – Psalm 77:11  [or the Gospel of the day: Luke 1:57-66]

 

I will call to mind the deeds of the Lord;
   I will remember your wonders of old.

 

 

After a short meditation, say this prayer:

 

O GOD, help me not to grow lazy in the faith but to perceive, ever anew, the marvels that you work for us. Help me to become a living sign of the presence of Christ in the world, to witness and help open the hearts and minds of many to the desire for God and for true life, life without end. Amen.   (Pope Benedict XVI)


Advent Daily Reflection (23rd December)


Advent Daily Reflection - Tuesday 22nd December

Posted on the 22nd December 2020 in the category Resources


Tuesday, Week 4

Silence before the Mystery

 

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

 

Hail Mary, Full of Grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

 

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done to me according to Thy word.

 

Hail Mary, Full of Grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

 

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

 

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

 

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Let us pray:

 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that as we have known the Incarnation of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, by the message of an angel, so by His Cross and Passion we may be brought to the glory of His Resurrection; through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Read this verse – Psalm 96:12-13  [or the Gospel of the day: Luke 1: 46-56]

 

let the field exult, and everything in it.
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
   before the Lord; for he is coming,
   for he is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
   and the peoples with his truth.

 


After a short meditation, say this prayer:

 

O JESUS, help me to live in day-to-day fidelity to mysteries I do not fully understand, to wait in hope, waiting for the mystery to unfold, going on doing ordinary things but all the time listening, learning, pondering, growing and energetically serving—to be silent before the mystery. Amen.   (Maria Boulding, OSB)


Advent Daily Reflection (22nd December)


Advent Daily Reflection - Monday 21st December

Posted on the 21st December 2020 in the category Resources


Monday, Week 4

You are near

 

V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

 

Hail Mary, Full of Grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

 

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done to me according to Thy word.

 

Hail Mary, Full of Grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

 

V. And the Word was made flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.

 

Hail Mary, full of grace,
The Lord is with Thee;
Blessed art thou among women,
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R: Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death. Amen

 

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

 

Let us pray:

 

Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that as we have known the Incarnation of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, by the message of an angel, so by His Cross and Passion we may be brought to the glory of His Resurrection; through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

 

 

Read this verse – Isaiah 55:6  [or the Gospel of the day: Luke 1:39-45]

 

Seek the Lord while he may be found,
   call upon him while he is near

 

 

After a short meditation, say this prayer:

 

O GOD, as Christmas draws near, it is easy to forget your nearness as I rush around pre-occupied.  Help me to slow down and recognize the opportunity to sense your nearness. Let me look for signs of your nearness so that I may enter into the joy of the season. Amen.   (Joyce Rupp, OSM)


Advent Daily Reflection (21st December 2020)


 

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