The words of the first reading on Tuesday, New Year’s Day are beautiful: ‘May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord let his face shine on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord uncover his face to you and bring you peace.’ These are beautiful words from the scriptures and a most prayerful blessing with good wishes to all in our parish and community. Also, New Year greetings to all family members in different parts of the world. May they be blessed with the care and protection of Mary the Mother of God on this, her feast day. Please God, we can all make a fresh start to face our many challenges with faith and courage in 2019.
While Advent has been very short this year, the ‘run-up’ to Christmas has been very long. Many people remark that they are worn from preparations and all the expectations associated with Christmas. People are expected to be in so many places, to attend numerous events and fearful that they may forget someone in their greetings and gifting. It has now reached such a stage that people nostalgically yearn for a less complicated time when the ‘run-up’ was shorter and Advent had a real purpose of creating anticipation and no little excitement. Indeed the deepest and greatest expectation is waiting for the golden moment on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning when we look on the infant Jesus at the centre of our beautiful church crib. It is a real expectation because it matters to our own lives and that of our families. Please God, our hearts can jump a little beat when we see that the promise of the newborn infant is real and makes a difference. If this year, your heart is broken or sad, if you are lonely for someone away from your table, if a relationship has deteriorated or broken down, then look on the newborn infant and see our hope and our future. May you all have a blessed and holy Christmas and may you not be disappointed in your hope and expectations of a new beginning and better days ahead
This Sunday (Dec. 9th) is the Second Sunday of Advent. The second candle is lighting on the Advent Wreath and the circle of light is emerging. The figures of Mary and Joseph in the sanctuary edge closer to Bethlehem and the approaching Nativity. Hopefully we can all retain a sense of perspective that this is a spiritual time. It is great to hear the children preparing with hymns and carols in the schools. Certainly, parents and grandparents will be serenaded with carols as the children prepare for their school events and our Parish Carol service on this Sunday evening at 5pm. Please come along on this Sunday evening to listen to the choirs, the school groups and visiting artists. It will be a lovely evening beginning at 5pm. There is no charge and there will be a lovely sense of occasion. It will set the scene for the remaining days of Advent and give a good message of the central event of Christmas with the birth of Jesus.
Dear Father, two thousand years ago, you brought your son, Jesus into this world to teach us the power of love and sacrifice. As we raise this tree, we remember His birth and the meaning of His life for us. Bless this tree as a symbol of our celebration of Jesus' birth and our gratitude for His sacrifice. May the light and joy which this tree brings soften the pain and sadness of those who have been bereaved by the sudden death or tragic suicide of a loved one. May the words spoken and the songs sung here break the silence of suicide and the heartbreak of the bereaved. We ask your blessings upon our loved ones, this Christmas and always. Amen.
This weekend (Nov. 24th/25th), we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, the last Sunday in the church calendar before we begin the season of Advent. In our church the mosaic of Jesus on the cross with Mary and St. John on either side is central. This is where we see Jesus as king sitting on ‘His throne’ which is the Cross. He judges us but with mercy, love, humility and He takes the ‘last place’. We do not like to be judged but this is a different judgment and a different king. This weekend, we may have many difficulties and many worries. The last thing we might need is to feel judged harshly and to be ‘lorded over’ by a remote king. Jesus Christ on His throne, the cross, is completely different. We are raised up by Jesus as our King this weekend. Please God, you can experience the tender mercy and love of Jesus Christ this weekend and experience healing in your life and in your family