December 20th – Fourth Sunday of Advent

Posted on December 18, 2015 by - Advent Reflections

20Today’s Gospel

“‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb,’ (Luke 1:43).”

Daily Advent Reflection

Today we hear the account of the Visitation from Luke’s gospel. It is a familiar, yet deeply moving, account. We hear of Elizabeth’s reaction to Mary when she first realises that Mary is carrying Jesus in her womb; we also hear the reaction of Elizabeth’s unborn child.

It is through this extraordinary witness that we can appreciate the significance of what has happened.

Daily Advent Challenge

“I will spend some time today thinking about ways in which I can give greater witness to God through my words and actions.”

Teresa Keogh, Archdiocese of Southwark

December 19th – Third Saturday of Advent

Posted on December 18, 2015 by - Advent Reflections

19Today’s Gospel

“Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home, (Luke 1:23).”

Daily Advent Reflection

This short quotation from today’s gospel refers to Zechariah returning home to Elizabeth after the angel has appeared to him. However, it can also be seen as being true for our life journey – that when our time of service in this world comes to an end, we return home to God.

Daily Advent Challenge

“What service can I do today? How can I prepare for my journey home through service today?”

Teresa Keogh, Archdiocese of Southwark

December 18th – Third Friday of Advent

Posted on December 18, 2015 by - Advent Reflections

18Today’s Gospel

“‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us,”'(Matthew 1:23).”

Daily Advent Reflection

There is just one week before Christmas Day. We are surrounded by images of gifts and may be caught up in last minute present buying. Our material world sometimes envelopes us. Our Christian faith calls us to be counter-cultural. Today we might think of the great gift of God – sending his son to be ‘with us’.

Daily Advent Challenge

  • “Today I will spend time thanking God for the gift of Jesus, ‘God-is-with-us’. I will think about how I am viewed by others and how I can be a Steward of that Good News? Is there something practical I can do today to spread that News?”

Teresa Keogh, Archdiocese of Southwark

Waiting

Posted on December 17, 2015 by - Everyday Stewardship

AdventThis Advent you may be waiting for even more than just the celebration of Jesus’ birth and His promised second coming. You may be waiting for a job offer, or a college acceptance letter, or a good word from your doctor, or even the birth of your own child.

Life is filled with periods of waiting. Sometimes we wait with more grace than at other times. But with all waiting there needs to be hope for true fulfillment of our anticipation.

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December 17th – Third Thursday of Advent

Posted on December 17, 2015 by - Advent Reflections

17Today’s Gospel

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham,” (Matthew 1:1).”

Daily Advent Reflection

Today’s gospel reading is the genealogy from Matthew’s gospel. We are given the family tree of Jesus, which is made up of a diverse range of characters, with all kinds of people from different traditions and with different abilities.

We are an integral part of that family – part of the diverse Kingdom of peoples and all created, as Blessed John Henry Newman said, for some “definite service”.

Daily Advent Challenge

“What are the gifts and talents that God has given me? How am I called to serve God with these gifts? Today I will think of one practical way that I can use one of these gifts for the building of the Kingdom today – at home, at work or in my community.”

Teresa Keogh, Archdiocese of Southwark

December 16th – Third Wednesday of Advent

Posted on December 16, 2015 by - Advent Reflections

16Today’s Gospel

“‘Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me,” (Luke 7:22-23).”

Daily Advent Reflection

John the Baptist sends his messengers to find out if Jesus is the one he has been waiting for – but after seeing Jesus, they are left in no doubt. We do not physically see Jesus performing miracles; instead we are asked to have faith and to persevere when we are experiencing difficulties.

Daily Advent Challenge

“Today I will ask God for the grace and courage to persevere in my faith especially during the times when my faith is challenged.”

Teresa Keogh, Archdiocese of Southwark

A Season of Joyful Hope

Posted on December 15, 2015 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, December 20, 2015, 4th Sunday of Advent

Painting of Jump For Joy-Mary and Elizabeth by Corby Eisbacher, https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtByCorby.

The woman had a frantic look in her eye. Her hands were continually measuring out six-inch stretches of sheet on her hospital bed. She would glance at the clock. Then her eyes moved to the window and back to my face. “How can you be so calm?” she asked in a tight voice. I asked her how long she had been in the hospital. “Ever since Thanksgiving and they still can’t find the problem.” I took her hand. It was so cold. She started crying. “My Thanksgiving decorations are still up.” Her grip tightened. “I haven’t anything started for Christmas yet.” More tears. I put my arm around her and she sobbed. This grandma was inconsolable. From the number of cards around the room and the bouquet of roses on her stand, it was quite evident that she was loved for herself rather than the perfect Christmas she wanted to pull off. If she could only realize it.

That word “frantic” fits much of the activity in this last week before Christmas. There are even hints of it in Luke’s Gospel. “Mary set out and traveled… in haste” (emphasis added). Mary’s travel wasn’t because of a compulsion to pull off the perfect visit to her elderly cousin. Mary’s urgency was the deep and tremendous drive to share the greatest good news this earth has ever heard! The Messiah is coming! And then, the even more unbelievable news, God has chosen me to be his mother! Mary must have danced all the way from Nazareth to Ein Karem. Danced and sang! Smiled and skipped with joy! Laughter must have just bubbled out of her! Her traveling partners probably put their heads together and speculated that she was in love! Her sparkling eyes told it all.

Indeed Mary was in love! In love with a God who chose her to be the mother of his Son! A match made in heaven between a most perfect young maiden and God almighty. This is an event that legends are made of! Somehow, just somehow, Mary’s cousin, the barren Elizabeth, knew in her heart that this fireball of love was moving toward her. Was it woman’s intuition? In this case, it was probably strong waves of energy shooting across space. Elizabeth knew! And, the babe within her knew. Unborn John danced as he met his incarnated Savior! Wow! The energy flowing in this encounter was absolutely electric! Has the earth ever seen such joy bubbling up within humans?

Here we stand in front of this Gospel. The words are hitting our eardrums, but is the event, the message, hitting our hearts? Is the electricity of this relationship of four people pinging in our hearts? Yes, four people. The greatest who ever lived! Are we having a hard time keeping our joy from bursting out in spontaneous laughter?

Advent is a season of joyful hope. We celebrate the coming of our Savior. We are saved from all the troubles in our world. Every evening we look at the mess of trouble read to us on the news and can become morose. As true Christians we need to let the truth seep down between those rocks of seeming ugly reality. Our joy needs to crack those rocks of fear and sadness and creep up into our hearts and eyes. Joy can’t help but radiate from our faces!

We do believe in the Incarnation. We do believe in the paschal mystery. Life will always triumph over death! Yes, Lord, we believe this! Love will always win! Yes, Lord, we believe this! From the stable to the empty tomb, it is trust in God, all the way! Nothing is impossible with God! Rejoice in the Lord, always! Again, I say rejoice!

Patricia DeGroot, OblSB

PRAYER

Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

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December 15th – Third Tuesday of Advent

Posted on December 15, 2015 by - Advent Reflections

15Today’s Gospel

“‘When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him,’ (Matthew 21:32).”

Daily Advent Reflection

One of the challenges for us in our Church and parish life is to be accepting. We might be tempted to hide ourselves in ‘holy huddles’ and be content with ‘our kind’. To live in the Kingdom means to mix with and accept all.

Daily Advent Challenge

“Today I pray for a heart that is open to all. I become aware of people I find difficult, either individuals or groups. I try and be open to what I can learn from them.”

Teresa Keogh, Archdiocese of Southwark