Bulletin for the weeks of December 18th, 2005 - January 7th, 2006.
A sincere welcome to those who are new among us. We hope you find a warm and welcoming faith-home with us. Please introduce yourself after Mass and call the Rectory to register.MASSES:
ADVENT PENETENTIAL/RECONCILLIATION SERVICE - SUNDAY DECEMBER 18th, 7:00P.M.:
Yes, we are sinful people. That is not a put-down. It is an acknowledgement that there are dark corners of various kinds in our individual hearts and in us as a community. It could also be expressed as “being out of joint” or ‘missing the mark” compared to the holy and godly lives that God summons us to. And only a gracious and forgiving God can handle these dark corners of ours, this “being out of joint”, this missing the mark”. God does so by extending his mercy, his forgiveness to us. Surely, we want to yield to and give ourselves over to such a God; we do so with a contrite heart.
That is what December 18th’s service is all about. It is a good way of preparing for Christmas. It is one of the ways in which we can grow in holiness. That is what God wants for us. Deep down, we also want that for ourselves.
One form des not cancel out the other. Having God’s forgiveness spoken over us in a more personal way can complement significantly the more general communal way of celebrating that same forgiveness. In fact, in some instances it may even be of a greater benefit.
A few specific time slots are set aside for that in the hope that everyone can be accommodated who wants to celebrate God’s forgiveness in the individual confession:
TIMES FOR CHRISTMAS MASSES AND FOR NEW YEAR’S:
WE ARE GETTING CLOSE TO THE PURPOSE OF ADVENT:
The Church is not in such a hurry. With the help of Scripture readings, especially from the Old Testament prophets, we are encouraged to reflect on the purpose for which Christ has come and in many ways still needs to come. The realization of God’s dream with our world.
The Advent season invites to re-visit our dependence on God, to re-visit our desire for God and to discover through the night of waiting for that God does indeed come. And what a way for God to come: as one of our own!It is hoped that what we have done in “these weeks of Advent” makes us ready to touch base again with the awesome mystery from which we are privileged to live.
ANOTHER INTERESTING REFLECTION ON ADVENT FROM THE TABLET:
Recently there have been painful reminders on television of the pain of the world, news of victims of war across the world, of the plight of the millions of refugees, of famine victims, of the bereaved and homeless from the tsunami disaster, of the earthquakes in India and Pakistan, of the many hurricanes which have afflicted Central America and the southern US, of the victims of suicide bombings.
The longing for healing is not just a longing for physical healing, but for healing from our lethal stupidity that still believes the answer to violence is greater violence and that our defenses are only secure when we terrify others. We are all in desperate need of healing from that obduracy which does not allow us to see beyond our own personal interests or that group whatever it may be, whether secular or religious, to the damage and misery our way of thinking and living inflicts on other nations and classes of people, whose lives are blighted by our blindness.
The God who is to come is the God of compassion. He was born into the Roman imperial family, or among people of influence. His mother was unmarried, a political refugee, mother if a condemned criminal, a widow, who outlived her child, a model for our time, to whom the will of God meant more than the rules of any system, sacred or secular, values she passed on to her son who was condemned because of them.
To get in touch with the Coming of this compassionate and healing presence, we need to listen to our hearts, our sorrows and our joys. One way of doing this is to imagine we have died and someone writes an obituary. In our wildest dreams, what kind of obituary would we love to have? Then write it yourself. God meets us in our deepest longings, for they come from God and draw us to God.
Our deepest desire is usually the quietest, bur also the most influential factor in our life. Would you like it to read”He/she was totally dedicated to ensuring his/her own financial security, personal well-being and social advancement, leaving behind an immense fortune, a well-preserved body, and much misery”? Or would you prefer “She/he was a great lover of life, a free spirit, gentle and effectively compassionate to all she/he encountered. She/he died penniless, mourned by the thousands to whom she/he still gives hope”?
To meet God in God’s Coming, keep asking, like the psalmist, “Show me your face”. Then we shall catch glimpses of God’s attractiveness and begin to understand St, Augustine’s words, “My heart is restless until it rests in you.”
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