Day 16: Monday 12 December 2016

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Readings for Monday of the Third Week of Advent
Num 24:2-7, 15-17. Ps 24:4-9, R/ v 4. Mt 21:23-27. www.catholicbishops.ie/readings

Saints and Advent

It is an optional memorial today of Saint Finnian, Bishop and Our Lady of Guadalupe. 

Our Lady of Guadalupe is patron of the Americas. This memorial recalls the apparitions in December 1531 to Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin on Tepeyac hill, near Mexico City. 

Saint Finnian studied in Idrone (Co Carlow) and later in Wales. On his return he settled in Clonard, Co Meath, around 520, where he established a famous school. His pupils, among whom were Canice, Colum Cille and Brendan, were the initiators of the great monastic expansion in Ireland. Saint Finnian died in 549 and is remembered as the tutor of the saints of Ireland. 

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Audio: Advent Thought for the Day 

Each day during Advent we are bringing you an audio Thought for the Day on a different theme. Today’s Thought for the Day is from Mary Johnston of Accord, Catholic Marriage Care. In this piece, Mary reflects on 1 Corinthians and how it can be applied to this time of year, when stresses can be to the fore in a relationship. Click below to listen to the audio. 

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The Words of Pope Francis 

Pope Francis’ catechesis for Third Sunday of Advent  2016

Pope Francis on Sunday invited the faithful to rejoice of a joy that is not ‘superficial’ or purely ‘emotional,’ of a joy that is not that of ‘worldliness’ or ‘consumerism’, but an authentic joy that touches us deeply as we await the coming of Jesus.

The Pope’s catechesis on the third Sunday of Advent, which is also called ‘Gaudete Sunday,’ focused on the invitation of St. Paul to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near.”

Speaking to the crowds gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Sunday Angelus, the Pope said the announcement of Salvation changes everything: “the desert blooms, consolation and joy pervade our hearts.”

And quoting from the Gospel of Matthew: “the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them,” Francis said “these are not words, but facts” and they demonstrate how salvation, brought by Jesus regenerates us.

So, he said, we are called to join in with this feeling of exultation permeating the liturgy for Gaudete Sunday, pointing out that as Christmas approaches its signs “are evident on our streets and in our homes.”

“These external signs” of Christmas, the Pope continued, “invite us to welcome the Lord who always comes and knocks on our door,” and also to recognize Jesus in the poor and needy we encounter.

Highlighting the fact that a Christian who is not joyful is lacking in something, Pope Francis said “today we are invited to rejoice in the imminent coming of our Redeemer; and we are called to share this joy with others, giving comfort and hope to the poor, the sick, the lonely and the unhappy.”

Pope Francis – Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel)
Sometimes it is a matter of hearing the cry of entire peoples, the poorest peoples of the earth, since “peace is founded not only on respect for human rights, but also on respect for the rights of peoples”. Sadly, even human rights can be used as a justification for an inordinate defense of individual rights or the rights of the richer peoples. With due respect for the autonomy and culture of every nation, we must never forget that the planet belongs to all mankind and is meant for all mankind; the mere fact that some people are born in places with fewer resources or less development does not justify the fact that they are living with less dignity. It must be reiterated that “the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others”. To speak properly of our own rights, we need to broaden our perspective and to hear the plea of other peoples and other regions than those of our own country. We need to grow in a solidarity which “would allow all peoples to become the artisans of their destiny”, since “every person is called to self-fulfilment”. – Evangelii Gaudium, 190.

Pope Francis on Twitter 

May Advent be a time of hope. We go to encounter the Lord who comes to encounter us. – @Pontifex 
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Advent Prayer Intentions
1. For an increase in vocations to the priesthood and the religious life;
especially within our diocese/parish.

2. For all who await God’s blessing; that God’s comforting and strangthening
love will sustain them.

Prayers for Those Away From Home

Loving God,
We pray for those whom we love
But who are absent from us.
Keep them safe from all harm, evil and danger.
Bless them with peace, laughter, wisdom, love and joy.
Grant that we may be reunited in the fullness of love;
In Christ’s name we pray.

AMEN

Family Table Prayer for Christmas Day 
family at meals
This is a family table prayer for Christmas Day but it might be used for any meal
during advent and Christmas. Click here to access the prayer.

Advent and the Sacrament of Reconciliation
The call to renewal of our Christian life is a central part of our preparation for the feast of Christmas. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Penance), we receive the gift of God’s mercy and forgiveness. The celebration of Advent should be an integral part of our preparation for the Feast of the birth of Our Saviour. During this season of Advent, bishops strongly encourage all Catholics to make time to avail of the gift of God’s love in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Advent Music

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This is an instrumental version of the well-known Advent Hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel and it is performed here by the Piano Guys. Click here to listen/watch.

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