Readings for Friday 18 December 2015 (Third Week of Advent)
Jer 23:5-8. Ps 71:1-2, 12-13, 18-19, R/ cf. v 7. Mt 1:18-24. www.catholicbishops.ie/readings.
In the story of Christ’s birth, Matthew now stresses the divinity of Christ. Saint Joseph appears as a man of justice and integrity. ‘Ruler of the House of Israel, who gave the law to Moses on Mount Sinai, come and save us with outstretched arm.’
Memorial today of Saint Flannan, who lived in the seventh century. He was the son of a king of Thomond. He entered Molua’s monastery at Killaloe and became abbot there. He is remembered as a great preacher.
The “O” Antiphons – O Adonai (O Lord)
The “O Antiphons” refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, December 17-23, with December 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil.
Today we focus on the second of the seven antiphons – O Adonai (O Lord).
O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
Click here to listen to O Adonai.
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 we share two prayers for Emigrants. The first is a Prayer for Those Away From Home and the second is a Prayer for Emigrants. Click below to listen to the audio
Prayer for Those Away From Home
A Prayer for Emigrants
Christmas Message from Archbishop Eamon Martin
Click here to watch the Christmas Message for 2015 from Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.
The Words of Pope Francis
Pope Francis says the Church must be humble, poor and trusting in the Lord. Speaking during Mass at Casa Santa Marta on Tuesday morning the Pope emphasized the fact that poverty is the first of the Beatitudes, and that the poor are the Church’s true riches.
Commenting on the first reading from the Book of Zephaniah in which Jesus rebukes the chief priests and warns them that even prostitutes will precede them into the Kingdom of Heaven, Pope Francis said that still today temptations can corrupt the witness of the church.
“A Church that is truly faithful to the Lord – he said – must be humble, poor and trusting in God”.
The Pope also made it quite clear that to be a humble Church or a humble person one must be prepared to say: “I am a sinner”. Humility – he said – is not a pretense; it’s not a theatrical attitude. True humility demands that the Church and that each and every one of us take a first step and recognizes one’s sinfulness.
And if anyone has the habit – Francis said – of being judgmental, pointing to the defects of others and gossiping about them, then he is not a humble person.
The second step – he said – is poverty, which “is the first of the Beatitudes.”
To be poor in spirit, he explained, means that one is “attached only to the riches of God.”
So – Pope Francis continued – we must say “no to a Church that is attached to money, that thinks of money, that thinks of how to earn money.”
The Pope recalled the martyrdom of the Deacon Lawrence, an heroic witness in the first millennium who assembled the poor before the emperor saying they represented the real gold and silver of the Church, and he warned against some ancient customs which demanded monetary offers from pilgrims in order to pass through the Holy Door.
“As is known – said the Pope – in a temple of the diocese, to pass through the Holy Door, naively they said to people that you had to make an offer: this is not the Church of Jesus, this is the Church of these chiefs priests, attached to money ” he said
The third step – he said – for a humble Church is to always trust in the Lord that never disappoints.
“Where is my faith? In power, in friends, in money? It is in the Lord! The legacy that God promised to leave us is of a humble and poor people who trust in the name of the Lord. Humble because it knows it sins; poor because it is attached to the riches of God; trusting in the Lord because it knows that only He has its good at heart” he said.
Pope Francis concluded with the prayer – as we prepare for Christmas – for a humble heart, a poor heart, a heart that trusts in the Lord who never disappoints.
Source: Vatican Radio
Pope Francis on Twitter
“Let us seek to live in a way that is always worthy of our Christian vocation.” – @Pontifex
Blessing of the Christmas Tree in the Home
This blessing can be prayed on the day that
the family puts up the Christmas tree. Once
the lights are ready to be switched on, the
prayer can begin:
All make the Sign of the Cross
A member of the family turns the lights of
the tree on and the blessing is then recited:
Lord our God,
We praise you for the light of creation:
The sun, the moon, and the stars of the
We praise you for the light of Israel:
The Law, the prophets, and the wisdom of
We praise you for Jesus Christ, your Son:
he is Emmanuel, God-with-us, the Prince of
Who fills us with the wonder of your love.
Let your blessing come upon us as we
illumine this tree.
May the light and cheer it gives us be a sign
of the joy that fills our hearts.
May all who delight in this tree come to the
knowledge and joy of salvation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
Make a special effort at family prayer. Make the Stations of the Cross. Do something to help the poor, sick or lonely.
Advent Prayer Intentions
1. We pray for our Church;
that it will preach faith to all nations
in honour of Jesus’ name.
2. We pray for those who are travelling
at this time of year;
that they will arrive safely
to their destination.
An Advent Family Prayer
as your light grows in the dark of winter,
brings its gifts of hope, peace, joy and love to our world.
Just as you sent the star of Bethlehem to lead the way to your Son,
guide us to follow your ways of justice and peace.
As we remember the journey of Mary and Joseph,
may the Holy Family be a source of courage for our family,
inspiring us to read out in friendship to all those in need.
Help us to see in the Christ child this Christmas
the one who came to end all divisions.
And may the Lord bless us
and keep us safe today and always.
Source: Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin Reach Out.
Concordia Choir singing Wake, Awake, For Night Is Flying. Conductor, Rene Clausen.
From The Concordia Choir -Folk Songs, Spirituals & Hymns CD. Click here to listen.