Readings for Friday of the Second Week of Advent
Is 48:17-19. Ps 1:1-4, 6, R/ cf. Jn 8:12. Mt 11:16-19. www.catholicbishops.ie/readings.
Audio: Advent Thought for the Day
Each day during Advent we are bringing you an audio Thought for Today on a different theme. Today’s Thought for the Day is from Sister Mary Ryan. Sister Mary is a Mercy Sister. She works with victims of trafficking especially women. In this piece Sister Mary shares the story of a trafficked woman and invites us to always keep our eyes and our hearts open to the victims of human trafficking.
NOTE: For those teachers and parents who have been sharing the calendar reflections with young children, please note that this is not suitable for their ears as there are mature themes within the reflection.
For more on Sister Mary’s work and those involved in supporting people who have been trafficked see www.aptireland.org.
Click below to listen to the audio.
The Words of Pope Francis
In Advent, it is important to reflect on hope
At his General Audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis began a new series of catecheses on “Christian Hope”.
In our times, which seem so dark, the Pope said we often feel “lost in the face of the wickedness and the violence that surround us.” We may even feel “discouraged, because we feel powerless, and it seems the darkness might never end.”
But we should never give up hope, he continued, “because God, with His love, journeys with us, He does not leave us alone, and the Lord Jesus has overcome evil, and opened up the path of life.”
It is important to reflect on hope during this season of Advent, when we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas. Pope Francis based his reflection primarily on a passage from Isaiah, in which God tells the prophet, first, to console his people, and then to “make straight the path of the Lord.”
This prophetic message was addressed to the people of Israel when they were living the tragedy of the exile in Babylon, when they had been taken out of their own land and deprived of their freedom and dignity, and even their trust in God. But the call of the prophet, the Pope said, “opens their hearts anew to faith.” It is precisely in the desert that they hear his call, it is precisely there that a new journey “can be made in order to return not only to their homeland, but to God.”
This passage, Pope Francis continued, was the starting point for the preaching of John the Baptist, “a voice crying out in the desert, prepare the way of the Lord.” In Jesus time, the Israelites were once again living a kind of exile, living as strangers in their own land because of the oppression of the Romans. But it was not the powerful who made history, the Pope continued; rather, history is the story of what God has done together with his little ones, people like Zechariah and Elizabeth, Mary, and the shepherds, the simple, humble people who gathered around Jesus at his birth. “These are the little ones,” Pope Francis said, made great by their faith,” the little ones who know that they must keep hope alive.
“Let us allow ourselves, then,” the Pope concluded, “to teach hope, to faithfully await the coming of the Lord, and whatever desert we might have in our life will become a flowering garden.”
Pope Francis on Twitter
The family is a community of love where each of us learns to relate to others and to the world around us. – Pontifex.
Video: Blessing of the Christmas Tree in the Home
This is a short video which offers a blessing of the Christmas Tree in the home. Click here to watch the video.
Advent and the Sacrament of Reconciliation
The call to renewal of our Christian life is a central part of our preparation for the season of Christmas. The celebration of Advent, which began on Sunday last, should be an integral part of our preparation for the Feast of the birth of Our Saviour. In the Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Penance), we receive the gift of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Bishops strongly encourage all Catholics to make time to avail of the gift of God’s love in the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the season of Advent.
Friday Penance during Advent
Friday Penance: Make a special effort to avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Abstain from meat or some otherfood.
By our actions, our words, our prayer, our example of love, we can be credible, if imperfect witnesses to Christ. (Share the Good News, 32)
Advent Prayer Intentions
1. For the poor, the hungry, the unemployed, for people without homes,
and all those still struggling to recover from natural disasters.
2. For the Church: that this Advent may be a time marked by simplicity, calmness and quietness
as we wait in hope and wonder for Jesus who is present in our lives now and whose future reign is coming.
Prayer for Grandparents written by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord. This piece is an original setting by composer Brian J.Nelson. The performers in this selection are: David Adams – Cantor, Sunny J. Sun – Organ and the Saint Lawrence Choir. Click here to listen to the piece.