Day 17: Tuesday 15 December 2020

Welcome to Day 17 of our Advent Calendar!

As a people of faith, we can learn from them and be guided by the way God relates to, challenges, corrects, confronts and consoles his people in the Bible.  How are we coping with the restrictions – working from home, deprived of public celebration of Mass, confined to low numbers at funerals and weddings, unable to socialise in pubs and attend sporting occasions?  In many respects, due to the marginalisation of faith, we inhabit a rather closed world where the larger questions, when they arise are addressed in a very narrow and confined area.  People of faith are readily dismissed as living in the past.  Faith however is never naive, blind or unquestioning. It does not and cannot avoid the major questions which we face.  Religious faith creates community and encourages altruism. How we relate to God is reflected in our relationship with others where there is loyalty, love, generosity and trust. – Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam.

Readings for Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent
Zeph 3:1-2, 9-13. Ps 33:2-3, 6-7, 16, 18-19, 23, R/ v 7. Mt 21:28-32

The poor and marginalised are given hope through the coming of Christ. There is no place for the proud and overbearing in the kingdom of God. www.catholicbishops.ie/readings

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 Sandra Garry, PA to the Executive Administrator of the Councils and Agencies of the Irish Bishops’ Conference. In this piece Sandra reflects on the empty place at the table for families who have lost a loved one.

Click below to listen to the audio. 

The Words of Pope Francis 

On Saint Joseph and Fatherhood

Joseph, example of a man who took nothing for himself – Pope Francis

Pope Francis said Saint Joseph “took up” the fatherhood of Jesus, “a paternity that was not his own, but God’s.”

In difficulties, in troubles, in darkness, we learn from St Joseph who knew “how to walk in darkness,” “how to listen to the voice of God,” “how to go forward in silence.” That was Pope Francis’ reflection during the morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta, commenting on the day’s Gospel. Jesus, he explained, was born of Mary, the spouse of Joseph, the son of David.

Joseph believed and obeyed

The Pope reflected on the emotions felt by Joseph when the signs of Mary’s pregnancy appeared after she returned from the house of Elizabeth: He spoke of his “doubts,” his “sorrow,” of his “suffering,” while all around him people began to murmur – the “gossip of the neighbourhood.” He “did not understand,” but he knew that Mary was “a woman of God”: and so he decided “to send her away quietly,” not accusing her publicly. Such was his intention until “the Lord intervened,” through an angel, in a dream, who explained how the child had been conceived in her through the Holy Spirit. And so “he believed and obeyed”:

“Joseph fought within himself; in that struggle, the voice of God [is heard]: ‘But get up’ — that ‘Get up’ [which is heard] so many times in the Bible at the beginning of a mission — ‘Take Mary, bring her to your home. Take charge of the situation; take this situation in hand, and go forward.’ Joseph didn’t go to his friends to be comforted, he didn’t go to a psychiatrist so that he could interpret the dream. No… He believed. And he went forward. He took the situation in hand. But what must you take in hand, Joseph? What was the situation? What was it that Joseph had to take up? Two things: fatherhood, and mystery.”

Taking charge of “fatherhood”

First, the Pope continued, Joseph had to take charge of “fatherhood.” And this is already implied in the genealogy of Jesus, which explains how He “was thought to be the son of Joseph:

“He took on a paternity that was not his own: it came from the Father. And he went ahead with that fatherhood and all it signified: not only supporting Mary and the Child, but also raising the Child, teaching Him his trade, bringing Him up to manhood. ‘Take up a paternity that is not yours, but God’s.” And this, without saying a word. In the Gospel, there is not a single word spoken by Joseph. A man of silence, of silent obedience.”

Taking in hand the mystery of leading people back to God

Joseph is also the man who “takes in hand” the mystery. The first Reading explains that it is the mystery of “bringing the people back to God,” the mystery of the re-Creation — which, as the liturgy tells us, is “even more wondrous” than the first. 

“Joseph took in hand this mystery and helps: with silence, with his work, up to the moment when God called him to Himself. It is said of this man, who took up fatherhood and mystery, that he was the shadow of the Father: the shadow of God the Father. And if the man Jesus learned to say ‘daddy,’ ‘father,’ to His Father Who He knew as God, He learned it from life, from the witness of Joseph, the man who took care of [Him], the man who raised [Him], the man who carried forward every paternity and every mystery, but took nothing for himself.”

This, Pope Francis said, is “the great Joseph,” who God needed to carry forward “the mystery of leading the people anew to the new Creation.”

#LivingAdvent2020 #SharingHope 

During Advent we are sharing family prayers and suggestions for acts of kindness or charity that all of us are encouraged to undertake during the month of December. 

Advent Random Act of Kindness 
Offer to help someone who has a big to-do-list for Christmas.

Advent Act of Charity 
Support families in need this Christmas. Give what you can of your time or make a donation to one of the many organisations helping people in need. 

#SharingHope

We invite you to share our message of hope each day of Advent on your social media or website. Here is today’s message of hope: 

Advent Prayers

Our Prayer Intentions for the Day to Pray Together 

A Prayer in Remembrance 
In remembrance Prayer Family Prayer Book

2. We pray for those who are sick;
that they may experience
the Lord’s healing touch.

3. Loving Father, we place our trust in you,
You gave us the Lord Jesus Christ to be our armour.
Hear our prayers during this Advent Season,
through Christ, our Lord. Amen

 

Music
All my heart this night rejoices. Click here to listen to this beautiful hymn for Advent and Christmas.

Ends

The IEC provides external links as convenience to our users. The appearance of external links does not constitute endorsement by IEC of the information, products or services contained therein.