Good afternoon, Team
The second Sunday of Advent and yesterday I read, Fr Brian Glesson’s reflection for this Sunday. He writes a reflection one each week. Brian, is a Passionist in Sydney. His words this week captured me and encouraged me to share some of his wonderful insights. He says:
“In today’s readings, four messengers of God ‘encourage’ us to imagine that better future that God intends for us, and to live and act accordingly. Thus, the prophet Baruch assures people that God has not forgotten them. So, he urges them to swap their garments of sorrow and distress for the cloak of God’s goodness and integrity. The psalmist asks people to imagine a time when they will be exiles and slaves no longer, but go back home with joy, carrying the sheaves of grain they harvest along the way. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul praises them for how they have helped him in his work, and urges them to prepare for the day ‘when you will reach the perfect goodness’ that Jesus will produce in them. Finally, John the Baptist urges his hearers to ‘prepare a way for the Lord’, and get ready for the days when all human beings will finally ‘see the salvation of God.’
Notice that none of those four speakers confronts the people with the bare, unvarnished truth of what’s wrong with them. Each messenger speaks a message of hope, encouragement, and affirmation. ‘The times they are a-changing,’ they say. God is nearby, and is coming to change things, is coming to give you a brand-new start. ‘So, seize the day,’ God’s messengers say, ‘that brand-new day that God is offering you now. You can do it because your God is right beside you.’
So, all our Readings today share this wonderful insight: – We begin to change when others encourage us to see the best in ourselves.”
How true this is for our Passionist Family Groups and all the work you have done in caring and supporting one another. There have been many challenges and there have been many tensions trying to follow advice and trying to care for the vulnerable in our groups and at the same time reach out to all. Our church services have been severely disrupted as have, our lives. Planning is so difficult and things are still uncertain. But, there is a greater challenge and that comes from, our faith and trust, in God.
This Advent time with the theme of ‘expectation’ this week, allows us to step back and see God at work. Humans trying to live like Jesus in a down to earth and practical way. We rely on our PFG’s to meet, connect and remind us that God acts through us, in us and through others. We just have to trust that all will be well.
So, I encourage you to seek a connection with your fellow PFG member before Christmas in whatever form you are comfortable with – enjoy it and plan a gathering date for late January to get your PFG’s off to a good start in 2022.
Please continue to affirm what each of you are doing and give joy that this mission of being a “Family for All” is a gesture of joy. Blessings on each of you, Paul
Please click on link to view a presentation by Fr Kevin Dance CP on Gratitude. This was a talk given by Kevin on the occasion of a Passionist Institute celebrating 300 years.
Message re Covid – going forward:
Dear Family Group Team,
There have been a couple of questions and requests for guidance re working with our Family Groups across Aotearoa.
Quite simply, those of us with leadership oversight have committed to the requests that have come through the Guidelines from our Bishops and the requirements mandated by our Government. We suggest, that we seek in following these, that we are not judgemental or vindictive. Rather, with hearts of compassion we seek to welcome people to our gatherings and seek to find ways to be inclusive of all members of our Passionist Family Group. We propose that we seek to look out and look after the vulnerable. That, in all we do, “we do no harm”.
People may make choices that can create a feeling of fear then, we need to communicate that right. However, the group(s) also have a responsibility to keep each other safe. In any situation where we need to do this we also need to adaptive so as to include people. Lockdown has taught us that there are other ways of gathering without fear but with safety.
It is a work in progress! If we follow the line of “do unto others as you would have done to you” we have a roadmap. To our Group Coordinators, you are ‘encouragers’ and we are here to guide, support and listen to your concerns. Any queries or assistance please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Second Sunday of Advent Year C, 5 December 2021 – Prepare a way for the Lord! Who is the Lord for me? What is he saying along the winding ways and rough roads of my life?
First reading: Baruch 5:1-9
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 125(126)
Second reading: Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
Gospel: Luke 3:1-6
Link to readings – click here
Today’s readings offer the gift of joy, and the invitation to hear and respond to God who is reaching out to draw us ever closer.
In the First Reading, the Prophet Baruch reminds us that, despite all the challenges to our faith and hope in the Lord, we are called to follow God by the light of salvation.
Today’s Gospel puts this salvation of the Lord in a specific political, historical and geographical setting. By firmly anchoring the ministry of John the Baptist to a particular point in history, St Luke also gives weight to the reality of Jesus in a time and place. (Some scholars have deduced from these historical references that Jesus was baptised in the October of CE 27 – just after his 30th birthday – and was crucified on 3 April CE 30). In addition, Luke introduces us to ‘the voice’ that will announce the Saviour with insistence and urgency.
The Psalmist heralds the marvels worked for us by the Lord. St Paul (Second Reading), writing this letter of gratitude to the church at Philippi from prison, acknowledges his confidence in the one who, in us, will complete these good work of faith. In the coming week, how may I be a ‘voice crying in the wilderness’? How can I more fruitfully respond to Christ’s wonderful call? How will I continue to discern what is always best?
I begin, as usual, with careful, gentle attention. How settled or unsettled am I at the moment? What is my mood like as I come to prayer? What do I feel I need at this time? What grace am I seeking?
I take a few minutes to become still, entrusting myself into the care of the Holy Spirit, who brings consolation, who fosters trust and who opens my heart to joy and hope.
St Paul wrote this letter of gratitude to the church at Philippi. His affection for them is evident in his encouragement of them to live out their faith in joy. What do I notice as I read his lovely words? What is encouraging me, drawing me, lifting me up?
Paul wrote while held captive in a Roman prison. The demands and pressures of daily life can sometimes seem to deaden any joy in me. Where, like Paul, am I able to find true and lasting joy in the midst of even very difficult circumstances?
I might be drawn to ponder the good work that the Lord has done, is doing, and will do in me. Or, perhaps I reflect on those in my life who first introduced me to the Good News and encouraged me in my knowledge and perception of it. I pray for them with joyful gratitude. I end by thanking God from the heart and, perhaps, by asking for the grace to always recognise and choose what is best. Glory be …
What is Luke doing, firmly anchoring things in a concrete time and a place? Where have I found God at work in the concrete circumstances of my own history? Where do I continue to find him? What is he saying along the winding ways and rough roads of my life? And how am I preparing a way for him, readying myself in anticipation for his coming? I speak to him from the heart in complete trust. Our Father ………………Prepared by St Beuno’s Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexha
Did you hear about the guy writing a construction book?
A: He’s still working on it.
- Q: Did you get your hair cut?
A: No, I got them all cut.
- Q: Can you put the cat out?
A: Why, is it on fire?
- Q: Why are eggs bad at telling jokes?
A: They always crack each other up.
- Q: What do you call a 12-inch nose?
A: A foot.
- Q: Why did the man fall down the well?
A: Because he couldn’t see that well.
- Q: What animal is the worst at hiding?
A: The leopard — he’s always spotted.
- Q: Where do cats go to swim?
A: The kitty pool.
- Q: Why are spiders such know-it-alls?
A: They’re always on the web.
- Q: What do you call a pony with a sore throat?
A: A little hoarse
Have a good week –
Keep safe and God do with you