Merry Christmas; Meri Kirihimete ; Bon Natale; Maligayang Pasko; ਮੇਰੀ ਕਰਿਸਮਸ Mērī karisamasa; manuia le Kirisimasi; क्रिसमस की बधाई krisamas kee badhaee; Giáng sinh vui vẻ; joyeux Noël ; καλά Χριστούγεννα kalá Christoúgenna; felice navi da – to all our Passionist Family Group members and friends, Good afternoon and hoping this past week has been kind to you all. The preparations for a ‘family gathering ‘, will be a highlight for most but , for some the distance from loved ones remain. Our thoughts and prayers are with each of you at this time. Please ensure that your presence brings delight to those you gather with or invite over. We all need to be kind, sensitive and supportive at this time as well as enjoying family and the sense of being “at home”. I thought the following piece shared by Fr Richard Rohr OFM was insightful, challenging and engages us in a reflection of what this ‘season’ is all about. Keep making a difference in each other’s lives through your ministry of Passionist Family Groups.
Father Richard reminds us of the startling realities of the first Christmas: The Poverty of Christmas
“There’s really nothing necessarily pretty about the first Christmas. We have Joseph breaking the law, knowing what he should do with a seemingly “adulterous woman,” but he doesn’t divorce Mary as the Law clearly tells him to do, even though he has no direct way of knowing that the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit [Matthew 1:18–24]. It can certainly lead us to wonder why so much of Christianity became so legalistic when we have at its very beginning a man who breaks the law to protect the dignity of the woman he loves. Then, we clearly have a couple that is homeless and soon to be refugees or immigrants in their flight to Egypt shortly after Jesus’ birth [Matthew 2:13–15].
So, where is this God revealing God’s self? Certainly not in the “safe” world, but at the edge, at the bottom, among those people and places where we don’t want to find God, where we don’t look for God, where we don’t expect God. The way we’ve shaped Christianity, one would think it was all about being nice and middle class and “normal” and under the law. In the Gospels, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are none of those things, so they might just be telling us we should be looking elsewhere for our status and dignity. Maybe the reason that our knowledge of God is so limited is because we’ve been looking for God in places we consider nice and pretty. Instead, God chooses the ordinary and messy.”
The passion of Jesus will teach us like the cosmos does that life and death have continued for billions of years. The night sky is full of light but the remains of death…the stars we see are suns that have died. Yet, they still shine – what start can we see into the night sky? What hopes and dreams do we sigh when we see the enormity above us? Maybe, we stand in silence and see that all that is above is also within us. Immanuel – “God with us” – this Holy Night…Amen.
Maybe this will assist with your ongoing reflection:
https://youtu.be/qiGidFPyH04 Oh Holy Night – Neil Diamond
CHRISTMAS DAY: 25 DECEMBER
First reading: Isaiah 9:1-7
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 95(96): 1-3, 11-3
Second reading: Titus 2:11-14
Gospel: Luke 2:10-11
Link to readings – click here
This year in the wake of the Glasgow summit and unusual and destructive weather patterns, people have been reflecting on the emergency of the climate situation depicted. Some have been incredulous; others saddened and despairing; still others galvanised into action.
As a Christian, for whom life and prayer are inseparable …
Where do I stand? What can I do in practical terms?
This year, consider these questions as you pray throughout the Christmas period, pondering both with the traditional Scriptural texts and some words from the encyclical letter of Pope Francis: Laudato si’ (‘On care for our common home’: 2015). As we step into the New Year, you may like to reflect more deeply on what we can each do in response to these words:
‘I would like to ask … all men and women of goodwill: Let us be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.’ – Pope Francis, 19 March 2013
GOSPEL: LUKE 2: 1–14
Now at this time Caesar Augustus issued a decree for a census of the whole world to be taken, and everyone went to their own town to be registered. So Joseph set out from the town of Nazareth in Galilee and travelled up to Judaea, to the town of David called Bethlehem, since he was of David’s House and line, in order to be registered together with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there the time came for her have her child, and she gave birth to a son, her first born. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them at the inn.
In the countryside close by there were shepherds who lived in the fields and took it in turns to watch their flocks during the night. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone round them. They were terrified, but the angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. Listen, I bring you news of great joy, a joy to be shared by the whole people. Today in the town of David a saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly with the angel there was a great throng of the heavenly host, praising God and singing: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to all who enjoy his favour.’
My PFG Planned Activities for 2022:
Meeting in Ashburton January 23 to organised relaunch after 10am mass
Meeting in ChCh North to organise relaunch January 26 7pm-8pm St Gregory’s.
PFG 30th Anniversary Mass 12 February ‘22 – Hastings (St Peter Chanel 5.30pm) Hawkes Bay
PFG 30th Anniversary Mass 13 February ‘22 – Napier ( St Patricks 10am) Hawkes Bay
ChCh South Relaunch- Feb 26-27, 2022;
Aussie National PFG Meeting in Melbourne March 4-6 2022:
Ashburton Relaunch – Mar 19-20, 2022?
ChCh North Relaunch – Mar 26-27, 2022
Q: What does a school and plant have in common?
- Q: What did the middle schooler say to the high schooler?
A: Nothing, they texted.
- Q: What is the resemblance between a green apple and a red apple?
A:They’re both red except for the green one.
- Q: Why did Adele cross the road?
A:To sing, “Hello from the other side!”
- Q: How do you drown a hipster?
A:In the mainstream.
- Q: What did the baby corn say to the mama corn?
A: Where is pop corn?
- Q: What did one DNA strand say to the other?
A:Does my bum look good in these genes?
- Q: How do mine-craft players celebrate?
They throw block parties.
- Q: What happens to a frog’s car when it breaks down?
A:It gets toad away.
Every blessing and best wish to each of you for this Christmas Season.
Love and Blessings, Paul
“May the Passion of Jesus be always on our minds and in our hearts”