Recently, Passionist Provincial Fr Thomas McDonough CP wrote: “Our parish in Marlborough, New Zealand, which, sadly, we must leave soon, captures the work of confidence and love beautifully in this quote in our last Passionist Parish bulletin:”
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
…To find the lost,
…To heal the broken,
…To feed the hungry,
…To release the prisoner,
…To rebuild the nations,
…To bring peace among brothers and sisters,
…To make music in the heart
Personally, what struck me with this message is that it resonates with the scene where Jesus in Luke 4: 18-19 opens the scroll from the prophet Isaiah and announces his mission. The elements in both are what we are called to follow and live out in our life.
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”[a]
Passionist Family Groups seek in a down to earth, practical way to draw people together in relationship and to draw connections where people feel like family and are treated like family giving all a sense of being ‘at home’. All are welcomed.
Hopefully, most of you have had connection with family and friends and had the opportunity to recharge your batteries. It has been a tough couple of years and there have been ample examples of people looking out for one another and trying to be inclusive. The message of Christmas can continue to be lived as we move forward into 2022. We have found that for some the Covid effect created fear and led some groups to close ranks which was understandable. What we have suggested is that we continue to find ways to connect. People make choices for all sorts of reasons and judging them and/or excluding them is not what our PFGM is about. At the same time people have a right to feel safe! Therefore, we are all called to meet in the middle we all have to try and do things differently. Outdoor functions would assist with masks and 2 metre distancing – if everyone follow these then this would provide a non-judgemental atmosphere. Indoors is always going to be tricky and we have to respect the wishes of those whose homes we enter. This would be where zoom calls, notes, messages, text would all be beneficial.
The Omicron Variant has arrived in the community. Please keep safe and be vigilant in your work and play.
It’s a New Year and the opportunity of ‘new beginnings’. With ‘hope’ and ‘love’ in our hearts may we continue to build bonds of care, support and goodwill through compassion, acceptance and forgiveness. You have been brilliant for a long time now let us keep at the wheel and live the mission of Jesus with intent. Let us continue to the best version of ourselves. Like any race just get to the starting line and then, begin!
“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” ~ Nido Qubein
Love and blessings, Paul
https://youtu.be/CkLt2TyHJF0 An Irish Heart
“May luck be your friend in whatever you do and may trouble be always a stranger to
you.” — Irish Blessing
The Epiphany of The Lord Year C, 2 January 2022
First reading: Isaiah 60:1-6
Responsorial Psalm: 71(72):1-2, 7-8, 10-13
Second reading: Ephesians 3:2-3, 5-6
Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
Link to readings – click here!
The ancient Feast of the Epiphany celebrates the fact that Israel’s Messiah is also the Saviour of the entire world. We believers of later generations take this for granted. But it is clear that for the earliest Christians of non-Jewish (“Gentile”) origin it was a source of immense wonder and gratitude. The passage from Ephesians (3:2-3, 5-6) read as today’s Second Reading speaks of it as a great “mystery” that Paul himself came to know by revelation (cf. Gal 1:16), before becoming, as Apostle to the Gentiles, the principal instrument of its realisation.
Faced with this “mystery” of the extraordinary richness and scope of God’s salvation, the early Christians sought to find some foretelling of it in the Scriptures of Israel. The Book of Isaiah, more especially, the oracles of the post-exilic prophet(s) we hear in chapters 40-66, proved a rich mine for this purpose. The prophecies feature the kind of inclusive vision that emerges so magnificently from the text set for today’s First Reading (Isa 60:1-6). It has clearly influenced Matthew’s account of the coming of the Wise Men, which forms the Gospel.
BREAK OF DAWN
The reading from Isaiah addresses the holy city, Jerusalem. The image seems to be that of the break of dawn. All around, in the valleys, is darkness (“night still covers the earth and darkness the peoples”). But the highly elevated city of Jerusalem is beginning to catch the rays of the rising sun, a magnificent illumination identified with the “glory of the Lord”. At this, the nation’s begin streaming to Jerusalem, bringing their riches to the God of Israel.
Providing the Gospel for today’s Feast, the story of the coming of the Wise Men (“magi”) from the East (Matt 2:1-12) catches up and expands upon this vision. It is interesting that Matthew’s gospel, so much at pains as it is to portray Jesus in Jewish light, lets this pilgrimage from the Gentile world dominate the story of Jesus’ childhood. Matthew’s gospel will conclude on the same note when, standing on a mountain, clad with all authority in heaven and on earth, the risen Lord commissions his disciples to go and “make disciples of all nations, …” (28:16-20).
There are so many ways to draw rich reflections from the coming of the Wise Men. I think it is important to bring out the blend between pagan wisdom and (Jewish) scribal information that led them to the Saviour. Their own natural gifts, the wisdom of their people and their scientific investigations (astronomy) have impelled their quest. With many peoples in the ancient world they shared a belief that the birth of persons destined for greatness, especially as rulers, was signalled by extraordinary manifestations in the heavens. So they have seen in their eastern homeland a “star”, according to biblical prophecy (Num 24:17), signaled the birth of a “king of the Jews” who would have universal significance. They have followed this star in their journey and it has brought them to Jerusalem.
But to locate more precisely the One whose birth it announces they need to consult the scribal wisdom of Israel. The chief priests and scribes tell them of the prophecy of Micha that points them, accurately as it turns outs, to David’s city, Bethlehem.
https://youtu.be/GibiNy4d4gc The Circle of Life
- Q: Why do rappers need umbrellas?
- Q: What’ the difference between ignorance and apathy?
A:I don’t know, and I don’t care.
- Q: What gets sharper the more you use it but dull if you don’t use it at all?
- Q: Why did the period tell the comma to stop?
A: It was the end of the sentence.
- Q: How did the bullet lose its job?
A: It got fired.
- Q: Where do cows go on Friday nights?
A: The moo-vies!
- Knock Knock
It’s to whom.
- Q: What is a cow without a map?
A: Udderly lost.
- I was looking for the lightning when it struck me.
- The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.
“In the New Year, never forget to thank your past years because they enabled you to reach today! Without the stairs of the past, you cannot arrive at the future!”
~ Mehmet Murat Ildan
May 2022 be kind to you and may the God of infinite patience walk with us and go before us as we strive to live our lives. Be gentle with yourselves.
Love and blessings,