Well the end of the year is drawing nigh and I am sure most of you, if not all, are very tired and looking forward to winding down and having some R & R or quality time with family and friends.
The themes of Advent speak loudly of what we need to get through, in our lives, Peace, Hope, Joy and Love. For some, these come easily and for others, they comes after feeling battle weary. I can’t stop thinking of those in Gaza and the horrible pain, suffering and lack of dignity that has been shown. To kill people indiscriminately is just wrong and it pains me to see that the reaction and pressuring Israel to stop from other countries, is too slow.
This, I am sorry, tempers how I feel currently – it’s a sad time for humanity! When will we find peace? When will we overlook things and build bridges to one another. When will we learn to forgive and bring hope and encouragement to others showing the love of Jesus in being Emmanuel. God is here, now, not in some distant future. We should act as if the Messiah is one of us – build integrity, be respectful, give dignity and live with love and integrity.
That brings me to us as members working in, for, and through the Passionist Family Group Movement. I wanted to thank you for your support over this year and for the providing of hospitality, love and friendship. I could never do this job without your kindness, generosity and care. It has been a good year with many changes and we shall see more changes in 2024 with many clergy moving to new appointments. We have to work with them and support where we can to assist them in the work of Passionist Family Groups and how it builds community in the parish. If we don’t communicate, talk, advertise, invite and share then how will they know.
In my last round of travels it was evident that we need people in the groups to step up and assist with the coordination and not leave things to chance or to those who generously keep giving. If we live the Aims and Goals it is about ‘service’, not a club. It is about building bonds and connections; it is about checking in on those we have not seen for some time; it is about phone calls, notes and invitations. It places Jesus at the centre and showing hospitality through laughter, stories, friendship and love.
You have been wonderful but our work is not finished. As my father use to say; ‘the day you stop learning is the day you die!’ We have a belief that sometimes age hinders us – yes, we have a few more aches, pains and we tend to be affected by the losses around us but to me it is even more important to connect, invite and care for each other. In 2024 let us lift of the shackles of fear, despondency, busyness and work on our relationships so they make a difference in us and in and through our lives.
These actions give us much to celebrate and people will see in and through us In the God we talk about.
I sincerely thank you all for what you have done and are doing and look forward to connecting with you over 2024.
Love, peace, hope and joy,
Scripture reflection: Fourth Sunday of Advent Year B, 24 December 2023. – Son of David
Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord, your grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may by his Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of his Resurrection.
First reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16
Responsorial psalm: Ps 88(89):2-5, 27, 29
Second reading: Romans 16:25-27
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38
Link to readings – click here
This year, the Fourth Sunday of Advent is swallowed up in Christmas Eve. Perhaps we can celebrate it early so as not to lose the riches of this final week: the Lord is very near. In our First Reading, God does not allow David to build him a physical house but promises rather to build him a house, a dynasty, that will last forever. The Psalm reinforces this promise, and emphasises God’s Fatherly love and faithfulness. St Paul, in the Second Reading, tells of how God’s mystery, kept secret through the ages, has now been revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
In the Gospel, the well-loved narration of the Annunciation to Mary, we note how the angel emphasises that her Son will be of the House of David. Mary willingly agrees to be part of God’s plan. Tomorrow is Christmas Day: may we hold out our suffering world in yearning to the Prince of Peace.
Reflection Song: When a child is Born – Jonny Mathis
https://youtu.be/ZCqhX89WV_0?si=MKBVXgjgsoC_82tq – click on link
Scripture reflections: THE NATIVITY OF THE LORD 25 December 2023
First reading: Isaiah 9:1-7
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 95(96):1-3, 11-13
Second Reading: Titus 2:11-14
Gospel: Luke 2:1-14.
Link to readings – click here
e Kahu o te Ora: A Consistent Ethic of Life The landmark bishops’ teaching document Te Kahu o te Ora: A Consistent Ethic of Life is now available online as an easy-to-read flip
book, reached from a button on the NZCBC home page: https://www.catholic.org.nz/ Or from here: https://www.catholic.org.nz/resources/te-kahu/
Te Kahu o te Ora is a revised and much-expanded version of a 1997 bishops’ statement and reminds us that all life is a gift from God. NZCBC President and Bishop of Auckland Bishop Stephen Lowe says the bishops want every Catholic to read Te Kahu o te Ora. More information: https://www.catholic.org.nz/news/media-releases/tekahu-flip/
Reminder: 5 Aims and Goals
- share & celebrate life & faith
- support one another (especially in need)
- reaching out to & include others
- build community/extended family
- show and give example to children
Pease remember in your thoughts and prayer:
- Please keep Paul Geoghan in your prayers and remember his wife Christine and children and grandchildren.
- Please keep Jocelyn Bryant who is dealing with health issues also her husband Kevin and family.
- Please keep Richard Gibbs in your prayer he is currently in hospital and remember his wife Sue.
- Please keep a young mum in your prayers who is having pregnancy issues.
- Please keep Preston Epplett in your prayer and his family. Preston is recovering and returned home this week Amazing what they can do.
- Please remember Preston and Jenny Epplett’s daughter who is undergoing chemotherapy
- We pray for a quick recover for Sarah Peacock who had a fall and broke bones and led to a hip replacement . She has had great support by husband John and their PFG
- Please keep Debbi Davidson’s husband Bryan in your prayer after Debbi died on 1st November. Also, please keep the children and grandchildren and friends in your thoughts and prayer. Grief is a tough journey.
- Please keep Charlie and Maggi in your thoughts and prayer as they support their daughter and partner
- Please keep Anja van de Wettering in your prayers as she has shared she is expecting.
- Please keep David Victoria and baby in your prayers. There has been some positive progress and it now looks as if this baby will make it to full term.
- Please keep a friend in mind who is in very early stages of pregnancy but has had a few miscarriages so, things are touch and go.
- Please keep Robert van de Pas in your prayers – he continues to struggle with pain etc from Chronic Pancreatitis. He has an operation on December 21.
- Keep in mind all those who are struggling with various aspects of mental health.
- Please keep Richard and Sue Gibbs in your prayers -He is showing good signs of improvement
- Please keep in mind a son of a friend of mine who has just been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
- Please remember Martin van der Wetering in your prayers as his health still is causing him grief and discomfort.
- Please remember Phil Drew a former Passionist along with his wife Anne and family
- Please keep in your prayers those who continue to deal with the after effects of droughts on the horn of Africa. Also weather effects on other countries across the planet
- Please keep Bob Buckley in your prayers-
- Keep in prayer the people of Ukraine
- Keep people in Gaza and Israel in your prayer – these acts from both sides have had a horrible effect on the innocent as always.
- Please keep Nick and Leah and daughter Heidi Darbyshire along with Paul and Linda in your thoughts and prayer.
- Please pray for Dot and Neill Wilson (Invercargill) – their son-in-law Mark married to Dot’s daughter Anita has been diagnosed with aggressive brain tumour, Please keep in mind their daughter Bailey and son Taylor.
- Remember Pat and Rod Carson
- Aidan son of Josie and Phil McIntyre –his parents are his caregivers.
- Your own intentions
- What do you call a potato wearing glasses? A spec-tater.
- What do you call a moose with no name? Anonymoose.
- Why did the ram run over the cliff? He didn’t see the ewe turn.
- Why did the picture go to jail? He was framed.
- What is a calendar’s favorite food? Dates.
- Why was the football stadium cold? There were too many fans.
- Why do bananas wear sunscreen? Because they peel.
- Why do bees have sticky hair? Because they use honey combs.
- Why did the watch go on vacation? To unwind.
- How does a penguin build a house? Igloos it together.
- Why do melons have weddings? Because they cantaloupe.
- Why did the computer get glasses? To improve its website.
- What did the blanket say to the bed? I’ve got you covered.
- What did the roof say to the shingle? The first one’s on the house.
- What do you call birds that stick together? Velcrows