Our Lady of Fatima parish Advent Programme 2013 – Week 4

Longing for Light

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WEEK FOUR: LOVE


 Sunday 22 December

Scripture: Isaiah 7: 10 – 14

Reflection
I never cease to marvel at the wonder of our God, the great God of the universe, who in his love for mankind, empties himself to come and live among sinful humanity. In coming into our world he chooses the humblest and most simple way; born of a woman in a dirty, stinky stable in Bethlehem. How amazing is this!

As we begin this last week of Advent we have a real sense of the closeness of Christmas, the celebration of the extraordinary of our God coming into our world. It captures the hearts and imagination of all people; a child born, a host of angels appearing to shepherds, the wise men guided by a star. It is almost magical!

It is easy for us to forget the real purpose of God coming among us. Many of us get caught up in the magic and traditions of Christmas and forget about the Love of God made real for us in the birth of Jesus.

Emmanuel; God-is-with-us. The love of God is so extraordinary that he chooses to share our human nature with us; experience our hardships, feel our sadness, our temptations, our pain and anguish. Whatever we endure, all our joys and sorrows – our God knows this from personal experience. He chooses not to de distant from us but to enter into our human experience and, in the fullest possible way, to be with us in every situation, every circumstance. Has there ever been a god like our God!

The celebration of Christmas is an invitation to us to experience, once again, the real, living, presence of God. It is an opportunity to renew our faith and to have a personal encounter with God. Will you accept this invitation?

Practical Suggestion
The word Christmas comes from title given to Jesus – “Christ” and the most fundamental celebration of Christians – “Mass”. Have you decided yet about attending Mass on Christmas Day? It should be more than just because it is a Holy Day of Obligation. Make it your personal encounter with God who comes to you. Reach out to touch him and he reaches out to you. Be filled with his presence and allow his love to flood your life.

Prayer
O God, who in your great, immense and immeasurable love for us, has come into our world, come and be born again in my heart and life. May I filled this Christmas with the fulness of your presence, strengthening, guiding and directing me and bringing me the gifts of love and peace. Amen.


Monday 23 December

Scripture: Malachi 3: 1 – 4 “Behold I send my messenger before me”

Reflection
All through sacred scriptures God sent messengers to bring messages of joy, instruction, forgiveness, guidance, that’s the way God works. He uses human flesh and blood to communicate divine truth. In this season of Advent the messenger we hear a lot about is the angel Gabriel, we also know of John the Baptist and even the disciples were messengers.

Today each one of us is the messenger God sends before him. We, each one of us, are called to go before Jesus and create conditions for others to come into a personal relationship with Him. I often wonder how often I wait for others to create these condition not realising I am the one called to do so. I must talk of Gods mercy, love, forgiveness and justice. Complaining, moaning and criticising is NOT preparing the way for God but the way for evil.

What kind of messenger am I?

Practical Suggestion
Today may we be attentive to how often positive life giving words pass through our lips in comparison to how often negative, prejudice, hurtful and judgemental words pass through our lips. Then ask the question of ourselves – What kind of messenger am I ?

Prayer
Eich Lord, help me to be a better messenger of mercy, help me to only open my mouth when I am to preach good news and when I’m about to preach bad news send some Holy super glue to keep my mouth shut until I have something good to say. Amen.


Tuesday 24 December

Scripture: Luke 1: 67 – 79

Reflection
For some, this day has proved to be the most hectic time before Christmas Day; preparation for the Christmas lunch, last minute rush to buy another gift, and gifts to be wrapped and placed below the Christmas tree.

But how well did we prepare in the weeks of Advent to receive the greatest gift ever – God’s gift of his Son? Or did we wait ‘till the last minute’ to prepare for his coming? We should all be well prepared in advance, and with joy and hope, to receive our Saviour.

In sending the Messiah,God has made a gracious gift to his people to redeem them. This was the mission for which Jesus Christ was sent into the world- to redeem us sold for sin and sold under sin. In the feast of the Incarnation we celebrate the greatest gift of God in sending his only begotten Son.

Let us pray that Holy Spirit may inspire us with joy and hope, as it inspired Zechariah a vision for his own son as a prophet and forerunner who would prepare the way for the Messiah.

Like the Baptist, we too are called to prepare the way that leads to Christ.

Practical Suggestions
• Due to personal circumstances, there are so many people who are struggling to obtain the feeling of hope and joy in preparation for the birth of our Saviour. If you know of such a person or people, invite them to join you at Midnight Mass or one of the Masses on Christmas day.
• Put together a hamper of food and give it to those poor souls who stand begging at the street intersections.
• If you know of someone who will be alone on Christmas Day, invite them to join your family for Christmas lunch.

Prayer
Lord, you have been gracious and merciful towards your people. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may bear witness to the joy of the gospel to those around me.


Wednesday 25 December

Scripture: Luke 2: 1 – 14

Reflection
The beginning of the greatest story every told! The entire world celebrates today’s event. People greet each other and wish one another ‘Merry Christmas” or “Happy Christmas” regardless of their religion. Of course for you who are reading this reflection, there is a deeper and more profound meaning. Today we celebrate Emmanuel, God-is-with-us. God has come into our world to enter into our lives. He has come to walk among us and with us. Today is more than a commemoration of a past event in Bethlehem; it is present event; Jesus born again in the hearts and lives of all who desire his presence.

Over the past weeks we have been preparing for his coming, renewing and restoring our hearts to the innocence of our Baptism through prayer, scripture, the Blessed Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The past event celebrates Jesus born in a dirty stable in Bethlehem. Today he is born in our hearts – and through each of us, born in our world. God is among us! How great is our God!!

Practical Suggestion
Take a moment today to be filled with the utter fulness of God’s presence and his love in the birth of Jesus. Stop for a moment at the crib or nativity scene in church or in your home and give thanks for this great gift of love. Make a commitment to live always in this love.

Prayer
Be with me Lord Jesus in everything I do and say. Fill me with the Light I have been longing for. Amen.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be …

These Daily Reflections for Advent 2013 were written by Fr. Desmond Nair, Fr. Stephen Tully, Deacon Peter Venter, Irene Helsdon, Fr. Brett Williams and Deacon Henry Blair. We encourage you to copy and distribute to anyone you think may benefit from these Daily Reflections. Please acknowledge the authors when reprinting. We hope that, in some little way, we have touched your hearts and helped to deepen and enrich your faith. May Jesus in his coming find you at peace with yourself and your neighbor. May he fill your with the Love of his presence. We wish you a Blessed Christmas.
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Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Durban North. Advent 2013.