Our Lady of Fatima Parish – Advent Programme 2014 – Week 3

Expectant in Hope, Peace, Joy and Love

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Neighbourhood Faith-Sharing

Week Three: Joy


NOTE FROM FR. DES
The Lord’s coming is very near. Thank you for taking time out to spend this time with your group sharing your faith and what the Lord’s coming means for you. As you benefit from the insights of others, be sure that they benefit from you too.

OPENING PRAYER
May be prayed by a member of the group or by the entire group together

Father, our hearts are joyful at the nearness of the Saviour’s coming. Strengthen us in faith in these days of eager expectation and joyful hope. Through our sharing may we be filled with a renewed hope and a real sense of what the coming of Jesus means for us and what he is wanting to do in our lives, our homes and in our world. May the Holy Spirit guide our thoughts and words so that we may truly express what is in our hearts as we prepare for Jesus. Amen.

PREAMBLE

1. Did the call of John the Baptist make any difference in your life last week?

2. Were you able to be the voice of the Baptist in your home, workplace, social circle?

3. In what way(s) were you an instrument of the Lord’s peace?

4. Do you feel focused or are you still distracted by the many activities this time of the year demands?

5. What do you hope for as Christmas approaches?

SCRIPTURE
John 1: 1 – 34

REFLECTION
On Sunday we heard two extracts from this passage which the Church put together for us to begin this third week of Advent. I thought it would be better to hear Sunday’s gospel in its context, and also to anticipate what we will hear on Christmas Day. At the Christmas morning Mass the Gospel is always John 1: 1 – 18

John (the Evangelist) is at pains to point out that John the Baptist was not the light, but who came to bear witness to the light. That’s exactly what we are to be this Advent time ~ witnesses to the light. It’s a season of lights for this very reason. Remember the passage from Isaiah ‘the people that walked in darkness has seen a great light’? (Isaiah 9:1) Now John proclaims Jesus as ‘the light that shines in the darkness, a light that darkness could not overpower’ (vs 5). We are reminded of the darkness that enshrouded the land at the death of Jesus. But not even the darkness of death could overpower him. He broke through the darkness of death and he does the same for us. At Baptism we entered into the life and light of the Risen Saviour and this is the life we share now. If you have your Baptism Candle go home and light it and reflect on the light of Jesus in your life. Perhaps the light needs to be renewed and strengthened. This is one of the reasons we celebrate Christmas.

DISCUSSION/SHARING

1. In vs 14 we read ‘the Word was made flesh.’ What does this mean for you? Have you ever contemplated the reality of the Word becoming flesh ~ God becoming man?

2. Do you have a longing for Jesus to be born again within you? Before answering this question think about the events and happenings in your life this year.

3. Is there a sense of joyfulness, longing and expectation within you? Do you sense this in others around you? If not, what can be done to restore or re-create this joyfulness and longing?

4. Is there someone into whose life you can bring some Joy this week? (this could be a group activity)

5. What can you do to ensure a sense or joyfulness in your home and in your interaction with others?

6. Jesus came into our world to bring Healing, Reconciliation and Forgiveness. From these come a real sense of inner joy and peace. Will you consider receiving these wonderful gifts in the Sacrament of Reconciliation at the Penitential Service on Tuesday or Saturday morning/afternoon confessions. Invite someone to share this gifts with you.

7. John the Baptist proclaims that he is not fit to undo the sandal strap of Jesus. If he, the last of the great prophets, is not worthy, how can we be worthy to reach out and touch Jesus and to receive him in the Eucharist?

CLOSING PRAYER
Read: Isaiah 9: 1 – 3

Then:

· spend some moments of silent prayer

· pray aloud what you feel in your heart

· pray for any specific needs

· pray together:

Father, we thank you for our time spent together. Help us to emerge from the darkness, to renew our faith, allow Jesus to be born again within us and to live as children of the light. May our faithfulness during Advent be a true and honest reflection of our lives and preparation us for the celebration of Christmas and for the day of the Lord’s coming.

Jesus, Lord of light, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas. We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day. We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us. We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom. We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence. We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light and preparing for Jesus our Saviour. Amen

Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory be… Hail Holy Queen

To be prayed by the leader
Save us Lord while we are awake, protect us while we sleep, that we may keep watch in Christ and rest with him in peace. May the Lord grant us a quiet night, a peaceful rest and a perfect end. May Almighty God bless us, + the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Remember:

16 December: Penitential Service at Fatima from 7.00pm until 8.30pm

19 December: Nativity at 6.00pm followed by Children’s Christmas Tree

Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Durban North. Advent 2014

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