10 Dec 2011

10th December 2011 - 3rd Sunday of Advent (Gaudate Sunday)

On this weeks programme, we are joined by Stephanie O'Donnell from Youth2000, we have our regular gospel reflection as well as some local notices and a few saints of the week.
The weeks podcast is available HERE.

Youth 2000 Ireland - "Youth leading youth to the heart of the church"

Stephanie is back visiting us in studio this week giving us an update on the activity of Youth2000 during the year and a reminder of what they get up to a Y2K weekends and retreats through out the year.

There is also a reminder of the Youth 2000 Christmas Retreat which is on from December 16th - 18th in Newbridge Co Kildare.If you would like to get on to the free bus going to the retreat  please contact Eleanor on 085-7443808.

Check out the Youth2000 website for further information and details of other up events through the year.

Gospel - John 1: 6-8, 19-28

Again this week we have a presentation of that great Advent figure, John the Baptist, although this week it is from the Gospel of St John. It is the prologue to the gospel which is a very different gospel to the style of the other three synoptic gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke). We have the focus on the relationship with God and Light and the tradition of Jesus as the Light of the World with John the Baptist only coming as a witness to the Light of the World.
John the Baptist is coming across as being humble and knowing his role in relation to God. He is the man who responds "I am not", very self effacing and also reminding us of the self identification of God as "I AM WHO I AM". He stresses his role as the herald, and only claims his Isaiah-ian authority as the "voice in the wilderness". He seeks no other role except that as a witness. He is not giving his own opinion but is rather testifying to the love of God and the need to prepare for the Lord. He steps out side of the story and reminds others that the Messiah is coming. As a witness John speaks from out of the desert, reminding us that he was not part of the established religious authorities in Jerusalem. It also reminds us of the call of God from out of the desert and reminding us of the role of the desert in the relationship of Israel with God. It is a reminder of our need to take time especially in this Advent season to make time and space for God in our lives.

The role of darkness and light is also a motif in this weeks gospel, very much touching on the theme of hope and reminding us for the need to be aware the potential for growth in the darkness of our lives, like the seed in the darkness of the earth, there is always a chance and opportunity for us to grow in the love of God.

Michael de Vertuil prayer reflection on this weeks gospel:

Lord, there is much darkness around us in society,
in our church community, in our family, in our own hearts.
Eventually it gets us down. We become cynical and settle for mediocrity.
We thank you that someone always comes on the scene,
sent by you as a witness to speak for the light:
- on the world scene, people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa;
- in our country, teachers, workers, community leaders;
- a grandparent, one of our children, a friend.
They bear witness to the rest of us that somewhere in the dark
a light always shines,
a light that darkness cannot overpower,
and therefore we can all believe again.

Two further thoughts for the week from the Centre for Liturgy
"Henri Nouwen was once asked: “Are you an optimist?” His reply: “No, not naturally, but that isn’t important. I live in hope, not optimism.”

Teilhard de Chardin once said the same thing in different words when he was accused of being overly-idealistic and unrealistic in the face all the negative things one sees in the world. A critic had challenged him: “Suppose we blow up the world with a nuclear bomb, what then happens to your vision of a world coming together in peace?” Teilhard’s response lays bare the anatomy of hope: “If we blow up the world by nuclear bombs, that will set things back some millions of years, but eventually what Christ promised will come about, not because I wish it, but because God has promised it and, in the resurrection, God has shown that God is powerful enough to deliver on that promise.”

Hope is precisely that, a vision of life that guides itself by God’s promise, irrespective of whether the situation looks optimistic or pessimistic at any given time."
Other reflections on this weeks gospel:
Saints of the Week

December 12th - St Finnian, also Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 13th - St Lucy
December 14th - St John of the Cross

Local Notices (courtesy of the Diocesan Webmail).

Sun 11th Dec: Abbeyfeale Carol Service

The Church of the Assumption, Abbeyfeale
will be hosting an
Advent Musical Celebration
on Sunday, December 11th, 2011.
Featuring the Abbeyfeale Senior Church Choir, the boys and girls of Scoil Mhathair Dé and St Marys, and the Kerry Chamber of Music, Tralee, with orchestra.
Admission is 5 euro, and family tickets are available for 10 euro.
Doors open 7pm. All are very welcome!

Thurs, 15 Dec. Advent Talks series

Dominican Biblical Institute, Upper Cecil Street, Limerick.
Advent Talks Series: A way forward for the church
Thursday 15 December. Speaker: Ethna Regan
Seeking understanding and hoping a future.
Ethna teaches theology at Mater Dei Institute, Dublin. She was a lecturer at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad, where she lived for over a decade and also worked for justice and human rights.

Fri, 16th Dec: Christmas: A journey of Hope

You may have seen the pictures in the papers launching the CD and event called 'Christmas: A journey of hope'. We are all delighted with the great feedback we've been getting about this once-off diocesan Advent get-together.

Some parishes have already booked buses to bring parishioners, others are offering tickets as early Christmas 'thank you' presents to those who have served faithfully this year. Several of those calling to the Pastoral Centre to buy tickets, spoke of bringing a neighbour who might like a night of Christmas carols and good cheer.

Whatever the reason, there is a great buzz building about this gathering. Tickets are selling and parishioners are organising lifts! We can only advise newsletter editors to share this information (see HERE for picture and text), so that people aren't disappointed when the pictures of this smiling faces at this enjoyable event appear again in our local press!
Come and sing Carols with your fellow Christians!!

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