This weeks podcast is available HERE. Please bear in mind it may take a while to open as the programme is two hours long and has a lot of music included. If you don't have the time to listen to the whole programme, we would suggest that you listen to the various reflections and contributions to the programme.
Blessings for those who work on Christmas Day.
Bless parents, guardians and carers this day. You remind us of Gods great love for each child: “We love because he first loved us.” (1John 4:19).
In the midst of a busy day today: may you find time for appreciation: time to give thanks for those you are privileged to parent / care for. May your thought words and actions be a blessing for all in your home this Christmas day.
Bless those who serve food this day: As you prepare food today; may God bless the food that you prepare and serve, so that those who receive are nourished in body, heart and soul. And may you know Gods love this day – for through your service, Gods will is being fulfilled: ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat (Mthw 25)
Bless those who serve the sick:At Christmas we recognise that God so loves the world that God trusts us to care for his only son, born as a helpless baby in a poor stable. We pray for all whom God entrusts to serve the sick, vulnerable or weak today. May your hands be as gentle as Marys, your support as strong as Josephs, and your words as kind and joyful as the angels this Christmas day.
Bless those who protect and serve usThe angels on that Christmas night sang, ‘peace on earth to all of good will’.
May God bless those who put their lives on hold today, so that no one is alone in an emergency.
Bless our Guards, our Fire service, and all who keep basic facilities like electricity and water working today. May God give courage, peace and compassion to all who serve and protect us today, on land, sea or air.
Bless those whose work keeps them away from loved ones today. Mary and Joseph were far from their home village on the night Jesus was born. It was precisely where God wanted them to be. We pray for all who cannot be at home this Christmas due to their work. May God bless each worker today and send them signs of Gods love, and our appreciation, this day. May all who work this day, see and appreciate Gods invitation to incarnation – to be Christs hands and Christs feet in the world today – so that in every moment of this day, in every place we are: Jesus Christ is at work, love is alive and Christmas is really present in a powerful way.
Fr Tony Mulllins Reflection
Fr Tony reminds us that Christmas should be a time of reflection, a time to spend with family and also to re-connect with people with may not have seen or been in contact with for a while. It is a season where we think often of the various relationships that we have. Especially at this time of year, thoughts often turn to those who are no longer in their seat at the Christmas table through death, emigration or separation of various types. It is also a time to reflect on our relationship with God, which was demonstrated his love through the Incarnation at the first Christmas. Christmas is a reminder of the love God shares with us and how we should share that love with one another.
Noirin Lynch Reflection
Noirin joined us on the programme again and shared her thoughts about the Gift of Christmas. She asks have we lost our focus; are we more concerned with what we can get rather than responding to the trust and love of God in us demonstrated by the fact he gave us his Son. How amazing is that fact? That God trusted us by giving us his Son.
Love is more than doing things for other people. We need to be 'present' to each other, not just giving presents to each other. God looks to our ability to take care of His Love. God called love out of us in His Son. He trusts and believes in us and how capable love is of stretching us in how we live our lives.
Gospel - Luke 2:1-14
The story of Christmas is a very familiar story, one that we can be too familiar with which poses its own challange which we might miss due to our familarity. The gospel from the beginning of the second chapter of Luke is very much the story of the shepherds. It is a chapter that begins with important people and moves from the great Caesar Augustus right down to the birth of child to an unimportant couple in a rustic province of the Roman Empire. God intervenes in history and completly flips our understanding of the important things in life.
Pope Benedict XVI reflecting in his Christmas Eve homily reminds us of the need to discover anew the humility of God and the simplicity of God in his relationship with us behind the razzmatazz of the holiday season. We need to discover again the wonder of Christmas.
Christmas is an extreme manifestation of God's love by his entering into our existence. It is the reason of the good news of the angels to the shepherds. Todays gospel is another Annunciation, this time announced to the shepherds. The gospel reminds us "Do not be afraid!" because of the message that the angels brought on thet first Christmas night. It was a message of joy and hope which is to be shared with all people.
The Shepherds are reminders of those who are on the margins, they were people who lived on the edges of Jewish society. But it was to these that the angels went to, to make an annunciation of great news. They remind us who are on the margins of our society - travellors, homeless, elderly on their own, single parents - but it is to these we need to bring the news of hope of Christmas. The Shepherds were not family to Mary and Joseph but they were welcomed in to see the new born child. A reminder to us that those on the margins of our society are still our family - our brothers and sisters in Christ - who need to be welcomed into our hearths and homes of faith.
Christmas is a message for all people, not just for Christians but for the whole world.
The journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem is a harsh journey through desert until you ascend to Jerusalem which Joseph and Mary undertook. Then after completing that harsh journey, they could only find accomodation in a dirty stable where the God-Child was born. And it asks us, do we take a sanitised understanding of Christmas, a clean, sterile view of it all?
Jesus wasnt just born 2000 years ago, but he is also being born into each of our daily lives and the question is, are we making room for him?
But we close our reflection by looking to the great prophecy of Isaiah;
"The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
For every boot that tramped in battle,
every cloak rolled in blood,
will be burned as fuel for flames.
For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace."
May the Prince of Peace bless each of us this Christmas Season and that as a praying people we can join in the angels hymn saying:
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
Fr Michael Liston Reflection
Podcast of the reflection only available HERE
Fr Michael reminds us of that great message of the angels "Do not be afraid"! The angels brought news of great joy to us all especially in these difficult days. We need to make a little room in our hearts for the hope given to us, to the Word from our heavenly Father given to us in his Son. The birth of an innocent child is a sign of what God wants for each of us, the joy and simplicity of children. We are reminded to be child-like not childish. We need to be able to sit down with the little Christ Child - an Íosagán - and gently open our hearts to the Babe of Bethlehem.
Saints of the Week
December 26th - St Stephen (Martyr)
December 27th - St John the Apostle
December 28th - Holy Innocents
December 29th - St Thomas á Becket (Martyr)
December 30th - Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary & Joseph
December 31st - St Sylvester
January 1st - Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God
Music Selection from this weeks programme
The Priests - O Holy Night - The Priests
Marilla Ness - Angels we have heard on high - The Sweet Sounds of Christmas
James Kilbane - When a Child is born - The Christmas Collection
Carmel Horan - Silent Night - Silent Night
The 16 Harry Christophers - Good King Wenceslas - Classic FM Christmas Carols
David Parkes - Sing Hosanna - We stand for God
Priests of Limerick Diocese - O Come All Ye Faithful - Christmas: A Journey of Hope.