5 Jan 2014

5 January 2014 - Second Sunday of Christmas (Year A) - RCIA

In this week's programme, we catch up with John Casey, a parish catechist in Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. George in Enfield in the Diocese of Westminster.  John updates us on the journey of faith undertaken by those who are participating in the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) in his parish.  The RCIA is the means by which adults become members of the Catholic Church within the local parish community.  It is aimed at those who are drawn to Christianity, but do not come from a Christian background, other Christians who wish to come into full communion with the Catholic Church and Catholics who were baptised but did not receive the Sacraments of Eucharist or Confirmation.

 
On the first Sunday of Advent last year, the unbaptised enquirers Caroline and Hannah were welcomed into the Order of Catechumens through the Rite of Acceptance and the baptised members of the RCIA group Seye, Kehinde and Oluchi were welcomed as Candidates for full communion with the Catholic Church.  John shared with us short interviews with these catechumens and candidates after the Rite of Acceptance and asked us to pray for them as they continue their journey in faith.
John also shared with us some wisdom from Abbot Christopher Jamison's book 'Finding Sanctuary'.  John speaks about the importance of finding sanctuary, finding times of silence to listen to God speaking to us in many different ways. This may often be difficult during the perceived busyness of life, but Christ cannot speak to us if we are always busy.  We need to open ourselves up to Christ so that He can speak to us in the silence of our hearts.  Too often we are afraid of silence, needing to fill it with music or TV or other distractions.  John invites us to ask ourselves: 'Am I prepared to meet Christ face-to-face?' and to allow ourselves during this Christmas tide where we celebrate the Good News of Emmanuel, God-with-us, to give some time in silence to finding our sanctuary in God.

The full programme is available HERE.

Gospel - John 1:1-18

Source
In Ireland we celebrate the Feast of the Second Sunday of Christmas today. The texts for the Second Sunday of Christmas share a common theme of praise and thanksgiving. Jeremiah offers gratitude for the return of the Exiles even though he acknowledges that not all who left are alive to return and the experience of exile was bitter. Psalm 147 calls on the citizens of Jerusalem to praise God for all the blessings of living in that city. The writers of Ephesians and John list the blessings that are bestowed on us through Christ. Together they offer an opportunity to look back over 2013 (which was about as mixed a blessing as the return of the Exiles) with both honesty and gratitude and to look ahead to the new year with hope that God’s larger good vision will prevail in spite of whatever immediate problems or joys come our way in 2014.

The Gospel is taken from the first chapter of St. John's Gospel - the prologue which beautifully expresses the great truth that Jesus is the Son of God, the Divine Word, through whom all things were made.  Using the images of light and dark, St. John explains that Jesus is the 'real light' who was coming into the world. During this time of the year, when the darkness sets in early afternoon and the stormy weather makes us even more dependent on artificial light, we are invited to ponder on what is meant by the 'real light'. The eternal Son of God became man to reveal God to us and to reveal the great dignity that each person has as created by God. It is fitting that this Gospel for the Second Sunday of Christmas falls between the great feasts of Christmas and Epiphany. God became man to bring us into communion with Him and to those who will believe in Jesus, He gives "power to become children of God" (Jn 1:12). This is the real gift and the real revelation of Christmas - to quote St. Athanasius - 'God became man so that we might become gods' or to put it in the words of the Mass: "By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity".

There are very few online reflections this week for the gospel as many other English speaking countries have (sadly) moved the observance of Epiphany to the nearest Sunday so for them today is the Feast of the Epiphany. However, 12th night for Ireland isnt until tomorrow!


Liturgical odds and ends

Popes Intentions for January 2014

The Pope’s general intention is “that all may promote authentic economic development that respects the dignity of all peoples.”
 His mission intention is “that Christians of diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ.”
The 2014 papal prayer intentions are a legacy of Pope Benedict XVI: he entrusted the intentions to the Apostleship of Prayer on February 1, ten days before he announced his resignation

Saints of the Week

January 6th - Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
January 7th -  St Raymond of Penyafort
January 8th - St Abo of Tblisi
January 9th - St Agatha Yi
January 10th - St Adrian of Canterbury
January 11th - St Breandan of Ireland (not to be confused with St Brendan the Navigator - feast day 16th May)

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