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Sunday Reading – 23rd December, 2012

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The Fourth Sunday of Advent

FIRST READING:         Micah 5:1-4

The Lord says this:

You, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
the least of the clans of Judah,
out of you will be born for me
the one who is to rule over Israel;
his origin goes back to the distant past,
to the days of old.
The Lord is therefore going to abandon them
till the time when she who is to give birth gives birth.
Then the remnant of his brothers will come back
to the sons of Israel.
He will stand and feed his flock
with the power of the Lord,
with the majesty of the name of his God.
They will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power
to the ends of the land.
He himself will be peace.

Responsorial Psalm:         Ps 79
Response :                         
God of hosts, bring us back;
let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

1. O shepherd of Israel, hear us,
shine forth from your cherubim throne.
O Lord, rouse up your might,
O Lord, come to our help.                                Response

2. God of hosts, turn again, we implore,
look down from heaven and see.
Visit this vine and protect it,
the vine your right hand has planted.                  Response

3. May your hand be on the man you have chosen,
the man you have given your strength.
And we shall never forsake you again:
give us life that we may call upon your name.      Response

SECOND READING:  Hebrews 10:5-10

This is what he said, on coming into the world:

You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation, prepared a body for me.
You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin;then I said,
just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book,
‘God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.’

Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.

Gospel  Acclamation     Lk 1: 38

Alleluia, alleluia!
‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’
‘let what you have said be done to me.’
Alleluia!

GOSPEL                      Luke 1:39-45

Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.

 

Sunday Reading – 16th December, 2012

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The Third Sunday of Advent

FIRST READING,                 Zephaniah 3:14-18



‘Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem!Yahweh has repealed your sentence;

He has turned your enemy away.
Yahweh is king among you, Israel,you have nothing more to fear.
When that Day comes,the message for Jerusalem will be:
Zion, have no fear, do not let your hands fall limp.
Yahweh your God is there with you, the warrior-Saviour.
He will rejoice over you with happy song, he will renew you by his love,
he will dance with shouts of joy for you, as on a day of festival.
I have taken away your misfortune,
no longer need you bear the disgrace of it.

Responsorial Psalm:  Isaiah 12:2-3, 4, 5-6
Response: Look, he is the God of my salvation

1.I shall have faith and not be afraid,
for Yahweh is my strength and my song,
he has been my salvation. ‘Response

2.Joyfully you will draw water from the springs of salvation
 and, that day, you will say, ‘Praise Yahweh, invoke his name.
Proclaim his deeds to the people,
declare his name sublime.Response

3.Sing of Yahweh, for his works are majestic,
make them known throughout the world.Response

4.Cry and shout for joy, you who live in Zion,
For the Holy One of Israel is among you in his greatness.’Response

Second Readng,             Philippians 4:4-7

Always be joyful, then, in the Lord; I repeat, be joyful. Let your good sense be obvious to everybody. The Lord is near.

Never worry about anything; but tell God all your desires of every kind in prayer and petition shot through with gratitude,and the peace of God which is beyond our understanding will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

Gospel  Acclamation       Ps 84:8

Alleluia, alleluia!
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy
and give us your saving help.
Alleluia!

Gospel,                                       Luke 3:10-18

When all the people asked him, ‘What must we do, then?’ he answered, ‘Anyone who has two tunics must share with the one who has none, and anyone with something to eat must do the same.’ There were tax collectors, too, who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master, what must we do?’He said to them, ‘Exact no more than the appointed rate.’Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!’

A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to wonder whether John might be the Christ,so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, who is more powerful than me, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

His winnowing-fan is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.’And he proclaimed the good news to the people with many other exhortations too.

Advent – Week Three Preperation

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IN THE THIRD WEEK OF ADVENT, we are called to respond to the gifts and graces we received in our baptism. We ask, “Does my life today fulfill the expectations and responsibilities of bearing the name Christian?” What are we doing for the hungry, the oppressed, the sick and the lonely? Do we truly care about the needs of others? Do we accomplish cheerfully all that is expected of us in the workplace or classroom?

Lighting of the Third Candle.

Prayer

Almighty and loving God, your son has thought us the way to live as your children. We were blessed in our baptism with special gifts and graces, and still there are times when we find it hard to be all that we should be. We asked for an increased awareness of the needs of others and the courage to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Please, God, help us to live in your grace that all who know us will know you and your love. Amen.

Sunday Reading – 9th December, 2012

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The Second Sunday of Advent

FIRST READING,                  Bar 5:1-9

‘Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
put on the splendor of glory from God forever:
wrapped in the cloak of justice from God,
bear on your head the mitre
that displays the glory of the eternal name.
For God will show all the earth your splendor:
you will be named by God forever
the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.

Up, Jerusalem! stand upon the heights;
look to the east and see your children
gathered from the east and the west
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that they are remembered by God.
Led away on foot by their enemies they left you:
but God will bring them back to you
borne aloft in glory as on royal thrones.
For God has commanded
that every lofty mountain be made low,
and that the age-old depths and gorges
be filled to level ground,
that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God.
The forests and every fragrant kind of tree
have overshadowed Israel at God’s command;
for God is leading Israel in joy
by the light of his glory,
with his mercy and justice for company.

Responsorial Psalm:     Ps 126
Response:                              The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
1.When the LORD brought back the captives of Zion,
we were like men dreaming.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with rejoicing.       Response

2.Then they said among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them.”
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad indeed.                      Response

3.Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Those who sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.                      Response

4.Although they go forth weeping,
carrying the seed to be sown,
They shall come back rejoicing,
carrying their sheaves.                 Response

Second Reading,                Phil 1:4-6, 8-11

Brothers and sisters: I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you,because of your partnership for the gospel
from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.

God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

Gospel,                                    Lk 3:1-6

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

Advent – Week Two Preperation

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IN THE SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT, we consider our relationships with ourselves and with God. We ask “Do I always appreciate the union of the divine and the human that makes me who I am>” Are we aware of the wonder of “self,” the gift bestowed upon us by our Creator? Do we appreciate and use our talents, energies, charms and abilities for God’s glory? In prayer and worship, are we in touch with the divine presence around us?

Lighting of the Second Candle.

 Prayer

Almighty and loving God, you who dwell within our hearts at every waking moment, keep us always close to you. Help us to recognize and appreciate the gifts and talents you have given us.Teach us to use our energies for the good of others and the glory of your son Jesus, whose promise is too precious to ignore. Keep our hearts and minds ever alert to your personal and loving touch in every prayer, in every act of worship. Amen.

Advent – Week One Preperation

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INT THE FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT, we prepare ourselves for the Lord’s coming into our world and into our live. We ask, “In what area of my life do I stand at a distance from God?” We examine our relationships with family, friends, classmates, business associates, and neighbors. Is our faith reflected in each experience of human contact? Is love of God and neighbor the basis of our interaction with others?

Lighting of the First Candle.

Prayer

Almighty and loving God, We have searched our hearts and reviewed our love for your people. Some relationships overflow with love while others have been found wanting. Yet it is our desire that you be a part of every human experience. We beg you now to fill our hearts with your love and sharpen our awareness of your presence in every moment so that whatever we do, we will always stand secure before you. Amen.

Sunday 2nd December Sermon

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At the end of the year or rather the start of the new year people make resolutions – New year resolutions – to give up smoking, eat less, take more exercise – whatever.

Well this is the start of a new year in the church’s calendar. Today is the first Sunday in advent. So maybe it’s time we made some new year resolutions!

The first Sunday of Advent! Advent – a time of preparation for Christmas. A time of waiting. It is like when we join the kids in eagerly anticipating Christmas. But we are not waiting for Santa Claus. We are waiting for Christ! Waiting, waiting we don’t like waiting God doesn’t have to wait for anything.

He is not bound by time! God is, as we say, eternal. With God there is no past, present or future. It’s all one continuous now! We can’t understand it. We live in a world of time. Time is something God made for us. What’s the saying? “When God made time, he made plenty of it!” He made time for us, and God gives us plenty of time to grow, to develop, to become the sort of people he made us to be.

This Advent let our New Year resolution be to try to grow in the image of Jesus to use our time well. That is why God gave it to us!

Sunday Reading – 2nd December, 2012

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The First Sunday of Advent

FIRST READING          Jeremiah 33:14-16

‘See, the days are coming – it is the Lord who speaks – when I am going to fulfil the promise I made to the House of Israel and the House of Judah:

‘In those days and at that time,
I will make a virtuous Branch grow for David,
who shall practise honesty and integrity in the land.
In those days Judah shall be saved
and Israel shall dwell in confidence.
And this is the name the city will be called:
the Lord-our-integrity.

Responsorial Psalm:      Ps 24
Response :                      To you, 0 Lord, I lift up my soul.

1. Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for you are God my saviour.          Response

2. The Lord is good and upright.
He shows the path to those who stray,
he guides the humble in the right path;
he teaches his way to the poor.      Response

3. His ways are faithfulness and love
for those who keep his covenant and will.
The Lord’s friendship is for those who revere him;
to them he reveals his covenant.     Response

SECOND READING   1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2

May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.

Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus

Gospel  Acclamation       Ps 84:8

Alleluia, alleluia!
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy
and give us your saving help.
Alleluia!

GOSPEL:                        Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamor of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.’

‘Watch yourselves, or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life, and that day will be sprung on you suddenly, like a trap. For it will come down on every living man on the face of the earth. Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.’