Rejoice! He is Near

On the Gospel of Matthew 11:2-11

Third Sunday of Advent – Gaudete Sunday'Let the wasteland rejoice and bloom' (Is 35:1)

This Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Advent, is known as Gaudete Sunday (gaudete means ‘Rejoice’ in Latin). The last two Sundays we have been focussing on the need for vigilance and repentance. All this had the aim of clearing away space within ourselves for God to grow something beautiful in us. This Sunday has a different flavour: now we take a look at what is growing and give thanks for it, our mood changes from one of vigilance to one of joyful expectancy. The first two readings (Isaiah 35:1-6,10 and James 5:7-10) present us with these themes of growth and hope. The Prophet Isaiah imagines the response of the land to the coming of God: ‘Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult, let the wasteland rejoice and bloom, let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil, let it rejoice and sing for joy’ (Isaiah 35:1,2). The Letter of James tells us to ‘think of a farmer’ who patiently ‘waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has had the autumn rains and the spring rains… Do not lose heart, because the Lord’s coming will be soon’ (James 5:7-8).

 

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Immaculate Conception

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December 8)

 

Today we celebrate the Feast of The Immaculate Conception. The Immaculate Conception is one of the most misunderstood Catholic dogmas. It has nothing to do with the conceiving of Jesus within the womb of Mary – even though the Gospel reading today gives us an account of the Annunciation, when the Archangel Gabriel told Mary that she was to become the mother of Jesus. However, within today’s Gospel passage we can find the basis of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.

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The ADVENTure of a Lifetime!

On the Gospel of Matthew 24:37-44

Second Sunday of Advent

As the cities glow with glistening lights and our streets and shops fill with images of festive feasts and feel-good gifts each offering their own brand of ‘holiday happiness,’ it’s all too easy to slip into an easy-going superficiality at this busy time of year. Strikingly, like some fabled Old Testament Prophet stepping out from the mists of time, St. John the Baptist strides across our path in this Sunday’s Gospel. His cry is a call to each of us; to confront ourselves and our salvation and the hope and joy that truly is the coming of our Saviour into the world.

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Stay Awake!

On the Gospel of Matthew 24:37-44

First Sunday of Advent

The decorations are up in the streets, the advertisements are on TV, we go to Mass expecting some Christmas spirit… and we get this?: ‘you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect…’ The idea of a dramatic second coming, the need for vigilance, are not thoughts we normally associate with Christmas. Has the Church made a mistake?

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Stranger in the Kingdom

St Ignatius Delgado and Companions (November 24)

 

This stranger, who was introduced clandestinely into the kingdom, spends his life in the study of things of the heart and in the meditation on what is incomprehensible…” (From the death sentence of Bishop Ignatius Delgado).

St Ignatius Delgado

St Ignatius Delgado

This group of 117 martyrs, of which Bishop Delgado OP was part, suffered and shed their blood out of love for Christ in the region known today as Vietnam. Of this group, 59 were associated to the Dominican Order.

There is little known of the life of these martyrs before they were captured. Bishop Delgado died together with bishop Dominic Henares OP and a catechist. Both bishops were from Spain and bishop Delgado was born in 1762. From the sentence of condemnation itself we learn that Bishop Delgado had laboured for nearly fifty years in Tonkin, which argues that he must have been a resourceful man as well as a zealous one, before he died at the age of seventy-six. Read more

The Court of the King

On the Gospel of Luke 23:35-43

Christ the King

‘Save yourself’. That is what all the people said to Christ in today’s Gospel. ‘Save yourself’ : that was the kind of Messiah they would worship – a Lord of might and majesty; a spectacular miracle-worker; someone who was into self-preservation and keeping the people on his side. Read more

Hunter for Truth!

St Albert the Great (November 15)

On August 4, 1221, St Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, died. He was succeeded as Master of the Order by a man in his 30s, passionately enthusiastic about Dominic’s mission of preaching and teaching: Jordan of Saxony. Under Jordan, the Order grew rapidly, thanks to his unsurpassed ability to set the hearts of young people aflame with a desire to share in St Dominic’s mission. Wherever he went, especially universities, he would bring a bale of cloth with him to make new habits for the men who wanted to take vows as friars preachers! In 1223, in Padua, a small, stocky young Bavarian became the latest to fall under Jordan’s spell. The only thing that distinguished him at the time was a keen interest in falconry, but he was to become one of the foundational figures of modern science, and a great theologian too. His name was Albert.

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Do We Trust Him?

On the Gospel of Luke 21:5-19

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The dramatic language Jesus uses to describe the end times may seem more fitting to a Hollywood blockbuster than the tranquil confines of the local parish church on a Sunday morning, yet, it is confirmation that the relative tranquility we now enjoy will one day be mightily disrupted. The ‘signs’ he mentions are true of every age – wars, revolutions, famines, plagues and earthquakes are very often tragic realities in many parts of our world.

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They Had It Made…

On the Gospel of Luke 20:27-38

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead. They were the political and religious elite of Palestine in Jesus’ day. When I was younger, I lived in Jerusalem for a time, and I remember one day standing in the ruins of the house of a famous Sadducee called Caiaphas. I learned something that day about the Sadducees that is relevant here; they thought they had it made! The house was huge, and theirs was a life of luxury, comfort, and ease.

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Happy are They…

On the Gospel of Matthew 5:1-12

All Saints’ Day

The Sermon on the Mount occupies three full chapters in Matthew’s Gospel, and gives the main body of Christ’s teaching about the moral life. Later in Matthew, Jesus gives a summing up of morality: ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets too’ (Mt 22:37-40). Nice and simple, right? But life isn’t simple, and the paths to holiness are not as stark and monolithic as this neat summary might imply.

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