2nd Sunday of Advent 2020

Last Tuesday in Seipeal Réalt na Mara sna Forbacha, we had our first public Mass after the 5-week lockdown. Personally, it was both a relief and an honour to be presiding once again at Eucharist as a member of the assembled community rather than praying with community from a distance. 

So much has changed during the lockdown: it seems as if we have leapfrogged over the month of November which was always such a precious time for remembering our dead. Now into December with Christmas trees, lights, Santa Clauses, and reindeers of all shapes and sizes beginning to soften the dark nights, our thoughts turn to the Season of Christmas.  

I walked the streets of my home town late last Tuesday night delighting in the beautiful window displays fronting the various shops. During my travels, which lasted about 40 minutes, it dawned on me that of all the window displays, one shop alone had the crib with the Mary, Joseph the infant Jesus as its theme. This touching display was balanced in the other window with an equally delightful presentation of the mystical man from the North Pole.

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As I mentioned last week; for the Christian community, the Season of Advent is an important reminder for us to bring attention to a reality that: knowingly or unknowingly ‘God is with us’, ‘tá an Tiarna linn’. This may or may not seem important but what is worth savouring is the reality that according to the Christian Tradition, the power and might of God reveals itself in and through the goodness of people.  

It’s interesting that the two words ‘Good’ and ‘God’ are almost identical. So being ‘godly’ is not something alien to human nature. In fact, you could say that the one who acts justly, loves mercy and walks humbly with God 

{Micah 6:8} is a profoundly spiritual person reflecting God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1.27}.

 

Advent invites us to ponder this reality. In a more secular age when there may seem to be less room in the inn for acknowledging God through public worship, let us bring to awareness once more the goodness that abounds as evidenced in the spirit of people during the present pandemic. In celebrating the Season of Christmas, let us honour Divinity in the image of a child, shielded from the harshness of life through the loving care of Mary and Joseph.

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Advent Preparation

Give some time to prayer at home. Prepare an Advent wreath. Get out the crib with only the animals in situ – they were availing of the stable, I’m sure, long before Mary and Joseph made it their temporary dwelling.

As you know the sparkle and festivities associated with Christmas also throws light on a darker reality that exists for so many people: children, their families and individuals who struggle daily to eke out the most basic comforts in life, namely food, shelter, clothing. So many organizations work tirelessly to help ease their plight. Let us make a special effort this Christmas, in the absence of many of the traditional means of fundraising, to support them as best we can.

 

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Advent

 

We have tested and tasted too much, lover-
Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder.
But here in the Advent-darkened room
Where the dry black bread and the sugarless tea
Of penance will charm back the luxury
Of a child's soul, we'll return to Doom
The knowledge we stole but could not use.

 

And the newness that was in every stale thing
When we looked at it as children: the spirit-shocking
Wonder in a black slanting Ulster hill
Or the prophetic astonishment in the tedious talking
Of an old fool will awake for us and bring
You and me to the yard gate to watch the whins
And the bog-holes, cart-tracks, old stables where Time begins.



Patrick Kavanagh (Verses 1 & 2)