Fourth Sunday of Advent
A CHRISTMAS PRESENT JESUS GIVES US
The Liturgy for the Fourth and last Sunday of Advent wants to prepare us for Christmas by meditating on the Angel’s Annunciation to Mary. In the familiar story in our gospel reading the Archangel Gabriel reveals to the Virgin the Lord’s will that she become the mother of his Only-Begotten Son: “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Lk 1:31-2).
Responding to the Angel, Mary said: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (v. 38). In her answer, filled with faith, Mary does not know what lies before her, what pains she must suffer, what risks she must face. But she does know that it is God who asks her, and she entrusts herself totally to Him; she abandons herself to his love. May we have something of the faith of Mary as we prepare to meet Jesus at Christmas.
Jesus came to proclaim the Kingdom of God, that we might have life, and have it to the full. We ask God for that Kingdom life, as we prepare a way for the Lord in the wilderness of our hearts. God teaches us and guides us in the Scriptures that we hear at Mass and in our personal reading of Sacred Scripture. The psalmist says: “Lord your word is a lamp for my steps, a light for my path.” That light will help us to find the treasure of the Kingdom of God. When we find or rediscover that treasure there is a new reality as we begin to live out our Christian values, to reach out to others, to live life to the full.
We pray for the courage to think and to reflect; for the courage to live an interior life with God, which will transform our relationship with others. We ask for the Christmas present that Jesus came to give us, we pray for life.
All our Christmas Masses will be live-streamed. Because of Covid-19 restrictions it will not be possible to accommodate the usual numbers in the church. Seats must be reserved and Tickets will be necessary for admission to all Christmas Masses. Applications for tickets must specify the number of seats requested and the names of those attending (including children). Please indicate a preferred Mass time and also a second preference.
Some Masses are already close to being fully booked. Applications for remaining tickets should be made in writing to the Parish Priest as soon as possible. We ask for your understanding and support.
Mass times are as follows:
Christmas Eve: 10.00 am, 3.00, 5.00,
7.00 and 10.00 pm
Christmas Day: 8.00 am, 10.00 am and 12.00 noon.
Pre-booked Christmas Mass Tickets will be available for collection from the Church Porch Office from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday next. (Note seats may not be booked at these times.)
DUTY TO GO TO MASS
Catholics are dispensed from attending Sunday and Holy Day Masses. Those over 70 years and those with underlying health conditions should remain at home where appropriate. Anyone who has symptoms of any sickness (even mild symptoms) should not attend the public celebration of Mass
Available after all Masses this week, up to the 10.00 am Mass on Christmas Eve.
Bishop’s Pastoral Message
Bishop Fintan’s Christmas Pastoral Message to the Diocese is available on the diocesan website and copies are available at the back of the church.
This is a message of hope and encouragement as we all continue to navigate challenging times during this Christmas season.
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament
Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament after 10.00 am Mass to 11.00 am on Wednesday next 23rd December.
Deaths: We pray for Dudley O’Driscoll, Friars Walk, and Donal Kelleher, South Douglas Road, who died recently. We extend our sympathy to their families.
Live-streamed Advent Devotions
At 7.30 pm on Wednesday evening 23rd December. Rosary, gospel reading and homily concluding with Benediction at 8.15 pm.
Parish Christmas & Triduum Cards
Available in the Parish Office after all Masses this weekend. The Triduum of Masses will be offered on 23rd, 24th and 25th December.
Walk with Me
Prayer for Advent & Christmastide 2020. This excellent booklet is available at the back of the Church (Cost €1.30).
Altar Decoration: Red Poinsettia plants would be much appreciated.
SVP Fundraiser Performer-Composer Emily Magner Hurley online Christmas concert on Sunday 20th December. Donate €5 at https://www.svp.ie/emhforsvp to receive a link to the concert.
From Donal Neary SJ.
We are Christmas
A house or an apartment – where we live – is really important. David is really proud of what he has built and now wonders what to do with God or for God. David wanted a big house for God but that was not the way it would be. The house would be the body of Mary and the house would be all of us.
Christmas highlights the belief that God is in all of us. We can ignore that, or we can help God be found in all of us. God is often deeply hidden, and God is active through each of us for each other.
Married people are sacraments of God to each other, in their love, attention, self-giving love, in giving life and caring for their children. One big picture for me of the love of God is parents worrying over the cot of a sick child. Friends bring God to each other, caring for each other at bad times, as well as sharing the love of good times. Wherever we give of ourselves to another, then we are God to each other. The house of God is being built.
When we care for the really needy we bring God in a special way to people who really need the ordinary necessities of life, at home or far from home. This can be in our care for them at this time of pandemic, for our celebrating Christmas in a safe way. It can be in the phone call, Skype, Zoom etc or a text to those away from home.
Every bit of Christmas celebration is a reminder of God coming among us. Christmas keeps the story of God alive in our neighbourhood and country. Because God is in each of us, then Christmas can happen.
No love that in a family dwells, no carolling in frosty air, Nor all the steeple-shaking bells can with this single Truth compare That God was Man in Palestine and lives to-day in Bread and Wine
…. G K Chesterton.