The Scripture Sharing booklet for Advent 2009 is now available. You can order copies from FDS office for 2 each plus postage.

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Ordering

The booklets cost 2 each plus postage. We welcome orders from outside the diocese.

You can order copies from

K&L Faith Development Services

Cathedral Parish Centre,
College Street,
Carlow
Tel: 059-9164084
Fax: 059-9164020

fds@kandle.ie

Click here to download Order Form

Bishop’s Message

Advent is a special time of waiting and watching. We look to the coming of the One who brings light in times of darkness, hope in times of despair, joy in times of sorrow. This year, more than ever, we are conscious of the need for Advent hope as we face this time of recession together. We are mindful too of the many people who face the darkness of unemployment, illness, bereavement, depression… The message of Christ comes to us all the more powerfully in our need, as we prepare to celebrate his coming among us again.

This Advent programme invites us to welcome Christ, the Word of God who took flesh and lived among us. As we reflect on the Word each week, together let us welcome Christ into our parishes, our homes and into our hearts. May his Word find a home in us; may it take flesh in our flesh and live in our life, may his light bring joy to our lives.

My prayers are with all of you as we make this Advent journey together. Let it be a journey of hope, which we share with our families and communities, as together we welcome the Light of Christ. My thanks to Father Sen Maher for his prayerful insights and generous fellowship in preparing this programme and to all who helped produce it. May Christ fill you with his love and keep you in his peace.

James Moriarty
Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin

First Sunday of Advent

THEME: LOOKING UP

READING

People can take it in turns to read the Gospel, or else if someone is praying on his/her own, then s/he can read the Gospel a number of times. This should be followed by a time of reflective silence.

First Reading: Jeremiah 33:14-16

Second Reading: 1Thess. 3:12-4:2

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to 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 clamour 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 on 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.

Suggest that each person says a word or a phrase which stayed with them from the reading (with no comment from anyone else)

REFLECTION

Once I heard a story about some prisoners in a camp at the end of the Second World War. As the war neared an end, they could hear the battles raging all around them. There were bombs and gunshots and the sound of fierce fighting. Naturally they were frightened and they were worried. At the same time they were very hopeful. While this fighting all around them left them in grave danger, they also realised that their liberation must be near at hand as their allies grew close.

The Gospel of Luke that we read today rings with something of the same message. All these signs were associated with the coming of God. When Moses went up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments, the scene was very similar, with earthquakes and fire and great distress among the people. Yet this was to be one of their greatest moments, because God was to come among them. Many of the people who come into contact with God throughout the Bible use the same dramatic language to explain the nearness of God. Yet the point is not to terrorize people, but rather to highlight the importance of this moment. Hold your heads high! The prisoners were frightened at the sound of the bombs and the gunfire, but they held their heads high, because this was to be the moment of victory for them.

It is the same for us. Christs coming is our moment of victory! It is the moment when we can realise how close God is to his people. Yet Christ warns us not to get so preoccupied as to miss this coming

of Christ. This is maybe the most important point of this reading. So very often we can be so preoccupied with different tasks and duties, that we miss what is important! The invitation in this reading is to pay attention to the signs that God is near at hand.

God comes to us everyday, but usually not accompanied by strange signs and noises. Can we grow more aware, in this time of Advent, of the God who comes to us in everyday things? Maybe God comes to us in our families or friends, in our workplaces and in our schools, in those who need our help and in those who annoy us even!

Allow for a period of five to ten minutes silence

PRAYER

Encourage people to pray for whatever they wish at this time and conclude with the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be To The Father.

FINAL THOUGHT

I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

(Rev. 1:8)