“O Emmanuel …” – Reflection for 23rd December

O Emmanuel, our King and lawgiver – the nations are waiting for you their Saviour. Come and save us Lord, our God.In this final ‘O’ Antiphon we reach the climax when we address our Lord as Emmanuel, a name which means “God – is – with – us”. In the following quotation from St. Augustine, he expresses what “God – with – us” means for us, in a way I never could:. “For who is Christ unless that which ‘in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’? This Word of God ‘became flesh and dwelt among us’: for in himself he was incapable of dying for us, unless he had assumed mortal flesh from us. In this way the immortal one was able to die, in this way he wished to give life to mortals; he would later make them […]

By |December 23rd, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

O King – the 22nd December

O King of the nations, and their desire, the cornerstone who makes both one.Come and save mankind whom you formed of clay.Today’s liturgy gives us two possible ways of entering into Mary’s soul. At Mass we heard her beautiful song of faith:My soul proclaims the greatness of the LordAnd my spirit exults in God my Saviour” (Lk 1:46)While the O Antiphon proclaims the poverty, the emptiness, the desire and the waiting, the Magnificat manifests the fullness, fulfilment, joy and thanksgiving for salvation. The Incarnation is God’s answer to the longing of human hearts. But Augustine says: “What does it avail me that this birth is happening, if it does not happen in me?”“So you must be silent, then God will be born in you, utter his word in you and you shall hear it; but be very sure that if you speak, the word will have to be silent. […]

By |December 22nd, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

O Rising Sun – 21st December

O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice, O come and enlighten those who sit in the darkness and in the shadow of death.Through the loving mercy of our God the Rising Sun has come to visit us.  Daily the sun rises.  All peoples everywhere, take that for granted.  Very few lie down at night wondering if the dawn will come.  In a world of few certainties and much doubt people are still confident, sure that tomorrow the sun will rise again, there will be a new day.The Word of God tells us that Christ’s coming is as certain as that dawn.  Are we in fact as certain that He is coming, as we are that in the morning the sun will rise?  Is that the kind of confident hope we give to our world – a word to cheer the hearts […]

By |December 21st, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

“O Key of David” – Reflection for 20th December

O key of David and sceptre of Israel,what you open no one else can close again;what you close no one can open.O come to lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.Today we address Christ as “Key”. We are made in the image and likeness of God, but that likeness has been marred by the effects of sin. Christ shows us a man who is the perfect image and likeness of God and so gives us an example to follow. Christ is the key that unlocks our lives and frees us from sin and death. He is the key to our salvation. When we live in Christ, when we put on “the mind of Christ” (1Cor 2:16), then we are made capable of living life as it should be lived, a life in union with God.But a key only works […]

By |December 21st, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

“O Root of Jesse” – Reflection for 19th December

O Root of Jesse set up as a sign to the peoples come to save us and delay no more.This is the third ‘O Antiphon’ during this time of preparation for the Christmas celebration. Four of the seven Antiphons call upon God to ‘come and save us’, whilst the other three call on him to ‘liberate us’, ‘to enlighten us’ and ‘to teach us’. Today we call upon God to save us and to delay no more – this theme is very prominent in all the liturgy of this season. People through the ages right up to the present day either explicitly or implicitly have called on God to save them – but the marvellous TRUTH is that our loving Father in Heaven wants it infinitely more than we could ever conceive in our finite minds and hearts. So much does he thirst for all peoples to be with […]

By |December 19th, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

O Adonai – 18th December

Today we address our awaited Saviour as “Adonai and Leader who appeared to Moses in the burning bush and gave him the Law on Sinai” as we implore him to “come and save us with outstretched arm.”When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, Moses was not seeking God – he was just going about his daily business, looking after the flock – it was God who took the initiative and broke into Moses’ life – and not just for Moses’ sake but for the sake of the Israelite people who were held in the bondage of slavery in Egypt: “I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt …I am well aware of their sufferings and I have come down to rescue them and bring them out from the clutches of Egypt to a country rich and broad.” (cf Ex 3: 7-8)It is this same God […]

By |December 18th, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

“O Wisdom” – Reflection for 17th December

It was Kipling who spoke of “waiting and not being tired by waiting”.The season of Advent is all about WAITING. We wait in expectant hope and prayer all through Advent. But in the final seven or eight days of the season this ardent desire and longing is intensified and deepened as we draw nearer the liturgical celebration of the Birth of Christ.Yesterday, we began our nine-day novena for the great feast of the Birth of Christ and for the next seven days, beginning today, we accentuate that longing which finds its expression most beautifully in the great Vespers antiphons for the Magnificat, called the “O” Antiphons, because they all begin with “O”. These antiphons will be used each evening before and after the Magnificat, and as the Gospel acclamation at Mass. Repetition helps us keep the antiphon in mind so that we can reflect on it and let it […]

By |December 17th, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

Reflection on the Readings for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

One cannot miss the sheer explosion of joy in today’s liturgy especially in the first and second Mass Readings. ‘Shout for joy daughter of Sion, Rejoice exult with all your heart. The Lord your God is in your midst – he will exult for joy over you. He will renew you by his love’. Zeph.3 This is the real Good News, coming at a timely moment when dark clouds are hovering over our country. ‘Even though the rain hides the stars, Even though the mist swirls the hills, Even when clouds veil the sky God is by my side’. (The Cloud’s Veil – Liam Lawton) Yes, indeed, not just our poets but the Word of God tells us ‘fear not little flock, you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows, it has pleased my Father to give you the Kingdom’ Lk.12 And the wonder is that through the grace […]

By |December 16th, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

2nd Sunday of Advent

 “The Lord has done great things for usWe are filled with joy” (Psalm 125)By directing our attention away from ourselves to focus instead on what God has done and is doing in the Church and in each of our lives, today’s Mass readings provide a wonderful message of hope: It is the Holy One who ‘remembers’ us and comes to us in the wilderness of our lives and  makes us ‘jubilant’ as He came of old to the Israelites in their exile and as he came to John in the wilderness.  So it is in the wilderness of our lives – with it pain and heart break, its anxieties and preoccupations – that we hear the Word of the Lord inviting us to repent of our sinful and all too human outlook and to prepare  a way for His coming.   In the first reading the prophet Baruch invites us to […]

By |December 9th, 2012|Liturgy|0 Comments

First Sunday of Advent

‘Watch yourselves or your hearts will be coarsened with debauchery and drunkenness and the cares of life and that day will spring on you like a trap.’Lk 21:34Debauchery drunkenness and the cares of life- all placed together in one sentence by Jesus, all presented to us by him as being equally destructive, coarsening our hearts and preventing us from being aware of, and ready for, his coming, his many comings through out each day and consequently unprepared for his final coming. There we have it—the cares of life are placed right alongside drunkenness and debauchery —and with no escaping it as it comes straight from our Lord’s own lips. Do we really take this seriously enough or have our hearts indeed become coarsened, dulled and insensitive to the delicacy of our loved One’s touch so that we are no longer even conscious of the subtle movements of grace, the […]

By |December 2nd, 2012|Liturgy|1 Comment