The ‘O’ Antiphons: 23rd December

O Emmanuel – You are our King and Judge,the one whom the peoples await and their Saviour.Come and save us Lord Jesus, Come.The time of waiting is coming to an end. Soon the mystery of the Incarnation will be re-enacted once more in our liturgical celebrations and especially in our hearts. What have we to offer the Christ Child this year? Maybe not much, and yet the whole raison d’être for his coming hinges round the question – why is the Father about to send his own Beloved Son to take on our humanness, our earthiness, our poverty? God sends his Son for one reason only: because he loves us – in fact he is madly in love with us.Will we ever fathom this reality? He comes in silence, in lowliness, in poverty to knock at our door and asks us to give him a lodging for […]

By |December 23rd, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

The ‘O’ Antiphons: 22nd December

Today we have the sixth ‘O’ Antiphon bringing us nearer to our wonderful celebration.O King whom all the peoples desire,you are the cornerstone which makes all one.O come and save man whom you made from clay.Jesus is our King, our hearts are waiting for the joy and peace that he brings to each one of us so to pitch his royal tent within us. Are we ready to be part of the building of which Christ is the corner stone? Are we ready to be made one and alive, for Christ is the living stone on which we build our lives. St Paul writes to the Ephesians: In union with him you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through the Spirit. We pray “O come” and indeed our King comes to save us who he made from clay. Such is […]

By |December 22nd, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

The ‘O’ Antiphons: 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 darkness and in the shadow of death.”In this “O” Antiphon the three metaphors- the rising Sun, splendour of the eternal light and sun of justice – all symbolise Christ, the Son of God, the promised Messiah whose birth as our Saviour we will celebrate in four days time. Jesus calls Himself the ‘Light of the World’ in St. John’s Gospel( 9:5) and St. John, in the Prologue says that He is the “ true light who enlightens all men” and “ a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower”.(1:5) This assurance gives us courage to turn to Christ in our own various darknesses which may be a darkness of : […]

By |December 21st, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

The ‘O’ Antiphons: 20th December

O Key of David and sceptre of Israelwhat you open no one 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.Todays “O Antiphon” is almost directly taken from various parts of scripture (cf Rev 3:7ff; Lk 1:79a). In this “O Antiphon” we have reference again to King David. Our Lord is addressed as “Key of David and sceptre of Israel”, which are symbols of royal power and authority. We read in St Matthews Gospel Mt 16:13ff, in that well known passage at Caesarea Philippi, where in answer to Jesus’ question “who do you say I am?” Simon Peter spoke up, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus replied, “Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this […]

By |December 20th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

The ‘O’ Antiphons: 19th December

O Radix JesseO stock of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations;kings fall silent before you whom the people acclaim.O come to deliver us, and do not delay.Today we address our awaited Saviour with the title ‘stock of Jesse’ – as Isaias foretold:“A root shall grow from the stock of Jesse,and a branch shall spring from his rootsand the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him”.Jesse was the father of King David from whose royal line the future Messiah would be born. When we read the genealogy of Jesus most of the characters mentioned were not very praise worthy according to human standards. Yet God’s infinite, all powerful wisdom, compassion and merciful love were at work throughout salvation history not allowing human failure, sin, malice nor indifference to interfere or thwart His divine plan. The promised Messiah will indeed come from David’s line […]

By |December 19th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

The ‘O’ Antiphons: 18th December

‘O Adonai, Ruler of the house of Israel, who gave the Law to Moses on Sinai,come to save us with out-stretched arm, Alleluia’.This is a prayer made from a truly humble and trusting heart, that knows its need of our heavenly Father to save us.The theme of God’s outstretched arm to help his people is found frequently in Scripture and must surely touch us deeply. For example Psalm 97 – ‘His right hand and his holy arm have brought salvation’.There is something comforting in arms outstretched towards us, we feel needed and loved and this gives us an inner security.In daily life, we often see a loving mother or father stretch out their arms to save their child from some danger or simply to swoop the child up to give a hug.When we return from a journey after a long absence, what a joy it is to be […]

By |December 18th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

The ‘O’ Antiphons: 17th December

“O Sapientia” – 17th December Advent, as we all know, is a time of longing, expecting – waiting and hoping that Jesus will come anew to each of us.Yesterday we began our 9-day Novena for the great feast of Christmas, and today and for the next six days we accentuate that longing and find its expression most beautifully in the great Vesper 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, daily, for the next 7 days.The initials of each antiphon in Latin, in reverse order are: E = Emmanuel […]

By |December 17th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

Third Sunday of Advent

Today’s Gospel from St. Matthew Chapter 11: v 2-11 begins with the words: ‘John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing… John in his prison … the word ‘his’ strikes me very forcefully – John the Baptist who for his great courage in telling no less a person than the King of his sin, was imprisoned and eventually beheaded.Through the centuries thousands of people, men, women and children have suffered and continue to suffer in our day, the most horrendous imprisonment, torture and often, death, for their faithfulness to God’s law.But there are many kinds of imprisonment, and indeed we can all at one time or another in our lives, be in some kind of prison. The prison of fear, insecurity, selfishness, depression, pride or prejudice, illness of mind, spirit or body, unbelief – the list is endless.John had heard in his prison all that Christ […]

By |December 12th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

Second Sunday of Advent

Mass Readings Year A1st Reading: Isaias 11:1-102nd Reading: Romans 15: 4-9Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12In our Gospel today St John the Baptist calls on us to:“prepare a way for the Lord – make his paths straight!”In our second Reading St Paul encourages us not to lose hope but to keep on trying – reminding us that “people in the past who did not give up hope were helped by God”. And Paul prays: “may He who helps us when we refuse to give up, help you all to be tolerant with each other, following the example of Christ Jesus, so that united in mind and voice you may give glory to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Paul seems to imply that in our efforts to be tolerant with each other we can expect to fail often but we must not lose hope – trusting […]

By |December 5th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

1st Sunday of Advent

Today’s Mass readings invite us to ‘wake up’ from our slumber, to ‘stay awake’ and ‘to walk in the light of the Lord’.During Advent we are preparing for the threefold coming of the LordAs we remember His first coming at Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago, we are invited to prepare for His final coming in glory at the end of time and we celebrate His coming in grace at every moment but especially at Christmas.The main focus of attention on this first Sunday of Advent is His final coming in glory. Regarding when this final coming will take place nobody knows the day or hour but Jesus invites us to be ready – to be prepared! More important for each of us is the moment of our death when the Lord will come to take us to himself – many who celebrated last Advent are no longer with […]

By |November 28th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments