Archive for December 2017

Jesus is born but have we found Him yet? – A Christmas Reflection

Jesus is born but have we found Him yet?

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Fr. Pierre Pepper celebrating Christmas Day Mass in St Rynaghs Church, Banagher

Once again we are in the season of Advent indicating that Christmas is just around the corner. Many of us may remember the once popular hymn during this season, “Oh Come Divine Messiah” whose lyrics go like this:

Oh come divine Messiah
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing of triumph
And sadness flees away

Yes, those days life was very simple as we waited in silence with full of hope that soon good will soon triumph over evil thereby ridding our lives of sadness.

Those words were so meaningful and bring back pleasant memories of Christmas of the yesteryears.

Christmas is a commemoration of God’s coming into the world. He came for all of us – believers and non-believers alike. His birth should bring us hope and triumph which will dispel the sadness from our lives. But after years of celebrating Christmas after Christmas many of us are yet to see that triumph in our lives and our hopes may be giving way to despair. Has the Messiah really come?If He has where is He?Why doesn’t He bring the triumph that dispels the saddness of man?

The real problem today is that we are waiting for God to literally come to us. We celebrate His birth just like that of any one of us – offering prayers, eating, drinking and making merry. We celebrate his coming into the world but we do not welcome Him into our hearts and lives.

Yes, He has come into the world and is very much in our midst but unfortunately we refuse to recognize Him therefore fail to welcome Him.

By being born to poor parents, in an environment of extreme poverty, Jesus is telling us where He dwells – not in places of majesty and glamor but among the poor and the down-trodden, the sick and dying, the hungry, the oppressed and in those we love and even in those we hate. In short He is among the masses.

Amidst our celebrations this Christmas, let us pause a while to look around us to recognize that Jesus who was born into the world two thousand years ago. He is among us in every person and in every trial and tribulation we encounter in our lives. Let us take a moment to look around to recognize Him in those who do not have joy and peace in their lives.

Let us do the little within our means to alleviate the pain and misery in their lives. Let us do whatever we can to give them the hope that triumph will one day wipe out the sadness in the hearts.

We too, like Jesus, must have the humility to come down from our positions of comfort and power to meet Him in the people around us. If we isolate ourselves from the masses by building a fortress around us with all our wealth and power together with greed, selfishness and pride, then we can keep waiting for Jesus all our lives but it will only be in vain.

To us then His birth into this world, that is Christmas, will be just another day to celebrate, eat, drink and make merry. It will never become the day when hope shall sing of triumph and sadness flees away.

By Dr. Chris Anthony 
Butterworth, Malaysia

Newsletter 24th December

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Christmas at St Rynagh’s Church

A Christmas Prayer

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Loving Father,
Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing
which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning
make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds
with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven,
for Jesus’ sake.

Amen.

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The Advent Candles

Today Sunday 17th December, we lit the third of our Advent Candles.

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The Advent wreath, four candles on a wreath of evergreen, is shaped in a perfect circle to symbolize the eternity of God. In some churches, four purple candles, one for each week in Advent, are used with one larger white candle in the middle as the Christ candle. Other churches prefer three purple or blue candles with one candle being rose or pink, to represent joy.

While the Advent wreath with its four candles did bring light to churches, it was not to illuminate the interior as much as to symbolize the coming of Christ. The Advent wreath began in the time of the Protestant reformer Martin Luther.

During each Sunday of the Advent season, we focus on one of the four virtues Jesus brings us: Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. Others consider the lighting of the first candle to symbolize expectation, while the second symbolizes hope, the third joy and the fourth purity. The Christ candle is lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day reminding Christians that Jesus is the light of the world. The order and exact wording vary among churches, but the wreath continually reminds us of whom we are called to be as followers of Jesus.

Newsletter – December 17th

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Carols by Candlelight – 15th December 2017

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THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

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In today’s day and time,
It’s easy to lose sight,
Of the true meaning of Christmas
And one special night.

When we go shopping,
We say, “How much will it cost?”
Then the true meaning of Christmas,
Somehow becomes lost.

Amidst the tinsel, glitter
And ribbons of gold,
We forget about the child,
Born on a night so cold.

The children look for Santa
In his big, red sleigh
Never thinking of the child
Whose bed was made of hay.

In reality,
When we look into the night sky,
We don’t see a sleigh
But a star, burning bright and high.

A faithful reminder,
Of that night so long ago,
And of the child we call Jesus,
Whose love the world would know.

Newsletter – December 10th

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Christmas Anticipation Prayer

Christmas Anticipation Prayer

 

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Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
in which the Son of God was born
of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight,
in Bethlehem,
in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God,
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
and of His blessed Mother.

Amen.

Prayer for Healing (2nd of our four Christmas Retreat Masses)

In preparation for Christmas, Mass will be offered on the 4 Wednesdays before Christmas. This Wednesday 6th December, is our second special Mass and the theme this week will be ‘Healing’

Prayer for Healing

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Lord, You invite all who are burdened to come to you. Allow Your healing Hand to heal me. Touch my soul with Your compassion for others; touch my heart with Your courage and infinite Love for all; touch my mind with Your Wisdom, and may my mouth always proclaim Your praise. Teach me to reach out to You in all my needs, and help me to lead others to You by my example.
Most loving Heart of Jesus, bring me health in body and spirit that I may serve You with all my strength. Touch gently this life which you have created, now and forever.
Amen.