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Monthly Archives: November 2011

A short history of the Jesse Tree, and the Christmas Tree. Internet researched by Fr.Kevin Walsh

 

Dear One and All,

Well so far, we are a little more familiar with the meaning of Advent, and the Christmas Carol…The Twelve Days of Christmas. Now, have you ever had a Jesse Tree in your House? Well, when I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in Sydney; I had never even heard of Jesse, let alone a Tree named after him. It wasn’t till I was ordained at Marrickville in Sydney did I see the first Jesse Tree in our Primary school. What a fantastic way of enabling our kids to get an understanding of Advent. So, here are some interesting ideas for you about the Jesse Tree.

As for the Christmas tree; well, my sister and I used to love going with my Dad to the local fruit shop to get our real, fair dinkum green Pine Tree.  The trees that had cones on them cost a little extra…….My sister and I were always busy looking for the best tree, and one with at least a little pine cone on it that the shop owner wouldn’t notice…ha-ha. O the smell of those Pine trees was the fan fare of Christmas.

In the Christmas school holidays we would be busy decorating our Tree. It was my Dad’s job to put the tree in a bucket, packed with half bricks to keep it up straight. We would always have a Nativity scene at the base of the tree, and then a star at the top. When we were little kids, and I know that was Old Testament times…..we used to make lots of our own decorations, but we could only put them on the tree after Dad had put the coloured lights in place first. It was a fantastic time of the year…..but as for Advent….well, we were not too sure what that was about. I think that would be the case for most of the Baby Boomers.

Well, the Christmas tree has been a tradition which goes way, way back to the 7th Century; check out the little history of it after the Jesse Tree. Enjoy the reading…..Fr.Kev

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A short history of the Jesse Tree, ideas on how to create a tree and ornaments, and suggested Scripture verses for each ornament.

Directions

To make the Jesse Tree ornaments you will need: glue; ribbon or yarn (preferably purple); and crayons, markers, paints or colored pencils, and cardboard stock to create paper background for the ornaments. The ornaments may be decorated with bits and pieces of bright colored paper, cloth, wood, plastic, etc., that you may find around your home. You will also need a Bible.

THE STORY OF THE JESSE TREE Jesse was the father of the great King David of the Old Testament. He is often looked upon as the first person in the genealogy of Jesus.

In Church art a design developed showing the relationship of Jesus with Jesse and other biblical personages. This design showed a branched tree growing from a reclining figure of Jesse. The various branches had pictures of other Old and New Testament figures who were ancestors of Jesus. At the top of the tree were figures of Mary and Jesus. This design was used mostly in stained glass windows in some of the great medieval cathedrals of Europe. The Cathedral of Chartres (which was dedicated in 1260) has a particularly beautiful Jesse Tree window.

Another development in religious art during the Middle Ages was that of Mystery Plays–drama that depicted various Bible stories or lives of Saints and Martyrs. These plays were performed in churches as part of the liturgical celebrations. One such play was based on the Bible account of the fall of Adam and Eve. The “Tree of Life” used during the play was decorated with apples. (Quite possibly this is also the forerunner of our own Christmas tree.)

Combining the two ideas of the stained glass Jesse Tree window and the Tree of Life from the Mystery Play we come up with our Jesse Tree Advent project. This custom has been used for years to help Christians to prepare for Christmas.

YOUR OWN JESSE TREE It will take planning and work from each family member to make your own Jesse Tree. The needed materials are usually found around most homes.

First of all, you will need a Bible. If there are very small children in the family, a Bible picture story book will help them understand the Bible stories used.

The tree itself can be one of several types. A small artificial tree works fine, as does a tree branch that is anchored in a bucket or a large can of sand or gravel. The tree branch looks particularly attractive if painted white and sprinkled with silver glitter while the paint is still wet. Another possibility is a large drawing of a tree on cardboard or poster board that can be hung on the wall.

The third thing needed is a set of ornaments to hang on the tree. These are best if they are homemade by various family members.

JESSE TREE ORNAMENTS If you decide to use one symbol each day during December, there are 24 symbolic ornaments to make for your Jesse Tree, so each family member will need to make several. Making the ornaments is a good project for Sunday afternoons during Advent.

To make an ornament, first read the Scripture verses for the day. Then pick out one or two short verses that give the main idea. Copy these verses on the back of the ornament. By this time you will probably be thinking of various ways to illustrate your Scripture verses.

Use lots of creativity in making your ornament! You can use pictures from magazines or old greeting cards. Or draw pictures or symbols yourself. Color them with crayons, pencils, markers or paint. Look around the house for bits and pieces that will make your design beautiful!

JESSE TREE SCRIPTURES (The symbols are only suggestions)

December 1Creation: Gen. 1:1-31; 2:1-4 Symbols: sun, moon, stars, animals, earth

December 2Adam and Eve: Gen. 2:7-9, 18-24 Symbols: tree, man, woman

December 3Fall of Man: Gen. 3:1-7 and 23-24 Symbols: tree, serpent, apple with bite

December 4Noah: Gen. 6:5-8, 13-22; 7:17, 23, 24; 8:1, 6-22 Symbols: ark, animals, dove, rainbow

December 5Abraham: Gen. 12:1-3 Symbols: torch, sword, mountain

December 6Isaac: Gen. 22:1-14 Symbols: bundle of wood, altar, ram in bush

December 7Jacob: Gen. 25:1-34; 28:10-15 Symbols: kettle, ladder

December 8Joseph: Gen. 37:23-28; 45:3-15 Symbols: bucket, well, silver coins, tunic

December 9Moses: Ex. 2:1-10 Symbols: baby in basket, river and rushes

December 10Samuel: 1 Sam. 3:1-18 Symbols: lamp, temple

December 11Jesse: 1 Sam. 16:1-13 Symbols: crimson robe, shepherd’s staff

December 12David: 1 Sam. 17:12-51 Symbols: slingshot, 6-pointed star

December 13Solomon: 1 Kings 3:5-14, 16-28 Symbols: scales of justice, temple, two babies and sword

December 14Joseph: Matt. 1:18-25 Symbols: hammer, saw, chisel, angle

December 15Mary: Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-38 Symbols: lily, crown of stars, pierced heart

December 16John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8 Symbols: shell with water, river

On December 17, the Church begins to intensify the preparation for Christmas with the use of the “O” Antiphons during the Liturgy of the Hours. The symbols for the Jesse Tree from December 17 to 23 are based on the “O” Antiphons.

December 17Jesus is Wisdom: Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus in old Bibles) 24:2; Wisdom 8:1 Symbols: oil lamp, open book

December 18Jesus is Lord: Ex. 3:2; 20:1 Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets

December 19Jesus is Flower of Jesse: Isaiah 11:1-3 Symbols: flower, plant with flower

December 20Jesus is Key of David: Isaiah 22:22 Symbols: key, broken chains

December 21Jesus is the Radiant Dawn: Psalm 19:6-7 (in older Bibles this will be Psalm 18) Symbols: sun rising or high in sky

December 22Jesus is King of the Gentiles: Psalm 2:7-8; Ephesians 2:14-20 Symbols: crown, scepter

December 23Jesus is Emmanuel: Isaiah 7:14; 33:22 Symbols: tablets of stone, chalice and host

December 24Jesus is Light of the World: John 1:1-14 Symbols: candle, flame, sun

 

THE CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE

www.christmastree.com/where.html

St. Boniface Story

Why do we have a decorated Christmas Tree? In the 7th century a monk from Crediton, Devonshire, went to Germany to teach the Word of God. He did many good works there, and spent much time in Thuringia, an area which was to become the cradle of the Christmas Decoration Industry.

Legend has it that he used the triangular shape of the Fir Tree to describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The converted people began to revere the Fir tree as God’s Tree, as they had previously revered the Oak. By the 12th century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity.

The first decorated tree was at Riga in Latvia, in 1510. In the early 16th century, Martin Luther is said to have decorated a small Christmas Tree with candles, to show his children how the stars twinkled through the dark night.

 

Christmas Markets

In the mid 16th century, Christmas markets were set up in German towns, to provide everything from Christmas presents, food and more practical things such as a knife grinder to sharpen the knife to carve the Christmas Goose! At these fairs, bakers made shaped gingerbreads and wax ornaments for people to buy as souvenirs of the fair, and take home to hang on their Christmas Trees.

The best record we have is that of a visitor to Strasbourg in 1601. He records a tree decorated with “wafers and golden sugar-twists (Barleysugar) and paper flowers of all colours”. The early trees were biblically symbolic of the Paradise Tree in the Garden of Eden. The many food items were symbols of Plenty, the flowers, originally only red (for Knowledge) and White (for Innocence).

Tinsel

Tinsel was invented in Germany around 1610. At that time real silver was used, and machines were invented which pulled the silver out into the wafer thin strips for tinsel. Silver was durable, but tarnished quickly, especially with candlelight. Attempts were made to use a mixture of lead and tin, but this was heavy and tended to break under its own weight so was not so practical. So silver was used for tinsel right up to the mid-20th century.

The First English Trees

The Christmas Tree first came to England with the Georgian Kings who came from Germany. At this time also, German Merchants living in England decorated their homes with a Christmas Tree. The British public were not fond of the German Monarchy, so did not copy the fashions at Court, which is why the Christmas Tree did not establish in Britain at that time. A few families did have Christmas trees however, probably more from the influence of their German neighbours than from the Royal Court.

 

The decorations were Tinsels, silver wire ornaments, candles and small beads. All these had been manufactured in Germany and East Europe since the 17th century. The custom was to have several small trees on tables, one for each member of the family, with that persons gifts stacked on the table under the tree.

The Victorian and Albert Tree

In 1846, the popular Royals, Queen Victoria and her German Prince, Albert, were illustrated in the Illustrated London News. They were standing with their children around a Christmas Tree. Unlike the previous Royal family, Victoria was very popular with her subjects, and what was done at Court immediately became fashionable – not only in Britain, but with fashion-conscious East Coast American Society. The English Christmas Tree had arrived!

Decorations were still of a ‘home-made’ variety. Young Ladies spent hours at Christmas Crafts, quilling snowflakes and stars, sewing little pouches for secret gifts and paper baskets with sugared almonds in them. Small bead decorations, fine drawn out silver tinsel came from Germany together with beautiful Angels to sit at the top of the tree. Candles were often placed into wooden hoops for safety.

Mid-Victorian Tree

In 1850’s Lauscha began to produce fancy shaped glass bead garlands for the trees, and short garlands made from necklace ‘bugles’ and beads. These were readily available in Germany but not produced in sufficient quantities to export to Britain. The Rauschgoldengel was a common sight. Literally, ‘Tingled-angel’, bought from the Thuringian Christmas markets, and dressed in pure gilded tin.

The 1860’s English Tree had become more innovative than the delicate trees of earlier decades. Small toys were popularly hung on the branches, but still most gifts were placed on the table under the tree.

Around this time, the Christmas tree was spreading into other parts of Europe. The Mediterranean countries were not too interested in the tree, preferring to display only a Creche scene. Italy had a wooden triangle platform tree called as ‘CEPPO’. This had a Creche scene as well as decorations.

The German tree was beginning to suffer from mass destruction! It had become the fashion to lop off the tip off a large tree to use as a Christmas Tree, which prevented the tree from growing further. Statutes were made to prevent people having more than one tree.

Just as the first trees introduced into Britain did not immediately take off, the early trees introduced into America by the Hessian soldiers were not recorded in any particular quantity. The Pennsylvanian German settlements had community trees as early as 1747.

America being so large, tended to have ‘pockets’ of customs relating to the immigrants who had settled in a particular area, and it was not until the communications really got going in the 19th century, that such customs began to spread. Thus references to decorated trees in America before about the middle of the 19th century are very rare.

By the 1870’s, Glass ornaments were being imported into Britain from Lauscha, in Thuringia. It became a status symbol to have glass ornaments on the tree, the more one had, the better ones status! Still many home-made things were seen. The Empire was growing, and the popular tree topper was the Nation’s Flag, sometimes there were flags of the Empire and flags of the allied countries. Trees got very patriotic.

They were imported into America around 1880, where they were sold through stores such as FW Woolworth. They were quickly followed by American patents for electric lights (1882), and metal hooks for safer hanging of decorations onto the trees (1892)

High Victorian Trees

The 1880’s saw a rise of the Aesthetic Movement. At this time Christmas Trees became a glorious hotchpotch of everything one could cram on; or by complete contrast the aesthetic trees which were delicately balanced trees, with delicate colours, shapes and style. they also grew to floor standing trees. The limited availability of decorations in earlier decades had kept trees by necessity to, usually table trees. Now with decorations as well as crafts more popular than ever, there was no excuse. Still a status symbol, the larger the tree – the more affluent the family which sported it.

The High Victorian of the 1890’s was a child’s joy to behold! As tall as the room, and crammed with glitter and tinsel and toys galore. Even the ‘middleclasses’ managed to over-decorate their trees. It was a case of ‘anything goes’. Everything that could possibly go on a tree went onto it.

By 1900 themed trees were popular. A colour theme set in ribbons or balls, a topical idea such as an Oriental Tree, or an Egyptian Tree. They were to be the last of the great Christmas Trees for some time. With the death of Victoria in 1903, the Nation went into mourning and fine trees were not really in evidence until the nostalgia of the Dickensian fashion of the 1930’s.

The American Tree

In America, Christmas Trees were introduced into several pockets – the German Hessian Soldiers took their tree customs in the 18th century. In Texas, Cattle Barons from Britain took their customs in the 19th century, and the East Coast Society copied the English Court tree customs.

Settlers from all over Europe took their customs also in the 19th century. Decorations were not easy to find in the shanty towns of the West, and people began to make their own decorations. Tin was pierced to create lights and lanterns to hold candles which could shine through the holes. Decorations of all kinds were cutout, stitched and glued. The General Stores were hunting grounds for old magazines with pictures, rolls of Cotton Batting (Cotton Wool), and tinsel, which was occasionally sent from Germany or brought in from the Eastern States. The Paper ‘Putz’ or Christmas Crib was a popular feature under the tree, especially in the Moravian Dutch communities which settled in Pennsylvania.

The British tree in the 20th century

After Queen Victoria died, the country went into mourning, and the tree somehow died with her for a while in many homes. While some families and community groups still had large tinsel strewn trees, many opted for the more convenient table top tree. These were available in a variety of sizes, and the artificial tree, particularly the Goose Feather Tree, became popular. These were originally invented in the 1880’s in Germany, to combat some of the damage being done to Fir trees in the name of Christmas.

In America, the Addis Brush Company created the first brush trees, using the same machinery which made their toilet brushes! These had an advantage over the feather tree in that they would take heavier decorations.

After 1918, because of licensing and export problems, Germany was not able to export its decorations easily. The market was quickly taken up by Japan and America, especially in Christmas Tree lights.

Britain’s Tom Smith Cracker Company which has exported Christmas goods for over three decades, began to manufacture trees themselves for a short while.

In the 1930’s There was a revival of Dickensian nostalgia, particularly in Britain. Christmas cards all sported Crinoline ladies with muffs and bonnets popular in the 1840’s. Christmas Trees became large, and real again, and were decorated with many bells, balls and tinsels, and with a beautiful golden haired angel at the top. But wartime England put a stop to many of these trees. It was forbidden to cut trees down for decoration, and with so many raids, many people preferred to keep their most precious heirloom Christmas tree decorations carefully stored away in metal boxes, and decorated only a small tabletop tree with home-made decorations, which could be taken down into the shelters for a little Christmas cheer, when the air-raid sirens went.

Large trees were erected however in public places to give morale to the people at this time.

Postwar Britain saw a revival of the nostalgic again. people needed the security of Christmas, which is so unchanging in a changing world, as one of the symbols to set them back on their feet. Trees were as large as people could afford. Many poorer families still used the tabletop Goosefeather trees, Americas Addis Brush Trees were being imported into Britain, and these became immensely popular for a time. But the favourites were still real trees. The popular decorations were all produced by a British manufacturer, Swanbrand. and sold by FW Woolworth in Britain. Translucent plastic lock together shapes, Honeycomb paper Angels, ‘glow-in the -dark icicles; also Polish glass balls and birds In South Wales, where real trees were often difficult to find in the rural areas, Holly Bushes were decorated.

The mid-1960’s saw another change. A new world was on the horizon, and modernist ideas were everywhere. Silver aluminium trees were imported from America. The ‘Silver Pine’ tree, patented in the 1950’s, was designed to have a revolving light source under it, with coloured gelatine ‘windows, which allowed the light to shine in different shades as it revolved under the tree. No decorations were needed for this tree.

Decorations became sparse. Glass balls and lametta created an ‘elegant’ modern tree. Of course, many families ignored fashion and carried on putting their own well loved decorations on their trees!

America made a return to Victorian nostalgia in the 1970’s, and it was a good decade later that Britain followed the fashion. By the at first this was a refreshing look, and manufacturers realising the potential created more and more fantastic decorations. Some American companies specialised in antique replicas, actually finding the original makers in Europe to recreate wonderful glass ornaments, real silver tinsels and pressed foil ‘Dresdens’.

Real Christmas Trees were popular, but many housewives preferred the convenience of the authentic looking artificial trees which were being manufactured. If your room was big enough, you could have a 14 foot artificial Spruce right there in your living room, without a single dropped needle – and so good that it fooled everyone at first glance. There are even pine scented sprays to put on the tree for that ‘real tree smell’!

The late 1990’s tree has taken the Victorian idea, but with new themes and conceptual designs. The Starry Starry Night Tree, The Twilight Tree, The Snow Queen Tree…..

These trees are still with us – what will the new millennium bring? Well, I do have some inside knowledge – but its a secret! Watch this space!

 

 

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Posted by on November 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Twelve Days of Christmas Carol…..it’s Origin! Researched by Fr Kevin Walsh Advent Week 1. 2011

THE HISTORY OF THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS. 

Dear One and All,

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me.  What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans and especially the partridge that won’t come out of the pear tree, have to do with Christmas?

From 1558 until 1829,  Catholics in England were not permitted to practise their faith openly.  The song has two levels of meaning:  the surface meaning, plus the hidden meaning, known only to members of their church.  Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality, which children could remember.

The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

Two turtledoves were the Old and New Testament.

Three French hens stood for faith, hope and charity.

Four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Five golden rings recalled the torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

Six geese a laying stood for the six days of creation.

Seven swans a swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit:  Prophesy Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership and Mercy.

Eight maids a milking were the eight Beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit:  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self control.

Ten lords a leaping were the Ten Commandments.

Eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

Twelve drummers drumming symbolised the twelve points of belief in the Apostles Creed.

So there is your history lesson for today.  This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening.  So I now share it with you.  Now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol.

May God grant you peace and happiness throughout this season!!

      Fr Kev     

 *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

             

On the first day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

On the second day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the third day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fourth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the fifth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the sixth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the seventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the ninth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the tenth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the eleventh day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree.

On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

1st Sunday of Advent Year B. Readings, Helpful Hints, Deep Sea Diving into God’s Word, a realhomilie, Family Prayer and Blessing. Presented by Fr.Kevin Walsh. Number 23.

 

WATCH!

Happy New Year! The Church’s calendar begins today. The word “Advent” means “coming” and starts with a message similar to the theme of last week’s Mass. Be ready and watch for the coming of Jesus. However, it means a little more than just coming; it conveys to us an expectancy within the person waiting.  This can be understood in three ways.
First, we anticipate Christ’s advent on Christmas. We go beyond the materialism of the modern world by a focus on the real meaning of the feast: God enters human existence in a totally personal way.
Second, we look forward to Jesus’ arrival in our lives through the blossoming of our faith and the insight we have as pure ‘gift’ to see God’s saving work at hand in Christ within His Word, Sacrament and Community. Thus in a mystical way we bring his body into the world through our union with him also in the communion of saints.
Finally, we speculate on the end of this universe at the conclusion of time. The universe is not self-sustaining. Eventually it will terminate in some sort of extinction. Time is finite. It will reach a culmination either in a vast cataclysm or total dissolution. Then the real universe will begin in God.

So, welcome to Year B! During Advent and Lent, the three Readings in the Liturgy of the Word are linked….see if you can see and hear the links!

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.

It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed, in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in our being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading, and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link.

          First Reading: Isaiah 63:16-17; 64:1.3-8

You, Lord, yourself are our Father, Our Redeemer is your ancient name. Why, Lord, leave us to stray from your ways and harden our hearts against fearing you? Return, for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your inheritance. Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down – at your Presence the mountains would melt. No ear has heard, no eye has seen any god but you act like this for those who trust him. You guide those who act with integrity and keep your ways in mind.

You were angry when we were sinners; we had long been rebels against you. We were all like men unclean, all that integrity of ours is like filthy clothing. We have all withered like leaves and our sins blew us away like the wind. No one invoked your name or roused himself to catch hold of you. For you hid your face from us and gave us up to the power of our sins.

And yet, Lord, you are our Father; we the clay, you the potter, we are all the work of your hand.

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon the first reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word.)

Psalm: Ps 79:2-3. 15-16. 18-19

R. Lord, make us turn to you, let us see your face

and we shall be saved.

O shepherd of Israel, hear us,

shine forth from your cherubim throne.

O Lord, rouse up your might,

O Lord, come to our help. R.

God of hosts, turn again, we implore,

look down from heaven and see,

Visit this vine and protect it,

the vine your right hand has planted. R.

May your hand be on the man you have chosen,

the man you have given your strength.

And we shall never forsake you again:

give us life that we may call upon your name. R.

                  Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send you grace and peace.

I never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received through Jesus Christ. I thank him that you have been enriched in so many ways, especially in your teachers and preachers; the witness to Christ has indeed been strong among you so that you will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed; and he will keep you steady and without blame until the last day, the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, because God by calling you has joined you to his Son, Jesus Christ; and God is faithful.

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

PAUSE again after this Reading and reflect like you did after the first Reading. The Community response is the sung ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday!  We never say it…  🙂

                  Gospel: Mark 13:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’

This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Reflection time again……. see if you can hear the links, and see the bridges between the three Readings. After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..

DEEP SEA DIVING INTO THE SCRIPTURES

 

Focusing the Word

Key words and phrases

Be on your guard.

Stay Awake.

You never know when the master of the house is coming.

You are our Father; we the clay, you the potter.

We are the work of your hand.

Lord, make us turn to you, let us see your face and we shall be saved.

to the point

At the beginning of the liturgical year we are instructed to look to the end: ‘The master is coming’. We wait and watch for Christ’s coming by being faithful to the work he has given each of us to do.

Connecting the Word

to the first two readings

We are able to do our work because God moulds us like clay (first reading) and keeps us ‘steady and without blame until the last day’ (second reading).

to living our religious experience

As the minutes of our lives (i.e., the watches of the night) tick by, the Lord’s arrival is always unexpected. The work of Christian living is constant watchfulness that discovers the redeeming possibility of every moment.

Understanding the Word

Jesus’ apocalyptic discourse in Mark 13

The thirteenth chapter of Mark’s gospel is frequently called ‘The Little Apocalypse.’ This apocalyptic speech is similar in outlook, language, and expectation to material found in the books of Daniel and Revelation. The apocalyptic worldview distinguishes sharply between the present sinful age and the glorious future age. The ‘age to come’ will be established only after the present world is destroyed in a great, cosmic war which pits evil against good and the righteous against the wicked. In this apocalyptic world there is no middle ground. In such fearful and frightful times the righteous have the advantage of God’s invincible might which will surely and completely annihilate the forces of evil. The present chaos and upheaval serve as signs to the faithful that God is about to come in power, bringing victory, glory, and a new creation. Particularly in the New Testament the frightful and glorious Age to Come is heralded by the coming of the Son of Man.

In Mark 13 Jesus has finally arrived in Jerusalem and he is now seated on the Mount of Olives, opposite the Temple, looking down upon the city of Jerusalem. There, like prophets of old, Jesus speaks of the immediate future. He describes the days ahead in typical, even stock, apocalyptic imagery: there will be war between kingdoms, earthquakes, and famines (13:8), the persecution of the righteous (13:11), false messiahs (13:22), and cosmic signs – ‘sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from the sky’ (13:24-25). This means that the end is at hand: ‘this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place’ (13:30).

These terrifying signs, however, call the elect both to ethical conduct and to hope. With the return of the Son of Man so near, the elect are to keep themselves free from sin lest they be found among the ranks of sinners doomed to destruction; and they are to have hope for the time of their deliverance and victory is at hand. Therefore, ‘Be watchful! Be alert!’

 

a realhomilie……..

Dear One and All,

Advent is a great time in the Church Year, but it is a bit of a challenge for us here in Australia, and living in the Southern Hemisphere. However, when I was stationed at St.Joseph’s in Hobart, we had three years of white Christmases! When I was stationed overseas, many people said to me that they would find it just so difficult having Christmas in Summer, as well as holidays looming for the kids, and also for many parents as well at Christmas time.  In Australia the environment of all the flowers blooming, and the heat….well, for this year we are still waiting for it! I suppose that picks up the Advent theme of waiting…..  In the Northern hemisphere, I enjoyed the Advent Liturgical season so much, because the climate etc were in tune, and the desire for the days getting shorter is just so real! I had better stop day dreaming, and get on with it!

 

Let’s look at the Gospel passage for today. There seems to be an unsettled anticipation to be on the alert, keep watch, we do not know when the Lord will return. He could show up at any tick of the clock!  For the Thessalonian Church, St.Paul had to give them a swift reminder not to just sit around and wait, but get on with living the message, or don’t eat! That certainly put some reality into their response to Christ. For the early Church, they had to come to grips with the fact that the Kingdom of God is among them, us, yet not complete till the Lord Jesus comes in Glory. We live in between times….

It seems that there are two messages in the Gospel today. First; we don’t know when the Lord Jesus will return in glory, but it will happen. Second; we have the opportunity to meet Christ everyday in our sisters and brothers, in His proclaimed Word, and in Sacrament. The Gospel today is as relevant today as it was when it was first proclaimed. We cannot rest on our laurels nor have a holiday from the Christian Life. Advent seems to be like the fine tuner that we used to have on our portable Radios; remember the smaller dial underneath the bigger dial for tuning into a station? I think that Advent has allot to do with fine tuning into our responses, to meeting the Lord every day and by doing that, we will be ready when the Lord does come in glory.

Now let us go back to the first reading from the Old Testament. Here we see the Prophet Isaiah, and his community calling out to the Lord God to ‘be with’ His people in a new way!  Within this cry, we see a fundamental element of contrition emerge from within Israel…..then there is an acknowledgement of who they are in relation to the Lord God. In short, the faces have changed, but the message remains the same……a true and real contrite heart knows that God is the Potter, and we are the clay, fashioned by the Lord God’s saving hand!

 

Let’s stay with that metaphor of the Potter, and the clay for a little while. The making of Pottery has always interested me, and in the 1990’s when I was ministering in Israel, and Jordan, I had the fantastic opportunity of seeing a Potter at work at the back of his shop in Amman. It was by a fluke that I called into this shop during the afternoon ‘sleep time’. You see in Jordan, no one has to lock their shops……why? If you steal, and get caught, the family who owns the premises has the right to chop one’s right hand off, ASAP!  Yes, I know what it is like to live under Islamic law….. (By the way, I still have both my hands, just in case you were worried about me…..) Anyhow, I dropped into this shop because the door was open! I was wearing my Religious Habit at the time, and I was welcomed in by the Moslem Family who were reclining at the back of the shop. But there was this old man at the Wheel fashioning a pottery Jar! The people could not speak English, but we didn’t need language, we used gestures, smiles and my excitement seemed to calm their fears. The old man could not leave his wheel because he was creating!!!!! But his son called me to come closer, and to look at what was happening. He could see that I was very interested in the process.  The young man pointed to his Dad’s head, and then pointed to the pottery in the making….I could understand that the old man had an image of what he wanted to create, but it seems that surprises seem to often pop up. Sometimes a so called flaw in the pottery can be fashioned into something beautiful. I was taken around the shop to look at the most beautiful showcase of Pottery. I noticed that every object of pottery was different; no two were the same!  How good is that? That’s us….no two are the same….even identical twins are different….check out their finger prints!

This experience in the Pottery shop in Amman, taught me just so much about its meaning in the Scriptures where clay and pottery is mentioned. This opened up a whole new world of understanding for me, and hopefully this adventure is contagious for you too right now!

 

One more thing that I noticed in the Pottery shop….there were no signs on the Jars saying, WATER or FLOUR…no, there were pictures etched into the Pottery of an Oasis with Palms, Camels, and people drinking…..that Jar was to contain water. And the pictures went on and on. Some Jars had stories on them like the one I have just inserted. So, in order to know what was inside the jar, one has to stop and be attentive to the external picture. How good is that? We need to take time and read each other, and not just make harsh assumptions about someone, without taking the time also to look inside, and being respectful, because we are all the work of God’s hands.

To finish off……how about a starter at the fine tuning for Advent…..how about we make a Garden; and Advent Garden, seeing that we are in the Southern Hemisphere?

(Live well with the produce of your garden.)

First, plant four rows of peas.

Pray.

Perseverance

Politeness.

Promptness.

Next to them plant three rows of Squash.

Squash gossip.

Squash Criticism.

Squash indifference.

Then plant lettuce.

Let us be truthful.

Let us be loyal.

Let us be faithful.

Let us love one another.

No garden is complete without turnips.

Turn up for the Eucharist.

Turn up for Community Advent Reconciliation. (Check out your Parish Bulletin)

Turn up for ‘Prayer’ at home with the family.

Turn up for sharing & evaluation.

Turn up to celebrate with the

Community….who needs an occasion?

Turn up on time!

Turn off your Mobile ‘phone before you pray with the community!

God Bless you and your family, and may we never forget each other the next time when we are held in conversation with the Lord,

Fr.Kev

OUR FAMILY PRAYER TIME………

 

This is a great opportunity to gather the Family in Prayer. Having a Prayer Setting really adds to and designates this time as a ‘special’ time together. You might like to have a nice coloured cloth on a coffee table, or on the centre of the Dining Room Table. You will need a candle, Crucifix, Bible …in the opened position, even at the Gospel of the Sunday, and maybe a flower. You might like to create your own Advent Wreath…very simple, for ideas please check out the Posting  November 21.  Prayer time needs to be able to engage as many of our senses as possible. Someone in the family might like to be the leader, then other family members can share the prayers….everyone can be invited to join is spontaneous shared prayer…

 

Leader: Trusting that we have been richly blessed and will lack no spiritual gifts on our earthly pilgrimage, we bring these special needs.

  1. For our Holy Father, our local bishop and our pastors, that they may truly lead and guide us in this new Church year, we pray to the Lord:
  2. For the leaders of our nation, state, and local community, that they always be guided by God’s word, we pray to the Lord:
  3. For all the families of our parish, that the Advent Season be for them a time of special closeness and peace, we pray to the Lord:
  4. For all the single people of our parish and those who have lost a spouse through death, that they may find comfort and support from friends and fellow parishioners, we pray to the Lord:
  5. As our new week begins, let’s look back to last week. Did we see events and situations in our world which invite prayer from us? If so, would anyone like to share a prayer……..?
  6. Let’s gather all our prayers spoken and shared and those that are deep within our hearts as we pray the great Prayer of the Church…….Our Father…

Leader: Gracious God, we ask your special nearness to us always as we continue on our life’s journey and await the coming of Jesus your Son, who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

 

The Blessing……..

 

Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary

1.                        The Cross

ALL:  WE SHALL TAKE IT.

2.                      The bread……………

ALL:  WE SHALL BREAK IT.                   

3.                       The pain

ALL:  WE SHALL BEAR IT.

4.                        The joy………………

ALL:  WE SHALL SHARE IT.                       

5.                        The Gospel……………

ALL:  WE SHALL LIVE IT.

6.                        The love…………

ALL:  WE SHALL GIVE IT.

7.                       The light……………

ALL:  WE SHALL CHERISH IT.

8.                       The darkness…………….

ALL:  WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Advent Wreath…..a brief History and Family Prayer for the 1st Sunday of Advent 2011 By Fr.Kevin Walsh

Dear One and All,

I thought that today gives us the opportunity to have a look at a brief history of the Advent Wreath before it starts Next Sunday is the First Week of Advent Year B. Well, it has its origins in the pagan rituals of the peoples of Northern Europe hundreds of years ago.

During the dark cold days of winter, these pre-Christian peoples gathered to celebrate the winter Solstice from December 21 to 23.  The main focus of their rituals was a wheel on which they placed evergreen branches and lighted candles.  With this symbol, they created a circle of light in the midst of their darkest days, and they (prayed) and longed for the signs of the change of season, which would “turn” and the sun would come “round” again.

With the coming of Christianity, the mid-winter candle wheel gradually became the Advent Wreath, and the candles were lit, not to anticipate the return of the sun, but rather, the coming of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.

 

In Australia, the Wreath traditionally is created around a circular base symbolizing the never-ending cycle of the seasons and our place in eternal time.  The base is covered with evergreen leaves creating a link with the evergreen Christmas tree, which will supplant it.   The green symbolizes God’s everlasting love and new life, which Jesus won for us, and the hope to which we are called as God’s People.

 

Four coloured candles are places on the Wreath, and are lit in sequence during Advent.  These four candles symbolize that Jesus is the Light of the World, and as we watch the candles burn down each week, we are reminded to continue to wait in hope, and prepare for the coming of the Lord.

 

The first purple candle is the Prophet’s candle, which reminds us of the Old Testament Prophecies about the coming of the Messiah.  This candle also reminds us that Jesus, the Prophetic Word made flesh, is the fulfilment of the Old Testament.

The second purple candle to be lit is the Bethlehem candle, and it serves to remind us of the birthplace of the Messiah.

The third candle, which is pink, is a symbol of joy.  It reminds us that God loved us so much that he sent his Son to us.  It is called the Shepherds’ Candle, in memory of the first people to worship the newborn Jesus. This candle also symbolizes our growing joy and excitement as the birth of Jesus draws near.

Finally, the last purple candle is called the Angels’ Candle and this serves to remind us that the Angels were the heralds of the birth of Christ, the Emmanuel ( God is with us).

In the centre of the wreath is a white flower in bloom with buds ready to burst forth, reminding us from the Prophet Isaiah 35:1-6 That with the coming of the promised One, life will change and be made new. In a poetic way the Old Testament writer says,” Let the wilderness and the dry lands exult, let the wasteland rejoice and bloom, let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil….’

May we use this time of Advent wisely, and may nothing hinder us from receiving Christ with joy.

God Bless you and your families and may we never forget each other in prayer.                  Fr.Kev.

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT….Family Prayer

 

Leader:The Advent Wreath will be one of the principal symbols in the church and in our Liturgy over the next four weeks.  Today we will bless the wreath and light the first candle.  Before we do, let us pause for a moment and pray together with a longing and waiting for the coming of the Lord.      Pause.

God of grace and promise, at the beginning of this Advent season, we gather as a community to prepare for the coming of Jesus. We ask you now to bless our Family Advent Wreath and all who gather around it. May it remind us of the coming if Jesus in the Incarnation, of his continued coming into our hearts and into our world today and of his future coming in glory.

Lord, we pray that you will Bless our Advent Wreath and fill our hearts for a longing to meet you always in our sisters and brothers, in your Holy Word in the Scriptures and in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Bless our Family, and all our efforts  in seeing you today, and one day face to face. We make this our prayer through Christ Our Lord. Amen

Leader: May the circle of green leaves be a sign of the new life which Jesus won for us and the hope to which we are called.

All.           Come, Lord Jesus.

Leader: As we light these candles each week, may our hearts be filled with eager expectation at the coming of Christ our Saviour.

All.           Come, Lord Jesus.

Leader:  May he find us awake when he comes, ready to receive him with joy!

All.           Come, Lord Jesus.

The first candle is lit…..All pray: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. 

 

Let us pray …All together

God of faithfulness,

our hearts desire the warmth of your love

and our minds are searching for the light of your Word.

Increase our longing for Christ, our Saviour

and give us the strength to grow in love,

that the dawn of his coming

may find us rejoicing in his presence

and welcoming the of his truth.

We make tis prayer in his name

and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Feast of Christ the King. Year A. Number 22. Readings, Helpful hints, Deep Sea diving into God’s Word, a realhomilie, Family Prayer and Blessing Presented by Fr.Kev Walsh

(LAST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME)

Pope Pius XI instituted this feast in 1925 in response to the rise of totalitarianism.  It celebrates Christ’s reign over the human race and human hearts.  The feast emphasises God’s ultimate forgiveness as well as Christ’s eschatological return and final sovereignty over all creation.  This last theme is continued during Advent.

THE LITURGY OF THE WORD.

It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in our being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link.

First Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-12. 15-17

The Lord says this: I am going to look after my flock myself and keep all of it in view. As a shepherd keeps all his flock in view when he stands up in the middle of his scattered sheep, so shall I keep my sheep in view. I shall rescue them from wherever they have been scattered during the mist and darkness. I myself will pasture my sheep, I myself will show them where to rest – it is the Lord who speaks. I shall look for the lost one, bring back the stray, bandage the wounded and make the weak strong. I shall watch over the fat and healthy. I shall be a true shepherd to them.

As for you, my sheep, the Lord says this: I will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats.

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon the first reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word.)

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 22:1-3. 5-6

R. The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

The Lord is my shepherd;

there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures

where he gives me repose. R.

Near restful waters he leads me,

to revive my drooping spirit.

He guides me along the right path;

he is true to his name. R.

You have prepared a banquet for me

in the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil;

my cup is overflowing. R.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me

all the days of my life.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell

for ever and ever. R.

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:20-26. 28

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in the proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death. And when everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will be subject in his turn to the One who subjected all things to him, so that God may be all in all.

This is the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

PAUSE again after this Reading and reflect like you did after the first Reading. The Community response is the sung ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday!  We never say it…

Gospel: Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.” Next he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.” Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or naked, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.” And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.’

This is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

DEEP SEA DIVING INTO THE SCRIPTURES

Focusing the Gospel

Key words and phrases

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory.

For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink.

I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.

I tell you solemnly, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.

The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.

I will judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and he-goats.

To the point

The gospel for this festival honouring Christ the King presents him enthroned in glory, judging the nations. The one who has shepherded us toward the Day of Judgment (see first reading) demands only that we have also shepherded one another. Thus, ultimately, judgment is based on whether we have lived as Christ.

Connecting the Gospel

To the last two Sundays

This gospel clarifies elements of the last two Sundays. The possessions the master entrusted to his servants (last Sunday) are here revealed to be the Master’s own ‘brothers’ and sisters. What we are to do during the delay while we await the Bridegroom’s coming (OT 32) is to care for them.

To culture

We don’t like being judged, but we tend to be quick to judge others. How different our judgments would be if we always realise that we are looking upon the face of Christ in the other!

Understanding Scripture

Christ as King

The parables of the previous two Sundays discussed the return of Jesus under the images of a bridegroom and a wealthy master. All such images and pretexts are dropped in this Sunday’s teaching. The ‘Son of Man’ is clearly identified as a ‘king’ (25:34) seated on ‘his glorious throne’ (25:31). This is a dramatic illustration of one of Matthew’s main theological concerns. In this glorious scene the kingdom Jesus had announced and inaugurated throughout his ministry, the kingdom that has been opposed by the kingdom of Satan is revealed as ultimately triumphant. Christ takes his seat as universal judge; ‘all the nations [are] assembled before him’ (25:32) and the King pronounces judgment. This scene is Matthew’s dramatisation of Daniel 7:13-14 in which a ‘son of man,’ ‘coming on the clouds of heaven,’ is presented to God who bestows upon him ‘dominion, glory, and kingship,’ so that ‘nations and peoples of every language serve him.’ Daniel’s mysterious and glorious Son of Man is Jesus.

The scope and character of Jesus’ glorious reign are unlike the reign of other earthly kings. First, his rule, and hence his judgment, is over ‘all the nations.’ Even the greatest superpower of the day, the Roman Empire, was not so far reaching. Second, the kings of the earth demand from their subject’s loyalty and taxes; some kingdoms require military service. Christ the King demands care for ‘the least of my brothers.’ Though all the brothers and sisters of Jesus are members of his royal family, some are without food and drink, others are naked and imprisoned. Jesus accounts care of them as care of him. This is not a new teaching. Earlier, Jesus had instructed his disciples as he sent them out on mission: ‘Whoever receives you receives me’ (Matthew 10:40 – Sunday 13).

This presentation of Jesus, and the identification of Jesus with his ‘least ones,’ has profound implications for ethical conduct. This is not merely a story of ‘doing good,’ a religious warrant for secular humanitarian action. Service of others is service of Jesus; service of Jesus is recognition of his sovereignty: Christ is King.

A REALHOMILIE FOR YOU……..

Dear One and All,

Today’s Gospel contains the questions on our exam papers when we die! Please note that the questions will be very materialistic. We will be asked about a slice of bread, a glass of water, or an overcoat. It is very important that we understand the implications of living and being “Good News” on this Feast of Christ the King.

Jesus takes whatever we do for others as being done to him.  Like St. Paul, we have never met Jesus in the flesh, as he looked and appeared to his Apostles.  We meet him now in the shape of others, whether he is happy, rejected, or marginalised. We hear Him through his proclaimed Word. And we celebrate Christ’s union with us, and with one another, in and through the Eucharistic Celebration.

It is interesting to hear those on his right being puzzled when Jesus told them all they had done for him. They were givers by Christian instinct; they were ordinary good people, who didn’t know what it was like not to be good. In our Australian language we would call them the ‘quiet achievers’. They were generous people, who could not be mean if they tried. They didn’t see themselves as exceptional, and they certainly weren’t always conscious that it was Jesus who was the recipient of their kindness. This is real virtue, because it becomes so ingrained as to become second nature.  Their giving was never of a showy nature, where they sought the praise and approval of others.

The questions on the exam paper are so simple. ‘I was hungry…thirsty….naked…in prison….a stranger…and what did you do about it?

The group on his left were amazed to find that they had not done what was expected, because they probably never gave thought to others anyhow, and such actions were not within the range of their thinking.

With our final exam, we at least have the questions before time, and it is up to us to answer them through our Christ-like attitudes and actions. Fortunately, we are given the Sacramental nourishment for this pilgrimage journey, which we make together.  We have food for thought in God’s Word, and we have the opportunity to “live” the answers in a genuine way within a community, which we call Christian!

We don’t have to go far to find someone who is hungry for a word of encouragement, or who is in the prison of depression, of loneliness, bereavement or despair. They are all around us, and we can be one of them too! Do we allow and welcome others to minister to us?  This is sometimes a very big question.

The Feast of Christ the Universal King, is a timely reminder to us that the Kingdom that Jesus speaks about, and calls us to, is not a Kingdom of power, oppression and glory. In the Gospel we hear that the Kingdom is within! It is about loving service, encouragement of each other’s giftedness, forgiveness, love, peace and seeking God’s will in all things, and being Christ to one another.

I would like to conclude with this special Song titled: St.Teresa’s Prayer….but here some background information first.

A story is told of the bombings of WWII
That amidst the destruction a war can do
A statue of Jesus was nearly destroyed
That as men went to work on it, many hands joined

For the statue was their symbol of God’s presence
Now more than ever they needed it for hope of existence
Experts were called to do the long work of repair
But, in the end, it was left handless…as a reminder to declare:

As before this city and the world this statue now stands
Let all read at the base and do as inscribed: “Ye are my hands.”
An endless invitation to a city now restored
To learn of and do the needed work of the Lord

Thus, in this city, one greets with friendly handshakes
And when there’s a need…the gift of hands reawakes
Let us, too, go forth and follow this city’s example
That the hope of Christ might come to another to then sample

“You Are My Hands”

St Teresa’s Prayer

Christ has no body now but yours, no hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through He looks compassion on this world; yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands with which He blesses all the world.

YOURS ARE THE HANDS, YOURS ARE THE FEET, YOURS ARE THE EYES, YOU ARE HIS BODY.

Christ has no Body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks, compassion on this world. Christ has no Body now on earth but yours.

May God bless you and your families and may we never forget each other in prayer.

Fr Kevin Walsh

OUR FAMILY PRAYER TIME………

This is a great opportunity to gather the Family in Prayer. Having a Prayer Setting really adds to and designates this time as a ‘special’ time together. You might like to have a nice coloured cloth on a coffee table, or on the centre of the Dining Room Table. You will need a candle, Crucifix, Bible …in the opened position, even at the Gospel of the Sunday, and maybe a flower. Prayer time needs to be able to engage as many of our senses as possible. Someone in the family might like to be the leader, then other family members can share the prayers….everyone can be invited to join is spontaneous shared prayer…

 

Leader: Let us ask God to hear and answer our prayers, which we offer in union with Christ our King.

  1. That God’s people will serve Christ the King by caring for the spiritual and physical needs of his least ones, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our Prayer.
  2. That leaders of governments will recognise the rights of the oppressed and honour the dignity of all, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our Prayer
  3. That Jesus will come quickly to save those who wait in suffering, pain and despair, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our Prayer
  4. That we who worship here will know the goodness and kindness of the Lord at this table, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our Prayer
  5. That those who have died, especially N. and N., will find everlasting joy around God’s throne, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, hear our Prayer
  6. As our new week begins, let’s look back to last week. Did we see events and situations in our world which invite prayer from us? If so, would anyone like to share a prayer……..?
  7. Let’s gather all our prayers spoken and shared and those that are deep within our hearts as we pray the great Prayer of the Church…….Our Father…

Leader: Almighty and eternal God, you willed to renew and restore all things in your beloved Son, the King of the universe. Help us to live the truth of his kingship by serving our sisters and brothers with our whole heart. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Blessing……..

Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary

1.                        The Cross

ALL WE SHALL TAKE IT.

2.                        The bread……………

ALL WE SHALL BREAK IT.

3.                        The pain

ALL WE SHALL BEAR IT.

4.                        The joy………………

ALL WE SHALL SHARE IT.

5.                        The Gospel……………

ALL WE SHALL LIVE IT.

6.                        The love…………

ALL WE SHALL GIVE IT.

7.                        The light……………

ALL WE SHALL CHERISH IT.

8.                       The darkness…………….

ALL WE SHALL PERISH IT. Amen.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

A Memo from Fr.Kev about a new format of realhomilies commencing Thursday November 17, 2011

Dear One and All,

As from this week, I will make one posting of the realhomilie series every Thursday night, which will contain: Scripture readings of the Sunday with hints along the way to help us partake of the Word. Followed by DEEP SEA DIVING: that is going into the Biblical meanings within the Word. Followed by a realhomilie, family prayer time and a Blessing.

The reason for the change is because I need more time to prepare the Posting, and I am about to add Music and Songs, and hopefuly short Video clips into the format. Also, it takes a bit of pressure from me to have so much material ready by a Tuesday…and things don’t go to plan as we saw last week…and some previous occasions.

So, please stay tuned to a Blog coming your way….this Thursday night or early Friday morning…..

With every good wish,

Fr.Kev

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

33rd Sunday Year A. A Memo from Fr.Kev

Dear One and All,

Sickness has struck our Household this week. I came down with an inter Galactic Virus early Tuesday morning, and I was as crook as Rookwood! A saying that we have in Sydney. Rookwood is a very old, and big Cemetery in Sydney. If you are crook as…you are in a bad way, even considering a plot of land in the Cemetery….. Then my poor Mum also got hit by the Virus last night, which changed our day completely, especially for poor Mum who is 91!!!!. My Mum was admitted to our local Hospital suffering from a virul attack very much the same as I had earlier this week. My sister and I have only returned from the Hospital with Mum late tonight Sydney time. Fortunately, the Hospital was able to rehydrate my Mum, and carry out the necessary tests. All is satisfactory.  So, it is now, 23.05 E.S.T and I have not had the energy to post the Readings etc, or a realhomilie for you this week. So sorry.  The Homily is virtually on the tip of my tongue right now.

I guess the lesson is hard to learn…..we do not know what the next day brings!!!!!!!!!!! So, our Dog Rosie greeted Mum home with the  usual wagging, and licking style. Even Sweetie our Galah ( Australian Parrot) let out a loud squark! My sister seems OK. I was so glad that she was about to carry us… So, now I think that it is fitting to quote the Canticle of Simeon in Luke’s Gospel….’Now Lord, you may dismiss your servant in peace….Good night all; we shall catch up next week….God willing!

 

With every good wish,

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr.Kev 🙂

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in Uncategorized