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Advent 2008

Reflections for each Sunday of Advent

by Srs. Anne Hannon and Jo O'Donovan

Advent is the season that begins the liturgical year. It consists of four Sundays starting with Sunday November 30th. The word "advent" is derived from the Latin adventus, which means "coming" or "arrival." For Christians, Advent is the time when the church patiently prepares for the coming of Jesus Christ.



Fourth Sunday of Advent - 21st December 2008

Reflection One

Among the Hebrew people there was a strong sense of national identity and the main reason for this could be found in their religion. At the heart of the Hebrew religion was the unshakeable conviction that Yahweh, their God had rescued them from slavery in Egypt, twelve hundred years before the birth of Jesus and He had made a special covenant with them. All their worship centred on the Exodus and the Covenant. Their three great festivals celebrated their joy and gratitude to Yahweh who had brought them out of Egypt and settled them in Palestine.>>more

Reflection Two

In the readings today there is a sense of God coming close, and seeking and finding a dwelling, a house in which to be with human beings. Firstly there is David the king of Israel. The fact that David's name occurs more often in the Bible than that of Jesus or of any other indicates his high stature. The promise made to David in this reading was to be the main support of Israel during the exile. Despite his human weaknesses, David always remained a friend of God, and related to the Lord with the spontaneity of love as he would to any friend.>>more

Third Sunday of Advent - 14th December 2008

Reflection One

The woman I want to speak about this week is Catherine. Like Anna and Elizabeth she knew what it was to wait. She waited fifty two years before God, through Archbishop Murray, asked her to enter the Novitiate in George’s Hill for formation in the religious life.
Of course, all her life was a preparation for this moment and she did it because she had come to believe it was the only way to ensure the continuity of her Works of Mercy to the poor. >>more

Reflection Two

It is Gaudete Sunday and a spirit of joy characterise the readings. 'The gigantic secret of Christianity', says Chesterton, 'is its joy'. And let us enter into this joy with C.S.Lewis, when musing on the reality of Heaven / God he says he has the impression of a 'sound of a chuckle in the darkness'. The readings today lift us in various ways to this place of letting 'joy size', letting God. The poor have a near-religious status as God's favoured ones. In Isaiah, the prophetic words are about good news to the poor.>>more

Second Sunday of Advent - 7th December 2008

Reflection One

Elizabeth was of priestly descent and a relative of Mary the mother of Jesus. She was married to Zechariah, a priest descended from Aaron the first high priest. Childless into her old age, Elizabeth gave birth to a son, John, through a miraculous intervention, even though she was barren and Zechariak was sterile. Her child grew up to be the prophet who prepared the way for the promised and long expected Messiah. Her story stands at the very beginning of Luke’s Gospel and unfolds in counterpoint to Mary’s story. The joining of both women’s stories, whose central theme is the salvation and liberation of all people, occurs through the deliberate intervention of God. >>more

Reflection Two

The desert, prophetic figures, hope - the courageous leap into the newness of a God who comes (Adventus). All these images/movements permeate the readings today. Is.40:lff is the beginning of the message of Second Isaiah, the anonymous prophet of exile. Preaching around 540 B.C., he stresses the dimensions of hope and consolation for a depressed people. A new period is about to begin. There will be no more punishment; sin is forgiven. >>more

First Sunday of Advent - 30th November 2008

Reflection One

I would like to look at an intriguing biblical woman who draws our attention as we reflect on the spiritual power of women. She appears in the early part of Luke’s narrative. Her name is Anna, of the tribe of Asher. Lk. 2:36-38. From this little we know that Anna was ‘well got’. Her husband died after seven years of marriage, and the gospel tells us that she is now of great age, eighty four. She spends her time in the temple worshipping with prayer and fasting night and day. The reference to Anna takes up a very small space in the Gospel narrative, but in spite of her near invisibility there are three important things it tells us......>>more

Reflection Two

Advent invites us to journey in grace, to live within time as kairos. To savour time's in-breaking moments, its newness from day to day. Advent invites us to draw back from chronological living -where time is the emptiness we stretch and fill with one thing after another.......>>more


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