First Reading Ref: Micah 5:1-4
A reading from the prophet Micah
Again today we hear from a Prophet that doesn't feature very
often in the Sunday readings, this is the only reading from
Micah. He announces to the besieged inhabitants of Jerusalem
that a messiah or king will come from Bethlehem and he will
being them peace.
The Lord says this: You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, the least of
the clans of Judah,
out of you will be born for me the one who is to rule over Israel;
his origin goes back to the distant past, to the days of old.
The Lord is therefore going to abandon them till the time when
she who is to give birth gives birth. Then the remnant of his
brothers will come back to the sons of Israel. He will stand
and feed his flock
with the power of the Lord, with the majesty of the name of
his God. They will live secure, for from then on he will extend
his power to the ends of the land.
He himself will be peace.
This is the word of the Lord.
This has become for us a very appropriate Advent prayer. Like
ancient Israel waiting for the coming of the Messiah, we await
the celebration of Christ coming at Christmas.
(R) God of hosts, bring us back; Let your face shine on us
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
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 Ref: Hebrews 10:5-10
A reading from the letter to the Hebrews
We are reminded in this reading that Christ's coming, His becoming
man was to offer himself in sacrifice in order to save us. Bethlehem
was the prelude to Calvary.
This is what Christ said, on coming into the world:
You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation, prepared a body for
You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin; then
I said, just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book,
'God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.'
Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays
down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the
oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you
took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am
coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to
replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made
holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus
This is the word of the Lord.
Gospel Ref: Luke 1:39-44
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke
Mary's miraculous conception of Jesus marks the birth of one
who is to perform a unique role in the history of salvation.
Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth hints at the 'specialness'
of the child she has conceived.
Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in
the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah's house and
greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting,
the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the
Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you
are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my
Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child
in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that
the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.'
This is the Gospel of the Lord.
Visitation of the Sick for Christmas: Fr. Donovan will visit
the sick and housebound on Wednesday next, December 23rd at
the usual times.
Anniversaries: Nora Lucey, Upper Bellmount
Mary Lucey, Upper Bellmount
Joe Mullane, Crossmahon
May Hartnett, Clomacow
Gillian Madden Curraclough
Died Recently: Tim Kelleher, Dooniskey
Penitential Services in neighbouring Parishes:
Sunday Dec. 20th at 7.00 p.m. in Ovens.
Monday Dec. 21st at 8.00 p.m. in the Church of St. Mary &St.
Tuesday Dec. 22nd at 8.00 p.m. in the Parish Church, Macroom.
1. The greeting of Elizabeth to Mary 'Blessed are you among
women and blessed is the fruit of your womb' is a joyful welcome
of the child to come. Bringing new life into the world through
pregnancy and birth is one of the most awesome human experiences.
How have you experienced this for yourself or in someone close
2. The image of the pregnant Mary going a distance to visit
her cousin is a symbol of willingness to look beyond one's own
needs to the needs of others. When have you witnessed that kind
of generosity in others, or have you been able to act in this
3. Mary is praised for her faith, because she believed the promise
made her by the Lord would be fulfilled. In what ways have you
experienced blessings from your faith and trust in God's promises?
Ref: Intercom magazine
Questions people ask
Q. Why was 25 December chosen for the birthday of Jesus?
A. The conception of Jesus at the Annunciation to Mary, nine
months earlier, was an older celebration than his birthday.
25 March was a very important date, regarded as the first day
of creation and the day of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice
his son, Isaac. Thus the conception of Jesus was linked with
creation and the cross. Another reason for choosing 25 December
was that this date was decreed by the Emperor Aurelian as a
feast for the return of the Unconquered Sun after the mid-winter
solstice. Christians put their own spin on the feast by celebrating
the coming of Christ, the light of the world.
Ref: Intercom magazine