Points to Ponder

Weekly thoughts on the Sunday Gospel, readings or a topic...

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seeing your life through the lens of the gospels – Matthew 24:37-44
1. The ‘coming of the Son of Man’ can be applied to the end of the world, to the moment of death, or to any moment of grace. We are not given advance notice as to when any of these will happen, so the message is to be alert and ready. When have you found that your alertness meant that you were able to receive an unexpected grace (e.g. take an opportunity which presented itself, or respond to a hint from another person that you might easily have missed, etc)?
2. One of the enemies of alert living is constant busyness. Have you ever found that being caught up in your own agenda makes you less sensitive to what is happening around you? Recall times when you paused in your relentless busyness and were rewarded by a significant interchange with another person, a moment of grace.
3. You probably know the difference between being ready for a visitor and the unannounced caller who catches you unprepared. Let the memory of the discomfort of being caught off guard spur you on to a constant readiness for the coming of the Lord.  – John Byrne, OSA

The Deep End
‘Making your Christmas cake in September is perfect, as too fresh a cake crumbles when cut.’ (Mary Berry)
My mother, like many of her generation, starts her Christmas preparations early. The first thing to be done is the Christmas cake – in our house this always took place over the Hallowe’en break. I remember finding it strange to watch her lovingly prepare the fruit cake, only to hide it away in a tin for a couple of months. I laughed when I came across the above quote from food writer and TV presenter Mary Berry, as it pushes the Christmas preparation even earlier!
Every year we hear complaints that the lead-in to Christmas is starting earlier and earlier. We might not all be making cakes in September, but by Hallowe’en we are certainly looking ahead to Christmas – thinking about what gifts to buy family and friends, checking out the decorations that have started to appear in the shops, perhaps even stockpiling tins of biscuits and boxes of chocolates. Many people sign up to Christmas clubs in order to spread the cost over the year. It’s no wonder we often arrive at this time of year feeling like it’s no time at all since last Christmas – it is never far from our minds.
As we enter Advent, we are invited now to turn our attention to our inner preparation for Christmas. We are waiting ‘in joyful hope’ both for Christ’s birth and his return at the end of time. Taking some time each day to pray and reflect, perhaps to light the candles on our Advent wreath, will help us to focus on the wonderful mysteries that await us.
‘Every year we celebrate the holy season of Advent, O God. Every year we pray those beautiful prayers of longing and waiting, and sing those lovely songs of hope and promise.’ (Karl Rahner)  – Jane Mellett

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Building Hope
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Pilgrim God, we give you thanks and praise.
You constantly journey with us even in our darkness and doubts.
We seek your way of loving kindness to walk together as one family.
Open our eyes to recognise you in the faces of one another,
in the breaking of bread and in the splendour of creation.
May the risen Christ sow seeds of hope and new life deep within us.
May our hearts and minds be filled with your Word, bringing forth truth, justice and peace.
May the Holy Spirit working in and through us do much more
than we can dare to imagine as we live out our baptismal calling in humble and loving service.
We make this our prayer through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us.
St Laurence O’Toole, pray for us.
St Kevin, pray for us.
St Brigid, pray for us.

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