For this Second Week of Advent we light another candle, the Bethlehem Candle, which is a symbol of the preparations being made by Mary and Joseph on their Way to Bethlehem to receive and cradle the Christ child. These preparations bring us to the knowledge of the Peace of Christ.
Today some of our Lectio Group were able to return to the Oratory to reflect and pray together. You can read their thoughts and those of other group members further afield here.
On Saturday 27th November we had our monthly Xaverian gathering for Eucharist and Social. Around 30 friends of our community gathered together to remember our deceased loved ones and begin our Advent journey.
Our next event will be Saturday 18th of December for our Penitential Service, Eucharist and Social… with a Christmas flavour. All are very welcome.
A heads up, we will have our Burns Supper in January and due to limits, book early.
On Friday we celebrated the feast of our patron St Francis Xavier. May his zeal and his love for spreading the Kingdom be ours. And may he bless each of us with courage in spreading the Good News… wherever we are.
The official name of today’s feast is Christ the King of the Universe. What does this mean? Jesus himself rejected the title of king. “That’s not what I’m about. I just came to reveal the Big Truth, not to be a king in your worldly sense.” Jesus didn’t come to proclaim any kind of domination or control of history. He simply says, “I am naming the deepest meaning of history and the deepest meaning of humanity.” The Franciscan understanding is that the first idea ( the Alpha) of history is that God who is spirit, who is shapeless, who is formless, wanted to take form; that creation, every creature, everything that exists in the material universe, would reveal the invisible God. In a moment in time, this eternal Christ mystery came as a person that you and I call Jesus. This is the deepest, the biggest and vast meaning of the feast of Christ the King of the universe. Rather than ‘king’ maybe we should use the words ‘the first revelation of what’s going on’, ‘the inner DNA of everything.’
There has to be a correspondence between how the universe started and where it’s going; there has to be a connection; there has to be a direction. The second reading tells us that the direction and the meaning were set from the very beginning. “I am the Alpha and the Omega” says the Lord God. The Alpha and the Omega are the same thing. When we experience the universe as Christ-soaked, when we know that the universe is both the hiding place and the revelation of God, when we grow in awareness that in Christ all things were made, we will experience that we are inside of something very sacred, very beautiful, inherently holy and eternal. Each one of us can say, ‘In my beginning is my end.’ (T.S. Eliot)
Jesus bears witness to the Big Truth. The longer I live, the more I believe that truth is not an abstraction or an idea. Truth is who we are.
Adapted: Richard Rohr
Gospel: John 18:33-37
“Are you the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked. Jesus replied, “Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?” Jesus replied, “Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind.” “So you are a king, then?” said Pilate. “It is you who say it” answered Jesus. “Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.”
Verse 38 (not included in today’s reading):
Truth? said Pilate. What is that? And with that he went out again to the Jews.
Just a wee reminder that we are celebrating the start of Advent on Saturday, November 27th at 4pm with Mass. We are hoping that you can join us for this special moment in the Church’s life and to continue to catch-up with friends! There will be some food for after Mass (maybe not as much as last time!) and a wee donations box as well! Please let other people know and ask them to join us as we prepare for the Birth of Our Saviour!
‘Mark 13, along with parallel Gospel passages, is a primary example of apocalyptic literature which uses hyperbolic images, as we see in today’s gospel. While we primarily use the word “apocalypse” to mean to destroy or threaten, in its original context apocalypse simply means to reveal something new. Kaluptein is the Greek word for ‘to cover’ and apo means ‘un’, so apokaluptein means to uncover or unveil. The key is that in order to reveal something new, we have to get the old out of the way. Neale Donald Walsch says: ‘Yearning for a new way will not produce it. Only ending the old way can do that. We cannot hold onto the old all the while declaring that we want something new. There is only one way to bring in the new. We must make room for it by clearing out the old—old ideas, old stories, old priorities, old ways of thinking—especially if we’ve become overly attached to them.’ That’s what apocalyptic literature does. It helps us make room for something new. Apocalyptic literature is not meant to strike fear in us about the end of the world, but to encourage in us a radical rethinking of the worlds that we have created.’1 Inevitably the letting-go process is accompanied by what we would describe as the painful experience of emptiness, a vacuum. “There is no such thing, either in the world or in the heart, as a literal vacancy, as a vacuum. And whatever space is really left by death, by renunciation, by parting, by apparent emptiness, there is God.”2
As we approach the end of the liturgical year we are invited to reflect on the truth that in the worlds we have created nothing lasts forever. ‘Everything changes and nothing remains the same. The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself.’1 The current climate change conference is a stark reminder of this. Today’s gospel invites us to uncover the veil created by our inner pollution, to find ways to re-create a new inner environment which will enable us to touch upon that which lasts forever. And in those moments when we do find eternity we may have a déjà vu experience as we realise that we what we have discovered is not new. It is an experience of remembrance: we are remembering who we are in God.
Adapted:  Richard Rohr  Karl Rahner
Today is Remembrance Sunday, a day to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom. During November, the Church invites us to remember those who have nurtured us in body and spirit, our loved ones who have gone before us, our teachers and guides who have encouraged us and enabled us to be where we are today.
Gospel: Mark 13:24-32
Jesus said to his disciples: “In those days, after the time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man , then too he will send the angels to coming in the clouds with great power and glory and gather his chosen from the four winds, from the ends of the world to the ends of heaven.
“Take the fig tree as a parable: as soon as its twigs grow supple and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. So with you, when you see these things happening: know that he is near, at the very gates. I tell you solemnly, before this generation has passed away all these things will have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. “But as for that day or hour, nobody knows it, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son; no one but the Father.”