3rd Sunday of Advent – Year B: Gaudete Sunday
St Joseph’s Passionist Church
Website : www.stjoeparis.org
Phone: 01. 42 27 28 56
Year of St Joseph: 8 Dec ‘20 – 8 Dec ‘21
Apostolic Letter of Pope Francis on 150th Anniversary of Proclamation of St Joseph as Patron of Universal Church. [www.vatican.va]
What good news, especially for us at St Joseph’s! Our Patron Saint will be honoured by the whole Church by a Year of St Joseph. The year began on 8th Dec 2020 and will conclude on 8th Dec. 2021. God is so good to us. Prayer in honour of St Joseph by Pope Francis:
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To you God entrusted his only Son; in you Mary placed her trust; with you Christ became man. Saint Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life. Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage and defend us from every evil. Amen. [Pope Francis]
Confessions before Christmas: Each Sat from 11.30 a.m. – 12.30 p.m. & 5-6 pm. At other times by appointment.
Collections 6th Dec: Mass: € 1, 701,59. ADP online & cheque: € 1,637; APP La Quête: € 67. Thanks for all of these.
Registration for Christmas & Weekend Masses: due to a high infection rate, unless preregistered for Mass, it is not possible to be admitted. All Masses from St Joseph’s are online. We must wait patiently until we can all come to Mass as we once could.
CCD is resuming online. The Parents of Confirmation Candidates met online on Wed. evening, with a 1st session online this Sunday. 1st Communion planning session is on this Sunday afternoon. Donations to cover cost of CCD books can be by cheque or cash placed in an envelope marked ‘CCD’, and put in the collection bowl as you leave Mass. You can donate directly from www.stjoeparis.org (ADP) and send an email to the parish office to say that your donation is for CCD. If you donate online, for French tax you can claim 66% on your tax returns. Your support for CCD is appreciated. All in CCD are volunteers.
This week 50 years ago, my ordination as a priest took place. Now is a time for me to thank God for the good He has done through me in these years, while I ask forgiveness for my failings. My appreciation then goes to my first, and by far my best, teachers in the ways of faith, my Parents. May they rest in peace. The encouragement and support of family and wonderful friends have helped me more than they will ever realize. Two classmates played their parts – Fr Michael Doogan, once of this parish, now gone to God, and Mgr. Philip Behan who ministers in U.S.A.
If you wish to join me thanking God for these 50 years, you might consider putting a simple gift for a child in the basket at St Joseph’s GIVING TREE. This would make me so happy that on Christmas morning a child awakes to see a gift from you that they never expected. If you belong to our ‘online community’, perhaps you could donate a gift for a child locally. The joy of these children will be yours and mine at Christmas, as our celebration of God’s gifts to me over the past 50 years. Please pray for me, as I pray for you. Aidan
An Advent Reflection
Gaudete Sunday has a message never more needed than at present, but perhaps not one easy to accept just now. A new curfew comes into operation this week; there will be no going out on New Year’s Eve. Parties will be ‘on ice’ and even getting together with friends and family in homes will be limited to a small number of people.
For many years concern was expressed that the message of Christmas was being lost in the shopping and preparation frenzy in the weeks before Christmas. At the same time, people went to Mass in great numbers. There are different opinions about ‘putting Christ back into Christmas’. Whatever our divergences of opinion in previous years, this Christmas is laid bare without the same trappings. This is the Mystery of God with us, Emmanuel, in stark simplicity.
“Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God.” [St Paul] These are the ‘bones’ of a happy Christmas. A commission of enquiry arrived to find out about John the Baptist. Their ‘bosses’ in Jerusalem expected that the baptism by the Messiah would pour out the Spirit of God. They come to a wilderness north of the Dead Sea at the spot where their Ancestors had crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. They find John baptizing crowds who come to him. They need an explanation.
Like a good prophet and a servant of God, John knows his place and he simply says, ‘I am not the Christ, Elijah perhaps? ‘I am not’. He is a voice for the Word and a lamp lit by God to shine out for His Son. What a magnificent statement of identity by John. This is Christmas preparation at its simplest.
This identity profile helps me to recognize that my life has the same aim as John has – to be a ‘Christ-bearer’ to others, in our search for Jesus, who lives ‘incognito’ in our midst. This task must never be underrated in favour of some personal prestige.
At the heart of Christmas stands John the Baptist, knee-deep in water. He does not fall into the temptation of forgetting why he was sent. He gave his all for Jesus and provided Jesus with his first disciples. What a model of the Church and of ministry for us! No rank of importance is in evidence with titles attached. For John this would be unimaginable. His identity is totally simple.
Christmas at its core has also another quite simple but wonderful person, Mary. Today she speaks in the Responsorial Psalm with her Magnificat. She also knows her identity:
‘My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour. He looks on his servant in her NOTHINGNESS.’
Mary and John the Baptist are totally focused on Jesus, who does not come in a blaze of Glory that might be expected of God’s Son. He is born of Mary, protected by Joseph. He arrives on this earth during a census and is born in an outhouse. He is visited by Shepherds who hear the singing of Angels. Searchers from the East for ‘someone’ are the only visitors that we know about. Soon, because of the danger of being killed, Joseph and Mary take this Divine child to Egypt until Herod is dead.
Then Jesus continues in the spirit of Mary, Joseph, and John the Baptist, by adopting from Isaiah His identity and mission: ‘The Lord has anointed me, He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken.’ [Isaiah]
I love Christmas and will miss family and friends this year. I am grateful that God is recalling us to focus on what really matters. He is born for us daily in the Mass. A focus on us is not in the spirit of the Mystery of Christ’s Birth. Without ‘trimmings’ this year we have the humble message of John the Baptist, “He must increase, and I decrease”. May this be a great Christmas for us all.