Fulfilling the song of the angels

Sri Lanka mangers

By Bishop Thomas Gumbleton

Now we’ll reflect for a few moments on these sacred Scriptures and this great mystery that we celebrate this evening. I’m sure many of you remember that there are, in fact, three separate sets of readings for Christmas because we can celebrate a Mass at midnight as we’re doing here, then we have what we call the Shepherd’s Mass early in the morning, and then the Mass during the day. Each of these liturgies have three separate readings so that we try to get the full scope of the mystery that we celebrate when God breaks into human history, God’s Son becomes one of us, a part of our human family.

One of the things that we want to know is why. Why does this love of God, why is it so overwhelming, that God takes this initiative to enter into our human history? Well, the Mass for the day, the second reading is taken from the letter to the Hebrews. I think that this explains as well as anything why God sent Jesus to be one of us. In that letter to the Hebrews, the writer starts off, “God has spoken in the past to our ancestors through the prophets in many different ways, although never completely. But in our times God has spoken definitively to us through his son, Jesus.”

What that says to us is that Jesus came to be a message, to be the very Word of God in our midst. In fact, if you go to the beginning of the Gospel of St. John, you find written, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him nothing came to be. Whatever has come to be found life in him.” And the Word, God’s Word, was made flesh, became part of our human family to speak to us about God, to show us who God is, to show us how we, when share in this life of God given to us through Jesus, must try to live ourselves.

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via Fulfilling the song of the angels | National Catholic Reporter


Second Sunday of Advent-December 10, 2017

Sacred Advent


Second Sunday of Advent

The Presence of God

“Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Here I am, Lord. I come to seek your presence. I long for your healing power.


“In these days, God taught me as a schoolteacher teaches a pupil” (Saint Ignatius).
I remind myself that there are things God has to teach me yet, and I ask for the grace to hear those things and let them change me.


Help me, Lord, to be more conscious of your presence. Teach me to recognize your presence in others. Fill my heart with gratitude for the times your love has been shown to me through the care of others.

The Word

God speaks to each of us individually. I listen attentively, to hear what he is saying to me. Read the text a few times; then listen.

Mark 1:1–8 
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written by the prophet Isaiah,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.’”

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

  • Imagine yourself witnessing this scene, perhaps standing in the shallows with the water flowing around your ankles. Allow the scene to unfold. What is it like? The young man from Nazareth joins those waiting for John’s baptism: a symbol of purification but also of birth—coming up out of the waters of the womb into a new life as God’s beloved child.
  • Lord, when I realize that you love me, it is like the start of a new life. As I hear your voice, I know that I have a purpose and a destiny.


Conversation requires talking and listening. As I talk to Jesus, may I also learn to be still and listen. I picture the gentleness in his eyes and the smile full of love as he gazes on me. I can be totally honest with Jesus as I tell him of my worries and my cares. I will open my heart to him as I tell him of my fears and my doubts. I will ask him to help me place myself fully in his care and to abandon myself to him, knowing that he always wants what is best for me.


I thank God for these moments we have spent together and for any insights I have been given concerning the text.

What is forgotten cannot be healed

Homily Given by Bishop Gumbleton Click Here to Read Full Text
or Click Here to Listen

Bishop Gumbleton’s Homily for September 17, 2017

Sirach 27:30-28:7

Psalms 103:1-2, 3-4, 9-10, 11-12

Romans 14:7-9

Matthew 18:21-35

Full text of the readings

Excerpted from National Catholic Reporter-September 21, 2017

The lesson of today’s Scriptures, I think, is very clear to us. It’s a lesson about God’s mercy, God’s forgiveness. This is something that is part of our Scriptures, not just in the Gospel. Jesus certainly makes it clear that God is a merciful and forgiving God, but also in the Scriptures of the Old Testament. For example, in today’s psalm, after the first reading, “God is kind and merciful, slow to anger, rich in compassion. God pardons all our iniquities, heals all our ills, saves our life from destruction, crowns us with kindness and compassion.”

The message is so clear: God is a God of mercy; God is a God of love and compassion and forgiveness. There’s a beautiful passage in the book of the prophet Isaiah where the chosen people, in spite of the warning of Isaiah, have formed a military alliance with the Egyptians and have gone off to war. Isaiah had warned them that it would be a disaster, and it was. The chosen people were defeated and they were forced into exile. But then at the conclusion of the passage Isaiah says, “God is waiting to be gracious to you.”

Source: What is forgotten cannot be healed | National Catholic Reporter

Finding that you are too busy to pray-Try the “Pray As You Go” App

Modlitwa w drodze (logo)Modlitwa w drodze (logo)facebook_share_thumbnailIs your commute to work more than ten minutes? Is it difficult to make the time to pray and reflect? Download the App ‘Pray As You Go’ and listen on your iPhone or device and you’ll easily fit prayer and reflection into your day.


Pray as you go is a daily prayer session, designed for use on portable MP3 players, to help you pray whenever you find time, but particularly while traveling to and from work, study, etc.

A new prayer session is produced every day of the working week and one session for the weekend.  It is not a ‘Thought for the Day’, a sermon or a bible-study, but rather a framework for your own prayer.

Lasting between ten and thirteen minutes, it combines music, scripture and some questions for reflection.

Our aim is to help you to:

  • become more aware of God’s presence in your life
  • listen to and reflect on God’s word
  • grow in your relationship with God

It is produced by Jesuit Media Initiatives, with material written by a number of Jesuits, both in Britain and further afield, and other experts in the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola. Although the content is different every day, it keeps to the same basic format.

Pray As You Go App

Pray As You Go App!

Lent starts in one week

Here are a few Lenten resources:

From Center for Action and Contemplation-Richard Rohr

Companions for Your Journey through Lent
Explore the meaning of this liturgical season (Lent begins March 1) through contemplative reading. Two excellent books for personal devotions and group study:

Wondrous Encounters: Scripture for Lent
by Richard Rohr

God For Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter
featuring Richard Rohr, Kathleen Norris, Ronald Rolheiser, Luci Shaw, and others
Find these and other resources at store.cac.org.

Living Lent Daily

Click Here for Lenten Resources from Loyola Press


Click Here for Lenten Resources from Monasteries of the Heart


Click Here for Lenten Resources from USCCB



‘Who are you?’ – a Scripture Reflection

One of the elderly sisters in my religious community used to ask a younger sister that question every day at breakfast. The senior in question didn’t have dementia. She was challenging the other to dig deeper into her own identity, to discover and articulate who she really was. The younger one started with her name and went on to other words which described the relationships that called her forth: sister, daughter, friend, etc. Some answers had an overtly religious tone while others could include such varied roles as a swimmer and a Cardinals fan. As the days went on, it became quite a challenge to continue to respond with new, honest, creative answers — and a good number of us learned from watching the interchange.

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