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Sunday 4 December

Scripture: Matthew 3:1-12


    The words ‘repent’ and ‘prepare’ sum up the message of John the Baptist. 

 This is exactly what Advent is about: a season of repentance and preparation.  The liturgical colour for Advent is purple which symbolises repentance and preparation. 

 Today begins our second week of repentance and preparation for the Saviour’s coming, our spiritual renewal at Christmas.  This is a week of Expectant Peace.  Matthew turns to the prophesy of Isaiah to announce and introduce John the Baptist as the: “ Voice that cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.” (Is 40:3) 

 In the wilderness of the Festive Season, the frenetic shopping, the eating and drinking at year-end festive parties, the mad dash to get away for the holidays, and in a world which has abandoned faith, the voice of John the Baptist is heard once again. 

 It was a voice for the people of Israel, calling them to prepare for the Lord. It is a voice for us, calling us to prepare for the spiritual renewal offered to us at Christmas. 

     Will you hear the voice of John the Baptist? 

     Will you respond to his call to repentance? 

     Many went to him for a baptism of repentance in the waters of the Jordan. 

 They confessed their sins.  Similarly, every parish offers its parishioners opportunities for Confession – the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so that we can confess our sins and emerge from the waters of forgiveness. 

 Then we can make a new beginning, renewed by the Saviour born in our hearts and lives at Christmas. 

     Do you want to make a fresh start, a new beginning? 

     Are you willing to change and to grow in faith and as a person? 

 We may be tempted to get caught up in the details of the appearance of John the Baptist and his diet of locusts and wild honey, but it is his message that is important. 

 His call echoes all around us this Advent. His message is not popular in the midst of the Festive Season.  Do not ignore it.  Listen, and take heed. 

Practical Suggestion:

     Read Isaiah 40: 1 – 11, the full context of the prophesy in Matthew’s Gospel. 

     See in it the great plan of God. 

     What does it say to you this Advent? 


     Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. 

 Guide me as I respond to the call of John the Baptist to repentance and preparation.  Amen. 

Monday 5 December

Scripture: Luke 5:17-26


     “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 

    Jesus knew that this was what the scribes and Pharisees were thinking. 

     What were they doing there? 

 They had come from every village in Galilee, but their hearts were not open to the message of Jesus.  They were looking for and wanting to find fault with what he said and did. “He is talking blasphemy,” they were thinking.

 It is easy for our hearts to be hardened, to find fault with – the priest, the Church, the choir at Sunday Mass and much else.  If we went to Mass with an open heart, read the scriptures with an open heart, and prayed with an open heart, we would experience the wonderful ways in which God is working in our lives and our world. 

 If we presented ourselves to the Lord, as the men presented their paralytic friend, we would also experience the healing power and presence of Jesus.  “Your sins are forgiven you,” is what Jesus said to the paralytic. Are these words familiar? 

 We hear them every time we go to Confession and present ourselves for healing.  In this powerful healing sacrament Jesus himself speaks to us through the person of the priest.  We actually hear these words! It means that, like the paralytic, we can pick up our stretcher and walk. 

 Sin, fault, and failure cripple us and make it difficult for us to love with a free and generous heart.  Jesus came to free us from our sins, to heal, reconcile and forgive.  This is what brings peace into our hearts and lives.  Often, we lack the humility to go to Confession and say, “Bless me Father for I have sinned.”  We choose rather to walk around burdened by sin and guilt. 

         Jesus is waiting for you to bring yourself to him – and to being your friends as well!       Present yourself to him in complete faith, hope and trust – even if it means having to remove any obstacles that would otherwise prevent you from coming to him, just as the friends of the paralytic did. 

Practical Suggestion:

     If you want to experience real peace this Christmas, go to Confession. 

Confession times are: Saturday 8.30am – 9.15am and 4.30pm – 5.15pm.  With an open heart, present yourself to the Lord for healing. 


     Heal me Lord, from all that cripples my life. 

 Let me walk free from guilt and sin so that I may rejoice in the birth of the Saviour at Christmas.  Amen 

Tuesday 6 December

Scripture: Matthew 18:12–14

“Does he not leave the ninety-nine….and go in search of the stray?”


 Leave the ninety-nine and go after one stubborn, wayward sheep that has gotten itself lost? 

     NO! That’s not a rational decision! 

     Why jeopardise the safety of the majority for the sake of one! 

     It doesn’t make sense! 

 But then so many of the things God has said and done over time don’t make sense – at least not to us. 

 We have to remember what God said through the prophet Isaiah: “My ways are not your ways, my thoughts are not your thoughts.” How true that is! 

 Although I say that I would never leave the ‘ninety-nine’ to go looking for one ‘lost sheep’, I know that if I were that lost sheep, I would desperately cling to the hope that the shepherd cared enough to come looking for me. 

 That is exactly what Jesus did – He came to find us ‘stray human beings’.  We wander this way and that, nibbling at whatever we think is ‘sweet and satisfying’, and when we pause to look around we find we are lost! 

         The parable gives us ‘hope’ – that even though we may have gone astray, Jesus will not rest until He finds us again and brings us home! 

Practical Suggestion:

     Do you have someone in your family or circle of friends that is ‘lost’? 


Resolve today to seek out that person an allow them to feel the warmth of Jesus’ forgiving love through you. 


 Good Shepherd, guide me on my journey so that I do not go astray, and bring me home safely once more should I stumble and lose my way. 


Wednesday 7 December

Scripture: Matthew 11:28-30


 The Old Testament contains six hundred and thirty rules and regulations.  The Jewish religious leaders had, over time, added thousands of bylaws. People were on a spiritual treadmill, crushed by their efforts and attempts to please God by defining their relationship with Him by how well they observed the rules. 

 They were in spiritual turmoil and Jesus came to tell them and teach them the better way, to please God which was to allow Him to share their inner burdens of inadequacy. 

     He came to assure them that God will never overburden us. 

         Our own sinfulness, the sinfulness of others, the sin of Adam and Eve, and our human frailty, create turmoil in our hearts. 

     This is usually accompanied by anxiety, worry, depression and much more. 

 All of this deprives us of an inner joyfulness.  Sometimes this happens because we allow our faith to become a burden because we want to go it alone.  We do not become still and know that Jesus is God and wants to assist. 

 Our Lord encourages us to yoke ourselves to Him (together pulling the load) because following Him frees us from the burden of not pleasing God (because of our imperfections). 

 He has already done all the work in this regard.  The perfect yoke is that of obedience, not for the sake of obedience, but for the sake of entry into the good life.  This includes obedience to His call. 

 In this way we are freed from the weariness of our souls where voices within tell us we are not good enough; we need to achieve more. 

 Many people and religious persons, including Parish Priests, suffer from spiritual burnout.  Jesus does not want this. 

     He wants His peace which surpasses all understanding to be with us. 

Practical Suggestion:

 During this season of Advent consider this offer of Jesus to share your burdens.  Allow his offer to manifest itself in your mind and in your heart. 

     Make the effort to allow the offer to become a life-changing reality for you. 


 Holy Spirit of God, enlighten the eyes of our minds to this gift of God the Son enabling us better to do the will of God the Father with this spiritual help. 


Thursday 8 December

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary 

Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12


 What greater Peace can come to us than the knowledge that “we were claimed as God’s own, chosen from the beginning” (Ephesians 1:11). “Before the world was made, He chose us, chose us in Christ to be Holy and spotless and to live through love in His presence” (Ephesians 1:4) 

     God created us with the intent of adopting us as his children. 

     In response to this gift, we are to worship him in love. 

     Worship in the early Christian Church had two dimensions: 

  1. Praise of the Father, and 
  2. Fellowship with the Son and his followers. 

 Such worship was not restricted to Sunday mornings; it began with the assembly but spilled out into the week’s activities.  Such worship was to be found in praise and in charity.  The Lord destined us to live Holy and spotless lives. 

 While this is a daunting task, the Church presents us with a model: Mary, the Mother of God.  The Church proclaimed her to be holy and spotless in the eyes of the Lord from the moment of her conception.  She was preordained to serve the Lord in love.  She is what we are called to be. 

 Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception: our belief that Mary was conceived and born without sin.  Let us keep Mary’s call-in mind as we celebrate this feast. 

         Her role in the birth of the Christ should remind us of our role in the world, which is to serve the Lord with spotless and Holy hearts.     In this way, we can be like Mary; a true child of God 

Practical Suggestion:

How can you know, love, and serve God right now?  Reflect on one thing today. Go look at yourself in the mirror and say to yourself, “I am filled with God’s gift of grace!”.  Then look outward and give a gift of love and kindness to someone who needs it. 


 O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, prepared a worthy dwelling for your Son, grant, we pray, that as you preserved her from every stain by virtue of the death of your Son, so through her intercession, we too may be cleansed and admitted to your presence.  Amen. 

Friday 9 December

Scripture: Matthew 11:16-19


 In today’s scripture we encounter the Pharisees who compare the fasting of John the Baptist with Jesus, who came eating and drinking. They called Jesus a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. 

    Yet the message of both John the Baptist and Jesus fell on deaf ears. 

 The Pharisees were obstinate in their old ways and habits which caused them to ignore the message of John the Baptist and Jesus.  Jesus compares them to children shouting to each other as they sit in the marketplace: “We played the pipes for you, and you wouldn’t dance; we sang dirges, and you wouldn’t be mourners.”  Why did the Pharisees not listen to John the Baptist or Jesus? 

 There are several reasons, but the real reason was their spiritual deafness and blindness. They attributed John’s lifestyle to the devil – calling him possessed, and Jesus was the false Messiah because he mingled with tax collectors and sinners.  They were unwilling to listen.  They had made up their minds that God did not use John the Baptist and Jesus.  We can also find ourselves spiritually deaf and unwilling to listen God.  We also refuse to sing and dance.  We are hard to please. 

 Advent provides an opportunity for us to listen to God.  During this sacred time,  we practise listening to God so that we can hear him every day.  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his (her) house and dine with him (her) and he (she) with me” Revelation 3:20. 

The Pharisees accused Jesus of dining with tax collectors and sinners. Indeed, he did! The tax collectors and sinners listened to Jesus. Their hearts were open to him which gave Jesus an opportunity to change their lives.  The ultimate goal of listening to God is conversion. The Pharisees could not experience this conversion because they would not listen.  Their hearts, minds – and ears were closed.  This sacred time of Advent calls us out to listen to the message of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love which Jesus brings to us.   Listen to him! 

Practical Suggestion:

     Are you in tune with the message of God’s kingdom? 

Do you heed God’s word of wisdom and truth as if your life depended on it? 

God wants to speak to you.  This is not a once-off occasion, but every day he desires your attention.  Give yourself the opportunity of quiet time in prayer, and away from the many distractions around you.  In silence, listen to him. 


         Lord Jesus, open my ears to hear the good news of your kingdom and set my heart free to love and serve you joyfully.

 May nothing keep me from following you wholeheartedly.   Amen.  
Praying boldly with Expectant Peace.      Amen.

Saturday 10 December


Scripture:  Matthew 17:10-13


 The verses preceding this portion of today’s Gospel gives the account of the Transfiguration, the appearance of Moses and Elijah with Jesus on the mountain.  Peter, James, and John were puzzled by this event which they had witnessed.  Malachi had prophesied that Elijah would come before the Lord. (Malachi 3:23).

Jesus confirmed that Elijah had come “in the spirit and power of Elijah” in the person of John the Baptist. (Luke 1:16) There are noticeable similarities between John the Baptist and Elijah. 

 From a physical point of view, they were both strong, lived in the wilderness where they had a somewhat strange diet, and they wore animal skins and a leather girdle. 

 Both were bold and fearless in their condemnation of evil, and they both had the task of confronting a wicked king who reigned during their time. 

 They were passionate in their declaration of God’s goodness, and both men ministered to the people at a time of great spiritual darkness. 

 Their primary call was to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord and to turn the people back to the worship of the one true God. (Luke 1:17) 

 They were not afraid to preach against the idolatry and wickedness of the leaders of that time, and both men had an unfortunate run-in with an evil queen who wanted them dead.  Sadly, John the Baptist did not survive this encounter, but he has been remembered throughout history as the greatest man that ever lived. (Matthew 11:11) 

    Living as people of faith is not an easy task. 

 It becomes even more difficult during this time when the real meaning of the Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love of Christmas is so easily forgotten. 

Practical Suggestion:

There is still a noticeable decline in Mass attendance since the Covid lockdown.  Many have chosen not to return to Mass.  Like Elijah and John the Baptist, we are called to be strong in the face of adversary.  We are called to encourage family and friends to return to Mass. Invite them to join you at Mass during this Advent season as you prepare for the Lord to be born in your hearts 


 Father, touch the hearts and lives of those among us who have chosen to walk in darkness this Advent.  Let me be a beacon of light to them and help me to be a good example of faith.  Lead them back to experience your great love and peace during this sacred time of preparation. Amen. 

These Daily Reflections for Advent 2022 are written by Fr. Desmond Nair, Irene Helsdon, George Cominos, Mike Montocchio, Fr. Wandile Cagwe, and Veronica Donnelly. Please acknowledge the authors when copying and distributing. We wish you blessed Advent.

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