Begin with a few moments of quiet.
The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.
Invite all present to sit comfortably.
When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.
Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?
Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.
Introduce the Gospel
On this Sunday we celebrate the 1st Sunday of Christmas, dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God
We are at the start of the new calendar year and beginning again is an invitation to look in two directions. What happened for me in the last year, both in my ordinary life and in my life as a believer, a person of faith? For what do I ask forgiveness? For what do I give thanks?
We also look forward and the new beginning gives us a chance to start again on the Way of discipleship.
The Gospel is a continuation of the gospel used at midnight Mass and offers two responses to the unfolding story. One is that of Mary who ‘treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” The other is that of the shepherds who went away glorifying and praising God.
As people of faith celebrating Christmas, we are invited to do the same. Christmas is a time for praise and thanksgiving to God but it is also an invitation to reflect deeply on the mystery that is put before us. (From SEAN GOAN–Let the Reader Understand)
Read the Gospel – Luke 2:16-21
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.
The shepherds hurried away to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. When they saw the child they repeated what they had been told about him, and everyone who heard it was astonished at what the shepherds had to say. As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds went back glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; it was exactly as they had been told.
When the eighth day came and the child was to be circumcised, they gave him the name Jesus, the name the angel had given him before his conception.
Reflect on the Gospel
Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use some quietening music again if you wish.
When you are ready, move onto reflecting on the message by considering:
As we hear the Christmas story today, what effect does it have on us? Perhaps we are like the shepherds, bubbling over with joy. We might identify with Mary, still trying to figure out what it all means.
‘All who heard it were amazed.’ When have you been amazed by words spoken to you? Who spoke? Did it spur an emotional reaction, a new insight? What is it saying to you now?
The sense in this narrative is that God is faithful; this is why Mary ponders and the shepherds rejoice. Do you have a sense of God’s faithfulness in your own life? Find space to sit quietly during these Christmas days to ponder this.
“I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.”(Taylor Caldwell)
Extract from: TRÍONA DOHERTY & JANE MELLETT—Go Deeper
Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Take a moment now to bring to mind those you want to share peace with, family, friends, those where your relationship is broken.
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Readings
The Spirit of God is seeking to create a newness in our lives, that calls us to a fresh wholeness that requires much letting go of what we have known, and co-creating with God an undreamt-of future for our church, for our world and for ourselves. This does not mean forgetting the past, which has brought us to the present.
The Gospel life is about a new future in God. In an incarnational, evolutionary universe nothing is complete and God is still creating. We are a central part of this creation which is happening in our midst.