The one who follows me will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.Matthew 3:11
Begin with a few moments of quiet.
The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered. The desire to be open to God is itself the desire of God to break through into your awareness of the presence of God within.
Invite all present to sit comfortably.
Bringing our attention to our breath…….deepening it for a moment…… we are going to do so for three full breaths, drawing the breath all the way in …. feeling it filling your body……focusing on that moment where it stops drawing in and before the body begins exhaling again….. the transition point between the end of one moment and the beginning of another……allowing it all the way out and again focusing on the transition point….the end of one moment and the beginning of another…….
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. Amen
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.
An introduction to the Gospel
The authentic response to Jesus is indeed the kind of transforming repentance or change of heart that John is asking for.Sean Goan – Let the Reader Understand
The prophet’s hope for a new world might seem like an impossible dream but, considering the great event of Christmas when heaven and earth are joined in the birth of God’s Son, we come to understand that indeed nothing is impossible to God. We also see that since we have been loved so much then we too should seek to love one another and that is the only repentance worth talking about.
Read the Gospel
In due course John the Baptist appeared; he preached in the wilderness of Judaea and this was his message: ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is close at hand.’ This was the man the prophet Isaiah spoke of when he said:
A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord,
make his paths straight.
This man John wore a garment made of camel-hair with a leather belt round his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem and all Judaea and the whole Jordan district made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. But when he saw a number of Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism he said to them, ‘Brood of vipers, who warned you to fly from the retribution that is coming? But if you are repentant, produce the appropriate fruit, and do not presume to tell yourselves, “We have Abraham for our father,” because, I tell you, God can raise children for Abraham from these stones. Even now the axe is laid to the roots of the trees, so that any tree which fails to produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown on the fire. I baptise you in water for repentance, but the one who follows me is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to carry his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fan is in his hand; he will clear his threshing-floor and gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will burn in a fire that will never go out.’
John’s call to ‘repent’ may not excite us, as we’re in a more celebratory mood these weeks, but to repent literally means to turn around, or to return. It does not mean we riddle ourselves with guilt, rather it is an invitation to transformation, to turn
away from what is not life-giving for us and embrace that which helps us to live a full, more balanced life.
“Christian life is a commitment to love, to give birth to God in one’s own life and to become midwives of divinity in this evolving cosmos” (Ilia Delio)
John invites us to declutter our lives and make room for new possibilities. This Advent, what do you hope for? Can you create space for new possibilities, for a new birthing of God in your own life and in the world around you?
Taken 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 in Written format or on Video
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.