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Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Friday 8th December

There will be a vigil Mass at 6pm on Thursday 7th December and the normal 10am Mass of Friday 8th December for  the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The girls of Belgrove will sing at the 10am Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Friday 8th December and...

Celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation

Confessions in Advent. Saturdays, 2nd , 9th and 16th December: after 10am mass and in the evening 5.15pm-5.45pm before 6pm mass. Sundays, 3rd , 10th and 17th December after morning masses. Saturday, 23rd December:10.30am-11.30am .and in the evening 5.15pm-5.45pm...


It was with utter disbelief that I heard the news of the horrific attack on Parnell Square here in Dublin. An attack like this outside a school, involving innocent victims including children, is particularly distressing. There is no way to escape the pain and...

Reflection on Today’s

Gospel Reading

Second Sunday of Advent

A great deal of new roads have been built in the country in recent years. New stretches of motorway have been laid down to bypass towns that had become traffic bottlenecks. The most significant piece of road infrastructure here in Dublin in recent years has been the ring road around the city, the M50. Although built to help traffic move from one side of the city to the other more quickly, if there is an accident it can quickly become a giant car park!

There is a reference to a highway, our equivalent of a motorway, in today’s first reading from the prophet Isaiah, written several hundreds of years before the coming of Jesus, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord. Make a straight highway for our God across the desert’. These words were addressed to a people who were in exile in the city of Babylon in modern day Iraq. The prophet has a vision of a great highway between Babylon and Jerusalem across the wilderness between the two cities, so that the exiles could return home safely, with the Lord leading them, as a Shepherd leads and looks after his flock. Two and a half thousand years later, we hear those words of Isaiah addressed to each one of us, calling on us to prepare a way for the Lord to enter our lives more fully this Advent. Of all the roads that we travel on, the most important road is the one that we create in our hearts for the Lord to enter our lives. Who is the Lord who wants to enter our lives? The prophet Isaiah in that reading says that the Lord is coming with power. Yet, his power is not the power we associate with rulers or armies. In the words of that reading, the Lord comes ‘like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother sheep’. His power is the power of a love that nurtures, gathers, looks after and brings rest. It is the power of a mother’s love for her child.

This is the Lord who wants to enter our lives more fully this Advent. It is a Lord whose voice speaks of peace and whose help is near for those who revere him, in the words of today’s Psalm. It is a Lord who can be trusted, whom we can confidently call upon to enter our lives. The traditional Advent prayer is ‘Come, Lord, Jesus’. When Mark quotes from the prophet Isaiah in today’s gospel reading, ‘Prepare a way for the Lord’, the Lord he is referring to is Jesus. That simple prayer, ‘Come, Lord, Jesus’, is one of the earliest Christian prayers that has come down to us. Saint Paul concludes his first letter to the Corinthians with this prayer, a letter that was written just over twenty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. When we pray this simple prayer, we are praying a prayer that Christians have prayed for over two thousand years. A really good Advent exercise would be to pray this prayer several times a day, ‘Come Lord, Jesus’, and while doing so to imagine Jesus as the Lord that Isaiah speaks, the Shepherd who wants to feed us with his presence, who wants to hold us against his breast and to lead us to restful waters to revive our drooping spirits. In the gospel reading, John the Baptist refers to Jesus as ‘someone who is more powerful than I am’. Again, according to John, his power is not one that destroys and overwhelms, like so much human power. It is the power of one who wants to baptize us with the Holy Spirit, to plunge us into the Spirit of God’s reliable and merciful love.

This is the Lord for whom we try to prepare a way into our lives, into our hearts, this Advent. When we pray this prayer, ‘Come, Lord, Jesus’, it is not that we are calling upon someone to come who wouldn’t otherwise come. The Lord is coming anyway, whether we pray this prayer or not. As Isaiah announces in the first reading, ‘Here is your God!’ We pray that prayer not to get the attention of an indifferent Lord, but as a way of opening our hearts more fully to the Lord is who always coming, who is always present to us, in every place, at every time. This prayer is our way of acknowledging that we are incomplete without the Lord, that we desperately need him to come more fully into our lives. This prayer is a recognition that there are obstacles in our lives, valleys and hills, that impede the Lord’s good work within us. In praying this prayer we are acknowledging that, in the words of John the Baptist, we need to repent, in the sense of turning around more fully towards the Lord who is coming towards us. We pray, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ because we know that the Lord’s coming in love will renew us from within, empowering us to begin again. The Lord comes to renew us, so that we can become more like him, caring shepherds to one another, so that he can work through us to bring about what the second reading calls ‘the new heavens and new earth’.