St Vincent de Paul Whitfords Christmas appeal: 

St Vincent de Paul Whitford: will hold our parish Christmas appeal for the poor this weekend. Those unable to help local struggling families with a hamper program this year, may wish to donate to our Christmas appeal via our envelopes in the pews today. Donations may be put in the poor box or our retiring collection. Many thanks to our generous supporters. There are still some families seeking a Christmas hamper sponsor. Details are on the shelf at the rear of our church. All hampers need to be returned to the parish centre after any Mass next week (3rd & 4th Dec) for distribution.

Overseas Mission Christmas Raffle:

Tickets on sale after all weekend Masses starting December 3rd and 4th, until drawn on Sunday 18th December, after 11am Mass. Ticket cost 3 for $5. All prize winners will be notified, prompt collection is appreciated, as the Church is prepared for Christmas celebrations. We thank you for your support and generosity. We wish you a Merry Christmas and New Year.

Plant Sale Thank you:

A huge THANK YOU from the Overseas Mission, for all the donations of plants, & supporting our fundraiser plant sale/s. Many Thanks to Fr Cyp & Fr Francis for looking after the plants, still available for sale. Plant money tin is on the information table, at back of church or can drop any plant money into the office

Mass Readings: First Sunday of Advent – Year A

Introduction:

Advent invites us to open our hearts to the hope that the Lord gives us as we celebrate once again his birth and look forward to his coming at the end of time.

First Reading Isaiah 2:1-5

The prophet Isaiah speaks of the pilgrims climbing up to Jerusalem and finding peace. We are called to make our home in Christ and in his kingdom where there will be peace, justice and joy. The Church shows us the way.

Second Reading Romans 13:11-14

In a stark warning, St Paul calls us to amend our lives and return to the way of the Lord.

Gospel Matthew 24:37-44

Jesus warns against complacency and summons us to focus on Christ and his life.

Antiphon to the Psalm:

Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

First reading: Isaiah 2:1-5

The Lord gathers all nations together into the eternal peace of God’s kingdom

The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In the days to come the mountain of the Temple of the Lord shall tower above the mountains and be lifted higher than the hills. All the nations will stream to it, peoples without number will come to it; and they will say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Jacob that he may teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths; since the Law will go out from Zion, and the oracle of the Lord from Jerusalem.’ He will wield authority over the nations and adjudicate between many peoples; these will hammer their swords into ploughshares, their spears into sickles. Nation will not lift sword against nation, there will be no more training for war. O House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.

________

Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 121(122):1-2,4-5,6-9

Response: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’ And now our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. R.

It is there that the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord. For Israel’s law it is, there to praise the Lord’s name. There were set the thrones of judgement of the house of David. R.

For the peace of Jerusalem pray: ‘Peace be to your homes! May peace reign in your walls, in your palaces, peace!’ R.

For love of my brethren and friends I say: ‘Peace upon you!’ For love of the house of the Lord I will ask for your good. R.

________

Second reading: Romans 13:11-14

Our salvation is near

You know ‘the time’ has come: you must wake up now: our salvation is even nearer than it was when we were converted. The night is almost over, it will be daylight soon – let us give up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark; let us arm ourselves and appear in the light. Let us live decently as people do in the daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy. Let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ.

________

Gospel Acclamation: Ps 84:8

Alleluia, alleluia! Lord, show us your mercy and love, and grant us your salvation. Alleluia!

________

Gospel Reading: Matthew 24:37-44

The Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes. Then of two men in the fields one is taken, one left; of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left. ‘So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

Prayer for our Parish Families

Prayer for our Parish Families

Blessed are you Lord God maker of the universe, and Father to us all. You have made us your children; a part of your family, and have allowed us to call you Father. Bless us all in this special time of patient waiting, contemplation on your Son’s joyful nativity and so grant us a meaningful Christmas. Please fill our families and homes with the spirit of love, with the obedience of faith, and the strength of hope. May our lives always find joy, peace and fulfillment in your love and service. Bless us and all our loved ones with good health and the knowledge that you are always there for us in our hour of need. Grant us your love and assure us a loving welcome into your eternal home one day. We praise your name and ask these blessings through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Reflection From Pope Francis

Today, the first Sunday of the time of Advent, a new liturgical year begins. In these four weeks of Advent, the liturgy leads us to celebrate the Nativity of Jesus, while it reminds us that He comes into our lives every day, and will return gloriously at the end of time. This certainty leads us to look trustfully to the future, as we are invited to do by the prophet Isaiah, who with his inspired voice accompanies the entire Advent journey.

In today’s first reading, Isaiah prophesies that “it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it” (Is 2: 2). The temple of the Lord in Jerusalem is presented as the point of convergence and meeting of all peoples. After the Incarnation of the Son of God, Jesus Himself revealed himself as the true temple. Therefore, the marvellous vision of Isaiah is a divine promise and impels us to assume an attitude of pilgrimage, of a journey towards Christ, the meaning and end of all history. Those who hunger and thirst for justice can only find it through the ways of the Lord, while evil and sin come from the fact that individuals and social groups prefer to follow paths dictated by selfish interests, which cause conflicts and wars. Advent is the time to welcome the coming of Jesus, Who comes as a messenger of peace to show us the ways of God.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus exhorts us to be ready for His coming: “Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (Mt 24: 42). Staying awake does not mean to have one’s eyes materially open, but to have one’s heart free and facing the right direction, that is disposed to giving and to service. This is staying awake! The slumber from which we must awaken is constituted of indifference, of vanity, of the inability to establish genuinely human relationships, of the inability to take charge of our brother who is alone, abandoned or ill. The expectation of Jesus Who is coming must therefore be translated into a commitment to vigilance. It is above all a question of wondering at God’s action, at His surprises, and of according Him primacy. Vigilance also means, in a concrete sense, being attentive to our neighbour in difficulty, allowing oneself to be called upon by his needs, without waiting for him or her to ask us for help, but learning to prevent, to anticipate, as God always does with us.

May Mary, the vigilant Virgin and Mother of hope, guide us on this journey, helping us to turn our gaze towards the “mountain of the Lord”, the image of Jesus Christ, which attracts all men and all peoples.

Message from Father Cyp

Greetings and welcome; parishioners and visitors!

Fr Francis and I warmly welcome you here at Our Lady of the Mission, Whitford Parish; parishioners and visitors alike. We pray and hope that you feel truly safe and at home in this our place of prayer, worship and personal encounter with our risen Lord. May the Holy Spirit ever pray in us more than we can ever imagine and bind us together in the love of our Heavenly Father. Whitford Catholic Parish is home to over seventy nationalities represented by our parishioners and frequent visitors. We take pride in our young people; those in our parish primary and secondary schools, those enrolled in our Parish Religious Education Program (PREP) and our parish youth group. They are not just our future Church but a vital part of our Church today and now. We value our young people and endeavor to have their voices heard at every level of our administrative and pastoral engagements. We are ever grateful to the many individuals and groups that volunteer in various ministries of our parish life. To one and all, know that you are valued and appreciated in your own right. We cannot be what we are without you. It is wonderful to see Covid-19 restrictions being relaxed around the nation and across the world. However, it is important to note that we are not out of the woods yet. Let us remain mindful of those who are vulnerable in our families and community. Our priests, office staff, cleaning ministry team are doing their bit. We ask you to join us by doing your bit so that the risks of spreading this virus are minimized in our community. Fr Francis and I thank one and all of you for your ongoing prayers, concern, encouragement and support. Rest assured of our daily thoughts and prayers. We commend you and yours as always, into the powerful intercessions of our Blessed Virgin Mother of Good counsel, and into those of St Joseph, patron of the universal Church.

Fr Cyprian M Shikokoti – PP.