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Fr Roger O'Neill, Gorey

The world around us is presently frantic about Christmas. The radio, TV and shop music with the Street and House lights “sing and shout for joy”. Let’s be honest, as much as we would like it to be true, this is not really about Christmas in the proper sense of celebration the Saviours Birth.

Today the Shepherd’s candle on the advent wreath proclaims the Joy (Gaudéte) of the Saviours Birth, announced by the Angels to the Shepherds. This candle and the priest’s vestments are Rose the colour of Joy.

Celebrating Joy in a season of preparation and penance! The Joy of Christmas is so great it cannot be contained, as it prematurely bursts out into the Advent season. The Church being rooted firmly in human experience celebrates that overflowing of Christmas Joy today in the liturgy and the decoration of our church. Another expression of this premature Joy is the Italian tradition of bringing from the home nativity set, to the Church, the Infant Jesus for a blessing.

For us as people of faith, yes, we “Sing and shout for joy for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel”.

We live in the World. Celebrate and enjoy all that is good in the frantic nature of the World’s preparation and celebration of Christmas, but as a person of faith keep your mind and heart firmly fixed in prayer on Jesus birth – Faith!

“When all the people asked John, ‘What must we do?’ he answered, ‘If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.’ There were tax collectors too who came for baptism, and these said to him, ‘Master, what must we do?’ He said to them, ‘Exact no more than your rate.’ Some soldiers asked him in their turn, ‘What about us? What must we do?’ He said to them, ‘No intimidation! No extortion! Be content with your pay!’”

What must we do? John’s answer is simple, share from your abundance with those in need. Be honest in your dealings and use authority justly. Simply do what is right – Good Works!

With Faith and Good Works we prepare for and announce with Joy, the Saviours Birth.

“He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love; he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.”


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