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Hope and Trust.

It has been suggested that the two main motivations that influence human behaviour are hopes for improved safety and quality of life. One can wonder whether these basic desires truly reflect gospel values. Invitations to discipleship often call us to reject safety and security, and we are called to trust, abandon our possessions and love fearlessly.

In this season of Advent, we are invited to expand our hearts and deepen our hope and trust. We know that God’s light shines brightly in the dark, and we know that love is a stronger force than danger. Let this understanding lodge deep in our hearts where we can reflect on it and allow it to shape our behaviour. The messages to Joseph remain true for us all, namely, “do not be afraid” and “God is with us.”

Let us pray: “God, may my trust and love for you, more than my fears or greed, direct my actions.

Compiled by Deirdre Powell


Source: Living Faith, Daily Catholic Devotions (adapted).

Dec 17 - St Melania the Younger (383-439)

Melania the youngerMelania the younger was the daughter of Publicola, only son of St Melania the Elder. Married at fourteen, she gave birth to two children who died young. Afterwards  she negotiated with her husband that they live as "brother and sister". Patrick Duffy tells her story.

St Melania the elder
Melania's paternal grandmother became a widow at twenty-two, then took a vow of celibacy, gave away most of her possessions and devoted herself to charitable causes. She went to Jerusalem, where she was associated with St Jerome and built a monastery there. She had a rather domineering personality and her relations with her granddaughter were somewhat strained. She died in 410 and is known as St Melania the Elder.

From married couple to "brother and sister" relationship
Melania the Younger was born at Rome, about 383 into the family of the Valerii. Her parents were Publicola and Albina. When she was fourteen, her father, anxious to see the family continue, arranged a marriage with a family relative, Valerius Pinianus, who was three years older than Melania. During her married life of seven years she had two children who died young. After their death Melania's inclination toward a celibate life reasserted itself. At first her husband refused and her father Publicola stopped her associating with Christians. Even after the birth of her daughter, he insisted on having a male heir. She became pregnant again and gave birth to a boy, who died the day after his birth. Then the daughter died and Melania became seriously ill. Pinian then took an oath that if she lived they would be celibate. Five years later her father died, begging her forgiveness and leaving her all his considerable property with estates in Italy, Sicily, Spain and Africa. Her mother Albina was won over to Melania's opinion. After this Pinian and Melania lived together as "brother and sister".

Mel2In Sicily (408-410) and North Africa (410-417)
Then at the time of the Visigoth invasion, all three left Rome and moved to a family estate near Messina in Sicily, where they lived for two years. Later they moved to another family estate at Tagaste, Numidia, in North Africa. Here they met St Augustine, who called them "real lights of the Church". The people of Hippo wanted Pinian as their priest, but Augustine said he should continue to live as a layman. Melania founded a monastery for men, of which Pinian took charge, and another for women. She freed many slaves living on the African estates and many of these entered the monastery. Melania lived with the women, fasting and wearing sackcloth. She spent many hours transcribing manuscripts, a work at which she was really skilled.

Jerusalem (417-439)
In 417, all three went to Palestine by way of Alexandria, where they visited the principal places of monastic life and hermitages. In Jerusalem, they lived in a hospice for pilgrims in Jerusalem, and met St. Jerome, whose disciple and collaborator Paula was Melania's cousin. She became a member of Jerome's circle of helpers. She lived in Jerusalem for twelve years in a hermitage near the Mount of Olives. Her mother died in 431 and after this Melania opened a convent for women on the Mount of Olives, which she inspired and maintained, but refused to become its superior. After her husband's death she built a cloister for men, then a chapel, and later, a larger church. She attracted many men and women to a solitary way of life, one of whom was her chaplain and biographer, Gerontius.

Visit to Constantinople (437)
Melania's uncle Volusianus, a diplomat at the court of the emperor Valentinian, wrote inviting her to Constantinople. She did go there and helped in his conversion to Christianity and assisted him as he died on January 6, 437. She also mounted a campaign against Nestorianism.

nativity site


Melania spent the Christmas of 439 in Bethlehem and died a week later. 

                                                                   Shine of the Nativity, Bethlehem>
Liturgical Readings for: Monday, 17th December, 2018

Readings note: The following Advent readings are used between December 17 - 24, except for Sundays.


A reading from the Book of Genesis        49:2. 8-10
The sceptre shall not pass from Judah.

Jacob called his sons and said,

'Gather round, sons of Jacob, and listen;
listen to Israel your father.
'Judah, your brothers shall praise you:
you grip your enemies by the neck,Lion of Judah
your father's sons shall do you homage,
Judah is a lion cub, you climb back, my son, from your kill;
like a lion he crouches and lies down,
or a lioness: who dare rouse him?
The sceptre shall not pass from Judah,
nor the mace from between his feet,
until he come to whom it belongs,
to whom the peoples shall render obedience.'

The Word of the Lord

Responsorial Psalm         Ps 71:1
Response                              In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails.

1. O God, give your judgement to the king,
to a king's son your justice,
that he may judge your people
injustice and your poor in right judgement. Response

2. May the mountains bring forth peace for the people
and the hills, justice.
May he defend the poor of the people
and save the children of the needy.                Response

3. In his days justice shall flourish
and peace till the moon fails.
He shall rule from sea to sea,
from the Great River to earth's bounds.        Response

4. May his name be blessed for ever
and endure like the sun.
Every tribe shall be blessed in him,
all nations bless his name.                               Response

Gospel  Acclamation
Alleluia, alleluia!
Wisdom of the Most High, ordering all things with strength and gentleness come and teach us the way of truth.


A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew         1:1-17
A genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David.

genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah, Tamar being their mother,
Perez was the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram was the father of Amminadab, Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,Salmon was the father of Boaz,
Rahab being his mother,
Boaz was the father of Obed, Ruth being his mother,
Obed was the father of Jesse; and Jesse was the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, whose mother had been Uriah's wife,
Solomon was the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa, Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Azariah,
Azariah was the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz,ancestors of Jes
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah;
Josiah was the father of Jechoniah and his brothers.
Then the deportation to Babylon took place.

After the deportation to Babylon:
Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor was the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud was the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob;
and Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary;
of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.

The sum of generations is therefore:
fourteen from Abraham to David;
fourteen from David to the Babylonian deportation; and
fourteen from the Babylonian deportation to Christ.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Gospel Reflection       
Monday        Third Week of Advent          Matthew 1:1–17

Today we begin the octave of Christmas. The readings for these eight days are very specially chosen. The first reading invariably consists of one of the great Messianic promises in the Jewish Scriptures. The gospel acclamation on each of these eight days is also very significant. Each one is a beautiful prayer, a variation on the simple ‘Come Lord Jesus’. In today’s Mass it is ‘Wisdom of the Most High; ordering all things with strength and gentleness, come and teach us the way of truth’. The gospel readings for these eight days are all taken from the first chapter of the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. Today’s gospel reading consists of the opening seventeen verses of Matthew. It is an unusual gospel reading; it is tempting to ask, ‘What is the point of that long list of names?’ What was Matthew doing by beginning his gospel in this particular way? He wanted to show that Jesus was rooted in the Jewish people; his family tree included Abraham and Isaac, David and Solomon, and many others. Jesus was hewn from the rock of Abraham, like the remainder of the people of Israel. We are being reminded that the deepest roots of our own Christian faith are to be found in the story of the people of Israel. That list of names is anything but a list of saints; there are plenty of people whose lives left a lot to be desired; we only have to think of David. Yet Matthew is saying that in some mysterious way, God worked through all of those characters to bring Jesus to humanity. Matthew is reminding us that God can bring great good out of human sin and brokenness. That realisation is not an encouragement to sin but it gives us hope that even when we fall short of our calling the Lord’s saving purpose continues to work itself out.


The scripture readings are taken from The Jerusalem Bible, published by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and used with the permission of the publishers.

The Gospel reflection comes from: Weekday Reflections for the Liturgical Year 2018/2019; I Want to Know Christ   by Martin Hogan, published by The Messenger  c/f

mother and son

Liturgical Readings for: Monday, 17th December, 2018
Sliocht as  Leabhar Geineasas        49:2. 8-10
Ní scarfaidh an ríshlat ó Iúdá

Ghlaoigh Iácób ar an gclann mhac agus duirt

'Tagaigí le chéile, a mhic Iacóib, agus éistigí;
éistigí le hIosrael bhur n-athair.Lion of Judah
A Iúdá, molfaidh do dheartháireacha thú;
beidh do lámh ar bhráid do naimhde
agus sléachtfaidh clann mhac d’athar duit.
Coileán leoin é Iúdá!
Filleann tú anois, a mhic, ón gcreach;
agus cromann sé agus luíonn mar leon
nó mar bhanleon, cé leomhann é a mhuscailt?
Ní scarfaidh an ríshlat ó Iúdá
ná más an cheannais ó idir a chosa,
go dtaga an té ar leis é,
dá dtabharfaidh na ciníocha géillsine.'

Briathar Dé.

Salm le Freagra               Sm 71
Freagra                               Bláthóidh síochcáin agus fíréantacht lena linn nó go meathfaidh an ghealach.

1. Tabhair do bhreithiunas, a Dhia, don rí
agus d'fhíréantacht do mhac an rí.
Go dtuga se ceartbhreithiúnas ar a phobal
agus cothrom do na bochtáin.                     Freagra

2. Go dtuga na sléibhte síochcáin don phobal
agus na cnoic fíréantacht.
Go ndeana se cosaint ar uirísle an phobail,
go saora se na daibhre.                                  Freagra

3. Bláthóidh síochcáin agus fíréantacht lena linn
nó go meathfaidh an ghealach
Beidh a réimeas ó mhuir go muir,
ón Abhainn Mhór go críoch na cruinne.    Freagra

4. Go moltar a ainm go brach
an fad a bheidh an ghrian ann.
Is tríd a bheannófar gach treibh;
beidh gach cine a mholadh.                          Freagra

Sliocht as an Soiscéal naofa de réir Naomh Matha        1:1-17
Leabhar ghinealach Íosa Críost.

Leabhar ghinealach Íosa Críost, mac Dháiví, mac Abrahám.
Ghin Abrahám Íosác;
ghin Íosác Iacób;
ghin Iacób Iúdá agus a dheartháireacha;
ghin Iúdá Fearas agus Zára ó Thámár;
ghin Fearas Easróm; ghin Easróm Áram;
ghin Áram Aimineadab;
ghinAimineadab Náiseon;
ghin Náiseon Salmón;
ghin Salmón Boaz ó Ráchab;
ghin Boaz
Ióibeid ó Rút;
ghin Ióibeid Iseái;
ghin Iseái Dáiví rí.ancestors of Jes

Ghin Dáiví Solamh ó bhean Úirías;
ghin Solamh Róbóam;
ghin Róbóam Aibiá; ghin
Aibiá Ásaf;
ghin Ásaf Iósáfat;
ghin Iósáfat Iórám;
ghin Iórám Ózáias;
ghin Ózáias Iótám;
ghin Iótám Áchaz;
ghin Áchaz Eizichias;
1ghin Eizichias Manasaes; ghin
Manasaes Amós;
ghin Amós Iósáias;
ghin Iósáias Iachónáias agus a dheartháireacha le
linn bhroid na Bablóine.

Tar éis bhroid na Bablóine,
ghin Iachónáias Salaitiéil;
ghin Salaitiéil Zoróbaibeil;
ghin Zoróbaibeil Aibiúd;
ghin Aibiúd Eiliáicím;
ghin Eiliáicím Azór;
ghin Azór Sadóc;
ghin Sadóc Aichím;
ghin Aichím Eiliúd;
ghin Eiliúd Eiliazar;
ghin Eiliazar Matan;
ghin Matan Iacób;
ghin Iacób Iósaef, fear céile Mhuire ónar rugadh Íosa ar a dtugtar Críost.

A bhfuil de ghlúine ann dá bhrí sin:
ó Abrahám go dtí Dáiví, ceithre glúine déag;
ó Dháiví go dtí broid na Bablóine, ceithre glúine déag;
agus ó bhroid na Bablóine go dtí Críost, ceithre glúine déag.

© An Sagart
Liturgical Readings for: Sunday, 23rd December, 2018

A reading from the book of the Prophet Micah        5:1-4
Out of you will be born the one who is to rule over Israel.

The Lord says this:

You, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
the least of the clans of Judah,
out of you will be born for me
the one who is to rule over Israel;
his origin goes back to the distant past,
to the days of old.
The Lord is therefore going to abandon them
till the time when she who is to give birth gives birth.
Then the remnant of his brothers will come back
to the sons of Israel.
He will stand and feed his flockBethlehem
with the power of the Lord,
with the majesty of the name of his God.
They will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power
to the ends of the land.
He himself will be peace.

The Word of the Lord

Responsorial Psalm          Ps 79
Response                              God of hosts, bring us back;let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.
1. O shepherd of Israel, hear us,
shine forth from your cherubim throne.
O Lord, rouse up your might,
O Lord, come to our help.                                   ResponseJesus shep

2. God of hosts, turn again, we implore,
look down from heaven and see.
Visit this vine and protect it,
the vine your right hand has planted.               Response

3. May your hand be on the man you have chosen,
the man you have given your strength.
And we shall never forsake you again:
give us life that we may call upon your name. Response


A reading from the letter of St Paul to the Hebrews      10:5-10
Here I am! I am coming to obey your will.

This is what he said, on coming into the world:jESUS THE VINE

You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation,
prepared a body for me.
You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin;
then I said,
just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book,
'God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will.'

Notice that he says first: You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ.

The Word of the Lord

Gospel  Acclamation          Lk 1: 38
Alleluia, alleluia!
'I am the handmaid of the Lord,'
'let what you have said be done to me.'

 A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke       1:39-45
Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord?

ary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy.

The Gospel of the Lord.

Taken from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, published and copyright 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House Inc, and used by permission of the publishers.

Liturgical Readings for: Sunday, 23rd December, 2018



Sliocht as Leabhar Fáidh Míocí        5:1-4
 Is asatsa a thiocfaidh chugam an té a bheidh ina cheann urra ar Iosrael.

Seo mar a deir an Tiarna:
Tusa, a Bheithil Eafrátá
bíodh gur beag thú i measc chlanna Iúdá
is asatsa a thiocfaidh chugam
an té a bheidh ina cheann urra ar Iosrael,
an té a dtéann a shinsearacht na cianta siar
go dtí an t-am fadó.
Sin é an fáth a dtréigfidh Dia iadBethlehem
go dtí go mbéarfar mac di siúd,
a bhfuil tinneas clainne uirthi,
ansin fillfidh iarmhar a bhráithre ar chlann Iosrael.
Seasfaidh sé go daingean agus beathóidh sé a thréad
trí chumhacht an Tiarna
agus le mórgacht ainm an Tiarna, a Dhia.
Mairfidh siad go slán sábháilte
mar leathnóidh a chumhacht amach ansin go críocha na cruinne.
Beidh sé féin ina údar síochána.

Briathar Dé.  
Salm le Freagra                   Sm 79
Freagra                                  Cuir ar ais sinn, a Dhia. Taispeáin dúinn d'aghaidh ghrianmhar agus slánaigh sinn, a Thiarna.

I. Éist linn, a aoire Isráél.
Túsa atá i do shuí ar na Ceiribíni, soilsigh amach.
Corraigh do chumhacht, a Thiarna,Jesus shep
agus tar chugainn dár sábháil.                                           Freagra

2. Cas ar ais, a Dhia na Slua.
Breathnaigh anuas ó neamh agus féach.
Tabhair cuairt ar an bhfíniúin a chuir tú féin.
Caomhnaigh an stoc a phlandaigh do dheaslámh féin.Freagra

3.Go raibh do lámh ar an bhfear a roghnaigh tú,
ar mhac an duine a neartaigh tú duit féin.
Ní thréigfimid thú go brách ansin:
tabhair dúinn an bheatha agus mórfaimid d'ainm.        Freagra

AN DARA LÉACHT            Eabhraig 10:5-10
Táim ag teacht, a Dhia chun do thoil a dhéanamh.

A bhráithre, deir Críost agus é ag teacht isteach sa saol seo:
“Níorbh áil leat íobairt ná tabhartas;jESUS THE VINE
ach d’ullmhaigh tú corp dom.
Ní raibh dúil agat in íobairtí uileloiscthe ná sna hofrálacha
a dhéantaí ar son peacaí.
Dúirt mé ansin: ‘Féach, táim ag teacht, a Dhia
chun do thoil a dhéanamh,’
faoi mar atá sé scríofa fúm sa Leabhar.”
Sa chéad áit dúirt sé: “Níorbh áil leat íobairtí ná tabhartais ná íobairtí uileloiscthe ná ofrálacha a dhéantaí ar son peacaí ná ní raibh aon dúil agat iontu,” bíodh go n-ofráltar iad de réir an dlí. Ansin dúirt sé: “Féach, táim ag teacht chun do thoil a dhéanamh.” Sa tslí seo chuir Dia na chéad íobairtí ar ceal d’fhonn an dara ceann a bhunú. Agus toisc gurbh é sin ba thoil leis, naomhaíodh sinn tríd an ofráil a rinne Íosa Críost dá chorp féin an taon uair amháin ar fad.

Briathar Dé. 

Alleluia   Véarsa                    Lc 1:38

Alleluia, alleluia!
Féach mise banóglach an Tiarna:
déantar liom de réir d'fhocail.

visitingAN SOISCÉAL:                     Lúcás 1:39-45
Conas a tharla seo domsa, máthair mo Thiarna a theacht chugam?

Chuir Muire chun bóthair sna laethanta sin agus d’imigh go deifreach faoi dhéin na gcnoc go dtí cathair in Iúdá, agus chuaigh isteach i dteach Zachairias agus bheannaigh d’Eilís . Agus tharla, nuair a chuala Eilís beannachadh Mhuire, gur bhíog an naíonán ina broinn, agus líonadh Eilís den Spiorad Naomh, agus gháir sí de ghlór ard agus dúirt: “Is beannaithe tú idir mná, agus is beannaithe toradh do bhroinne. Agus conas a tharla seo domsa, máthair mo Thiarna a theacht chugam? Óir féach, nuair a chuaigh glór do bheannachtha i mo chluasa, bhíog an naíonán i mo bhroinn le háthas. Agus is méanar di seo a chreid go gcomhlíonfaí na nithe a dúradh léi ón Tiarna.”

Soiscéal Dé

© An Sagart