there is love

It’s a year today since the public announcement of Bishop Paul Martin’s appointment to the diocese of Christchurch. Our new bishop inherited a few challenges and since his ordination in early March he has guided the people of the diocese to embrace these challenges as opportunities.

When people think of challenges in Christchurch earthquakes quickly come to mind. In recent years we have had to focus on rebuilding the infrastructure of the city. Our diocese has also faced these challenges as churches and schools have needed repair and replacement.

In Bishop Paul’s Advent letter to the diocese of Christchurch he reminds us that while the buildings and Christmas preparations are important, the call to the followers of Jesus is to take this Advent / Christmas opportunity to a deeper level.

Bishop Paul writes:

You might be feeling the hype of pre-Christmas parties. You could be busy tying up loose ends at work. Some families are flat out trying to get all the gift shopping done, preparing for relatives to visit, or trying to organise a trip away.

The Church sends us a different message with a different focus for this time.

As Catholics we are encouraged to spend some of this time preparing for the coming of Jesus in quiet and stillness. The Church invites you and me to use this time to reflect and to grow, just as we might during Lent.

Advent is a blessed time to contemplate the way God chose to come into this world. In the presence of shepherds, in a simple manger, His coming was far from a grand affair. God humbled Himself to come as a helpless baby. He was reliant on the care of those around Him. Advent is also a time for us to take stock of ourselves, and how many of us have relied and continue to rely on others throughout our lives.

Jesus will always come to visit us first in our brokenness. To grow spiritually we first begin with our brokenness.

While we take this journey we can go out and meet others in the same way.

The way we treat others demonstrates a deeper reflection of our relationship with Jesus. In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.”

An Invitation

Take an opportunity today to give some of your time to a person in need. This might mean spending five extra minutes listening to a person you find difficult or making contact by phone text or email with someone you know to be struggling.

You might consider making a gift to those in need this Advent. You will know of friends, family, neighbours and workmates who would appreciate a gift of your time or resources.

Bishop Paul is a great supporter of Food For Faith and if you would like to support his Advent Bishop’s Care Appeal you can do so by clicking on the banner below. 

6 Responses to "there is love"
  1. Thank you for the link to donate, as I had been “meaning to” but as so often good intentions get pushed aside by the busyness of life… a good reminder that as Bishop Paul says… take time to be quiet and prepare for the coming of God into our world.

  2. How many times do I need reminding what Christmas is actually about and what it’s not. I am a needy soul indeed. Thanks Fr John for your on point words.

  3. Thank you Fr John for a beautiful quiet, time, a stunning reflection/chat/ homily and the Benediction at St Mary’s on Wednesday night. I recommend this quiet to all FFF members if they are able to attend

  4. Just a comment on yesterdays reflection I am trying to remember to say each day the prayer Lord help me to realize that nothing is going to happen to me today that you and I can’t handle.

  5. The days before Christmas are fraught with stress and emotion. It is easy to lose your way and forget the real meaning of Christmas. The only gift I wa t this year is the peace, quiet and space to connect with Jesus and remind myself of the significance of his birth for us all. Blessing at this holy time.

  6. Thank for those wonderful words to help me refocus at this treasured time of Advent and remind me that there is always someone whose struggles are far greater than mine and they need my help and time. Give me strength to reach out to them.

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