Fr John’s Reflection – Fourth of Advent

Fourth of Advent – 20th December


 Patience is a virtue but at times when we are time-pressured, it can be put to the test. The last-minute activities prior to Christmas can even seem to test the best of us to maintain a steady pace and a peaceful demeanour. As the days count down, we can sense the anticipation of what Christmas will mean for this year. The chance of reunions but also the reliving of old memories can resurface. In this expectation, we need to remember that we need to remain present to the spirit of God which sustains us. We are called to be people who are prayerfully aware that the world is centred on God’s creative initiative.

It is in these days of waiting that we can encounter Mary who seeks to respond to God with a yes which has practical consequences for her life and the life of each one of us. As she seeks to ponder what her fiat means she seeks to understand how God is at work within and through her. In many ways, the way she encounters God helps us to listen more carefully to how we are greeted and how we respond to others. Do we open our hearts to listen to the moments when we are deeply in union with the whole of creation? It is these moments that can stop us in our tracks and help us to see our lives differently.

As we journey in these last few days before Christmas take time within the hustle and bustle of daily life to listen to what brings life, what brings hope and what brings joy to your life. In all things give thanks.

Fr. John Armstrong

Fr John’s Reflection – Third of Advent

Third of Advent – 13th December

Be Happy at all times

 “When faced with trials put on a happy face!” There can be a sense that when Paul writes to the Thessalonians there is a sense of being overly optimistic or covering up the difficulties we face with a false smile. I believe what Paul is actually asking of us is that we pray at all times and in all situations. This takes on an attitude which seeks to become a person of thanksgiving in whatever situation we find ourselves.

Yet this is not always easy as Paul notices we need to listen to the Holy Spirit to help us discern what is good from what is bad. This calls for a considered response which not only prays but also seeks to reflect on the environment in which we live and the actions that we are capable of performing. This calls us to be people who do not retreat into our own private world but seek to be holy in the place that we live. This is not manufactured piety but rather a lived expression of God’s love for the world.

Each day we are called to notice what aids us in growing closer to God and to others. God helps us to notice the hidden graces which transform us and our world. In this way, we bear witness to the spirit of the Lord which brings good news to the poor, binds up hearts that are broken, which seeks freedom to those who are held imprisoned by their way of life. The call is to become people who imbibe the Spirit and live our life with hope for the good of the world.

Fr. John Armstrong

OMCC Bulletin

October 2020


Fr John’s Reflection – Second of Advent

Second of Advent – 6th December

Writing Straight with Crooked lines

 Walking through the shopping centre the other day it was hard to believe the hardships we have been through and that much of the rest of the world is facing. There was a distinct feeling of deja vu. That people were shopping, preparing for Christmas, making plans and organise trips to visit families and friends. Yet in the midst of all this activity, there is still a feeling that this Christmas will not be like the ones before. There is a call to discover something which will sustain beyond the immediate commercial reality and to discover a deeper meaning for our lives.

I believe we see this in the figure of John the Baptist. He sought to prepare people’s hearts and minds to see more clearly how to live their lives. This was not just repentance from sinful behaviour and attitudes but a true desire to encounter God in our everyday lives. There was searching for those graced moments which transform us and transform our world. They are moments which allow us to encounter the mystery of our own creation in the person of Christ.

As we journey towards Christmas it is this deeper entry into the mystery of each day that we encounter God’s living presence. There is a sense in which we are disturbed in the way things from how we perceive them to be to actually how they are. It calls us to notice those graced moments which we encounter each day. It is the scripture of God’s Word written on the face of our world and reflected in how we receive that message. As we go about our daily tasks let us pray that we see the face of God in all things and in all people.

Fr. John Armstrong