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  •  IN THIS WEEK’S SOUTHERN CROSS South African Church stands with women; This was Pope Francis’ 2017; Serving the forgotten at sea; How ending hunger is simple maths; Were Catholics persecuted in South Africa? EDITORIAL: Is God leading us into temptation?


Saturday 30th December     18h00    Holy Mass at the Cathedral

Sunday 31st December       07h30    Holy Mass at Villa Maria Chapel

08h45    Holy Mass at Nazareth House Main Chapel

10h00    Holy Mass at the Cathedral

17h00    Holy Mass at the Cathedral

00h00    Holy Mass at the Cathedral

Monday 01st January        08h00    Holy Mass at Villa Maria

09h00    Holy Mass at Nazareth House Main Chapel

                                             13h10  NO MASS

Tuesday, 02nd January     06h45    Holy Mass at Villa Maria

07h00    Holy Mass at Nazareth House

13h10    Holy Mass at the Cathedral


 Monday 1 January Mary, Mother of God

Numbers 6:22-27 Today we have a blessing, a prayer for God’s help and presence as we start the new year. The psalm going with the reading continues the theme of blessing. Second reading

Galatians 4:4-7 Paul reminds us today that Jesus was born like one of us, a member of the Jewish people. Christianity is, in some way, the continuation of the Jewish faith, but for all humanity. Gospel

Luke 2:16-21 Today is the eighth day after the birth of Jesus and, according to Jewish tradition, the day for circumcising a new-born son. We are reminded that Jesus was Jew and that the roots of Christianity lie in God’s first chosen people.

Tuesday 2 January Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Doctors

1 John 2:22-28 The reading reflects profound conflict in the community of the Fourth Gospel over Jesus’ identity. The tone is more confrontational than usual. 

John 1:19-28 John the Baptist was a challenge to early Christians, precisely because John baptised Jesus. In this reading, the evangelist puts on the lips of John himself the word from Isaiah first used by Mark’s Gospel.

Wednesday 3 January The Holy Name of Jesus

1 John 2:29-3:6 Today we hear a justly famous passage, which goes simply and directly to the heart of the matter. The proclamation of the love of God is completed by presenting the consequences for us as believers.

John 1:29-34 What John says of Jesus reflects the understanding of the Fourth Gospel, an understanding which is deep and challenging. Most likely, we are not really hearing the opinion of the historical John the Baptist but the theology of the evangelist.

Thursday 4 January

1 John 3:7-10 In this reading, the great teaching of the Letter is expressed negatively: anybody not living a holy life and not loving his brother is no child of God’s.

John 1:35-42 In John’s Gospel, the first person to talk about Jesus is John the Baptism: Look, there is the lamb of God. These important words have become part of the liturgy of the Eucharist. 

Friday 5 January

1 John 3:11-21 Today’s reading illustrates the richness of the First Letter. It is highly realistic — the world hates you. At the same time, it is very inspiring — our love is not to be just words or mere talk, but something real and active.

John 1:43-51 Our Gospel today contains a large number of descriptions of Jesus. If we were to describe what Jesus means to us, what would we say today? The mention of the fig tree can puzzle. One explanation goes like this. In rabbinic tradition, it had been concluded that the tree of knowledge of good and evil was a fig tree, given that the fig is the first species mentioned. It became a symbol of the Torah, the later “tree” of knowledge, guidance on the part of goodness. Thus, seeing Philip under

Saturday 6 January The Epiphany of the Lord

The Magi thus personify all those who believe, those who long for God, who yearn for their home, their heavenly homeland. They reflect the image of all those who in their lives have not let their hearts be anaesthetised.

A holy longing for God wells up in the heart of believers because they know that the Gospel is not an event of the past but of the present. A holy longing for God helps us keep alert in the face of every attempt to reduce and impoverish our life. A holy longing for God is the memory of faith, which rebels before all prophets of doom. That longing keeps hope alive in the community of believers, which from week to week continues to plead: “Come, Lord Jesus”.

This same longing led the elderly Simeon to go up each day to the Temple, certain that his life would not end before he had held the Saviour in his arms.

This longing led the Prodigal Son to abandon his self-destructive lifestyle and to seek his father’s embrace. This was the longing felt by the shepherd who left the ninety-nine sheep in order to seek out the one that was lost.

Mary Magdalene experienced the same longing on that Sunday morning when she ran to the tomb and met her risen Master.

Longing for God draws us out of our iron-clad isolation, which makes us think that nothing can change. Longing for God shatters our dreary routines and impels us to make the changes we want and need. Longing for God has its roots in the past yet does not remain there: it reaches out to the future. Believers who feel this longing are led by faith to seek God, as the Magi did, in the most distant corners of history, for they know that there the Lord awaits them. They go to the peripheries, to the frontiers, to places not yet evangelised, to encounter their Lord. Nor do they do this out of a sense of superiority, but rather as beggars who cannot ignore the eyes of those who for whom the Good News is still uncharted territory.

Pope Francis, 6 January 2017

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