Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy

Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy

Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy


First Sunday Of Advent – November 29th

We Light the Prophet’s Candle

A Ray of Hope Flickers in the Sky

The words of Johnny Mathis in his much loved Christmas Carol aligns Advent with Hope. A Ray of Hope flickers in the Sky.  The prophets of old and the prophets of today see beyond the shadows and the Prophet’s Candle burns with Hope. Waiting in Advent is intense with mystery. Because Christmas happened we understand the Hope that is in us. Because Christmas happened we see the advent of the promised land despite the desert time. The words from the film Jesus of Nazareth  (Franco Zeffirelli) say it well:

A future without hope, is like a night without stars.

The definition of Hope includes confidence in a future reality. It is born of trust and in trust, lasting relationships are born. The Advent Wreath that helps us each year to express the story of God-with-us, speaks to us of the enduring light and the evergreen time. Hope endures. In its simple design, the Wreath has a global shape gathering all creation to the waiting place, revealing the everlasting relationship, where God and God’s people live as One. Jesus Christ yesterday, today and forever. This is the pathway in the Advent Season.

In 2020 the global landscape was covered in shadow and as we enter the Season of Advent this year we bring with us the deepest experience of waiting in hope. COVID-19 has been a desert journey for all the world but like the people of Israel, we hold on in our exile and through the chaos and the fear we see the bridge to the crossing over. There in a cattle shed the earth receives the child in whose birth the desert lockdown ends and a promised land is revealed. The waiting time, it seems, is the achievement time. Christmas is the story of our becoming. We look back to the great Birthday that we may grasp the great Return. This is the Hope that is Advent.

A Ray of Hope Flickers in the Sky

At Bethlehem the promise awaits us… We feel it in our beings, the irresistible attraction, in the cradle that is home to the world. Advent is a global movement, of hearts and minds, of bodies and spirits, a cosmic evolution in the initiative of love. The Presence draws us to the House of Bread , to the table of the world. This is the birthing place of Hope, the Star in the night. In the mystery and simplicity of the birth of a child we reach out to hold in our arms the fulfilment, satisfaction and completion that mark our longings. Because Christmas happened we are waiting in hope to ease the thirst.

Advent is the rooting place of our Hope and Hope is the gift where remembering and anticipation meet. In Advent the Liturgical Readings guide us on the journey from the First Light to the Word Made Flesh. It is the journey of a covenant people, waiting for mercy to erase violence, for a new heart and a new spirit to end degradation and displacement, for tenderness and compassion to fill the spaces of sickness and fear, isolation and loneliness. We are waiting in Hope for the Exodus, to touch the burning bush… to cross over into the fullness of life.


As our amazement deepens and our longing stirs the soul of our beings, we pause to taste the wonder.

Rejoice! Rejoice! O Israel
To You shall come Emmanuel

‘Hope is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all’
Emily Dickinson

Anna Burke

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