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First Sunday of Advent

December 1, 2018

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Show us, Lord, your love;

And grant us your salvation

Alleluia, Alleluia.

 

The Gospel of Saint Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Jesus said to his disciples: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.  People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.

Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.  For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth.  Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

The Gospel of the Lord

REFLECTIONADVENT — CHURCH’S NEW YEAR

Happy New Year of Grace! Today the Church begins her new year of prayer with the Advent Season.  Sunday Mass, the celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection is the foremost religious formational arena for Catholics.  Advent focuses on two fundamental truths of our faith by dividing the four weeks into two parts: 1) First Sunday of Advent until the Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday; 2) Third Sunday of Advent including Christmas Eve.

This arrangement of Advent provides a prayerful time of preparation for Christmas which commemorates the First Coming of the Son of God and in turn moves our hearts to anticipate Christ’s Second Coming in Glorythey will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  For these two reasons, Advent is a period of gratitude, hope, and even penance.

We begin the day by hearing from the Prophet Isaiah: The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. Advent/Christmas is our acknowledgement that God is faithful, worthy of trust because God alone keeps all his promises.  Therefore, we can confidently live each day in the knowledge that God is with us (Emanuel), and God will come to save us. So, join the faithful in this Advent-Christmas petition: COME TO OUR HEARTS, LORD JESUS.

Advent and Christmas energize us with HOPE.  We may hope for snow on Christmas day, but that is often wishful thinking.  But hoping in the promises of God is a sure bet!  God’s love is demonstrated profoundly in His Son becoming man, and his promise to return in Glory gives meaning to our lives and reveals our final destiny, eternal life!

While the altar is prepared and the gifts are brought forward, and the priest accepts the offerings of the people, their joys and sufferings.  During this preparation the priest or deacon pours the wine and a little water into the chalice, saying quietly:

            By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the      divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.

This simple action stresses the Advent/Christmas truth of faith: Jesus Christ is truly God and man.   This is the center piece of the Advent/Christmas Season — Christ’s Incarnation, becoming flesh – one like us in all things but sin!  Yet, there is more:

            Jesus became one like us so that we can become one like Him;

            He descended to earth so that we can ascend to heaven;

            He became human so that we can be joined to His divinity.

Friends don’t allow the commercial rush to deaden your hearts … do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.  Allow the Lord Jesus to come to your hearts and the hearts of your family by a true celebration of Advent.  Keep Christ in Christmas — COME TO OUR HEARTS, LORD JESUS!

Prosit,

Monsignor Joseph Marino

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