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First Sunday of Advent

First Sunday of Advent

 

Dear OLPH Family and Friends

Advent didn’t begin this year until this weekend.  There will only be two days of Advent in the Fourth Week so we need to make the best of it immediately. Once again we hear that beautiful call to “Prepare the Way.”   Advent is not penitential to the degree that Lent is, but it is still a preparatory season.  Its mood is joyful, but it is a restrained joy.  It is sort of an anticipatory joy. Advent is a season of the already but not yet. We rejoice that the kingdom is already in our midst but aware that it has not yet arrived in its fullness.

In ancient biblical times, people faced crises similar to those we face today.  In the midst of wars the Israelites looked for good and just leadership.  In today’s first reading, Jeremiah speaks about a divinely promised new leader who will do what is just and right and bring peace and security to the land of Israel and Judah.

St. Paul focuses on the core element needed within the Christian community, and likewise, within our world today for the sake of the common good of all.  This core element is love.  The Christian community is to lead by example, and their power as a group of people is to be transformative and not oppressive.

The Gospel for this First Sunday of Advent reminds us that all is not well with our world (as if the news reports have not already made that quite clear).  “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.”   The theme of redeeming and transformative power is the central message of Luke’s Gospel.  Luke envisions a time when the world will be turned upside down.  Cosmic convulsions will accompany the coming of The Divine One known as the Son of Man.  Life as it is known will be changed, with judgment and redemption occurring simultaneously.

The season of Advent looks backward into the past to the first coming of Jesus.  It also looks forward into the future to His second coming.  Our job in Advent is twofold.   First, it is to relive Israel’s anticipation of the coming of the Messiah into history.  We will relive the incredible mystery by which the Son of God took flesh and lived among us.  Second, our job in Advent is to anticipate Jesus’ final coming at the end of time.  It’s to prepare for that incredible moment when Jesus returns in power and majesty to take us with Him into the eternal glory of His Father’s heavenly kingdom.

December 8th is a Holy Day of Obligation.   It is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the

patronal feast of the United States. Due to it being a weekend, there will be the Vigil Mass on Friday and the 7:30 am Mass on Saturday.   The Saturday pm Mass will be for the Vigil of the First Sunday of Advent.

Once again, if you have not already done so, I encourage you to prayerfully read the Gospel of Luke as a preparation for this new Church Year.   May God bless us all in making this the best Advent ever!

Fr. Ron