Posts

Rejoice in the Lord

Every third Sunday of Advent, the Church rejoices. This is known as “Gaudete Sunday”, which uses the Latin word for “rejoicing”. But, we’re still in the season of Advent, a penitential season. We are still in preparation for the coming of the Lord.

In this way, the Lord is not here. Why are we rejoicing? Because “the Lord is near”.

Have you ever taken a trip and become excited as you neared your destination? Maybe it was a long car ride or flight. Or, maybe it was a drive home after sitting in traffic on 295?! Seeing a road sign that the destination was only a few miles away picked you up. Or, hearing from the flight crew that they’re starting the plane’s descent on the city to which you’re going got your heart pumping a little bit more. Reaching your home street should always be a source of excitement and comfort! In each of these situations, a sense of rejoicing that you are near carries you into the home stretch and helps you endure the remaining part of the trip.

This is what the Church is doing for us today by giving us “Rejoicing Sunday”. She reminds us the reason for the season which is the coming of the Lord. “The Lord is near!” While we will still endure the remaining days of Advent, we are uplifted by the announcement that the Lord is close. As we pass the halfway point and head for the home stretch, the Church gives us encouragement. “The Lord is near!”

For some, hearing that Advent is halfway over may be more of an alarm than a sound for rejoicing. They might be asking what the crowds asked John the Baptist, “what should we do?”

If you feel that you haven’t been tuned into Advent yet and want to finish strongly, the first thing I would say is what St. Paul wrote, “have no anxiety at all”.

This in general is easier said than done, I know. But, be at peace. The Lord has given us much practical advice through the sacred authors in today’s readings for the remaining part of our Advent journey:

1.) PRAY EVERY DAY: “make your requests known to God by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving”

2.) DONATE TO THE OUTREACH CENTER: “whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise”

3.) GO TO CONFESSION: “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”.

The third suggestion is most fitting now as we are now in the Year of Mercy. I look forward to this year with you! We hope and pray that it will be a year of mercy and rejoicing in our parish during the jubilee.

This is a special Gaudete Sunday for me because I rejoice in each of you and in being your pastor. “I shall say it again: rejoice!”

–Sincerely in Christ,

Fr Greg

Rejoice in the Peace of Christ

3rd Sunday Advent – “Rejoice in the peace of Christ”

Healings

Gaudete / rejoice!
Every Sunday here
What should we do?
2nd Reading
Rejoice  / 1st reading
Make requests known to God
Peace

Peace
Shalom – to be complete or whole
Wishing all good things
Post-confession!
Post-healing

Make Straight Your Room

2nd Sunday in Advent

CCD kids / Jesus coming over
St John Baptist – Jesus is coming!
Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight your room
Glory of his visit / presence

Preparation through purification
Conversion!
Make straight your paths / souls / hearts
Change ways, habits

Leveling mountains (pride)
Confess!
Wednesdays, 6-7 pm
Humility
Examination of Conscience
Apologize
Forgive

Valleys filled
Despair —-> Hope
sadness ——> Joy
Anxiety  —–> Confidence in God
Fear ——–> Faith

Holy Mass : mini-Advent

Please God This Advent

1st Sunday advent
“Please God this Advent”
Advent – “coming to”
2nd coming
1st coming

Be vigilant
“Conduct yourselves to please God”
Pray
Love
Holiness
‘Please, God’

Please God during Mass

     Fully engage and participate

Advent is preparing the way

First place! It has been many years since we Redskins fans can say that our beloved team is first in our division in early December. And, we are actually surging, with some analysts saying that we are playing our best football of the season. This is exciting! Now, I know, it is possible that this can go south, especially with the Cowboys coming to town tomorrow night. We all might be calling therapists Tuesday morning…! But, things do feel differently now, and we are starting to believe that the culture on our team is changing. We have more talent now (thanks to our new General Manager), and a coaching system that utilizes the players well. No matter what happens in December, we are an improved team on the rise!

What strikes me most for the improvement is their preparation. They have said that their practices during the last few weeks have improved dramatically. Practice makes perfect, right! They have practiced harder with more intensity, and with a focus on correcting mistakes. These things should have been there all season, of course, but it takes time to kick bad habits. This has been a losing franchise for so long in part because they have had losing habits. But, that has changed now. Their preparation has been stronger which has led to significantly better performances two of the past three games. And, their victories have led to more confidence. Apparently, they had a players-only meeting the night before the Giants game in which they said that they were capable of great things, and that they can beat anybody if they played together as a team. That’s a winning attitude, and it showed in their victory last week. At least for this week, they are basking in the glory of first place and in being the talk of the town (and a little of the nation).

Now, I’m writing all of this for two reasons. The first is that I can! (It’s been like 20 years since we’ve been in this situation). The second is for the Advent parallels we can make.

Advent is a Season of preparation. We are preparing for the coming of Christ. We are preparing for glory. Baruch’s prophecy about the Messianic Age in today’s first reading uses the word “glory” six times! How do we prepare for such glory?

“Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain shall be made low” (Luke 3:5-6).

The Redskins have recently taken their preparation seriously and intensely. Can we take Advent seriously, and do at least one thing this season that reflects a change of heart? The ‘Skins have filled their valleys of despair with confidence. Can we be filled with confidence in God? They have lowered their mountains of individual pride and become team players. Can we lower our mountains of pride by going to Confession at least once during Advent?

During Advent, God calls us to change our ways… to make straight his paths. He wants to turn our losing habits into winning ones. He wants us to win victory! He wants us to share fully in His glory! Hopefully, it will be a Season of victories for us and Grace. At the same time, a December to remember with many victories on the field would be nice, too.

–Sincerely in Christ, Fr Greg

The Origins of Advent

First Sunday of Advent

What is Advent?

Advent, which comes from the Latin word for “arrival” or “coming,” is a period of preparation for the birth of our Lord. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and is the start of the Christmas season, which lasts through the Baptism of Our Lord. The first Sunday of Advent also marks the beginning of the liturgical year, the Church’s “New Year’s Day,” at which time we change the cycle of readings we are using at Mass. Advent is a time of joyous anticipation, but also of penance and preparation for the great Christmas feast. The liturgical color of the season is purple, a sign of penance, which is also used during Lent. The Church discourages excessive ornamentation, boisterous music and even weddings during Advent, in order to foster a sense of quiet hope.

Who established Advent?

Thomas J. Talley, in The Origins of the Liturgical Year (Pueblo Publishing Company), sees the beginning of an advent season in the Fourth Canon of the Council of Saragosa in 380. In 567, the Synod of Tours established a December fast. And in 581 the Council of Macon ordered an advent fast for the laity from the Feast of St. Martin (November 11) to Christmas. This took the name of St. Martin’s Lent. In the seventh and eighth centuries, lectionaries (books containing the scriptural readings for the Liturgy of the Word) provided for six Sundays in Advent. According to the Harper Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, edited by Richard P. McBrien, Gregory the Great, who died in 604, was the real architect of the Roman Advent. Gregory fixed the season at four weeks and composed seasonal prayers and antiphons. Gaul (France) enriched the season with eschatological elements. And the fusion of the Roman and Gallican observances returned to Rome by the 12th century.

What is the Advent wreath?

The Advent wreath is one of our most popular Advent traditions. Its origin is in preChristian Germany and Scandinavia where the people gathered to celebrate the return of the sun after the winter solstice. The circular wreath made of evergreens with four candles interspersed represented the circle of the year and the life that endures through the winter. As the days grew longer, people lit candles to offer thanks to the “sun god” for the light. For us, the lighting of the Advent candles represents the promise of the coming of Jesus, the light of the world. To make an Advent wreath, begin with a Styrofoam circle, available at craft shops, and cut four evenly spaced holes into which you will place the four candles. Traditionally there are three purple candles and one rose candle (for the third Sunday), but blue candles can also be used. Purple reminds us to turn our hearts toward God; rose is a color of joy. Place fresh evergreen branches over the Styrofoam. Replace them when they dry out in order to preserve the symbolism of the vitality of God’s love. Encourage children to participate as they are able, by gathering branches, placing the candles and so on.

reprinted from www.americancatholic.org