Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent--Happy New Year to the Church

Today is the first Sunday of Advent.  This marks the first day of the Church's liturgical year.  It is both exciting and a little terrifying.  It is a wonderful, joyful time of the year in anticipation of Christ's coming (and coming again).  However, it means that once again I am way behind the eight ball in planning for Christmas.  But, I always have a good time this time of the year because of my five kids.  They are really the joys of my life.

We mark each Sunday before Christmas with a candle.  The color purple symbolizes prayer, penance, and doing good works in the time of preparation. Pink or Rose is for Gaudette (or joyful) Sunday.  Two weeks of Advent are already complete and Christ's arrival is imminent.  The evergreen wreath is a symbol of everlasting life (the evergreen boughs) and eternity (the circle).

This week's readings:

You, Lord, are our Father,
our redeemer You are named forever.
Why do You let us wander, O Lord, from Your ways
and harden our hearts so that we fear You not?
Return for the sake of Your servants,
the tribes of Your heritage.
Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down,
with the mountains quaking before You,
while You wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for,
such as they had not heard of from of old.
No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but You
doing such deeds for those who wait for him.
Would that You might meet us doing right,
that we were mindful of You in our ways!
Behold, You are angry, and we are sinful
all of us have become like unclean people,
all our good deeds are like polluted rags,
we have all withered like leaves,
and our guilt carries us away like the wind.
There is none who calls upon Your Name,
who rouses himself to cling to You,
for You have hidden Your face from us
and have delivered us up in our guilt.
Yet, O Lord, You are our Father'
we are the clay and You the Potter:
we are all the work of Your hands.
(Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7)

Lord, make us turn to You; let us see Your face and we shall be saved.

O shepherd of Israel, hearken,
From Your throne upon the cherubim, shine forth.
Rouse Your power, and come to save us.

Lord, make us turn to You; let us see Your face and we shall be saved.

Once again, O Lord of Hosts,
look down from heaven and see;
take care of this vine,
and protect what Your right hand has planted,
the son of man whom You Yourself made strong.

Lord, make us turn to You; let us see Your face and we shall be saved.

May your help be with the man of Your right hand,
with the son of man whom You Yourself made strong.
Then we will no more withdraw from You;
give us new life, and we will call upon Your Name.

Lord, make us turn to You; let us see Your face and we shall be saved.
(Psalm 80:2-3; 15-16, 18-19)

Brothers and Sisters:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I give thanks to my God always on Your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in Him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
God is faithful, and by Him you were called to fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
(I Corinthians 1:3-9)

Jesus said to His disciples:  "Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.  It is like a man traveling abroad.  He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.

"Watch, therefore, you do not know when the lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning.  May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.  What I say to you, I say to all:  Watch!"
(Mark 13:33-37)

May the Lord find us waiting and watching.  God bless you all at Advent.