Receiving the Gospel, Serving God and Neighbor
"Prepare the way of the Lord."
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I am trying to beat the rush as some do for Christmas...NO, I say Happy New Year, because this Sunday is a NEW CHURCH YEAR begining with the First Sunday of Advent. Please find below information and resources that will help you use the season well.
There is a part called, "Hey, Father?" which includes many basic questions and answers about Advent.
Immediately below you will find a great website and a very simple, short daily prayer that will add greatly to your Advent season of preparation. More websites may be found after the QandA.
Peace and prayers in Jesus through Mary, loved by Saint Joseph,
Readings for the First Sunday of Advent
Beginning the First Sunday of Advent (December 3), participants will receive daily emails with either a short 1-2 minute video, inspirational quote, or coaching that will help them live out the great works of mercy during the Advent season.
The simple yet powerful messages from Matthew Kelly and six other incredible Catholic authors and speakers will help your entire parish rediscover God’s great mercy and inspire people to show that mercy to others.
WATCH SHORT VIDEO AND GIVE IT SERIOUS CONSIDERATION! Thanks!
Advent site for advent calendar, advent definition, advent readings, and advent devotions to use during christmas, christmas holidays, and Advent 2013.
Daily Advent Prayer:
O Jesus, little child, come into my heart on Christmas morn, to wash away my sins and remain there in eternally. O Mary, Mother of my Savior, and St. Joseph prepare for Jesus a cradle in my heart. Amen.
Prayer for the Advent Wreath
Lord, our God, we praise You for Your Son, Jesus Christ, for He is Emmanuel, the Hope of all people. He is the Wisdom that teaches and guides us. He is the Savior of us all. O Lord, let your blessing come upon us as we light the first (purple) candle of this wreath. May the wreath and its light be a sign of Christ's promise of salvation. May He come quickly and not delay. We ask this in His holy name. Amen.
Catholic Questions & Catholic Answers
WHAT IS ADVENT?
Advent is the season that begins the liturgical year. It consists of four Sundays starting with the Sunday closest to November 30th. The word "advent" is derived from the Latin adventus, which means "coming" or "arrival." In the societies of the Roman empire, the wordadventus referred to the arrival of a person of dignity and great power -- a king, emperor, or even one of the gods. For Christians, Advent is the time when the Church patiently prepares for the coming of Jesus Christ as a baby born and laid in a humble feedbox.
WHY IS PURPLE THE LITURGICAL COLOR FOR ADVENT?
Purple is the traditional color for the season of Advent. Purple was the most costly dye in ancient times and was therefore used by kings to indicate their royal status. Purple also signifies the repentance of God's people as they patiently await the arrival of their Lord. Sometimes a lighter hue of purple is used for Advent to help distinguish Advent from the other special penitential season of preparation, Lent.
WHY IS ADVENT SUCH AN IMPORTANT SEASON IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH?
While the rest of secular society is already caught up in the frantic rush of shopping, decorations, parties, and other distractions, the Church takes pause during Advent to contemplate the wonder of God's underserved mercy and love in Jesus Christ. Christians approach the Advent season much as expectant parents approach the months before a child is born. There are feelings of exhilaration, uneasiness, longing, and awe as the day of arrival approaches. Just as parents do everything they can to get ready and put things into good order, God's people prepare themselves at home and at church for the coming of the Lord by exercising the disciplines of Advent: Confession and repentance, fervent prayer, immersion in Scripture, fasting, and the singing of the Great "O" Antiphons (see last question) and other seasonal hymns and anthems.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT AN ADVENT WREATH?
The Advent wreath is one of the most common and popular symbols used by Christians during the season of Advent. These wreaths, consisting of a circle of evergreen branches set around four candles, are used in both churches and Christian homes. The evergreen circle stands for the eternal life that Christ has won for all believers. The burning candles represent the coming of Christ as the light of the world (John 1:4-9). Three purple candles and one rose-colored or pink candle are used. The purple signifies that Advent is a season of repentance as well as expectation. A candle is lit on the first Sunday of Advent, with another one lit on each succeeding Sunday. The joyfully colored rose (or pink) candle is reserved for the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete, which means "rejoice" in Latin, is the opening word of the Introit for that Sunday: Rejoice!… the Lord is near. (Philippians 4:4). Rejoicing also because it shows that we are over half way to the Season of Christmas when the rose (or pink) candle is lit.
Some Christians interpret the four candles in a very specific way. The first candle, or the Prophet Candle, symbolizes the hope and anticipation of Christ's coming in the flesh as prophesied so many places in the Old Testament. The second candle recalls how Christ appeared in the flesh in humble manner, being born of a virgin in the insignificant village of Bethlehem. This is why this candle is often referred to as the Bethlehem Candle. The third candle is known as the Shepherds' Candle. It recalls the rejoicing of the shepherds when they departed after having seen the Christ-child in the stable. The fourth candle is the Angels' Candle. It reminds us of the heavenly host that announced of the good news of our Savior's birth.
In addition to the four Advent candles, most Advent wreaths have a larger, white candle in the center called the Christ candle. This white candle is lit on Christmas Eve and throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas.
WHAT DO WE AS A CHURCH FOCUS ON DURING ADVENT?
Even though Advent occurs in the month of December and is often considered as a prelude to Christmas, it is not simply about waiting for the birth of Christ. The Advent season focuses on Christ's threefold coming: past, present, and future. First, we remember the Lord's humble first coming in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. Second, we give thanks for His present and continual coming to us through Word and Sacrament. Finally, we look forward with hope and longing to His second coming in glory on Judgment Day.
WHAT ARE THE GREAT "O" ANTIPHONS?
The Great O Antiphons are seven brief evening prayers that are traditionally chanted during Advent from the 17th to the 23rd of December. The Great O Antiphons are rich in meaning and nuance. Each antiphon begins with the acclamation "O," addresses Christ by one of His messianic titles from the Old Testament, and ends with a heartfelt plea for His coming. The sequence of the antiphons is very precise, progressing from before the creation of the universe, through the messianic prophecies of Israel, and culminating with the Incarnation and birth of Christ in Bethlehem. The initials of each Latin title -- Sapientia, Adonai, Radix, Clavis, Oriens, Rex, and Emmanuel -- combine to form SARCORE. When this is arranged backwards, it spells the phrase ERO CRAS, which means "Tomorrow, I will be." This fascinating coincidence was very suggestive to Christians of the Middle Ages because Christmas Eve (December 24th) falls on the day after the singing of the final antiphon.
Advent Wreath: Prayers and Explanation
Overview of the Season of Avent
SUNDAY MASS READINGS AND QUESTIONS
for Self-Reflection, Couple or Family Discussion
The First Sunday of Advent - December 2nd, 2018
The First Reading- Jeremiah 33:14-16
The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her: “The LORD our justice.”
Happy New Year! Well, liturgical new year, anyway. Our liturgical calendar has reset, and we are now in Cycle C for the readings. That means we’ll hear a good deal from the Gospel of Luke. Today is also the First Sunday of Advent — our time of preparation before Christmas. The readings are a strong reminder of what we celebrate in Christmas and what we should be doing to prepare our hearts and homes for this great feast. Advent isn’t just a warm-up for Christmas, though — it’s its own season with its own dignity and importance. We find ourselves between celebrating Jesus as the king of the universe and Jesus the baby who will be our focus in a few weeks. Our first reading promises that Jesus will bring safety, security and justice.
Adults - The First Reading is a prophecy of Jesus. Research another prophecy of Jesus in the Old Testament and meditate on it.
Teens - How can you keep the focus on Advent in your life, instead of jumping over it and going straight to Christmas.
Kids - Think of a kind thing to do every day this week in honor of the coming birth of the baby Jesus.
Responsorial- Psalm 25: 4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
R.To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
and for you I wait all the day.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
and teaches the humble his way.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
-Reflect his week on the phrase “fear of the Lord.” Think of what this means to you, and do a little reading on the true meaning of the phrase.
The Second Reading- 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
Brothers and sisters: May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen. Finally, brothers and sisters, we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God and as you are conducting yourselves you do so even more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
Our second reading prays that we will grow in love for one another, and instructs us to strengthen our hearts, be blameless in our actions, and follow the instructions that we were given on how to live that justice that Jesus promises to complete for us.
If you do any gardening, you have probably seen that when you cut a tree down, it will often sprout back up if you don’t get the roots out. Trees are stubborn. God is also stubborn — when we’d rather stay in the bleak, he keeps hope quietly whispering in us. Think about the gentleness of the infant Jesus. How can you invite that presence into your heart this Advent?
The Holy Gospel according to 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 first part of the Gospel ensures us that if we’re doing those things we are instructed to do in the Second Reading, Jesus’ coming will be good news for us — our “redemption is at hand.” But, if we get caught up in the cares of the world that distract us from working for justice and increasing love for others, then we’ll find God’s presence scary. Advent tells us to slow down. It calls us to take some time to reflect on what God is calling us to in the present moment, to prepare our hearts to really receive the gift that Jesus is to us — that life-changing gift that shapes our hearts to make us a gift to others.
Adults - Meditate on this Gospel reading, and consider your life in light of it. Are there any changes you need to make to be better prepared for Jesus?
Teens -When you’re a teen you have to be vigilant a lot: in your schoolwork, in sports or school activities, in budgeting your time, perhaps in a job and in your friendships and family relationships. What happens when you stop paying attention to these important things, or when you don’t give them the appropriate focus? What happens when you don’t spend enough time in prayer? What are some things that you have to be vigilant about in your life right now? How will doing the right thing now impact your future?
Kids - Do you ever feel sad? What gives you hope that things will be alright?