ROAD TO BETHLEHEM! Go to: www.advent.augustineinstitute.org and sign up for videos, audio, and readings for individuals or families.
Catholic Good News
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 beginning 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 can be found >>> here
a) we cannot speak about God since God is infinite
b) in a limited way when we speak about that which God created
c) by recognizing the inability of our language to fully express the mystery of God
d) both b and c
CHAPTER TWO: God Comes to Meet Man: The Revelation of God
6. What does God reveal to man? (CCC 50-53, 68-69)
a) God reveals Himself
b) God reveals His plan of loving goodness
c) God reveals that all are to share in divine life
d) all of the above
7. What are the first stages of God's Revelation?(CCC 54-58,70-71)
a) creation of the sun, stars, and moon
b) Jesus Christ
c) Adam and Eve and Noah and his family
d) none of the above
8. What are the next stages of God's Revelation? (CCC 59-64, 72)
a) creation, self, nations
b) Cain, Ishmael, King Saul
c) angels, prophets, priests
d) Abram, Israel, Moses, King David
(Answers at end)
DO YOU WANT TO MAKE IT THE "BEST ADVENT EVER"?
Beginning the First Sunday of Advent (December 1), 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!
THE ROAD TO BETHLEHEM
An Individual or Family's Closer Walk This Advent to be with Jesus
Draw close to Christ this Advent season with daily reflections and enrichment from FORMED. We’ve personally selected content to help you prepare for the coming of our Lord Jesus at Christmas. We will be sending you handpicked videos, talks, and texts every day throughout Advent to nourish your spiritual life.
The Road to Bethlehem includes the following:
→→Daily Advent reflections by Dr. Tim Gray
→→Brother Francis Advent reflections for kids
→→Weekly videos, audio talks, and book excerpts related to the theme of the week
→→Action items designed to help you take the Advent message and apply it to your daily life
EWTN Global Catholic Television Network: Advent, Advent ...
Advent site for advent calendar, advent definition, advent readings, and advent devotions to use during christmas, christmas holidays, and Advent 2013.
The Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) has composed an interactive calendar with excellent reflections for each day of Advent as well as explanations of some of the elements of the season.
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 word adventus 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, Couples or Family Discussion
First Sunday of Advent – November 29th, 2020
The First Reading - Isaiah 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:27
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 to 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.
In the First Reading, the Church hears the Prophet Isaiah calling for God to come to earth in judgment. The liturgy presents excerpts, and it is helpful to read all of Isaiah 63-64 to get the context. One of the themes that emerges is the call for a New Exodus. The skipped verses in Isaiah 63 make explicit reference to Moses, the flight from Egypt, and the mighty miracles God wrought at that time. The call of the prophet included in our liturgical reading—“Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, the mountains quaking before you””—is an allusion to the Sinai theophany, God’s revelation of himself at the holy mountain (Exodus 19). The prophet is likening the condition of God’s people to the situation in Egypt so long ago: once again, the people are oppressed by foreigners who despise them and in need of divine intervention to be restored to freedom and proper worship. At the same time, however, the prophet realizes God’s people themselves are stained with sin. Although he wants God to establish justice, he fears that God’s justice may lead to the condemnation of many among God’s own people.
Adults - How can we help lead people to proper worship of Christ?
Teens - How do you think about the second coming of Christ?
Kids - How does Jesus reassure us that He will be with us always?
Responsorial- Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19
R.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.
R. 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.
R. 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.
R. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.
The Responsorial Psalm continues themes from the First Reading. It is helpful to read the entire psalm, which is another vine-parable of Israel. The history of Israel is retold under the metaphor of a vine that God planted, caused to grow, but eventually abandoned. The psalmist speaks during the time of the exile, praying to God to return and grant new life to the vine, his people. How can you turn more toward the Lord this Advent?
The Second Reading- 1 Corinthians 1:3-9
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.
Reflection - Although we are like the Old Covenant people of God in that we are waiting for the return of the Messiah, we have a consolation in this waiting that was not shared by those under the Old Covenant: all “discourse,” all “knowledge,” and every “spiritual gift” has been given to us through Jesus Christ as we “wait”! St. Paul refers here to the body as a whole: not every believer has every spiritual gift, but the entire body is not lacking anything. We have the power of the Holy Spirit to live a life of holiness; this is not from ourselves, it’s God’s gift to us through the sacraments. Therefore, our waiting is not pathetic and forlorn: we are equipped to wage a spiritual battle for the kingdom (Eph. 6:10-20) as we await the return of the king.
-What is your spiritual gift and how can you put it to use this Advent?
The Holy Gospel according to Mark 13:33-37
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!’”
Reflection The Gospel teaches us to cultivate an attitude of anticipation. We do not know the time of the return of Christ, neither do we know the time of our own death and particular judgment. The “gatekeeper” placed on watch refers to the clergy, especially the successor of Peter himself. The clergy are to be on watch, warning and encouraging the rest of the “servants” about the return of the master. The sequence “evening, midnight, cockcrow, morning” can be understood spiritually for different moments in the life of the Church: “evening” are those ages when the Church’s influence in society is waning and corruption within is growing, “midnight” those when the Church is eclipsed and suffers persecution, “cockcrow” those when their are hopeful signs and the begins of reform, “morning” those when the Church experiences growth and optimism. We don’t know in which kind of age Christ will return, although we know that immediately before his coming there will be an intense tribulation. We can also apply this sequence to the four weeks of Advent, as we awaiting the dawning of the “Sun of Righteousness.” What should we be doing in the meanwhile? Our Lord refers to “placing servants in charge, each with his work.” As we wait for the Lord, it is best to be busy about the work that God has left in our charge, trying to be faithful in our own generation. Doing our professional work well and with excellence; fulfilling our duties to family with care and love; speaking of Christ to any who will listen; living a lifestyle of prayer, modesty, and acts of self-denial—if we are busy about these things we can anticipate the coming of Christ with joy, not foreboding.
Adults - What stage do you think the Church is in now? How does that affect how we should act as Christians?
Teens - How do you “stay ready” for Christ?
Kids - What does it mean to be watchful and alert for the Lord?
LIVING THE WORD OF GOD THIS WEEK! – “The Season of Advent is therefore a season of vigilant waiting, that prepares us to welcome the mystery of the Word Incarnate, who will give the ‘Light’ to the womb of the Virgin Mary, but essentially this time prepares us not only to welcome this great event but to incarnate it in our lives. We could say that the true light enters the world through the immaculate womb of Mary but it does not stay there. On the contrary, this light flows out into our dark, obscure, sinful lives to illuminate them, so that we can become the light that illuminates the world. For this reason, let us live this time of waiting not only to celebrate a historical memory but to repeat this memory in our lives and in the service of others. To wait for the Lord who comes, means to wait and to watch so that the Word of Love enters inside us and focuses us every day of our lives. As Blessed John Henry Newman reminded us in a homily for the Advent Season: “Advent is a time of waiting, it is a time of joy because the coming of Christ is not only a gift of grace and salvation but it is also a time of commitment because it motivates us to live the present as a time of responsibility and vigilance. This ‘vigilance’ means the necessity, the urgency of an industrious, living ‘wait’. To make all this happen, then we need to wake up, as we are warned by the apostle to the Gentiles.” - Excerpted from the website of Congregation for the Clergy
QandA answers5. How can we speak about God? d) both b and c
By taking as our starting point the perfections of man and of the other creatures which are a reflection, albeit a limited one, of the infinite perfection of God, we are able to speak about God with all people. We must, however, continually purify our language insofar as it is image-bound and imperfect, realizing that we can never fully express the infinite mystery of God.
CHAPTER TWO: God Comes to Meet Man: The Revelation of God
6. What does God reveal to man? d) all of the above
God in his goodness and wisdom reveals himself. With deeds and words, he reveals himself and his plan of loving goodness which he decreed from all eternity in Christ. According to this plan, all people by the grace of the Holy Spirit are to share in the divine life as adopted “sons” in the only begotten Son of God.
7. What are the first stages of God's Revelation? c) Adam and Eve and Noah and his family
From the very beginning, God manifested himself to our first parents, Adam and Eve, and invited them to intimate communion with himself. After their fall, he did not cease his revelation to them but promised salvation for all their descendants. After the flood, he made a covenant with Noah, a covenant between himself and all living beings.
8. What are the next stages of God's Revelation? d) Abram, Israel, Moses, King David
God chose Abram, calling him out of his country, making him “the father of a multitude of nations” (Genesis 17:5), and promising to bless in him “all the nations of the earth” (Genesis 12:3). The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the divine promise made to the patriarchs. God formed Israel as his chosen people, freeing them from slavery in Egypt, establishing with them the covenant of Mount Sinai, and, through Moses, giving them his law. The prophets proclaimed a radical redemption of the people and a salvation which would include all nations in a new and everlasting covenant. From the people of Israel and from the house of King David, would be born the Messiah, Jesus.