Advent derives from the Latin adventus meaning ‘arrival’ or ‘approach’. For thousands of years the world waited for the coming of the Messiah to redeem and to save the human race, restoring mankind’s relationship to God.
We, too, experience this same longing for the coming of Christ. Spiritually, we long for the coming of Christ into our hearts as the Holy Spirit draws us into ever deepening relationship with Him; we also long for Christ in his Second Coming, when He will return physically to earth—as He promised—to restore all things to Himself.
It is a season of:
Prayerful penance, and
It looks to:
Salvation history of the past,
Our present redemption being accomplished.
The future coming of Christ.
Advent connects us spiritually with God’s whole plan of redemption through Jesus Christ.
Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and ends on December 24th. Christmas begins December 25th at 1st Vespers (Evening Prayer) and continues until the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.
Advent is our liturgically built-in time of spiritual preparation for Christmas. If you want to get the most out of the Christmas season and fill up your soul with love for Christ, the best way to do that is to “let every heart prepare Him room” —and celebrating Advent is the Church’s way to do it!
The year of Saint Luke ends with a characteristic take on the feast of Christ the King: in Lukes gospel we are so familiar with seeing and hearing the voiceless, the rejected, those whom society puts in second place: how suitable, then, that on the feast of the King of all Creation we see him at his most vulnerable on the cross, with only an abrupt inscription to announce that he is the King. He is King because of the work he has done, which is described by Saint Paul in the Second Reading: all things [are] reconciled through him and for him when he made peace by his death on the cross. Next week, when we re-enter Advent and a new Liturgical Year, we will be thinking of the King who will come again: though he will come as his disciples saw him go at the Ascension, the marks of the cross will still be visible for all time, to remind us of the one who came to reunite all Creation, especially frail human creatures.
1000. PARISH MASS
We must be very careful that the real point of todays first reading is not washed away in genuine concerns over what one can and cannot say about the responsibilities of spouses. This is not, in fact, a recipe for the perfect wife, but an illustration, from one age, of the virtue of fully employing the talents God gives us. Some things are timeless, such as holding out a hand to the poor, while other talents shift and change. The point is that all of us are gifted in varying ways and degrees: none of us should begrudge anyone else their talents, for fear that we overlook our own. We work wisely and well, looking forward to the masters return, when we can hand over to him not just what he gave us, but also the fruits that our labours have gained.
1000. PARISH MASS
Remembrance Sunday calls us to do three things:
First, to give thanks for all those men and women who have laid down their lives in various conflicts, so that we may enjoy peace and security;
Secondly, to pray for peace with justice in our own time;
And thirdly – and this is a special call to us as Catholics – to pray for those who have died in war, often in terrible and violent circumstances and quite likely far from fully prepared to meet their Maker.
To give thanks for those who have fallen in the two World Wars and in subsequent conflicts – and to give thanks also for those now serving in the Armed Forces – comes to us quite naturally, above all at this time of the year.
The Solemnity of All Saints today reminds us of who we are and what a bright future can be ours. As we celebrate today all the saints, both those canonized and those who are unknown, we are joyful that they have reached the goal of life, heaven. They remind us to keep our sights fixed high, to remember who we are and the glorious possibility that God offers us.
The saints encourage us in our own struggles because like us they also endured struggles, they grew from strength to strength, they matured in the Lord as they grew in years.
ALL SAINTS CHURCH
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