……from your Pastor’s Desk

Setting the Stage for Our Advent Journey

Today is the first day of the new Church year. It is also the first day of Advent. Advent is the 4 week period before Christmas when the Church celebrates the first coming of Christ and anticipates His second coming.

“One of the best ways to prepare for the very special season of advent is to ‘get in touch with ourselves.’ It may sound odd, but one symptom of our contemporary lives is that we can often be quite out of touch with what is going on in our very own Hearts. We begin our Advent, right at the time of our Western culture begins Christmas preparations. It is a busy time, and our heads are filled with details to remember. And, it is a time of emotional complexity that is part of the holiday season – with all the expectations and challenges of family and relationships: who we want to be with and who are we struggle to be with. So, our hearts are a bit tender, if not completely defended from experiencing anything deeply.” All the more reason to prepare them.

It is also a time when we are pressured by advertisers to buy as many gifts and send as many cards (with gift-cards included) as we can. It seems that we are hurried through this season in anticipation for what the secular world now calls the ‘Winter Holidays.’ But that is not how we will observe these next four weeks. We observe the Holy Season of Advent.

The word ‘Advent’ is from the Latin ‘Adventus’, meaning ‘Coming’ or ‘Arrival’ and the season of Advent is focused on the coming of Jesus as Messiah. Our worship, scripture readings, and prayers during this time not only prepare us spiritually for Christmas (His first coming), but also for His eventual second coming. This is why the Scripture readings during Advent include both Old Testament prophecies predicting the Messiah and New Testament passages concerning Jesus‘ second coming as Judge for all people. Also, passages about John the Baptist, the one preparing the way for the Messiah, are read.

Since Advent looks forward to Christ‘s birth and Incarnation, it is an appropriate way to begin the Church Year. It also reminds us not to ‘Jump the Gun’ to Christmas. Yes, we will soon hear Christmas songs on the radio and, yes, the stores are already vying for our attention, and reminding us of shopping days till Christmas (25- BTW) but we, as Catholics, know that anything good is worth waiting for and working for.

Let us use this time to truly prepare our parish and individual hearts for the coming of Christ. Let us not race ahead, but slow down and prepare, really prepare, for the birth of our Lord.

“Come, Lord Jesus, Come and Visit Your People.
We await Your Coming, Come, O, Lord.”

I pray you have a Happy. Holy and Harmonious Advent. May God Bless us as our Advent Journey Begins.

The Italicized sections above are Taken from Creighton University’s Online Ministries website: http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/online.html
Used with permission.

Father Ron

FREE FREE FREE: As promised last week – I have a pre-Christmas gift for each of you! After Mass today we will be handing out the Little Blue Advent booklets [or you can stop by the office and get one] – one for each household [for now]. These are different that last year’s. I sincerely encourage you to take a bit of time each day reading the reflections to grow closer to The Lord before Christmas. I know this is an increasingly busy time, but these few minutes will make Christmas much more meaningful for you and yours. Spending that short time daily will dramatically change your experience during Advent from one of commercialization to Spiritual openness. Please take one home as we continue our Advent/ Christmas Tradition! Many Blessings,

Father Ron

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