Celebrate Sunday Mass - First Sunday of Advent - 11.29.20
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11/29/2020 (1 month ago)
By Deacon Keith FournierFirst Sunday of Advent
Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...
I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO ONLINE SUNDAY MASS ON THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT from the Catholic Diocese of Tyler, Texas.
The response to offering these beautiful liturgies online has been overwhelming. The readings from the Scriptures, as always, offer so much for us to reflect on. It is helpful to pray through them and reflect upon them, before we even participate in this virtual prayer experience.
The first reading for this first Sunday of Advent is taken from the Messianic Hebrew Prophet Isaiah. We will hear the Prophet give voice to the people of Israel who longed for the Lord to come in this beautiful prayer he offers to the Lord:
"Return, for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. We have long been like those you do not rule, people who do not bear your name. Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down -- in your presence the mountains would quake"
As Christians, we know that the Lord did "tear the heavens". He came down, into our midst, in the Person of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in the Incarnation. The Saving death of Jesus on the cross was followed by an earthquake! Prophecies of Old are fulfilled in Him.
And now, we await His return, His Second and Final coming. And we are invited during this wonderful Season of Advent to look for all the ways that He comes to us daily. That is what Advent is all about.
In our Second Reading, the Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians to live ready - always looking for the return of the Lord. They did just that. In fact, a favorite prayer of the early church concludes the last book of the Bible -- MARANATHA! It is an Aramaic expression, a prayer, meaning Come Lord Jesus.
Are we living ready? Advent is a great time of conversion which can help us to learn what that really means. Our faith is meant to inform our daily life.
On this first Sunday of Advent, many of the Christian faithful will bring the Advent candles out of storage and set them in a wreath. Some will use other piety practices. All of them are meant to help us to enter more deeply into the Liturgical experience - and make it real by rebuilding a Catholic culture in our home and the greater Christian community.
Over these weeks preceding Christmas, Christians around the world will gather, pray and sing together - inviting the coming of the Lord into our lives, our homes, our Churches - and into the world which God still loves so much that He sends His Only Son.
Jesus continues to come to the world through His Mystical Body, the Church, of which we are members. JESUS is the Head of the Body, and as St Augustine proclaimed in a sermon, "the body as a unity cannot be separated from the head."
The word "Advent" is derived from Latin words, ad-venio or adventus, which both signify a coming. It is a liturgical season in the Church which has birthed customs and practices meant to be filled with and fueled by living faith.
When they are infused with living faith, they can form a framework, a pattern that moves us forward in the process of continual conversion. That is what the Christian life is all about. We are always invited to begin again and again and again. (2 Cor. 5:17) To become what the Apostle Paul called "new creations in Christ Jesus".
This promise of a new beginning is the message that Christians bring to an age staggering in existential sadness. The Advent candles we will light symbolize Jesus Christ, the True Light which can dispel the dreariness of an age which has lost hope. The message we proclaim during this wonderful season is that Lord is always coming - for those who look for Him. For those whose faith is truly alive, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
The celebration of Advent as a liturgical season dates to the fourth century. But the practice of preparing for the coming of the Lord by living as though he really is always coming goes back to the very beginnings of the Church.
Through the history of the Western Church the season of Advent has become a significant part of the pattern of life, faith, culture, and worship that is Christianity.
During the weeks which precede the Nativity of the Lord Jesus, Christmas ("Christ-Mass"), Christians (Catholics and other Christians) are invited by the Church to prepare, to get ready, to make a place for the Lord in our lives and in our homes. To anticipate His coming(s) and be always ready.
The Gospel for this First Sunday of Advent is short, but it offers a key to living this Advent season fruitfully. We must "STAY AWAKE". Always watching for the coming(s) of the Lord.
How are we doing? Do we truly expect the Lord to come when we pray? Do we look for Him in our daily lives? Do we stay in communion with Him through reading His Word in the Bible and participating in the Sacraments? Do we share our faith with others?
Advent is a wonderful time to renew our faith. To turn to the Lord. To begin again, in Him.
May the Lord bless you, your families, the Church, and the Nations of the world on this Lord's Day. May Jesus Christ come to all who STAY AWAKE! Have a Blessed Advent.
Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School
Chaplain of Your Catholic Voice Foundation
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