Celebrate Sunday Mass - First Sunday of Advent - 11.28.21

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11/28/2021 (5 months ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

First Sunday of Advent --  November 28, 2021

Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...


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 Prophet Jeremiah. We hear the Lord speak to the People of the Covenant through the Prophet. He tells them that he will raise up a just shoot for David. This is a messianic promise. 

As Christians, we read the Hebrew Scriptures through the lens of the Paschal Mystery - the saving birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is that just shoot promised to Israel. The promises made to Israel are all fulfilled in Him. 

And now, we who follow Him as Savior and Lord are invited to live our lives in, with and for Him. To always await His return, His Second and Final coming. We are invited during this wonderful Season of Advent to look for all the ways in which He comes to us daily. 

That is what Advent is all about.

In our Second Reading, the Apostle Paul tells the Thessalonians that that their way of life needs to be different now because the Lord has come, is coming, and will come again. He tells them that we should live as though He is alive in their midst because He is! They should also await His return, living lives that are holy and blameless. 

Always ready for His coming. 

  Are we living ready? Advent is a great time of conversion. A season during which we are invited to prepare a way for the Lord. It is filled with wonderful readings and liturgies which can help us to learn what this really means. Our faith is meant to inform he way in which we live our daily life. Does is?

Advent offers some customs which can help us really enter this period of preparation more deeply. For example, 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, to be lit every week with different prayers and reflections. 

Some will use other piety practices. All of these practices 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 in 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 this year is taken from St Luke. Jesus speaks to the disciples about the signs which will occur before His Final Coming. He is speaking to us as well. Are we awaiting the Second Coming? 

We profess our belief in that wonderful day every time we profess the Creed. 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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