Rev. Mark Watson/Pastor
THE EXPECTATION OF ADVENT
ADVENTWith the Saturday evening Mass we begin the Season of Advent. The word Advent is derived from the Latin adventus which means “coming.” Advent is a season of joyful expectation which prepares for the commemoration of the Incarnation, or the Word of God becoming human, which is celebrated during the Christmas Season and which looks forward to the Second Coming of our Lord at the end of time.
The Season of Advent goes back to Gregory the Great (d. 604), who fixed the season at four weeks, composed seasonal prayers and antiphons for the season. In the ninth century the Roman liturgy was exported to Gaul. In Gaul the theme of preparation for the Second Coming of Christ was added to the celebration along with penitential elements. The fusion of Gallican and Roman Advents returned to Rome by the 12th Century and provided the basis for today’s Advent. (John A. Melloh, The Encyclopedia of Catholicism).
The Old Testament reading which I believe best introduces Advent is the following: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing.
This reading (Isaiah 9:1-2) refers to the hope for deliverance of the northern territories of Israel after they had been subjugated by the Assyrian Empire in 733 BC. Advent is a season in which we long for deliverance and salvation by our God. Advent thus promises new life and healing for the brokenness of our lives.
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT:
In the First Sunday of Advent we hear a reading from the 13th Chapter of the Gospel of Mark. In the reading Jesus says to his disciples, “Be constantly on the watch! Stay awake! You do not know when the appointed time will come (Mark 13:33).” The reading reminds us that we do not know when the Lord will come and so we are to always be awake. As we approach Christmas we are to remain awake and aware. We are in need of the salvation of the risen Christ. Do we live as a people who are preparing for our final encounter with the Lord?
Advent is also a season of great hope as it marks the beginning of a new year. Advent is a time of leaving the past behind and beginning again. What must we leave behind and change in order to accept the salving relationship that God offers us?
Advent is one of the most difficult seasons to live out well. For us the Christmas Season begins with the celebration of Christmas on Christmas Eve. For those around us the celebration of Christmas often begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends with the celebration of Christmas. In order to live out the Season of Advent I ask that you pray as a family. If possible pray by lighting the candles of your Advent wreathe. I invite you to participate in our Advent Play which will take place on Sunday, December 3 at 5:00 pm in the aditorium. On Saturday, December 16 our parish will celebrate our annual Reconciliation Service at 10:00 am in church. The service will be bilingual.
All are invited to the celebration of the Posadas which will take place from Saturday, December 16 to Saturday, December 23. The exact times of the evening programs will be in the bulletin.
May you truly experience the coming of the Lord this Advent. Fr. Mark