Saturday, November 26, 2011

First Sunday of Advent – Year B- Sunday, November 27, 2011

The first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the storytelling by narrating the anticipation of Christ's coming and by highlighting the story in the word-picture of the liturgy. The liturgy of the Catholic Church is most impressive and contains a world of meaning if we will but look beneath the surface and meditate reflectively.  Every movement of priest and people, every psalm, every prayer that is uttered has a meaning and contains a fund for spiritual enrichment.
 The Catholic Church has designated the four weeks preceding Christmas as Advent, a time to “prepare the way of the Lord” for His coming as our King and Savior. In addition, the Church teaches that:
[w]hen the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating [John the Baptist’s] birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Catechism, no. 524; original emphasis).
By participating in various time-honored traditions, such as making Jesse trees or putting on a Christmas play at home, Catholic families can engage more fruitfully in the seasons of Advent and Christmas.

The Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent:

esus said to this disciples:  There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars;  and on the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the sound of the sea and of the waves, men withering away for fear and expectation of the things which shall come upon the world; for the powers of heaven shall be moved.  And then they shall see the Son of man coming on a cloud with great power and majesty.  But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption is at hand.  And He spoke to them a similitude;  See the fig-tree, and all the trees;  when they now shoot forth their fruit, ye know that summer is nigh.  So also, when the kingdom of God is at hand.  Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all things be fulfilled.  heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away  (Lk. 21;25-33).
First Sunday of Advent – Year B
Commentary of the day
Saint Aelred of Rielvaux (1110-1167), Cistercian monk
Sermon for Advent, (Durham collection)
The Lord's Coming
Behold the time is now here for us, dearest brethren, when we are to «sing of kindness and judgment to the Lord» (Ps 101[100],1). This is the Lord's Advent, the arrival of the Lord of all who comes and is to come (Rv 1,8). But how and where is he to come? How and where is he coming? Has he not said: «I fill the heaven and the earth?» (Jr 23,24). How, then, is he who fills heaven and earth coming to heaven and earth? Listen to the Gospel: «He was in the world and world was made by him and the world did not know him» (Jn 1,10). Therefore he was both present and absent at the same time: present in that he was in the world; absent because the world did not know him... How could he who was not recognised not be far away, he in whom people did not believe, who was not feared, who was not loved?...

He comes, then, so that he who was not known might be recognized; he in whom no one believed might be believed; he who was not loved might be loved. He who was present according to his nature is coming in his mercy... Think on God a little and see what it means that he should transfer so great a might; how he humbles so great a power, weakens so great a strength, makes feeble so great a wisdom! Was this a requirement of justice towards us? Most certainly not!...

In truth, my Lord, not my righteousness but your mercy guided you; not your necessity but my need. As you have said: «My mercy is established in the heavens» (Ps 89[88],3). Rightly so, for our neediness abounds on earth. That is why «I shall sing for ever of your love, O Lord», which you manifested at your coming. When he showed himself humble in his humanity, powerful in his miracles, strong against the tyranny of the demons, gentle in his welcome of sinners: all these things came from his mercy, all came from his inmost goodness. That is why «I shall sing your love, O Lord» made known at your first coming. And rightly so, for «the earth is filled with the mercy of the Lord» (Ps 119[118],64).

Prayer to Our Lady of the New Advent

O Lady and Mother
of the One who was and is and is to come,
dawn of the New Jerusalem,
we earnestly beseech you,
bring us by your intercession
so to live in love
that the Church, the Body of Christ,
may stand in this world's dark
as fiery icon of the New Jerusalem.
We ask you to obtain for us this mercy
through Jesus Christ, your Son and Lord,
who lives and reigns
with the Father in the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever.


Prayer composed by the Sisters of the Abbey of Walburga
of Boulder, Colorado

Creighton University 



Saturday, November 5, 2011

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Sunday, November 6, 2011 - Cycle A

"For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence,
and whoever for her sake keeps vigil
shall quickly be free from care . . . "

Responsorial Psalm: 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8

My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Reading II: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 or 4:13-14
"Christians are enabled to transcend the grief of bereavement,
unlike the "others who have no hope."    

Gospel: Matthew 25:1-13
'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'

A good reflection from Mark Hart


Commentary: Attributed to Anthony
Look, the bridegroom comes. Go out to meet him.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, since purity of heart leads to perfection. Two things are contained within the heart—goodness which is natural to it and evil which is unnatural. This latter gives rise to such passions of the soul as murmuring, envy, detraction, and all the rest.

Goodness, on the other hand, promotes knowledge of God and rids the soul of all these passions. If people honestly try to root out vice and avoid evil, if they repent with tears and sighs, devoting themselves humbly to a life of prayer, fasting, and watching, the Lord in his goodness will come to their aid and free them from all sinful inclinations.

Many who have lived a celibate monastic life for a long time have failed to learn what purity of heart is, because instead of studying the teaching of the fathers, they have followed their own wayward desires. So evil spirits and rebel marauders of the air have prevailed against them, hurling invisible darts by day and night, and thus preventing them from finding rest anywhere. Moreover they fill their hearts with pride, vanity, jealousy, criticism, raging anger, strife, and any number of other passions.

Such people are to be reckoned with the five foolish virgins because they have spent their time foolishly. They have not controlled their tongues nor cleansed their eyes and bodies from concupiscence, neither have they purged their hearts of lust and other deplorable defilements. It was enough for them merely to wear a woolen garment signifying virginity. Consequently they lack the heavenly joy which would kindle their lamps, and the Bridegroom does not open the door to them but repeats what he said to the foolish virgins: Truly I say to you, I know you not.

My only reason for writing you this letter is my desire for your salvation. I want you to be free and faithful and pure brides of Christ, the Bridegroom of all holy souls; as Saint Paul says: I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste bride to Christ.

Let us awake, then, while we are still in this body, and grieve overourselves, lamenting day and night from the bottom of our hearts, so that we may escape the bitter torment, the weeping, wailing, and remorse that will have no end.

We must beware of entering through the wide gate and taking the easy road that leads to perdition, for many go that way. Instead we must enter by the narrow gate and take the path of sorrow and affliction that leads to life. Few people enter this gate, but those who do are real workers who will have the joy of receiving the reward of their labors and will inherit the kingdom.

If any are prepared to set out I do beg them not to delay and waste time, for they may be like the foolish virgins and find no one willing to sell them oil. These virgins burst into tears and cried out: Lord, open to us. But he answered: Truly I say to you, I know you not. And this happened to them simply because of their laziness.

I beg you by the grace of God to obey me as I also will obey you; and may we all obey the Lord who said by the tongue of the Prophet: Who longs for life and desires to see good days? Keep your tongue from evil talk and your lips from deceitful speech. Turn away from evil and do good; seek and strive after peace.
(Letter 20: PG 40, 1056-1058 1061)

Source: Journey with the Fathers
Commentaries on the Sunday Gospels
- Year A, pp. 140-141.

Edith Barnecut, O.S.B., ed.
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