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Advent 2018

2nd Week of Advent: Love

To begin this second week of Advent, we hear from Paul’s Letter to the Philippians: “ I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus and this is my prayer:  that your love will increase ever more and more in the knowledge and every kind of perception, to discern what is of value, so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.” (1:6, 8-11). 

This is a good reminder and blessing for each of us this Advent. It reminds us that everything we do in service to God’s people is first and foremost God’s work and initiative.  This Sunday also introduces us to John, the Baptist, a pioneering figure who heard God’s word from the prophet Isaiah, “Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight his paths,” and sprang into action going out into the entire region to proclaim a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins.  It is God who begins this work in each of us and it is God who will bring that work to completion.  This is a blessing too, as we are assured that the fruit of our work will be fulfilled, maybe not in our time, but certainly God’s.  So we need not be anxious or impatient, but joyful even in our waiting. We still need to work to the best of our abilities, being good co-laborers with God and with each other. We prepare. God fulfills.  May God continue to work through us for his glory and may our love for others increase through his care and protection of us all!

December 9, 2018: Advent Wreath

Today we light the 2nd purple candle on the Advent Wreath. Perhaps as we do this at dinner each night this week we can recall today’s psalm 126: “The Lord has done great things for us: we are filled with joy!”  Take a moment to express what God has done in your lives each day, a little preparation for the joy of Christmas to come!

Readings: Baruch 5: 1-9; Psalm 126: 1-6; Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11); Luke 3:1-6

December 10, 2018: Advent Weekday

Increase love; discern what is of value today. Spend time in the adoration chapel; pray; read scripture; listen! Find a way to get closer to God and develop an intimate relationship with Him.  Spend extra time with family and friends. Mend any disputes. Do something special to show your love for someone. Be that someone who makes straight the path to our God!

Readings: Isaiah 35:1-10; Psalm 85:9-14; Luke 5: 17-26

December 11, 2018: Optional Memorial of St. Damascus I

As pope, St. Damascus I (+384), commissioned St. Jerome to revise the Latin Bible of the time by translating the Old Testament from the Hebrew rather than the Greek version. This remained the standard until 1979. Damascus presided over the Council of Rome at which the recognized books of the Bible were set. He fought to counteract Apollinarianism that de-emphasized Christ’s humanity. He is also known for the verses he composed to adorn the tombs of the martyrs of Rome. Continue to read God’s word as a tool of knowledge and insight. May your word increase our faith!

Readings: Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm  96:1-3, 10-13; Matthew 18:12-14

December 12, 2018: Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today, throughout America (North, Central and South) the Church celebrates Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas. The story of this miraculous image begins with a quiet, humble man and poor peasant by the name of Juan Diego. The Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and asked him to tell the local bishop to build a church in her honor. He was a very reluctant messenger and the bishop would not believe him. So Mary filled Juan Diego’s cloak with roses in December, and when he emptied out these beautiful flowers at the bishop’s feet, there imprinted on his cloak was the wonderful image of the Virgin, dressed like an Aztec woman. Consider today what you might do to build the church.  There are plenty of ways to volunteer. Use the gifts God has given you.  God is calling you. Don’t be reluctant!

Revelations 11: 19, 12:1-6, 10; Response: Judith 13: 18-19; Luke 1:39-47

December 13, 2018: Memorial of St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

St. Lucy (c.+304), even from a young age had a burning desire to serve God and a generous love for the poor. While living in Sicily, she fell prey to Diocletian persecutions, which eventually resulted in her martyrdom.  Her name in Latin, Lucia, comes from lux, lucis, meaning light, hence why she is honored in many places when darkness is pervasive. She is the patron saint of those with eye troubles and those needing awareness. Pray for those with eye troubles and help us to be more aware of those in need. Give us the strength to be a Christian.

Readings: Isaiah 41: 13-20; Psalm145: 1 & 9-13; Matthew 11: 11-15

December 14, 2018: Memorial of St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church

St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) grew up in Avila in poverty. He was ordained in 1567, met Teresa of Avila and was drawn into her reform of the Carmelites. The reform led John to be imprisoned, but he used the time to write the Spiritual Canticle. For this, and for his other great work, Dark Night of the Soul, he is considered one of the greatest poets of Spain.

Readings: Isaiah 48: 17-19; Psalm1: 1-4, 6; Matthew 11: 16-19

December 15, 2018: Advent Weekday

We prepare. God fulfills.  How are we doing this Advent? We are now halfway through. Continue to increase in love and knowledge of him who is to come. Are we full of anticipation and joy or anxiety and impatience? Tomorrow is the 3rd Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, meaning Rejoice! The Lord is near! Help us to strive for that sense of joyful expectation, that awareness that the fulfillment of God’s plan for us is near. Let us hear the Word of God and spring into action like John the Baptist.  Prepare the way of the Lord!