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Advent, the four weeks before Christmas, is here once again.
It’s a season of preparation to receive Christ, the incarnate God, at His first
coming, which took place in Bethehem in Palestine more than 2000 years ago, His
second coming at the end of time, for which we are awaiting with great
expectation, and for His coming in between these two comings, that is, His
coming right now in the sacraments, especially the Holy Mass.
Preparation to receive Christ always
involves a fundamental change of heart through acts of penance along with living
in hope. Penance and hope are the marks of Advent. Advent is a penitential
period in the Church year, but not as intense as Lent. Fr. Lawrence Smith, the
pastor of St.Raphael’s Chapel in Silver Cliff in Wisconsin, USA, marks the
differences between Advent and Lent as penitential seasons.
He writes: “Advent is the time to make
ready for Christ to live with us. Lent is the time to make us ready to die with
Christ. Advent makes Lent possible. Lent makes salvation possible. Advent is the
time when eternity approaches earth. Lent is the time when time reaches
consummation in Christ’s eternal Sacrifice to the Father. Advent leads to
Christ’s life in time on earth. Lent leads to Christ’s eternal Life in Heaven.
The Cross—through the Mass, penance, and mortification— is the bridge connecting
Advent and Lent, Christ and His Church, man and God.
Each of the Church’s penitential
seasons is a dying to the world with the goal of attaining new life in Christ.”
Catholic apologist Jacob Michael writes:”...what
Christians do (or should be doing!) during Advent and leading up to Christmas is a
foreshadowing of what they will do during the days of their lives that lead up
to the Second Coming; what non-Christians refuse to do during Advent, and put
off until after Christmas, is precisely a foreshadowing of what they will
experience at the Second Coming.
We Christians are to prepare for the Coming of
Christ before He actually comes—and that Coming is symbolized and recalled at
Christmas. Non-Christians miss this season of preparation
(advent), and then
scramble for six days after the
25th of Dec. to make their resolutions. By then,
however, it’s too late—Christmas has come and gone. Our Lord has already made
His visitation to the earth, and He has found them unprepared. This is precisely
what will take place at the Second Coming, when those who have put off the
necessary preparations for their entire lives will suddenly be scrambling to put
their affairs in order. Unfortunately, by then it will have been too late, and
there will be no time for repentance and a change of life. The Second Coming
will be less forgiving than the Incarnation (First
Coming). There will be no
four-week warning period before the Second Coming, like we get during Advent.
There will be no six-day period of grace after the Second Coming during which to
make resolutions and self-examination, like the secular world does from Dec.26
It is an absolute certainty, that Jesus
will come again and this time with power and glory to judge each one according
to his/her deeds (Mt.16,27). This fact is more certain than the fact that each
man must die. Therefore, it is of the utmost urgency to be mindful of Christ’s
command and to obey it with all one’s heart: “You also must be prepared, for at
an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come” (Lk 12,40).
With these insights and urgent summons I wish all in St.
Mary’s parish a fruitful and joy-filled Advent.
Confession: The season of Advent is a special
opportunity to confess our sins in the Sacrament of Confession, and thus open
ourselves to God´s love with a pure heart. Avail yourself of the possibility to
celebrate the sacrament before Mass every Sunday or by appointment with me or at
thefollowing times in the church:
Every Sunday 9,45 a.m. -
Christmas Day 9,45 a.m. - 10,45
New Year’s Day 9,45 a.m. - 10,45
CHRISTMAS SERVICES IN