1st Sunday of Advent, 2013

The word Advent is taken from the Latin adventus, meaning, \”to come\” and refers now to the liturgical season immediately before Christmas. Advent, as we know it today, began between the 9th and 10th centuries in Rome under the guidance of Pope Gregory I. The season was to begin on the Sunday nearest the feast of St. Andrew (November 30) and last four weeks or until Christmas. 
Pope Gregory included Christ\’s \”three comings\” as part of Advent: the commemoration of His coming at Christmas; the celebration of His coming into our hearts through grace each day; and the preparation for His second coming at the end of time. Advent is intended to be a time of joyful anticipation of Christ\’s coming rather than a strict penitential time like Lent, but we are still encouraged to practice self-denial for the sake of helping others, and to receive the Sacrament of Penance.

During Advent it is good to spend some quiet time reading the Scriptures and listening to what the Lord is telling us. In the Gospel for this first Sunday of Advent Christ urges his disciples to \”stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.\” (Matthew 24:42) He refers to the people in Noah\’s time, who were totally unconcerned until the flood came and destroyed them (Matt. 24:39). The Lord, in His mercy, warns the people to listen to Him, and continues to do so through His word.

In today\’s first reading at Mass, Paul exhorts the Romans (and us): \”It is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed…Let us live honorably as in daylight…let us put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the desires of the flesh.\” (Romans 13:11, 14) Paul tells us how to \”live honorably\” in the verses which proceed today\’s reading: \”Owe no debt to anyone except the debt that binds us to love one another…You shall love your neighbor as yourself.\” (Romans 13:8, 10)

Holy Mary, our Lady of Advent, pray for us as we begin this holy season of Advent in preparation and in anticipation of the birth of Christ, your Son, anew in our hearts and in our world. 

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