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Happy New Year!


Today marks the beginning of a new liturgical year. Think of the liturgical year as more of corkscrew than a circle. With each new liturgical year, we are diving deeper into the mystery of faith. Mark the Evangelist will be our primary guide this Advent (my 69th Advent), and since the Gospel of Mark is short, the Bread of Life passage from chapter 6 of the Gospel of John are included. The Fourth Sunday of Advent is December 24th.

Advent can easily get lost in the hustle and bustle of Christmas. Through December 16th, Advent begins by focusing of the “will come”. During these days we reflect on the glorious final coming of the Lord. More than a countdown to Christmas, this is a count up to the second coming, as Jesus warns us today, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.

The final days of Advent, beginning with December 17th, invite us to reflect on the O Antiphons (O come, O come Emmanuel captures the O Antiphons in music) The Roman Church has been singing the "O" Antiphons since at least the eighth century. They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well.

Today’s first reading and Gospel remind us that Advent is a time for repentance and new beginnings. Advent does not have the deep, penitential character of Lent, but it does call us to prepare for the second coming of the Lord. This prompts us to ask how ready we are if he comes today.

Marian Love notes, “Each year when Advent arrives we become more mindful of “the already but not yet” of Jesus’ incarnation over the fullness of time. We remember and celebrate Christ’s coming in history — God becoming incarnate through Mary as she says “Yes” to being the Mother of God’s Son. We ponder the impact of God’s Word becoming flesh, and how Jesus conveyed to us what the love of God can do…

Marian Love notes, “Each year when Advent arrives we become more mindful of “the already but not yet” of Jesus’ incarnation over the fullness of time. We remember and celebrate Christ’s coming in history — God becoming incarnate through Mary as she says “Yes” to being the Mother of God’s Son. We ponder the impact of God’s Word becoming flesh, and how Jesus conveyed to us what the love of God can do… Advent calls us to slow down, to be more thoughtful and aware of God’s presence and action in our lives. Advent invites us to ponder our connectedness with all of creation through the love of Christ. How aware and intentional are we that each act of loving is giving birth to Christ? (December 2017, Celebration, p. 12, The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company, Kansas City, MO)

During this first week of Advent ask yourself, “How was the Incarnation evident in me this past year?

Blessings on your Advent journey! Fr. Ron

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