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Sunday, December 3, 2017

First Sunday of Advent December 3
FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER


Isaiah, Chapter 63, verse 17
Why do you make us wander, LORD, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we do not fear you? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage.

This chapter in Isaiah is called the Divine Warrior and Isaiah in this chapter refers to Christ as a warrior. Isaiah laments that we in our weak human nature have turned our hearts away from God and that we have no fear of divine justice. Have we become so enamored with the world and our own lives that when we look into the heavens at night we only see impressive specks of glittering rocks we call stars and not the love of the creator which made them? There is an expression, “Attitude is everything!” and so what should our attitude be and why is Isaiah lamenting that Israel did not fear God? The answer lies in our personal attitude toward life. Holy fear is born out of love and is a response to the God the creator; it is a fear more closely related to awe. It is the loving fear of a child that does not want to disappoint a parent and goes to great lengths to please them. So we should develop this sense of Holy fear doing what is right and good to please the Father. Remembering that, “Whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31). Let us daily ask of our Lord to remove our hearts of stone and give us a heart of love thus making the winter brighter and our burdens lighter and bring cheer to the hearts of all we encounter. May we through love be brought to Holy fear enabling us to be careful in the practice of our faith and bring us to a spirit of penitence.

May we with the psalmist say, Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.  (Psalm 80)



First Sunday of Advent[1]

A sudden announcement that the lord is coming
For us Catholics, the new Liturgical Year commences with the first Sunday of Advent. In this new liturgical year, the Church not only wishes to indicate the beginning of a period, but the beginning of a renewed commitment to the faith by all those who follow Christ, the Lord. This time of prayer and path of penance that is so powerful, rich and intense, endeavors to give us a renewed impetus to truly welcome the message of the One who was incarnated for us. In fact, the entire Liturgy of the Advent Season, will spur us to an awakening in our Christian life and will put us in a ‘vigilant’ disposition, to wait for Our Lord Jesus who is coming:


‘Awaken! Remember that God comes! Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but today, now! The one true God, "the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob", is not a God who is there in Heaven, unconcerned with us and our history, but he is the-God-who-comes.

The Season of Advent is therefore a season of vigilant waiting, that prepares us to welcome the mystery of the Word Incarnate, who will give the ‘Light’ to the womb of the Virgin Mary, but essentially this time prepares us not only to welcome this great event but to incarnate it in our lives. We could say that the true light enters the world through the immaculate womb of Mary but it does not stay there. On the contrary, this light flows out into our dark, obscure, sinful lives to illuminate them, so that we can become the light that illuminates the world. For this reason, let us live this time of waiting not only to celebrate a historical memory but to repeat this memory in our lives and in the service of others. To wait for the Lord who comes, means to wait and to watch so that the Word of Love enters inside us and focuses us every day of our lives. As Blessed John Henry Newman reminded us in a homily for the Advent Season: “Advent is a time of waiting, it is a time of joy because the coming of Christ is not only a gift of grace and salvation but it is also a time of commitment because it motivates us to live the present as a time of responsibility and vigilance. This ‘vigilance’ means the necessity, the urgency of an industrious, living ‘wait’. To make all this happen, then we need to wake up, as we are warned by the apostle to the Gentiles, in Romans: ‘Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Rm 13:11). We must start our journey to ascend to the mountain of the Lord, to be illuminated by His Words of peace and to allow Him to indicate the path to tread. Moreover, we must change our conduct abandoning the works of darkness and put on the ‘armor of light’ and so seek only to do God’s work and to abandon the deeds of the flesh. (Rm 13:12-14). Jesus, through the story in the parable, outlines the Christian life style that must not be distracted and indifferent but must be vigilant and recognize even the smallest sign of the Lord’s coming because we don’t know the hour in which He will arrive. (Mt 24:39-44)


FRANCIS XAVIER[2], surnamed the Apostle of the Indies, was born of noble parents April 7, 1506, at Xavier, a castle near Pampeluna, in Spain. In his eighteenth year he became one of the first members of the Society of Jesus, at Paris, and from that moment gave himself up so earnestly and perseveringly to meditation, self-denial, and the practice of Christian virtues that by no desire was he so much animated as by that of laboring and suffering for the glory of God and the salvation of men, wherever and however it might please God. In the year 1541 he was sent as missionary to India. Of his labors and sufferings there his works bear witness. He preached the Gospel in fifty-two kingdoms, great and small, of India and Japan, and baptized about a hundred thousand pagans and Muslims. Wherever he came, the idols temples were thrown down, and churches built to the true God. He died in 1552, poor and destitute of all bodily comforts, but rejoicing in the Lord, with these words, Lord, in Thee have I hoped; let me never be confounded. Let us learn from St. Francis Xavier to labor, according to our ability, for the glory of God and the salvation of our neighbor. -Although we cannot become missionaries, we yet can pray, and we can join the Association for the Propagation of the Faith[3].


Advent[4]

It may seem strange that in a calendar with only one annual cycle of readings, two of the Sundays share virtually the same Gospel; and it may seem stranger still that these two Sundays occur consecutively. The Gospel for the Last Sunday of Pentecost, taken from St. Matthew, contains Christ's twofold description of the destruction of Jerusalem and of the world. That same speech reemerges the following week on the First Sunday of Advent, though in the abridged form that appears in the Gospel of Luke. Why this redundancy? The answer to this question teaches us much about the season of Advent. Advent (from the Latin word for "coming") is generally considered to be the sober yet joyful time of preparation for the Lord's nativity, and rightfully so. This is the beginning of the Church year that corresponds to the ages before Christ, when the world pined away in darkness, waiting for the Messiah. It is also why the closer we come to the Feast of the Nativity, the more we are called by the liturgy to reflect on the events that led up to it, e.g., the Annunciation, the Visitation, and so on. And it is why the season of Advent is marked by an ever greater urgency in its prayers, begging the Lord to come and tarry not. Yet like the closing Sundays after Pentecost, which strike a predominantly apocalyptic note, the season of Advent also goads us to prepare for the glorious Second Coming of the Lord at the end of time. That is why the last and first Sundays of the liturgical year have the same divine admonition: one is picking up where the other left off. This focus remains throughout Advent, despite the season's increased attention on the Christ Child: in fact, during Advent the traditional Roman Rite frequently speaks of both in the same breath. This double commemoration of the first and second Comings makes sense, since the prophets themselves never distinguished between the two. Yet there is a more profound reason behind the conflation. The Church is teaching us that in order to be ready for the Lord's triumphant return as Judge of the living and the dead, we must prepare as our holy fathers once did for His nativity. The lessons we learn from the season of Advent are to be applied throughout our lives in preparation for our soul's Bridegroom. By liturgically preparing for the Nativity of our Lord, soberly and vigilantly, we prepare ourselves for the Final Judgment. Thus, Advent is a season marked by a pious gravitas. Yet it should not be overlooked that it is also a time of restrained joy. The more we are prepared for our Lord's coming, the more we will truly welcome it, moving beyond our well-deserved sense of unworthiness to an exultation in His arrival. In the collect for the Vigil of the Nativity, for example, we read: "Grant that we who now joyfully receive Thine only-begotten Son as our Redeemer, may also, without fear, behold Him coming as our Judge." The goal that the Church holds up for us during this important season is to have our hearts so ready for Christ that they will do nothing but leap for joy when we appear before Him. Let us therefore prepare for our Redeemer and our beloved Judge by heeding St. Paul's advice through Advent, casting off the works of darkness, putting on the armor of light, and draping ourselves in the virtues and graces poured forth upon us by almighty God.


49 Godly Character Traits[5]

As we begin the Advent season let us take up the nature of God by reflecting on these traits that make us a model for our children and our sisters and brothers in Christ. Today reflect on:



Compassion vs. Indifference



Investing whatever is necessary to heal the hurts of others (I John 3:17)

1503 Christ's compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that "God has visited his people" and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: "I was sick and you visited me." His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.

Full Cold Moon

According to the almanac today is a Full Cold Moon; today would be a good day to take the children/grandchildren out in the cold and enjoy hot chocolate afterward.

Daily Devotions
·         Drops of Christ’s Blood
·         30 Days with St. Joe
·         Please pray for me and this ministry




[2]Goffine’s Divine Instructions, 1896
[5]http://graceonlinelibrary.org/home-family/christian-parenting/49-godly-character-qualities/

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