Second Sunday in Advent A

 

I have been watching, with great excitement, since the middle of November, an amaryllis plant that was given to me that has two bulbs on it.  For the longest time, I was beginning to think that the bulbs would never open.  Actually, I thought that, although it looked healthy, it was never going to bloom and would simply die.  Well, I am glad to announce that my patience has paid off.  The bulbs, seemingly overnight, began to open up and a brilliant red color is beginning to peek through from those bulbs that I figured were a lost cause.  Hopefully, by weeks’ end, they will be in full bloom.  If you are a friend of mine on Face Book, please be sure to look as I will post a picture of the flowers once they are in full bloom.

During these dark days of late autumn, the last thing our minds think about is blooming plants.  The leaves have all fallen from the trees; the grass has turned brown and the skies are consistently gray and gloomy.  But behold, at 783 Dartmouth Street, new life teems as an amaryllis plant reminds me of hope and the hope that is our primary focus this Advent season.  Of course, there is another type that our parish continues to experience and that is a growth in new parishioners who have decided to once again join us around the altar to celebrate the Eucharist. In the first reading we hear proclaimed this Second Sunday of Advent, we are reminded of the growth that takes place and the fact that God promises to dispel the darkness.  “On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.  The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.”  (Is 11:1-4) The bud brings forth justice and lasting peace; the bud brings forth hope and new life.  During Advent, we wait, joyfully, for the realization of justice, peace, hope and new life.  As we continue to spread a message of “Welcome Home” to those who have left the practice of their faith for whatever reason, we fervently pray, “Come, Lord Jesus, come now, come quickly, do not delay!”

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First Sunday in Advent 2013

 

Advent 101!  It seems like not that long ago I was composing a column introducing Advent.  I now know what my parents and uncles and aunts mean when they say that they older you get the quicker time passes.  Advent is here and we await the coming of Christ – both in time as a child born in Bethlehem but also about the coming of Christ at the end of time.  I began this particular column with “Advent 101!” because I believe that as we prepare for the two comings of Christ we really need to take heed of the words that we hear proclaimed in the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah.  The words are filled with hope and a promise of what the end of time will actually look like.  The words are, in point of fact, very famous and known by world leaders and people who daily enter into the halls of the United Nations building in New York City.  Let’s reflect a bit on the words which, I believe, set the tone for Advent.  “He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”  (Is. 2:4)  Christ promised to establish a system of justice on the earth and that justice will bring about peace.  Well, the “Advent 101” question that I have is: WHEN?  We seem to constantly hear of wars and insurrections around the Globe.  I am waiting and have been waiting for that day but when?  Will I see it in my life time?  Who knows but that is the point of Advent.  We must never give up and as we patiently wait, we pray that the day will come and come soon and so we pray, Come Lord Jesus, Come now, Come Quickly and do not delay!  Let the joyful waiting begin.  Happy Advent!

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Come, Lord Jesus

I received a phone call at the rectory on Monday night before I went to spend some time with the EDGE students (7th and 8th graders) that stopped me in my tracks.  The call went something like this…

“Good evening, St. Mary’s.”
“Yes, Father?”

“Yes.”

“Why did you put Christmas lights in your windows?”

“I didn’t”

“Yes, you did.  I just drove right by the rectory and the Christmas lights are in the windows.”
“No, actually, those are my Advent decorations.”

“No, I saw Christmas lights.”

“Madame, we put lights in our window as a sign that we are ready and waiting for the Lord to come into our hearts and homes.”

“I’ve never heard of that.”

And that is where the conversation ended.  This Advent, one of the shortest we can have, is a time when we prepare to welcome Jesus both as an infant child who lived among us but also we await his glorious coming at the end of time when he will free us from everything that separates us from truly loving God and loving our neighbor.  Take some time in between parties and presents and pastries and pies to ask yourself if the flame of faith that was given to you in baptism shines brightly ready to welcome our Savior. 

Oh, and don’t forget….next time you see a house glowing with ADVENT candles in the windows utter a little prayer….Come, Lord Jesus!!

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