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4th Sunday of Advent 2016
The upcoming Feast of the Nativity celebrates not only Christ’s birth on earth but His Second Coming at the end of time. As the Gospel says: the Word came to St. John as the Voice of One Crying in the desert, make straight the paths of the Lord… for all mankind shall see the Salvation of God.” The Ember Days this past week gave us the opportunity to do penance in preparation for this great feast of the Nativity. It is important for us to realize that sorrow in itself, though necessary and good, is not enough. Our Lord gave to the disciples the power to not only forgive sins but to retain them in the Sacrament of Penance. This is why the firm purpose of amendment attached to the Act of Contrition is so necessary. For we must not only show sorrow for our sins and confess them to the priest, acting as Christ in the confessional, but we must resolve to live out our lives by doing good works and making reparation for our sins. It is also important for us to realize that Our Lord is the Supreme Judge who will judge definitively at the end of time. Withholding personal judgments in this life is our only safe course.
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Gaudete Sunday 2016
“Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: for The Lord is nigh.” These words taken from St. Paul’s epistle to the Philippians for the Third Sunday of Advent may seem strange in today’s times because of all that is wrong in today’s world However, they are as true now as they were when they were first written because they refer not only to the upcoming Feast of the Nativity but to the Second Coming of Our Lord and Savior at the end of time. We can be joyous because we have already been saved through Baptism. The promise of what lies ahead for us, if we are faithful, is far greater than any of the problems and sufferings that we endure in this life. The Lord is indeed nigh and all we have to do is recognize His presence in our midst and pray that He keeps us true to our baptismal promises.
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Second Sunday of Advent 2016
“Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another?” This question posed to Our Lord by the disciples of St. John the Baptist in no way implies that St. John himself had any doubts about the Divinity of Our Lord. St. John had been informed by revelation who Jesus was: “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” but John knew that he must decrease so that Christ must increase and he wanted his disciples to follow Jesus, not himself. In today’s Mass we have both the Joy of Christ’s coming on earth and the forewarning of Christ’s Second Coming in the scriptural readings for the Second Sunday of Advent. The big question is: will we be prepared for both? Unless we pray that we will be among the elect, it will not happen – so now is the time to do so.
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First Sunday of Advent 2016
The new Liturgical Year begins with the first Sunday of Advent. Liturgy is derived from a Greek word and means public worship. It differs from private prayer in that the ends of adoration, thanksgiving, reparation and petition are united with the entire church and its public prayer. The official prayer of the Mystical Body is then made sublime and sacramental through the presence of Christ. The best example, of course, is the Eucharistic Sacrifice wherein Christ Himself unites his prayer to the Father with our own. But the other sacraments accomplish the same type of worship in their own way – even the sacrament of Penance. The prayers of today’s Mass offer hope in the Final Coming to those who have kept the Faith with humility rather than the judgment of the proud predicted in last Sunday’s scriptural readings. The famous words: “Look up your salvation is at hand” are meant to give us that hope.
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Last Sunday after Pentecost 2016
Our Lord admonishes us that when the end of the world comes, many will not expect it and, more importantly, not be prepared for it. There have been numerous times when the world did not expect the widespread destruction that occurred, such as the total destruction of Jerusalem where “not one stone was left upon a stone.” Scripture tells us about the events that we will see in the final days citing the analogy of the fig tree, that when it sprouts and sends forth its buds you know that Spring is near. It also warns us not to believe the deceivers who give false statements about the presence of Christ in the final days. We should use the upcoming new liturgical year to prepare our souls to receive the Master when the Angels sound the trumpet announcing His return.