Sunday, December 2, 2007

Fr. James's Sunday Homily

Preparing For Christmas

The first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a new liturgical year. It is interesting to note how the liturgical year ends with the theme of the Second Coming, while at the same time, the new liturgical year also focuses on the same theme. Since we are about to celebrate Christmas, we would suppose that the new liturgical year would begin chronologically with a reflection on the Incarnation. However, that is not the case. The reason why the liturgical year ends and begins with the same theme is clear: if we have already embraced Jesus in His first coming, we will have no fear of His second coming.

It is also interesting to note that the new liturgical year begins with a penitential season; i.e. the season of Advent. The priest and deacon now use purple colored vestments. As the world around us prepares for Christmas with an ever increasing emphasis on material things, the Church directs our gaze toward the spiritual. The liturgical calendar begins differently from the secular calendar precisely because the Church, while in the world, is not of the world. Advent is a penitential season because Christmas is about our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, not about external celebrations. In this Sunday’s reading St. Paul exhorts us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ”. The external celebrations should be seen as a visible manifestation of our joy of being disciples of Jesus Christ.

Advent, as a penitential season, prepares us to celebrate the anniversary of the Lord's... (Continued here.)

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