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Monday, 18 December 2017
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altADVENT Happy New Year!

The Church celebrated its new year on Sunday, 3rd December, the 1st Sunday of Advent.

The Advent Season happens here at a time 
of dark, winter days . . .

during which we prepare for the coming (in Latin - adventus) into the world of He "who is the light of the world ".

In the season of Advent, we await the coming of Christ. We enter into the mystery of the Incarnation - the event wherein the Word of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, took human form. The Incarnation transcends time: it is an historical event in the past, as a newborn in the stable; in the present, Jesus comes to us at Christmas again, spiritually, as grace to our souls; and in the future, at His second coming, of which we are reminded at the Mass.

Advent is a time of preparation and expectation at the material level; shopping and posting, cleaning and decorations. But, primarily, it is a time of spiritual preparation and expectation; confession and preparation of our souls(cleansing), alms-giving and fasting, visiting the crib and Blessed Sacrament, participating weekly and daily in the Advent Liturgy of preparation and expectation, prayer and the placement of the crib in our own homes.

The problem arises when we lose touch with what is central to Advent and Christmas. Secularism and consumerism can easily encroach on the reality of Christmas. We need to be proactive in preserving the proper focus within our families and church community.

alt"The great danger in today’s world, pervaded as it is by consumerism, is the desolation and anguish born of a complacent yet covetous heart, the feverish pursuit of frivolous pleasures, and a blunted conscience. Whenever our interior life becomes caught up in its own interests and concerns, there is no longer room for others, no place for the poor. God’s voice is no longer heard, the quiet joy of his love is no longer felt, and the desire to do good fades. This is a very real danger for believers too. Many fall prey to it, and end up resentful, angry and listless. That is no way to live a dignified and fulfilled life; it is not God’s will for us, nor is it the life in the Spirit which has its source in the heart of the risen Christ". [2]  

Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation: The Joy of the Gospel


Focus on the Liturgy

There are always four Sundays in Advent. The liturgical colour of the season is violet or purple, except on the Third Sunday of Advent, called Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday, when joyful vestments may be worn. There is an 'Alleluia' in the liturgies, but no 'Gloria'.

Advent is a time when the Church opens up the glorious writings of one of the greatest of the Jewish prophets of the Old Testament - Isaiah. He wrote several hundred years before Christ, foretelling in some detail the coming of the Messiah; during the daily Masses of Advent, week after week, we meet the people who were prepared and chosen by God to make the Incarnation possible: the prophets of old, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist, St. Joseph, Sts. Elizabeth and Zechariah, Simeon, Anna and many others.

"This Advent season of prayerful expectation for the Lord’s coming invites us to consider how God’s original gift of the family was taken up and confirmed in the mystery of the Incarnation.
The Son of God chose to be born into a human family, in an obscure town on the periphery of the Roman Empire.  Although the Gospels tell us little about the first thirty years of his life, we can imagine that Jesus led a very "normal” family life. . ." 
Pope Francis    (General Audience Wed 17th Dec 1014)