Ordinary of the Mass
First Sunday of Advent-30 November AD 2008
“The night is passed, the day is at hand.”
Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text -
Blessing of the Advent Wreath
We can tell by just by looking at our missals which feel a
little bit lop-sided in our hands this morning, that we are at the beginning of
a new liturgical year. The vestment color has changed as well, and in the scheme
of the Roman rite, purple suggests penance, and preparation.
We mentioned the essentials last week:
Fasting, not partying
Penance; give up distractions
Spiritual & Scripture readings
Make good use of this tools, given to decrease our
worldliness and increase our spirituality.
Indeed, Advent ought to be a time when we increase our “other-worldliness,”
a time when we return to the spiritual life, asking God to dwell in our souls,
and preparing now for the union we hope to share with Him in the not so very
There is a common fear of human race, the fear of death.
There is a common dread of the “end of the world.” Yet, the Church reads
these two Gospels in a row; last week from Saint Matthew’s account, and today’s
from Saint Luke. What we are asked to understand is that natural death, when its
time has come, is our goal-not something to be feared, and avoided at all cost.
“Life is changed; not taken away.” We read those words
in the preface of the Mass whenever we offer one of the Church’s four requiem
Masses. “The abode of this earthly sojourn being dissolved, an eternal
dwelling is prepared for us in heaven.” Death is not so much pain and
suffering, although sometimes these are to be endured; but rather, death is a
liberation from all of the frailties associated with our human nature and its
While we miss our loved ones who die, we know that they
are simply being taken to a place where they will be preserved for us for all
time. We have the assurance of our Lord Jesus Christ that there will be a
general resurrection on the Last Day. This was something already known to the
Jews at the time of Christ. In Saint John’s Gospel, we hear Martha, the sister
of Lazarus say to Jesus, “I know that [Lazarus] shall rise again in the
resurrection at the last day.”
But Jesus said something even better to her in return, “I
am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, although he be dead,
shall live; and everyone that liveth and believeth in Me, shall not die forever.”
The believers-those who love God and believe what He has revealed-those who love
God and love their neighbors for the love of God-will live eternally,
contemplating God in perfect happiness-united with their loved ones who also
share the vision of God.
And, if indeed, if we should happen to see the end of the
world (by no means a certainty!) We will see destruction, but more importantly,
we will see the glory of God made manifest in its awesome totality. We will see,
not so much, the end of time and transient created things, as we will see the
beginning of God's eternal creation
So, “Now is the Time.” We will see the glorious side
of things, only if we are properly prepared for it. That is the message of
“To put on the armor of light, to walk honestly as in the day.”
"Not in rioting and drunkenness:"
A Christian must be moderate in the use of the things of
the world. Should not engage in excessive behavior. Should not infringe upon the
rights of others. Should use his God given intellect and talents in wholesome
and useful ways.
"Not in chambering and impurities."
Chastity should be as familiar to the Christian as the air
he breathes. Marriage and the nurture of children must be respected. Children
are a gift from God; not a disease to be prevented or excised; not a financial
proposition to be evaluated in terms of return on investment. To the Christian,
love is life itself; and not some form of recreation for casual indulgence. We
must be chaste in our thoughts, words, actions, and in our associates.
“Not in contention and envy.”
“They'll know we are Christians by our love.”
Perhaps there are no more insidious vices than these two:
contention and envy. Fighting and bickering over meaningless and transitory
things; over material possessions; over having the last word. Wanting what
belongs to others, or at least not letting them have it. The first sin of the
devil was pride, but what keeps him going is envy. The devil wants us to sin for
no other reason than that he wants to keep up possessing the happiness which he
lost for eternity
So, “now is the time to rise from sleep.”
Your “salvation is nearer than when you first believed.”
“Cast off the works of darkness.”
“Walk honestly, as in the day.”
“Not in revelry & drunkenness,
not in debauchery and wantonness,
not in strife and jealousy.”
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Keep a good Advent! Prepare to grow in the spiritual life.