At monasteries, the week before Christmas is marked by the singing of the O Antiphons at Vespers. This tradition goes back to at least the 9th century. By the twelfth century, the O Antiphons appeared in the popular Christmas hymn we know today as O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
Sr. Kathy DeVico, Chapter Talk for the Feast of Christ the King,
Every year at Thanksgiving we pause to reflect deeply on the blessings we have received: the myriad ways God has touched us individually, communally, and as extended community to our family, friends and well-wishers.
Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.
FOR YOU DO NOT KNOW THE DAY ON WHICH YOUR LORD WILL COME.
Readings of the Day
RB: Ch 50 Those Working at a Distance or Traveling
Mass: Is 2:1-5; Resp Ps 122; Rm 13:11-14; Mt 24:37-44
Welcome to the First Sunday of Advent and the beginning of a new year on the Church calendar. Happy New Year!
As is customary from last year, we begin with looking at the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year to provide the context from which we reflect on the readings at Mass and our day to day living. This is what we find in paragraph 39:
Advent has a twofold character, for it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered, and likewise a time when, by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ's Second Coming at the end of time. For these two reasons, Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight.
Vigilant and ready…to receive. God comes: “God is underway toward us” (Hans Urs von Balthasar, Light of the Word, p.13). Images, words straining to open our hearts to receive what awaits us during this Advent-Christmas season.
“We wait for the fullness. We watch for the completion of the promise. We vigil for the coming of the unimaginable fruition of the seed growing from the beginning in the heart of God” (p.16). With these stirring words of Wendy Wright from her book, The Vigil, we are given a window into the Advent-Christmas season.
Fr. Ronald Rolheiser wrote: “Gratitude is more important even than love because anything which does not take its root in gratitude will be self-serving and manipulative in some way. Only when we give of ourselves to others because we are grateful for how we have been blessed—only then will our love flow out as pure and as not demanding something in return. When we are not acting out of gratitude, we may be well-intentioned and outwardly generous in our actions, but we will not be truly acting in love” (Give Us This Day, November 2019, p.298-299).
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