Tag Archives: Advent

What does preparing the way of the Lord mean?

Gaudete Sunday’s Office of Readings from a sermon of St. Augustine:

“To prepare the way” means to pray well; it means thinking humbly of oneself. We should take our lesson from John the Baptist. He is thought to be the Christ; he declares he is not what they think. He does not take advantage of their mistake to further his own glory.

If he had said, “I am the Christ,” you can imagine how readily he would have been believed, since they believed he was the Christ even before he spoke. But he did not say it; he acknowledged what he was. He pointed out clearly who he was; he humbled himself.

He saw where his salvation lay. He understood that he was a lamp, and his fear was that it might be blown out by the wind of pride.

Gaudete Sunday: Rejoice!

Our Lady of JoyThe Church celebrates the third Sunday of Advent today. It is known as Gaudete Sunday because the opening words of the Mass coming from Scripture, “Rejoice”, coming from the Latin Gaudete –rejoice — is  the entrance antiphon for today and the controlling idea of the second reading from Philippians in Year C of the lectionary cycle (“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice! The Lord is near!).

On Gaudete Sunday the priest may wear either violet or rose vestments and we light the rose candle on the wreath. This custom of rose vestments is a 10th century practice (one that we observe on the Fourth Sunday of Lent (Laetare Sunday). In the season of Advent, the color rose is a sign of anticipatory Christmas joy as it also marks the midpoint of Advent.

Up to December 16 the Liturgy focuses our attention and preparation on Lord’s coming at the end of time; then as time nears the Nativity (December 17-24) we begin to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ Nativity on the feast of Christmas.

Joy is the basic Christian attitude; no joy, no true and authentic Christian discipleship. Mary, the Mother of God is also the first disciple of joy! Even she is clad in rose!!!!

Seeking the “one who is greater”

Prophet John the BaptistToday, we locate ourselves in the second week of Advent. (I hope I am more centered this week than I was last.) The Church hears from the Lord’s cousin, the Forerunner and Prophet John the Baptist in the gospel reading. Saint John is rather mysterious and yet he’s an attractive figure who has the unique work of pointing us to the Kingdom of God unfolding in front of us; he also points out the Messiah. That’s exactly what we attempt to do within the various communities to which we belong: family, parish, religious, work, and social.

The mature Christian (or the one who takes his or her spiritual life we seriousness) takes up the Baptist’s work of doing what he did: bring others to the Lord. Each with his own work. The outward role in salvation history of Mary and Joseph, Simeon and Anna are very different, as is with John the Baptist, but also with each one of us sharing the Good News.

We seek and serve  and love “one who is greater than us.”

First Sunday of Advent

Saint Aelred of Rievaulx writes,

“Advent calls to mind the two comings of our Lord: the first coming of the ‘fairest of the sons of men’ and ‘the desire of all nations’, so long awaited and so fervently prayed for by all when the Son of God graciously revealed to the world his visible presence in the flesh, that is, when he came into the world to save sinners; the other that second coming to which we look forward no less than did the people of old. While we await his return our hope is sure and firm, yet we also frequently remind ourselves of the day when he who first came to us concealed in our flesh will come again revealed in the glory which belongs to him as Lord…How beautifully then at this season the Church provides that we should recite the words and recall the longing of those who lived before our Lord’s first advent!”

First Sunday of Advent 2014

The meaning of Advent has to reorient our perspective, our longing,our hope in the Messiah. We come to this point in the liturgical year, the first day in fact, of the new year, hoping for renewal and the reverberation of the heart meeting Christ. St. Augustine offers us a way of understanding the place of the Messiah in our life.

“The first coming of Christ the Lord, God’s son and our God,was in obscurity. The second will be in sight of the whole world. When he came in obscurity, no one recognized him but his own servants. When he comes openly, he will be known by both the good and the bad. When he came in obscurity, it was to be judged. When he comes openly, it will be to judge. He was silent at his trial, as the prophet foretold…Silent when accused, he will not be silent as judge. Even now he does not keep silent, if there is anyone to listen. But it says he will not keep silent then, because his voice will be acknowledged even by those who despise it.” (Sermons 18.1-2)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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