My dear parishioners, the great adventure of salvation history starts with the first Sunday of Advent and offers an entire year of breathtaking experiences. That our divine Lord was born as man and submitted himself to the experience of all things human but sin is the banner story of the season.
The first two Sundays of Advent highlight Christ's return in glory. The last two Sundays emphasize Christ's incarnation as man and the importance of Mary as Mother of God and Mother of the Church. Consequently, the people of God are called to advertise the meaning of Advent and earnestly advise family members and friends to participate.
What, then, is our mission as Catholics? We prepare the world for Christ. We tell everyone that Our Lord is to be found in familiar places. He desires to make his home in our hearts. We announce the great works of God's Holy Spirit. We look for Christ among the lost and the poor.
Our message? Seek the Lord Jesus Christ with all your heart! It is Emmanuel (Heb. God with us) who will lead you to his heavenly Father. Make ready to celebrate the great holy season of Christmas. The hour of the Lord's holy nativity is the hour of hope. It is the fulfillment of our cherished belief and the gracious response of God to a world ensnared in darkness.
The word advent derives from the Latin advenire meaning to come, emphasizing as it does an eschatological event of glory which has not yet taken place. A familiar form of the word is adventus which means coming. In this sense, the people of God anticipate Christ's return in glory, having been alerted that this event was set in motion in saecula saeculorum. (Lat. in the ages of ages)
The people of God long for adventus Christi, the coming of Christ into their lives and making his dwelling among them. They yearn for the unhindered presence of Christ in their hearts. Hence, to capture the essence of the holy season, one must discover the synchrony between adventus Christi as an act of hope and discovery as the fruit of adventure
Why is Jesus' birth so important? If we understand the spiritual meaning of our own birth, perhaps we may better appreciate the spiritual significance of Christ’s birth. The birth of every child into a family changes that family forever. So it is with the coming of Christ. When he entered into the world, the whole human family was changed forever for the good.
When Christ our Lord comes again in glory, he will destroy Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness, all his (evil) works and all his empty promises. [Rite of Baptism} Our Lord, who destroyed the power of death on the cross, will destroy all remnants of suffering and death forever.
Christ, the Son of the Father, the second person of the Holy Trinity, is light itself and the origin of all light. Significantly, the Son of Man compares himself to light that encircles the earth. His divine light will glorify our earth with its healing rays on the last day.
When Christ appears in glory, every human being on earth will behold him simultaneously. All humanity--believers and non-believers--will be bathed in his light, a purifying fire without beginning nor end, the purity and holiness of which will shine brighter than ten-thousand blazing suns.
We should remember that the Church's tradition offers an important message to the people and nations of the world. Whether one is devout in the practice of religion or lives only for the sake of consumption and pleasure, he hears a consistent and insistent message: “Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” [2Cor 6:2] God has marked this generation to account in judgment for the coming of Christ in truth and power!
Sincerely in the hearts of Jesus and Mary.
Reverend Richard Barker.
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Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Auxiliary Msgr. George Sheltz
Retired Auxilliary Vincent Rizzotto
Most Rev. Joseph A. Fiorenza
Reverend Richard Barker