Each one of us has experienced God’s action in our lives in some special way, at least once. Maybe through a truly uncanny coincidence, or through an answered prayer, or through the providential intervention of a friend or loved one. I must admit that I too have experienced such God’s interventions. There were times when I was almost mad at God that he had ruined my plans I had for my own sake. When I was ready to proceed with my plan suddenly, something strange happened. A person or an event had changed my plans. Once I was in a hurry for a train to go to an important meeting. Then, suddenly, it happened that I had to take a stranger to a hospital. And of course, I was late for the train.
The Third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday of rejoicing. That’s why today’s readings mention the word “joy” twelve times. Jesus didn’t come to intimidate and oppress us; he came to save us. Salvation, friendship with God, the fullness and security of living in communion with our Creator and Redeemer, of being “gathered into the barns” of his eternal and sublime Kingdom… This is the message of Christmas, the message we have been thinking about during these weeks of Advent. In today’s Second Reading, St Paul actually commands us to “rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS.” And just in case we thought he was exaggerating, in the very next sentence he says, “I say it again, rejoice!” We can only rejoice “always” if our joy is based on something that goes deeper than the passing pleasures of this world. Continue reading Third Sunday of Advent
Pope Benedict XVI said: “In these days the liturgy constantly reminds us that ‘God comes’ to visit his people, to dwell in the midst of men and women and to form with them a communion of love and life: a family” (Angelus, 10 December 2006). In today’s Second Reading, St Paul makes the same point in one of the most memorable, beautiful, and powerful phrases of the entire New Testament: “"I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus." God doesn’t create us and then forget about us, like some kind of divine architect or watchmaker. He gives us the gift of life, and then he accompanies us, gently trying to guide us into a deeper and deeper friendship with him, never giving up on us. He knows where we were born, where we grew up, what we have suffered and enjoyed, the wounds in our hearts. Continue reading Second Sunday of Advent
The word Epiphany, which means appearance or manifestation, marks Jesus’ first appearance to the Gentiles. "Epiphany" refers to God’s self-revelation as well as the revelation of Jesus as His Son. It is a celebration older than the feast of Christmas, having originated in the East in the late second century. The feast commemorates the coming of the Magi, Three Wise Men, as the first manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles.
More than 500 years before Christ’s birth, God had promised, through his prophet Isaiah, that he was going to lead all the nations to Jerusalem to share in the light of salvation. He even promised that they would bring gold and incense. And through a different prophet, the Psalmist, he made the same promise in different words "the kings of Tarshish and the coasts will pay him tribute; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring him gifts".
On this last Sunday of Advent, as the solemn celebration of Christ’s birth approaches, the Church reminds us of that holy day nine months earlier when Jesus was conceived in his Mother’s womb. There are two great mysteries connected with that day. The first is the mystery of God becoming man – the Incarnation. God has loved us so much that he became one of us, so that he could save us from sin and the meaninglessness that sin brings, and show us the way to a meaningful life, now and forever. The second mystery is that God didn’t – and doesn’t – work out that plan of salvation for us all by himself. Instead, he asks for our cooperation.
Here are some thoughts from the Advent Day of Prayer conducted by Fr. Marek on Monday of the Third week of Advent. The theme of our mediation is “Gaudete in Domino semper”.
“Rejoice in the Lord always” reads the opening antiphon for the 3 Sunday of Advent Mass. Yes, yesterday we celebrated the Rejoice Sunday. As you have noticed, in order to remind the people that they were preparing for the very joyful occasion of the birth of Jesus, the celebrant wore “rose” vestments yesterday and we lit the rose candle on the advent wreath. We expressed our joy in the coming of Jesus, our savior.
This prayer is based on the life of Jesus and Mary. It begins with the Apostles’ Creed, which summarizes the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. The Our Father, which introduces each mystery, is from the Gospels. The first part of the Hail Mary is the angel’s words announcing Christ’s birth and Elizabeth’s greeting to Mary. St. Pius V officially added the second part of the Hail Mary.The Mysteries of the Rosary center on the events of Christ’s life. There are four sets of Mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and–added by Pope John II in 2002–the Luminous.
The repetition in the Rosary is meant to lead us into contemplative prayer related to each Mystery. “The gentle repetition of the words helps us to enter into the silence of our hearts, where Christ’s spirit dwells”.