Tag: advent

The Advent Spirit.

The Advent Spirit.


​*🎤The Advent Spirit.🎤*

Homily for Monday 3rd December 2018.

_“’Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress.’ And he said to him, ‘I will come and heal him.’ But the centurion answered him, ‘Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.’” *Matthew 8:6-8*_

During this season of Advent, one of our most common hymns is “Come Lord Jesus!” Come Lord Jesus the light is dying, the night keeps crying: Come, Lord Jesus. Christ, come quickly, there’s danger at the door, poverty aplenty, hearts gone wild with war, there hunger in the City and famine on the plain. Come Lord Jesus.

As we call on Jesus this season of Advent, the Centurion in our Gospel passage gives us the right disposition and outlook that should necessarily accompany our call.

We learn from the centurion to have the attitude of humility bearing in mind that we are indeed not worthy to have Jesus come to us. In this season of Advent, we must strive to free our hearts from arrogance of any sort. Humility is not just a matter of thinking less of myself, it is thinking big of the God I serve.

If only I knew how big God is, I would not underestimate prayer. Indeed, rather than see prayer as a waste of time, I would consider each minute I spend praying as a privilege. The centurion teaches us not to take God for granted because no matter how big and important we are in life, we are mere dust before God.

Secondly, we learn from the Centurion the need for faith. He had no iota of doubt in his heart about what Jesus could do and he approached Jesus with the firm assurance that by simply speaking the word, his servant would receive healing.

As much as we are calling on Jesus to come again and be reborn in our hearts this Christmas, we need to redouble our faith in his power. Jesus was marvelled at the faith of the Centurion saying he had not found such faith even in Israel. Do I have such faith in the power of Jesus?

Thirdly, we learn from the Centurion the need to show care and concern for the people living with or working for us. The fact that we are paying someone salary does not mean the person is less of a human being. At times, our workers are sick and we don’t even go to check on them not to talk about going out of our way to find solutions to their problems.

The Centurion going by his name must have been a busy man because he was in charge of a hundred soldiers. Yet, someone, he found time to come looking for Jesus because of his servant; not even his son; not even a soldier. He could have simply left the servant and hired another but he knew to act better.

As we prepare to welcome Jesus this Christmas, let us remember that the same Jesus who was born on in a manger, about whom the angels sang is the same Jesus who said: “when I was hungry, you gave me no food, sick and in prison and you did not come to visit me.” Christmas is first of all a celebration of love and if I don’t show love to those less than me, I have failed Jesus.

Fourthly, this encounter between Jesus and the Centurion gives us a glimpse of what God has in mind for us in sending his son Jesus to be born as a man and live among us. The plan of God for mankind as the Prophet Isaiah depicts in our first reading is to see that man lives in perfect peace and goodness. Sickness, diseases, hunger and war are not part of this plan.

Isaiah speaks of a time when nations should beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Jesus was willing to go to the Centurion’s house because he didn’t want his servant to remain sick. We pray that Jesus would come and heal our sickness and bring relief to our pains. We pray that this Christmas would be a time of peace, a time of abundance and not war.

Finally, we remember St. Francis Xavier, one of those who began the Society of Jesus along with St. Ignatius. St. Francis was a great missionary and evangelizer. He took the Gospel to India, Japan and China where he eventually died due to illness.

*Let us pray: Lord Jesus, bring us healing and teach us to trust you like the Centurion. Amen.*

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. 

Monday of the 1st Week of Advent. 

*Bible Study: Isaiah 2:1-5, Psalm 122:1-9 and Matthew 8:5-11*.

-Fr. Evaristus Abu🎷

ADVENT!!! Everything You Need to Know

ADVENT!!! Everything You Need to Know

Don’t Start Christmas without Advent: Here’s Everything You Need to Know!


WHAT IS ADVENT?

Advent is the beginning of a new liturgical year for the Catholic Church. The date for the beginning of Advent falls each year on the Sunday closest to November 30th – the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle. Advent means ‘to come to’ and it is a call to readiness for the coming of Jesus Christ.

HOW IS ADVENT DIFFERENT FROM CHRISTMAS?

Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that Advent is part of the Christmas celebration. In fact, Advent is a separate time of preparation all its own. For the Catholic Church, Christmas doesn’t begin until the first Mass is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Christmas feast celebrations continue until Epiphany on January 6th, with the longer Christmas liturgical season ending on the feast of the Baptism of Jesus.

Advent is given to us as a time to prepare our souls for the coming of the Lord. Advent is to Christmas what Lent is to Easter. In modern times we are tempted to skip over the penitential aspects of Advent and focus on the joy of Christmas. This is a great tragedy. Focusing only on the joy denies the truth: the Christ Child is our Lord and Savior who will suffer and die for our salvation.

 WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF ADVENT?

Originally, Advent was celebrated over forty days, just like the Lenten season. This has now been shortened to four weeks, but the symbolism remains. You may notice another similarity to Lent when you attend Mass; although we still sing the Alleluia before the Gospel reading, we no longer sing the song of the angels – the Gloria. We will sing this song anew with the angels on Christmas day – just as they did over 2000 years ago.

The Scripture readings during Mass remind us of all the prophecies that point to the Lord’s coming. We are called to keep watch and to leave behind our sinful ways. We also hear the recurring theme of a light shining through darkness. In Isaiah 60:19 we are reminded of this promise:

“The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE ADVENT WREATH?

Since circles have no beginning and no end, the circular shape of the Advent Wreath is used to symbolize God the Father and eternal life. The wreath holds four candles which are lit over the four weeks of Advent. The light of the flame is a visual reminder that Christ is “The Light of the World” (John 8:12). There are three violet (purple) candles and one rose candle, each representing 1,000 years. Added together, the four candles symbolize the 4,000 years that humanity waited for the Savior.

WHY ARE ADVENT CANDLES PURPLE AND PINK?

Violet is a liturgical color that is used to signify a time of penance, sacrifice, and prayer. During the first, second, and the fourth weeks of Advent we light violet candles. The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. On this day we celebrate that our waiting for Christmas is almost over. Rose is a liturgical color that is used to signify joy, so we light the rose candle on the third Sunday of Advent.

The 4 Weeks of Advent

Traditionally, each of the four candles on an Advent wreath has their own meaning. These meanings are simply illustrated in The Four Weeks of Advent Pewter Advent Wreath.

The first Sunday of Advent symbolizes Hope with the Prophet’s Candle reminding us that Jesus is coming.The second Sunday of Advent symbolizes Faith with the Bethlehem Candle reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.The third Sunday of Advent symbolizes Joy with the Shepherd’s Candle reminding us of the Joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus.The fourth Sunday of Advent symbolizes Peace with the Angel’s Candle reminding us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.”

When Advent Wreaths are decorated the materials often have symbolic meaning. The use of evergreens reminds us of our eternal life with Christ, holly represents the crown of thorns from the Passion of Jesus, and pinecones symbolize Christ’s Resurrection.

HOW CAN WE INVOLVE CHILDREN WITH ADVENT?

Advent is a great way to keep children focused on preparing for the coming of the Baby Jesus instead of on materialistic desires. Each new week of Advent begins at Mass with the lighting of a new candle on the parish Advent Wreath. Our parish family is connected to our personal family when we light our own Advent Wreath at home. Explain to your children the meaning of this week’s candle and what they should focus on during the coming week.

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