“Light one candle for JOY! One bright candle for joy. He bring joy to every heart, he comes, he comes.”
JOY. I love the word, it attracts me, it inspires me, it makes me feel happy. But what is Joy and what does it mean?
The Scriptures for Sunday are COVERED with the words, “Rejoice” so I wanted to speak with you a bit about what joy has to do with advent.
Gaudete Sunday is “Pink Sunday” (when we get to light the pink candle) which reminds us to rejoice and not lose hope that our waiting is almost done and Christ will come soon!
To really feel and experience advent and our waiting time, we must first remember the waiting of the Jewish people for their messiah. They waited for their savior for THOUSANDS of years, so Christmas time is not just a time for us Christians to wait for Christmas to come but it is a time where we re-member our Jewish history and foundation, we re-member the struggle to continue to hope for a savior, we re-member the endurance our Jewish brothers and sisters had in waiting for the words of the prophets like Isaiah to come true. So when the savior is born at Christmas, we celebrate, we rejoice in not only the birth of Christ, Jesus, but the fulfillment of the thousands of years of waiting, the fulfillment of a promise of a loving and faithful God.
You see, all of us are waiting for something. We are waiting for an answer about what to do with our lives, or how to live our lives. We are waiting to see if our loved ones will recover from sickness. We are waiting to find a job. We are waiting for our future spouse perhaps. We are waiting for God to show up in our lives. WE are all waiting for something.
So Advent is a time for us to celebrate the waiting, to wait together in hope, in peace, in joy and in love. And Christmas is an answer to the waiting. HE is the answer to our waiting.
The Responsorial Psalm for Mass is not taken from the Book of Psalms (like usual) this week, but taken from the Book of Luke. This is Mary’s response to the Angel Gabriel after he tells her of God’s plan for her to give birth to the Savior everyone’s been waiting for. Her response is the famous Maginificat, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit REJOICES in God my Savior, for he is has looked with favor upon his lowly servant.” He has answered her prayer, and the prayer of his people.
What are you waiting for? What are you hoping for? This Sunday, lets rejoice in the confidence that God is faithful and remembers His promises. With the birth of Christ, we get what we have been waiting for.
Hello everyone! This is Stacy’s husband, Matt. I am the guest blogger for this week’s post. The focus of my post is the theme of forgiveness found in the Gospel reading for the Second Sunday of Advent.
In our reading, John the Baptist is baptizing people with a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” He is doing this in order to prepare people for the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah, in the Jewish faith, is someone whom God has anointed (literally marked with oil) to restore Israel as a nation and bring peace and prosperity to it.
For Christians, the Messiah who comes is Jesus, about whom John the Baptist says:
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
How often do we feel unworthy of someone’s love or forgiveness? We may even think we are unlovable. But this could not be further from the truth! We are created in God’s image and likeness. This means that there is (and will always be) something about us that is good, loveable, worthy, no matter what we may do wrong.
But let’s go deeper. John the Baptist knows that forgiveness is the way to prepare people for the Messiah (Jesus’) coming. Why is this so? God who created us, scripture tells us, is the God of love and mercy. In order to encounter God, we have to be open to receiving him, especially his mercy. The greatest conversion—and the greatest of saints—began their life of holiness with a powerful encounter with God’s forgiveness. In other words, to become holy we must be open to receiving God’s mercy. Likewise, being holy is all about being merciful to others.
Through a baptism of repentance, John the Baptist is preparing God’s people for holiness. During this Advent Season, how will you prepare to encounter Christ, the God of mercy and love? How will you begin (or continue) on your path to sainthood. (Don’t forget: Only saints are in heaven!)
St. Joseph’s Parish, as well as the other Catholic parishes in town, have set aside evenings for the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, sometimes called “penance services.” If it’s been awhile since your last confession, take advantage of this great opportunity! I can tell you personally that this sacrament has made a huge difference in my life. It has helped me to believe in God’s love for me; and it has helped me to be more understanding and merciful to others, which is what holiness is all about. The Parish Penance Service is scheduled for Dec 20th from 6:30pm-8pm. IF that night doesnt work, Reconciliation is offered every Saturday from 3:45pm-4:30pm before Mass.
Word up. I am Stacy, the youth minister of this amazing group of teens. I have 4 kids of my own, 2 heaven babies and like 60 teens I consider very large children of my own.