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Sunday, first week of Advent

November 27, 2011

Blessed New Year! (liturgically speaking…)

And what a new year it is,
introducing a dramatic new translation of the prayers of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass!
Let the powerful imagery this new version of today’s opening prayer give wings to your feet
as you race through this Advent season to meet our coming King with deeds of righteousness!

Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet Your Christ
with righteous deeds at His coming,
so that, gathered at His right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.
(Opening prayer from Mass)

Today is also traditionally “Stir up Sunday,”
from the first phrase of the traditional opening prayer of the Mass,

Stir up Thy might, we beg Thee, and come.

This is a good day to “stir up” a plum pudding or fruitcake to age for Christmas.
Let each family member give it a good stir,
symbolizing the need to stir up our hearts
to prepare a celebration worthy of the birth of so great a King.

Other ideas for celebrating this profound season at home can be found here.

Readings:
Isaiah 63:16-17, 19; 64:2-7 (Lord, why do You let us stray so far?)
Psalm 80:2, 3, 15-16, 18-20 “Lord, make us turn to You,
let us see Your face and we shall be saved”
I Corinthians 1:3-9 (God will strengthen us so that we will be blameless)
+ Mark 13:33-37 (Be on the watch–you do not know when the Lord will come)

Why do You let us wander, O Lord, from Your ways,
and harden our hearts so that we fear You not?
-Isaiah 63:17

The day will come…perhaps sooner than you can imagine…your last day.

Will you be found wandering?

It may be the day of Jesus’ Second Coming,
when He gloriously breaks through the clouds on a noble white steed,
coming for His own (see Revelation 19:11ff, Mark 13:26ff).

More likely it will be the day of your death,
as you prepare to meet your Maker with a sharp new focus on life.
What thoughts run through your mind?
What will matter to you as you draw your last breath?
What will you regret?
What would you do differently today if you knew it was your last?

Yes, Advent is about looking forward to Jesus’ first coming at Christmas.
It’s also about looking forward to the end of time, to Jesus Second Coming,
to our own “end of time.”

It’s a time to stop and take stock.
Where am I? Where is my current path leading me?
Is that really where I want to go?
What do I need to change?

Yes, God lets us wander. He lets us harden our hearts.
The marriage of Christ and His Bride (see Ephesians 5:25-32, Revelation 19:7-9, 12:9-14)
will not be a shotgun wedding.
He values our love too much for that.

But He doesn’t leave us to our own devices either.
Despite our unfaithfulness, He showers us with spiritual gifts,
strengthening us to the end with the Blessed Sacrament,
purifying us in Confession so that we may arrive at our wedding day a glorious church,
holy and immaculate, without stain or wrinkle or anything of that sort (see Ephesians 5:25-27).
It’s up to us to respond to the profound, passionate love of our divine Bridegroom.
It’s up to us as His Bride to receive His gifts, to run to meet Him in the sacraments,
to let Him transform us, making us glorious, holy, immaculate.

That’s our destiny.
That’s the meaning of life…today.

The Bridegroom is coming.
It could be today.
Let’s run out to meet Him with nothing held back!

Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at His right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly kingdom.

Amen.

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