FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT
And so, we have begun the liturgical season of Advent – that period of time immediately preceding Christmas -- that period of time in which we spiritually prepare ourselves for the great celebration of the birth of the Messiah – Jesus.
Whenever we know of a significant event is going to happen in our lives, we spend the days beforehand in preparation – it may be just a few days or a few weeks or maybe even months. There is always so much to do to make the event an EVENT with a capital “E.” Consider the planning that goes into preparing for a wedding; a graduation; an anniversary; an ordination; taking vows as a religious or celebrating a milestone such as a ‘special birthday (Sweet 16, 21, 65) or retirement. Consider the planning that goes into how we welcome a child into our families – setting up a nursery; securing a bassinette or crib; the choice of a baptismal gown perhaps new or perhaps one that has been in the family for a long time. And then there is the purchasing of tiny items of clothing. In each instance there is an excitement; anticipation and the sometimes dreaded waiting.
The Scriptures for today, especially the reading from the Prophet Isaiah is one of my favorites. Isaiah says: “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples…On this mountain He will destroy the veil that veils all peoples…He will destroy death forever…The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces…For the Hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain.” Those statements are full of excitement; anticipation and about a time in the future. For us, that time has come with the Birth of Jesus and will continue to come until it is totally fulfilled in heaven.
Today is also the Feast of St. Nicholas, the prototype of Santa Claus. These days are exciting for children; filled with anticipation and sometime impatient waiting. St. Nicholas is the patron of children and protector of the innocent. The following words are attributed to him and I feel are appropriate for Advent and in considering the Gospel reading from Matthew: ‘The Giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic His giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.”
May our prayer and reflection at this time be fruitful, hopeful and exciting as we prepare to celebrate the Birth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ!!
…. Brother Gus Parlavechio, C.P.