Advent Season 2019
This Advent season, may we ready ourselves to accept the coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ, through prayer, gratitude and love of all our neighbours.
The Fourth Sunday of Advent calls us to see the Lord, our God, in all things. As we near Jesus' birth, let us pray to God for a sign that He is present in our lives.
"So many people in our world are mad at God for not showing up or for being silent, but how many of us are asking for signs? How many more of us refuse to see them or name them when they are given? God is constantly showing up, in a sunrise or a kind word from a neighbour, in nudges of intuition or unexplainable “coincidences” that we write off. Joseph has the most incredible reasons to dismiss Mary, but he believes God who appears as an angel in a dream. This saves Mary and Jesus from being cast out into shame and poverty. What are the signs God has for you? In these last three days before Christmas, be bold enough to ask God for a sign and to believe He will send one. Watch for it with vigilance and do not give up until it comes. If God can send His Son to a manger, angels to the shepherds, a star to the wise men, He can send you a sign of His abundant life for you now." - CCCB, December 2019
The Third Sunday of Advent calls us to place our trust in the Lord as our Saviour; that the coming of Jesus means salvation for us all.
"We all need a Saviour. Some of us don’t want one, so we spend our lives trying to save ourselves, only to discover that life undoes us all at some point. Others of us know we need one, but we want to be saved on our own terms. Jesus came. He died and rose again so we could have new life, but we have to be willing to be rescued, and we have to let God’s timing and terms reign. Our salvation is being worked out in the course of our lives right now. Whatever we are going through, God will use to bring about good. When death, suffering and tragedy surround us, all this is especially hard to believe, let alone appreciate or participate in. But it is the promise. We would do well to pray with the Psalmist wherever we find ourselves today: “Lord, come and save us.” Whatever is happening today, in every moment of our lives, God can work new life. May we believe it, and ask for it." - CCCB, December 2019
Photo by Canadian Catholic News - CCN
President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), Archbishop Richard Gagnon has shared his 2019 Christmas Message.
"Jesus was placed in a manger at birth, a sign of how throughout his mission and ministry the world did not know him, his own people did not accept him, and he had no place to lay his head. In the midst of all the division, exploitation, marginalization and rejection, the Word became flesh and lived among us. It is the lesson of Christmas. Jesus’ birth brought great joy to the entire world. We all share in the excitement of knowing about this great event of reconciliation." - Archbishop Richard Gagnon, December 2019
To read his full message, click on one of the links below.
The Second Sunday of Advent calls us to reconcile and let go of our sins, so that our hearts are fully open to receive the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
"Doesn’t repentance sound like a great idea – for all the people who have wronged me? I’m less inclined to be excited about my own repentance! When John lives out his vocation to prepare his contemporaries for Jesus’ first coming, he starts by telling them to repent. Perhaps there is a reason he lived in the wilderness? To avoid the reactions of the people he spoke to in town? But the message is so necessary, then and now. If we want a world of peace and joy, we need to start with seeing, and then turning away from, our own attractions to and love for the very habits, attitudes and behaviours which prevent us from receiving God’s life. What valleys and mountains do you cling to that are obstructing God’s path to your heart? Is it your desire for things to be easy? Your addiction to the little white lies that seem easier than facing the truth? Make an appointment with your journal, or make a plan to go to Reconciliation this week. Turning away from your own sin feels great – once you can see how it is not helping you. So turn around and let God in. You’ll be glad you did!" - CCCB, December 2019
In his most recent Apostolic Letter "ADMIRABILE SIGNUM," Pope Francis touches on the importance of the Nativity scene and utilizing the image of the Christmas crèche in our parishes, homes, schools and work places. He states:
"Why does the Christmas crèche arouse such wonder and move us so deeply? First, because it shows God’s tender love: the Creator of the universe lowered himself to take up our littleness. The gift of life, in all its mystery, becomes all the more wondrous as we realize that the Son of Mary is the source and sustenance of all life. In Jesus, the Father has given us a brother who comes to seek us out whenever we are confused or lost, a loyal friend ever at our side. He gave us his Son who forgives us and frees us from our sins.
Setting up the Christmas crèche in our homes helps us to relive the history of what took place in Bethlehem. Naturally, the Gospels remain our source for understanding and reflecting on that event. At the same time, its portrayal in the crèche helps us to imagine the scene. It touches our hearts and makes us enter into salvation history as contemporaries of an event that is living and real in a broad gamut of historical and cultural contexts."
During the Congolese rite mass, Pope Francis stated during his Homily that " 'advent' means 'coming'...the root of our hope, the security that amid the tribulations of the world the consolation of God comes to us, a consolation not made of words but of a presence, his presence that comes in our midst...We know, that beyond every favorable or contrary event, the Lord does not leave us alone. He came 2,000 years ago and will come at the end of time, but he also comes today in my life, in your life…The Lord is never tired of us, he desires to come, to visit us."