Third Sunday of Advent

Advent week 3 – December 16-17, 2017

The O Antiphons refer to the seven Antiphons that are recited, or chanted, preceding the Magnificat during Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours in the Breviary. The ‘O Antiphons’ are chanted in the verses of the famous Advent Hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.  They cover a special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, December 17 – 24.  Each Antiphon addresses Jesus with a unique title which comes from the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah.  The original Latin titles are: Sapientia, (O WISDOM), Adonai, (O LORD OF ISRAEL), Radix Jesse, (O ROOT OF JESSE), Clavis David, (O KEY OF DAVID), Oriens, (O RADIANT DAWN), Rex Gentium, (O KING OF ALL NATIONS), Emmanuel, (O GOD WITH US).  Notice when they are read in reverse order, the first letter of each Antiphon forms the word, Eros Cras, which, when translated means, Tomorrow I will Come, referring to the birth of Christ.  On the 24th Of December, Christmas Eve, the Church uses the prayers for the vigil of Christmas. The exact origin of these Antiphons is not known but it is thought that they were recited in the Benedictine Monasteries in France between 480 and 524.  In the 8th Century, they were in use in Rome during liturgical celebrations. We can conclude that they have been an important part of our Advent liturgies for a long time. So the ‘O Antiphons’ not only bring intensity to our Advent celebrations and preparation, they bring the season of Advent to a joyful conclusion.  I hope that you will enjoy praying these short antiphons in anticipation of the birth of Christ. They are said directly before praying the Magnificat, Mary’s Prayer of thanksgiving.  I have included this prayer for you with the insert of fridge prayers for week four of Advent.

I hope you all have a good week!

Fr. Phil

Second Sunday of Advent

Preparing for Christ
Since Advent is a season of hope, then perhaps this would be a good time to ask God to help us put aside any obstacles in our lives that prevent us from fully welcoming Christ in each person. The Psalmist says: Those who are sowing in tears will sing when they reap. We need to have a vision of what could be. We know that when we are looking forward to something it can help to change the present difficult situation that we live in. Hope can dramatically affect the life that we are now living. When we are around hopeful people then life is different. Isolation is a trap that we have to avoid. If we cut ourselves off from people that see differently, we may become very narrow minded and lose the ability to imagine that things could be different. Advent is a season when we are encouraged to dream and imagine what could be.

Advent – week 2 – John the Baptist

Who is John the Baptist and what is the significance of his message for our lives? In dramatic fashion Luke tells us when John came on the world scene. The world's rulers paled in reference to this son of a priest whose task was to make the way for the King who is above all other kings. John stood at a pivotal juncture in the history of God's dealing with his people. He bridged the Old and New Testaments. John was a prophet, a spokesman for God. "The word of God came to John in the wilderness." John was pre-eminently the servant of the Word, the Word of God who became flesh for our sake and for our salvation. Why was he in the wilderness? John was called from an early age to devote himself to prayer and to the word of God. God taught him in the solitude of the desert and prepared him for a prophetic ministry to turn the hearts of his people to receive their long-awaited Messiah. He is the last of the Old Testament prophets who point the way to the coming of the Messiah. He is the first of the new Testament witnesses and martyrs who suffered on account of his witness to Christ. When a king toured his kingdom, he sent his courier ahead to prepare the way. John is the courier of the Messianic King who comes to usher in the kingdom or reign of God. Isaiah had long ago prophesied the role of the Forerunner of the Messiah. John undoubtedly took this word to heart as he searched the scriptures and reflected on the word of the Lord in the wilderness. How does one prepare for the coming of the King and his heavenly kingdom? By conversion – turning our hearts and minds from sin and rebellion, indifference and skepticism, to trust and obedience to God's word. Luke's gospel emphasizes the universal call of the gospel to all peoples without distinction. He quotes from the prophet Isaiah that "all flesh shall see the salvation of God." John stood at the door of a new era of grace and salvation. He saw from a distance what Jesus the Messiah would accomplish through his death and resurrection – pardon for our sins and eternal life for all who would believe in his name.

Please refer to the insert for the schedules of all events and Mass times.

I hope you all have a great week!

Fr. Phil

First Sunday of Advent

Advent calls us as Christians to ponder again the mystery of our salvation, our hope that there is an answer to the riddle of earthy life with its passing joys, disappointments, sorrows, and frustrations, and its apparently dark end in the oblivion of death. Does life go anywhere? Does it have any meaning? Advent calls every one of us to stop in the struggle of life and to look up, to recall the answer to the questions of life. We are on a journey to our Father's house. The door has been opened to us by the Son of God, and the way marked out. Advent invites us to look back over the long centuries, during which the human race struggled on in shadows. Of course, there was always some light. It began with the promise of a Redeemer who would crush the head of the destroying Serpent, the Son of a woman at bitter enmity with evil. The experience of human beings during those thousands of years of waiting is not so different from the lives of those around us who live without the consolation of faith and hope. They can accomplish much, but to what purpose? They can struggle to live as well and as long as possible, but then they will sorrow as those who have no hope.

The Christian should look at and listen to this darkness and confusion. Human existence for the believer is always an advent, a waiting, a journey toward a destination, toward the light. Begin Advent by recalling the long darkness endured by the human race. Many are still in it. As believers, we have the faith to know that God came to us through no merit of our own, and that He comes to us still by His grace. He calls to us by His birth, His life, His terrible death, and His glorious Resurrection. Advent reminds us that He will come again. So many mysteries, so many questions, and so many answers. For the one with faith, Advent should be a time of mystery, discovery, new insights, blessings, many graces and a deeper joy as we celebrate this great season. 

Let us pray: O Lord, speak to my heart during this season of grace, as you spoke to your prophets and saints. Remind me again of the journey you call me to make and the work you would have me do. I am your servant, O Lord. Speak to me in this holy season and turn my eyes to watch for your coming. 

O Emmanuel, Jesus Christ,
Desire of every nation, Savior of all peoples, come and dwell among us.

Dates to Remember

December 8th
Christmas Concert in the church – 7:30 pm – Christmas carols/songs, audience sing-a-long.  Adults $25,00 12 and under $15.00 U5 and under free.

December 11th 7pm
Family of School – St. Dominic, Queen of heaven, St. Paul Family Advent Mass

December 12th
Archdiocesan Day of Confessions - 10:30 – 12noon, 2pm – 4pm, 7pm - 9pm after Mass

December 13th 9:15 am  
Advent Mass – St. Paul Catholic Secondary School

December 17th
Decorating Sunday –after 11:30am Mass - Please come and help me decorate the church for Christmas.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful time in the church year.

Fr. Phil