Tag Archives: First Sunday in Advent

First Sunday in Advent

To watch Fr. Joe’s homily for the First Sunday in Advent: CLICK HERE! 

Did you know the reason that we have four weeks for the Advent Season? It was determined by psychologists a long time ago that four weeks is the perfect amount of time for gift buying, card sending, parties, and going into debt – prior to Christmas. Not really…

Advent is many things. Advent reminds us of:

  • the waiting of humanity for a Savior…
  • the birth of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God…
  • promises kept…

Advent can also be a reminder that Christ will come again, at a time and day we do not know — as we heard in past weeks.

In Luke’s Gospel, we find Jesus instructing the disciples to prepare themselves and those who come after for a long season of Advent.  That time will precede the return of Christ.

Pope Francis had a pretty good insight into Christ’s coming when he shared this week, “the Church invites us to ask ourselves what state do I want the Lord to find me in when he calls… What would I like to fix in my life because it does not work?  What would I like to sustain or develop because it is good? Pray for wisdom,” concluded the Pope.

The words of St. Paul, are also directed to us, the Christians of today: “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you. May that love strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus.”

Being and becoming a faithful disciple of Jesus, isn’t magic… there is work, effort to be made throughout our life…

My first thought, as I read Paul’s words about increasing and abounding in love for one another was, “What is abounding?”

The message really was: SLOW DOWN…

  • Slow down when the light turns yellow…
  • Slow down when driving…
  • Slow down to see the beauty around us…
  • Slow down to hear others, to hear God…
  • Slow down to show love to family, friends, strangers…
  • Slow down to see God working in and through your life…

Pope Francis asked us to pray for wisdom, may we also pray that we will allow Christ to come into our hearts and homes and lives a bit more this Advent and Christmas Season; through our actions and interactions of love with everyone.

First Sunday of Advent

To watch Father Joe’s homily for the First Sunday of Advent, click here!


There’s an old joke that says that while some kids were out playing in the parish yard, they saw Jesus coming.  They ran into the Church Office and excitedly told the Secretary.  The Secretary looked out the window and then ran to the Faith Formation Director.  The staff member hurried into the Administrator’s Office and pointed out the window.  The administrator then burst into the Pastor’s Office with the crowd trailing her and said, “Jesus is on the playground and he is headed for the office!  What shall we do?”  Seeing everyone very flustered, the startled pastor dropped his agenda and turned his chair to look out the window.  Suddenly, he stood up, grabbed his hat and stole and car keys, and shouted, “Look busy!”

This story may not be too far from what Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “Be watchful, be alert!”  Advent may well be the most overshadowed Church Season, that we have.  Our world has been talking and selling and singing Christmas for at least a month.  Our culture’s preparations for Christmas (and maybe even our own Christmas preparations) can be very distracting when it comes to the Advent Season.

Yet today, we are being asked for the next 22 days of Advent, to watch, to be alert to the signs of God’s presence.  Watching, being alert for the ways in which God desires to direct us and guide us.

You’ve got to love the Prophet Isaiah today, “Lord, would that you might meet us doing right, that we would be mindful of Your ways.  O Lord, you are our Father; we are all the work of your hands.”

What Isaiah is addressing is something we do not like to hear.  We do at times go astray, forgetting God’s call, forgetting God’s presence among us.  And, Isaiah begs God to wake the people up to what God is trying to form them to be.

And then there is Jesus, urging his Disciples (and we are his Disciples of today) to pay attention to what is happening not only in our lives but in the lives of the people around us and in the world in which we live.  We are not being called to spy on others or to judge others and what others are doing…  But rather to watch and be alert to what we are thinking, doing, feeling, giving and faking…

Put another way, to examine our actions and interactions to see if they are aligned with those of the Gospel.  What is it that we say is needed in our world today, in people today, that we are in need of living more, living better, living more faithfully?

Maybe it is justice, kindness, respect, cooperation, peace, quite, helping others, sharing,  acceptance, forgiveness, understanding…

What is it that would make our world not only a better place, but a world that reflects more and more the Kingdom of God here on Earth as it is in Heaven?

Just maybe the task of Discipleship is not so much to “look busy,” as it is to BE alert.

Alert to the opportunities to live the Gospel in and through our lives daily as person, family and parish.  Lives that are the work of God’s hands in and through each of us and all of us.

First Sunday in Advent – Deacon Andy Grebe

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been working with our Confirmation Candidates and First Reconciliation classes to prepare them for the sacraments that they will be receiving later this year.  Specifically, we have been teaching them about reconciliation, not CONFESSION that many, if not most of us probably remember from when we were kids… where we sat is a small dark booth and we couldn’t see the priest.  That was scary for me. Rather we have been teaching them about RECONCILIATION where they, and we have the opportunity to receive the grace of absolution that is available to all of us whenever we feel that we are drifting away from Christ and the model he gave us to live by.

And, with our celebration of the beginning of Advent this weekend I couldn’t help but to be reminded that Advent is also a time when we can be reconciled with God, a time of preparation.  A time when we have the opportunity – if we take the time, and put in the effort – to prepare for His coming.

It is interesting that although we all know that Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year, a time of preparation, and for the remembrance of the celebration of Christ’s birth 2000 years ago… I fear that many of us often forget that Advent is also a time that we are reminded that Jesus will come again, not as a baby, but in a cloud with power and great glory!

So let me ask you to think for a minute… How are you preparing for that day?

I’m sure many, if not most of you are busy, like Mary and me:

  • cleaning our house
  • decorating our lawn
  • planning the family Christmas dinner
  • looking for the perfect gift for each of the people we love

All important and time consuming activities that keep us busy at this exciting time of year.

At the same time unfortunately, I’m also afraid that these activities distract us from an opportunity that God places before us at this time each year.

An opportunity to draw closer to God through reconciliation with Him.

You see, Advent is a time to prepare!  A time to look at our lives, to examine how we live and our relationship with God.  And, it is a time for each of us to ask ourselves, “How well do I know Jesus?”

Obviously the only person I can even begin to answer that question for is myself, but I think… I pray that I can give each of you some different ways to think about how well you know Him.  And through these questions hopefully give all of us some new ways to deepen our relationship with Him as we prepare for His coming.

So here they are:

  • If Jesus were to come today… Are we prepared to meet Him?  Would we even recognize Him?  Remember He lives in each and every person we meet throughout your lives.
  • Does our preparation include repentance?  Do we spend the time to examine our lives and think about what changes we can make that will draw us closer to God?  Do we work on making the changes that we know we should be making?
  • Do we think about the things that we do that separate us from God?  Do we seek God’s help to identify the areas in our lives that could use some work?
  • In preparing to meet Jesus Christ when he comes in a cloud with power and great glory do we try to live by the model that He gave us?
  • Do we forgive?  Have we forgiven those who have hurt us?  And here is the really hard one… Have we forgiven those who hurt someone we love?

It is my prayer that as we journey through Advent this year we will all support each other as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ 2000 years ago, and as we prepare to meet Him when He comes again with power and glory.

I will leave you with a couple of thoughts to ponder as you journey through Advent this year.

Preparation takes work!  Are we helping others with their work?

Repentance needs support!  Have we asked ourselves what do we need to change in and about our lives?  Have we asked for help to make those changes?  Have we asked ourselves are we open to accepting the help that we need?

Forgiveness needs God!  Have we asked for God’s help to forgive those who have hurt us or someone we love?

Remember through forgiveness we repent, and through repentance we prepare to meet Him when He comes.

Nov. 29 – First Sunday of Advent

Join us the weekend of Nov 28/29 at our weekend masses to celebrate the First Sunday of Advent.

Mass Schedule: Saturday Vigil Mass at 4:30 pm, Sunday Masses at 8:00 am and 10:30 am

The Origins of Advent:

Advent began sometime after the 4th century as a time of preparation for Epiphany – not in anticipation of Christmas.    Epiphany celebrates the manifestation of Christ by remembering the visit of the Magi and the Baptism of Jesus.   At this time new Christians were baptized and received into the faith, and so the early church instituted a 40-day period of fast and repentance.

Later, in the 6th century, Pope St. Gregory the Great was the first to associate this season of Advent with the Coming of Christ.   Originally it was not the coming of the Christ-child that was anticipated, but rather, the second coming of Christ.

By the Middle Ages the Church had extended the Celebration of Advent to the familiar format we know today.   The early weeks are rich with the prophecies of Isaiah, reminding us to wait and to prepare for the coming Messiah.   Later, the pace quickens and we focus more directly on the events leading up to Jesus’ birth.


First Sunday in Advent

Scripture Readings:  Isaiah 63: 16-19, 64: 2-7;  1 Corinthians 1: 3-9;  Mark 13: 33-37


“Why do you let us wander, O Lord, for your ways and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?”

What a great line from Isaiah in today’s first reading.  One might answer the question by saying:   free will.

“Why do you let us wander, O Lord, for your ways and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?”

Could it be, we have allowed all the distractions,  the noise,  the self-centeredness of the times to distract us from God, and his presence, and his love?

Advent is here and I’m not going to suggest we avoid Christmas shopping or stop listening to Christmas music.  But I am going to suggest that during this Advent 2014 we look every day for God’s presence in our lives and in our world.

Thanksgiving morning as I looked out from my kitchen window towards the river and the snow-covered landscape I thought to myself what a beautiful picture given by God.  Sure I’d be shoveling it very soon, along with you and lots of others but it was a gift for the moment.  A God given gift.

Awareness of God’s actions in our lives is at the heart of today’s reading from by Paul to the People of Corinth.   (Our Second Reading Today)

Just maybe this Advent as we go looking for the perfect gift or the perfect bargains, we can make the effort to see God’s work, God’s presence among us each day.

Maybe this Advent, we can be a bit more alert to goodness, kindness, compassion, happening in our lives and in our world.  Look for, watch for, the goodness of God in the greetings shared each day; the extra effort people take each day;  the beauty, the blessings  of God, that unfold before us through others, in daily events, in creation.

St. Paul reminded the people of Corinth they were blessed by God so that they could build up the community of faith, not tear it down.  These same words of St. Paul are today directed toward each of us who are blessed by God so we might build up the community of faith.

Just maybe – as a suggestion – over the coming 25 days of Advent leading to Christmas – keep a written log (maybe just a sentence, or a phrase per day) – of at least one way you experienced, you saw the goodness, the blessings, the presence of God.

And then come Christmas, as we unwrap the many gifts of Christmas Day, we might take out the list of the Advent and remember the gifts of God the past 25 days; that reminder that God is always with us, that reminder that God always blesses us with his Son, Jesus, and so much more.

Look…Watch…be alert!

Yes, God is in our midst.  Yes, God continues to come into our midst.

Today Jesus says the same to us, as he did some 2000 years ago:  Watch!