The First Sunday of Advent

 

My dear parishioners and friends of our parish community: Praised be Jesus Christ! 

 Within this beautiful and long Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend so many have come home.  They have come “home” to us in Connecticut…in New England…the first and best place to celebrate Thanksgiving time! 

 With crisp and COLD New England air…just right for football and bonfires outdoors and leftover turkey sandwiches and pumpkin pie before a warm fireplace…surrounded by laughter, great memories, family and friends!  If you are visiting us this weekend, welcome back “home” to St. John Church!  Nice to have YOU here for Mass with us! 

 Thanksgiving weekend also brings us to the Advent Season!  May our thanks to God and our love through Jesus Christ increase in this new liturgical year, we use YEAR B of the Sunday Lectionary’s three-year cycle of readings, and we’ll hear the Gospel of St. Mark on  Sundays on a semi-continuous basis.  It is the oldest (published in Rome somewhere between 64 – 72 A.D.) and shortest Gospel.  So brief, in fact, St. Mark’s Gospel makes easy reading by chapters! 

 Younger than Jesus, St. Mark wrote slightly before or after the fall of the Temple in 70 A.D. and probably traveled with St. Peter, our first Pope.  At the time St. Mark was writing his Gospel, Christians were being persecuted.  While some Christians literally went into the lion’s den, Jews were also suffering under the Romans.  That is one reason why St. Mark stresses Jesus’ redemptive suffering and the meaning of suffering.  NO matter what happens, Christians must trust in God, even when we think He is silent. 

Today’s Gospel (St. Mark 13:33-37) and the Advent Season urge us to be watchful and alert, ever ready for the coming of the Lord.  For the Lord is likely to come into our presence at just about any moment, and we do well to be watchful and alert. 

This Advent time, look for Jesus in each person we live and work with, Jesus in each stranger we pass on the road or in the street.  The Lord of the Earth and Heavens we so take for granted can be found in a crowded theatre, grocery store, and in the privacy of your own home.  BE WATCHFUL, BE READY FOR HIM!  Cultivate eyes ready to see Jesus in any and all places, any and all circumstances.  You never know!  Poof!  Jesus is before you when you least expect Him!  Overwhelming grace when you least expect it! 

Today we bless our Advent Wreaths and light a single purple candle.  Violet is the proper Advent color, the color of penance.  Advent time is here!  Watch.  Be ready.  Wake up!

Please pray this week for me and all Priests serving the Diocese of Norwich as we begin our Convocation December 1, 2, and 3 in Newport, Rhode Island, with Bishop Michael R. Cote.  These are special days for study, fraternity, and prayer.  I will be praying for YOU!

                                                                                 Peaceful Advent Days, 
                                                                                                  
Father Jim 
                                                              SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

                                                                  The Saint John’s Bible

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