Fr. Raja Alangaram has blessed us with a four-part series on the meaning of Advent! We hope you will enjoy reading and prayerfully reflecting on this first installment and his upcoming three teachings.
Advent – Week 1
Advent, which is one of the five major liturgical seasons of the Church Cycle or Year marks the beginning of the liturgical year. It starts on Sunday after the last Sunday of Ordinary Time (Solemnity of Christ the King). Historically, it certainly began during the fifth century. From then on, it is celebrated with great Hope, Faith, Joy, and Peace. Advent is a term from the Latin word “adventus” which means “Coming, arrival”. It is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Christ at Christmas and the return of Christ at the Second Coming and so, a time now to prepare our hearts and homes, faith communities and families for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ through Eucharistic celebration, prayer, reflection, penance, sacrifice and service.
Hence, there are TWO PARTS to this season of Advent.
- From the first Sunday until December 16, we prepare for the second coming of the Lord Jesus at the end of time.
- From December 17 to December 24, we focus on preparing for the celebration of the first coming of Jesus when He was born of Mary in a stable in Bethlehem. It is fitting for us to prepare and celebrate both of the comings of JESUS CHRIST.
Every year, we celebrate Advent by putting up an Advent Wreath and lighting candles each week. During Advent there are no flowers decorating the Church but it is customary to have an Advent Wreath which is made of evergreen plants. The wreath has four candles representing the four weeks of Advent. The subsequent lighting of the candles symbolizes the Lord’s coming at Christmas and His second coming at the end of time. Three candles are purple, and one candle is Rose which is lit on the third Sunday, called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete Sunday means ‘Rejoice’.
The First candle symbolizes hope. It is sometimes called the ‘Prophecy Candle’ in remembrance of the prophets, who foretold the birth of Christ. The prophets gave message of hope to the people that God will fulfil his promise and send us a savior who is Jesus Christ.
Readings for the First Sunday of Advent: First Reading: Is 2:1-5, Ps: 122: 1-9, Second Reading: Rom13: 11-14, Alleluia: Ps 85:8, Gospel: Mt 24: 37-44.
I conclude for this week with the words of Mother Teresa: “At this Christmas when Christ comes, will he find a warm heart? Mark the season of Advent by loving and serving the others with God’s own love and concern”. Let us begin Advent in the best way to prepare ourselves, our families, and the world for this Christmas.
Advent – Week 2
Our Advent journey continues. The second candle represents faith. “Repent for the
Kingdom of God is at hand” – Matthew 3:1. All the prophets gave all the news
about the coming of our Savior and told us what kind of preparations we should
make for the coming of our Savior. Even though we know it all, we turn away
from the Lord again and again because of our weakness and lack of faith. So, let us
use this time of Advent for prayer, penance, and sacrifices and in this way prepare
ourselves for the coming of Jesus. Every preparation strengthens faith in us, our
family and parish community at large. Therefore, let us trust in Him and seek Him
with total faith.
Readings for the Second Sunday of Advent: First Reading: Is 11:1-10, Responsorial
Psalm: 72: 1-2,7-8,12-13,17, Second Reading: Rom 15: 4-9, Alleluia: Luke 3: 4,6,
Gospel: Mt 3: 1-12
Prayer for this week: Jesus, I trust in You
Advent – Week 3
Advent prepares us for Christmas. And during this beautiful season, violet or purple colors are used in vestments and decorations. Purple is a color that was reserved for the use of royalty. And so, it is used in Advent to symbolize the coming of our King, Jesus Christ. The third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is the Latin word for rejoice. The expected Messiah has almost arrived. The garments worn on this day may be rose to symbolize joy at the coming of Jesus. Let us, therefore, rejoice in the Lord’s coming. “Again, I say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4-5).
“But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy and her people to be a gladness.” Isaiah 65:18.
Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent: First Reading: Is 35:1-6a, 10, Responsorial
Psalm: Ps 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10, Second Reading: Jas 5:7-10, Alleluia: Is 61:1 (cited in Lk 4:18),
Gospel: Mt 11:2-11
Advent – Week 4
Lighting the last purple candle from the wreath marks the last week of advent as we await the coming of the Lord. This candle symbolizes peace. Luke 2, 14: “Peace on earth, good will toward men”, the angel’s message which reminds us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace who comes to establish his kingdom of peace and justice. As we await the coming of our Savior, may this season of Advent bring joy and warmth to our hearts and homes, and may the spirit of Christ be with us in all that we do in our daily lives. We pray for peace in the world.
Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent: First Reading: Is 7:10-14, Responsorial
Psalm: Ps 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6., Second Reading: Rom 1:1-7, Alleluia: Mt 1:23,
Gospel: Mt 1:18-24