Advent 2017

While our society will celebrate the beginning of a new year on January 1, 2018, the Church celebrates her new year this weekend, the First Sunday of Advent. In this New Year we will proclaim, study and be inspired by the Gospel according to St. Mark. Tradition locates Mark as a follower, travel companion and interpreter for St. Peter, Apostle of Jesus. Mark wrote the Gospel between the years 65-70 AD or roughly 30 years after the death of Jesus. Of the four Evangelists, he wrote in Greek to a Gentile (non-Jewish audience). Scholars agree that Mark is the oldest and first written of the four Gospels and was used as a source for both Matthew and Luke. It is also the shortest.   The author introduces his work as “Gospel” (Greek) literally meaning “Good News” and uses this term more than any other New Testament writer besides Paul. Mark assigns three important titles to Jesus. 1. Jesus is the “Son of God” as it appears on the lips of God himself at the Baptism and Transfiguration of Jesus. 2. Jesus is the “Christos/Christ” or the anointed one; translating the Old Testament title of Messiah into Greek. 3. Jesus is the “Son of Man” (son of Adam), articulating Jesus in his humanity. This year as we follow the life, death and resurrection of Jesus through the eyes of Mark the Evangelist, let us celebrate the “Good News” that he proclaims!  

As we embark on our Advent journey, we are reminded that Advent is twofold in nature. Advent prepares us for Christmas, when we recall Christ’s first coming among us, and it is also a time when we look forward to his second coming at the end of the ages. Advent is a season of joyful expectation.  

We are invited to await and prepare. Look at the excitement in our children as they await the unwrapping of Christmas morning. We too should await the unwrapping of the Christmas mystery, Emmanuel, God is with us! We all have social obligations that we cannot escape at this time of the year, and they are fun, but certainly let’s not forget to live out the wonderful season which is Advent. Let’s not forget to slow down and find some silence in our hearts. To joyfully prepare food and treats. Let us slowly decorate our homes, allowing the symbolic meaning of green trees, holly branches and nativity scenes to penetrate our hearts and souls. I wish you a joy-filled Advent as we worthily prepare for the birth of our Messiah, the Christ Child.     Fr. Kevin