meeting Christ in the liturgy library

Season of Advent

The whole of the Advent liturgy is one long appeal for the coming of our Savior. The Church takes up the heartfelt cries for the coming of the Messiah which echo all through the Old Testament, and causes us to repeat them with her ever more urgently as Christmas draws near. Of course, Our Savior has come, but we still await him. For ourselves and for our own times we await the graces of redemption and holiness which are to transform our human lives to the likeness of his. For all the succeeding generations of mankind we await, at the end of time, the glorious return of Christ, the redeemer of the world, who in his wake will lead into the kingdom of his Father all the elect.

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First Sunday of Advent

Second Sunday of Advent

Third Sunday of Advent

Fourth Sunday of Advent

 

First Sunday of Advent

Epistle: Romans 13. 11-14; Gospel: Luke 21, 25-33

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled "with power and great glory" by the king's return to earth. (Lk 21:27; cf. Mt 25:31) This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ's Passover. (Cf. 2 Thess 2:7) Until everything is subject to him, "until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God." (Second Vatican Council, Lumen gentium 48. 3; cf. 2 Pet 3. 13; Rom 8. 19-22; 1 Cor 15. 28.) That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ's return by saying to him: (Cf. 1 Cor 11. 26; 2 Pet 3. 11-12.) Marana tha! "Our Lord, come!" (1 Cor 16. 22; Rev 22. 17, 20) (CCC 671)

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy"---Father Cusick

( Publish with permission.) www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/


Second Sunday of Advent 

Epistle: Romans 15. 4-13; Gospel: St. Matthew 11, 2-10

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Jesus testifies to himself both through his words and his works. He reveals the kingdom to all who are open to see and to hear the truth. The disciples of John come to him to hear his testimony. Because they are open to the truth, they will hear and believe. They will know the power and peace of the kingdom. The Catechism addresses these signs of the kingdom in Christ.

The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him. (Jn 5:36) To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask.(Mk 5:25-34) So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father's works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God. (Jn 10:31-38) But his miracles can also be occasions for "offense", (Mt 11:6) they are not intended to satisfy people's curiosity or desire for magic. Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus; he is even accused of acting by the power of demons. (Jn 11:47-48) (CCC 548)

Let us accept the gift of signs according to the Father's will, never taking offense at his marvelous providence, in which he promises not a "hair of our heads" will be harmed. Let us wait upon the Lord in patience as we ask for all our needs in prayer, confident that he will never fail to reveal the kingdom to us in Jesus Christ our Lord.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy," Father Cusick

(Publish with permission) www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/


 

Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday

Rejoicing increases as Christmas approaches. On the third Sunday the altar with its flowers, the rose-colored vestments and the playing of the organ all give emphasis to this increasing joy.

Epistle: Philippians 4. 4-7; Gospel: St. John 1: 19-28

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Look to the coming of the Lord, "prepare the way of the Lord", as does John, humbly proclaiming, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (Jn 1:29) This phrase, in the Latin, "Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi," has been handed down in the sacred liturgy, proclaimed by the priest while holding up the sacred Host, the Body and Blood of Christ, for the adoration of the faithful. John the Baptist, man of holy humility and bold proclamation, demands that we turn our eyes to Christ, who "takes away the sin of the world." Wholehearted desire for Christ begins with honest acknowledgment of our sinfulness, "the sin of the world": both original sin, ours by "origin" from our first parents, and personal sins.

The consequences of original sin and of all men's personal sins put the world as a whole in the sinful condition aptly described in St. John's expression, 'the sin of the world.' (Jn 1:29) (CCC 407)

"This dramatic situation of 'the whole world [which] is in the power of the evil one' (1 Jn 5:19) makes man's life a battle: 'The whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God's grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity.' (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes, 37, art. 2)" (CCC 409)

Much of what ails the world today is rooted in an erroneous view of the human person, a view which has omitted the reality of original sin. Two effects remain in man after baptism, flowing from the sin of our first parents: a darkened intellect and a weakened will. Unless we acknowledge this fact, we struggle to love Christ in vain and deny he is God. The Lord has told us, "Without me you can do nothing." If we believe that we can accomplish anything good without Christ, we deny him, we deny the need for salvation, we claim to save ourselves.

The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man's situation and activity in the world. By our first parents' sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. Original sin entails 'captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil.' (Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511; cf. Heb. 2:14.) Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action, (Cf. John Paul II, CA, 25.) and morals. (CCC 407)

The judges, the courts, and small lobbying groups with large bank accounts today demand, for example, that the label "marriage" be applied to something other than a lifelong union between man and woman alone. This has become possible because the world has become unmoored from rootedness in God which alone can guide man and woman to an authentic understanding of themselves, of each other, of God's will and plan, and, in Christ, of the possibility of holiness and salvation.

Adrift without Christ, the individual is left only with the false gods of desire and self-will. Many divorced and remarried persons, rendering their own opinions as magisterial, re-admit themselves to Communion in violation of the express teaching of the Church that each marriage be submitted to the judgment of the Church and that men and women have their marriages blessed by the Church before participating further in the sacramental life. Many today are their own magisterium, rendering the truth of God mere opinion, equal to the scientific theories of the day, or the preference of the majority. Denial of the "sins of the world", both original and personal, is a fatal error. Life is in Christ alone, and Christ alone can exchange sin and death for life.

Our Church is a prophet, preparing the way for Christ both at Advent and the end of time, guiding us as we walk the paths of our vocations through the world. The Church is Mother and Teacher, "Mater et Magistra" as Pope John XXIII declared. The Church is such because of, and for, the will of Christ the Lord. The Church does not offer mere opinion when she opens and explains the Word of God, handed down to us through Scripture and Tradition. The Church teaches with the authority of God Himself. "I give you the gift of the Holy Spirit", "I will be with you always", "He who hears you, hears me."

John the Baptist guides us in Advent, a people who look to Christ alone to take away our sins and to open heaven for us when he comes again in glory. Christ is the "Lamb of God", to whom we confidently go to receive the fullness of God's mercy. Ecce Agnus Dei, ecce qui tollit peccata mundi. Go humbly, and with a sense of urgency, to receive him who unburdens us of the weight of death and shameof sin and gives us in exchange his unending, divine life.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy"---Father Cusick

( Publish with permission.) www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/


Fourth Sunday of Advent

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 4. 1-5; Gospel: St. Luke 3. 1-6

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The grace of redemption poured forth for the whole human race is ours in baptism, by which original sin is washed away. Unlike the baptism of St. John in the Jordan which occurred before Christ's act of redemption on the Cross, ours is received through the eternal priesthood of Christ realized and perfected on the Cross, and therefore gives the real gift of God's grace.

Jesus' public life begins with his baptism by John in the Jordan. (Cf. Lk 3. 23; Acts 1. 22) John preaches "a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." (Lk 3. 3) A crowd of sinners (Cf. Lk 3. 10-14; Mt 3. 7; 21. 32) --tax collectors and soldiers, Pharisees and Sadducees, and prostitutes--come to be baptized by him. "Then Jesus appears." The Baptist hesitates, but Jesus insists and receives baptism. Then the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims, "This is my beloved Son." (Mt 3. 13-17) This is the manifestation ("Epiphany") of Jesus as Messiah of Israel and Son of God. (CCC 535)

Only God can make us worthy of God. Jesus Christ, Lord and God, effects our adoption as sons of God for the first time when he washes away the stain of original sin and then fills us with the gift of God's life and love in our sacramental baptism.

I look forward to meeting you here again next week as, together, we "meet Christ in the liturgy", Father Cusick

(Publish with permission.) www.christusrex.org/www1/mcitl/