Jesus is the Reason for the Season!
We are most grateful to all who joined our Advent Reflection Workshop this weekend.
May God bless you and your loved ones this Advent – and beyond – as we together prepare our hearts for the coming of our Savior!
Below you will find Brother Stancos Reflection on The Advent Season
REFLECTION ON THE ADVENT SEASON
by Brother Stanco
- The season of Advent opens the new liturgical year of the Catholic Church. The word Avent is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning coming, approach, or arrival. During Advent, we prepare for the coming, arrival of Jesus in our hearts, in our homes, in the world, and in the Church. Advent is a beautiful time of hope, anticipation, and expectation as we remember our salvation history. It’s also a time of repentance and meditation while anticipating Jesus’ second coming. The season of Advent takes about four weeks. This year our Advent season is short.
- When God created the universe there was no sin, sin entered humanity through the disobedience of Adam and Evil because they wanted to be wise like God Genesis 3:5-6. This was not the will of God to see us separated from him or to live in sin. All that God wanted was to remain in a close relationship with humanity at all times. It is for this reason that throughout the history of the Israelites, God sent different prophets to dialogue, to maintain the relationship with them. The Israelites obeyed God for a time, but eventually, they would start following false gods and committing other acts of disobedience. God would then send them hard times so that they would repent from their disobedience and return to Him. Now, in the time of Prophet Malachi, not only were they not repenting when God pointed out their sin, but they accused Him of being the problem then God went silent on them, but He left them with a promise that he was going to send Elijah the prophet, he said. “Now I am sending to you Elijah the prophet Before the day of the LORD comes, the great and terrible day; He will turn the heart of fathers to their sons, and the heart of sons to their fathers, Lest I come and strike the land with utter destruction.” (Malachi 3: 23-24).
- From Prophet Malachi God was silent for about 400 hundred years no prophet appeared and people kept on waiting to hear from God. The next time God spoke it was to prepare the way for His Son through John the Baptist. Who is the bridge between the Old and New Testament prophets.
Thus, Advent is waiting in HOPE for PEACE coming with the birth of CHRIST with JOY for the LOVE GOD has for his people.
Four Weeks of Advent
First Week of Advent we reflect on Hope: The Prophecy Candle is lit (purple)
- The first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the Advent season in the Christian liturgical calendar. Each of the four weeks of Advent has a specific theme, and the first week typically centers around the theme of “Hope” or “Expectation.” The first week of Advent captures the entire hope of the Old Testament. On the first Sunday of Advent, we light the first candle on the Advent wreath. This candle is called “The Candle of Hope” or “Prophet’s Candle,” symbolizing the anticipation of the coming Messiah and the hope that the birth of Christ brings to the world. The “prophecy candle,” assures us we can have hope that God will fulfill the prophecies declared in the Old Testament about Jesus. As St Paul says in the Letter to Romans, Hope does not disappoint (Romans 5:5). In Hebrews, we hear that “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” (Hebrews 1:1-2). The Scripture readings and prayers at Mass during this week often focus on the prophecies in the Old Testament about the promised Savior and the expectation of His arrival. It’s a time for us to meditate on the prophecies in the Bible, such as those in the book of Isaiah, that foretell the birth of the Messiah. When we read the book of Isaiah 7:14 it says that. “Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign; the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel. We can also read Isaiah 11:1-10 which talks about the coming king from the line of Jesse. This is what we see in the Gospel of Matthew 1: 23. Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means “God is with us.” The liturgical color associated with this week is typically purple symbolizing anticipation, penance, and preparation.
Second Week of Advent we reflect on Peace: The second candle is lit also known as Bethlehem Candle (purple)
- During this time, we focus on Peace which the birth of Jesus brings to humanity. We all need peace in our lives, our homes, our families, our church, and our whole world. This is the time to slow down and seek out the peace of God so, that we may become peacemakers for ourselves and others. In John 14:27, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; the peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” This is the peace that we wait for, we anticipate during the second week. The second candle reminds us of Mary and Joseph’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem before Mary gave birth to Jesus. Building on the meaning of the Prophecy Candle, this second candle recalls that after all of the division, destruction, and dispersion of the kingdom in the Old Testament, there might finally be peace on Earth. The second week of Advent points us to the Bible verses that speak through the lips of John the Baptist that now is the time for transformation, time to repent and turn away from our sins. As we hear in the book of Isaiah 40: 3-5. “A voice proclaims: In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD! Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! Every valley shall be lifted, every mountain and hill made low. The rugged land shall be a plain, the rough country, a broad valley. Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” It is the perfect to go for confession to prepare our hearts for Jesus.
Third Week of Advent: we reflect on Joy: the third candle is lit also known as the Shepherd’s Candle (pink)
- The third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday and is all about Joy. Gaudete is the Latin word for “Rejoice,” and on this Sunday we light the Shepherd’s Candle. The third candle is pink, which is the liturgical color that represents joy. The joy we celebrate this week is the joy of our faith, the joy that we have experienced so far this season, and the joy at the coming of Christ. Luke 2: 10-11. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David, a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.” The third Sunday of Advent is meant to remind us of the world’s joy that the birth of Jesus brings. We also get the inspiration to rejoice from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians 4: 4-5. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near.” During this week of Advent, we read Scripture, pray, and reflect on the joy that God’s plan gives. Isaiah 35:10. “Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return. They will enter Jerusalem singing, crowned with everlasting joy. Sorrow and mourning will disappear, and they will be filled with joy and gladness.”
Fourth Week of Advent: we reflect on Love. The fourth candle is lit, also known as Angel’s candle.
- We specifically reflect on, God’s love for the world, Christ’s love for all of us, and our love for our neighbors. The Angel’s Candle serves as a reminder of the angel’s message, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” (Luke 2: 13-14). God revealed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. 1 John 4:9.In this Fourth Week of Advent, our final days of preparation before Christmas, we ask Christ to forgive us our sins and, through His grace (confession), to create us anew when He comes. This week is also a time to recollect, to reflect on our Advent journey, we have one last chance to refocus. Love plays a vital role in the Christmas story. Because of Joseph’s love for Mary, he didn’t stone her when he found out she was pregnant with what he thought was a child out of wedlock with another man (Matthew 1:18-19). We also reflect on Mary’s Love, her motherly love for Jesus, and ultimately, we see God’s love for everyone by sending his son for us (John 3:16).