1st Sunday of Advent
Entrance Antiphon To you I lift up my soul, \O my God. In you I have trusted; let me not be put to shame. Nor let my enemies exult over me; and let none who hope in you be put to shame.
Collect Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming, so that, gathered at his right hand, they may be worthy to possess the heavenly king-dom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.
A reading from the Prophet Isaiah. 63:16-17; 64:1, 3-8
You, Lord, yourself, are our Father. Our Redeemer is your ancient name.. Why, Lord, leave us to stray from your ways and harden our hearts against fearing you? Return, for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your inheritance. Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down – at your presence the mountains would melt. No ear has heard, no eye has seen any god but you act like this for those who trust him. You guide those who act with integrity and keep your ways in mind. You were angry when we were inners; we had long been rebels against you. We were all like men unclean, all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing. We have all withered like leaves and our sins blew us away like the wind.
No one invoked your name or roused himself to catch hold of you. For you hid your face from us and you gave us up to the power of our sins. And yet, Lord, you are our Father; we the clay, you the potter, we are all the work of your hand. The word of the Lord.
God of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us, and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hear us,
shine forth from your cherubim throne.
O Lord, rouse up your might,
O Lord, come to our help. R/.
God of hosts, turn again, we implore,
look down from heaven and see.
Visit this vine and protect it,
the vine your right hand has planted, R/.
May your hand be on the man you have chosen,
the man you have given your strength.
And we shall never forsake you again;
give us life that we may call upon your name. R/.
A reading from the first Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians.1:3-9
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send you grace and peace.
I never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received through Jesus Christ. I thank him that you have been enriched in so many ways, especially in your teachers and preachers; the witness to Christ has indeed been strong among you so that you will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed; and he will keep you steady and without blame until the last day, the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, because God by calling you has joined you to his Son, Jesus Christ; and God is faithful. The word of the Lord.
Alleluia, alleluia! Let us see, O Lord, your mercy and give us your saving help. Alleluia!
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark. 13:33-37
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay away. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn. If he comes unexpectedly he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all;: Stay awake! The Gospel of the Lord.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen
Prayer over the offerings Accept, O Lord, we pray, these offering we make, gathered from among your gifts to us, and may what you grant us to celebrate devoutly here below gain for us the prize of eternal redemption. Through Christ.
Preface I of Advent It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, Holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord.
For he assumed at his first coming the lowliness of human flesh and so fulfilled the design you formed long ago and opened us the way to eternal salvation, that, when he comes again in glory and majesty and all is at last made manifest we who watch for that day may inherit the great promise in which now we dare to hope.
And so with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominions, and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven, we sing the hymn of your glory as without end we acclaim, Holy…
Communion Antiphon The Lord will bestow his bounty, and our earth shall yield its increase.
Prayer after Communion May these mysteries, O Lord, in which we have participated, profit us, we pray, for even now, as we walk amid passing things, you teach us by them to love the things of haven and hold fast to what endures. Through Christ our Lord.
Homily – 1st Sunday of Advent
Today we begin the season of Advent when we look forward to the celebration of Christ’s first coming – at Christmas.
Both our Lord’s coming at Christmas, and then also his second coming at the end of the world, teach us that we are part of the one family of God. So, just as He shows he cares for us by his coming, we in our turn remember that we are part of the one community of humanity, and not just individuals. On the negative side, we can see how our Lord views sin or sins, how they tend to affect other people and not just ourselves. Last Sunday’s Gospel, we remember, asked if we were feeding the hungry, helping the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, etc., all concerned with social good or social sins, not just personal sins, but also and importantly with the common good and our brotherhood and sisterhood with each other.
On the positive side we live in a way that is not just aware of other people, but rejoices in company and in sharing life or experiences or opinions with others. Part of the pain of the virus is that we are not able to do this as much as we would like. Holy Communion, we know, is not just the Body of Christ but is also communion or society with Christ, me and Him, and also me with other people and Him all part of that amazing community which is his Church. But there are amazing things too. I was thinking how memorable the world of Tim Berners-Lee was in giving us the world wide web, but with no interest in making his fortune from it, and how this compares with the scientists at Oxford who have worked so hard to produce a vaccine against the virus, but how insistent they are that it’s not just for the UK but for the whole world, especially the poorer part. Each in their way teach us on this Sunday, how Christ is Saviour of everyone, and wants everyone without exception to share in what He has done for us.
The second reading today is strong on the positive side too, as St Paul applauds the Corinthians for the great Christian community they have built up with teachers and preachers and witnesses to Christ. They were very much a minority in the city of Corinth but in a city which lived by values quite different from theirs they found strength in their common faith and common purpose and their growth.
The pagan character of the rest of Corinth can also make us think again how Advent, the time of awaiting Christ’s arrival, is not just a season for Catholics, or for other Christians too – it’s really for everyone because Christ became man for the salvation of the whole human race. He is the Saviour of the world. And it’s a big part of the Church’s work to tell the world about Him.
The other morning on LBC, the man who was manning the microphone got quite strong in saying Christmas does not celebrate Christ’s birth, it has nothing to do with Christ, it’s the season for giving; and also Christ was not born on December 25th.
Well, looking at December 25th, the Church doesn’t teach that it was the actual day of our Lord’s birth at Bethlehem; rather, it’s the day we celebrate together his birth. It’s a bit like the Queen’s official birthday in the summer-time, when there’s Trooping the Colour etc. Just because it isn’t really the date on which she was born, but the day when the odds are that there will be better weather for outdoor activities and ceremonies, that’s the date we have choose to have it- and it is also always a Saturday.
Our Lord’s ‘official birthday’ used to be celebrated on March 25th, (the day now on which we celebrate his conception at the Annunciation). Then, by the 4th century, the Western Church adopted the celebration of the sun shining in the sky, December 25th, and made that the official birthday, while the Eastern Church preferred January 6th, which for us is the Epiphany.
But that information about dates is important for a pub quiz. But the big thing is that Christ came, and that Christians have wanted to celebrate that coming for century after century, never mind that the actual date has travelled a bit.
And as we start preparing for Christmas 2020, both spiritually, and working out bubbles and other ways of keeping the corona virus at bay, we also remember it’s a serious business: Christ the Saviour wants us all to be numbered among the saved. In today’s short Gospel, He says twice: ‘Stay awake!’ If he had enlarged that, He might have said, ‘Stay awake, I want you so much!
1st week of Advent
MONDAY St Andrew ENTRANCE ANTIPHON Beside the Sea of Galilee the Lord saw two brothers, Peter and Andrew; and he said to them: Come after me and I will make you fishers of men,.
RESPONSE Their word goes forth through all the earth.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION Alleluia, alleluia! Follow me, says the Lord, and I will make you into fishers of men. Alleluia!
COMMUNION VERSE Andrew told his brother Simon: We have found the Messiah, the Christ, and he brought him to Jesus.
TUESDAY ENTRANCE ANTIPHON Behold, the Lord will come, and all his holy ones with him; and on that day there will be great light.
RESPONSE In his days justice shall flourish, and peace till the moon fails.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION Alleluia, alleluia! Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help. Alleluia!
COMMUNION VERSE The Just Judge will bestow a crown of righteousness on those who eagerly await his coming.
WEDNESDAY ENTRANCE ANTIPHON The Lord will come and he will not delay. He will illumine what is hidden in darkness and reveal himself to all the nations.
RESPONSE In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell for ever and ever.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION Alleluia, alleluia! The Lord is our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king and our saviour. Alleluia!
COMMUNION VERSE Behold, our Lord will come with power and will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
THURSDAY St Francis Xavier ENTRANCE ANTIPHON I will praise you, Lord, among ghe nations; I will tell of your name to my kin.
RESPONSE Go out to the whole world; proclaim the Good News.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION Alleluia, alleluia! Go, make disciples of all nations, says the Lord; I am with you always; yes, to the end of time. Alleluia!!
COMMUNION VERSE What I say to you in the darkness speak in the light, says the Lord; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
FRIDAY ENTRANCE ANTIPHON Behold, the Lord will come descending with splendour to visit his people with peace, and he will bestow on them eternal life.
RESPONSE The Lord is my light and my help.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION Alleluia, alleluia! Send victory like a dew, you heavens, and let the clouds rain it down. Let the earth open and bring forth the saviour. Alleluia!
COMMUNION VERSE We await a saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our mortal bodies to conform with his glorified body.
SATURDAY ENTRANCE ANTIPHON Come and show us your face, O Lord, who are seated upon the Cherubim, and we will be saved.
RESPONSE Happy are all who hope in the Lord.
GOSPEL ACCLAMATION Alleluia, alleluia! Seek the Lord while he still to be found; call to him while he is still near. Alleluia!
COMMUNION VERSE Behold, I am coming soon and my recompense is with me, says the Lord, to bestow a reward according to the deeds of each.