Two Hints for Making a Good Advent:
Advent is not Pre-Christmas. It has its own meaning and importance. Simply:
Advent has a twofold character, for it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered, and likewise a time when, by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time. For these two reasons, Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight.” The weekdays from December 17 up to and including December 24 are ordered in a more direct way to preparing for the Nativity of the Lord. (General Instruction: #39)
Thus: Advent is split in two parts: until Dec. 16th the emphasis is on the second coming of Jesus, from the 17th on we focus on his first coming.
Hint one: Decorate your houses accordingly. Perhaps trim the tree over a few days or use advent wreath and candles at home.
“Early Advent” differs from the other seasons of the church year in that the first reading from the Old Testament is chosen first and the other readings flow from it. “The Old Testament readings are prophecies about the Messiah and the Messianic Age, especially from Isaiah. The readings from an apostle serve as exhortations and as proclamations, in keeping with the different themes of Advent.” (Lectionary for Mass Introduction, no. 93)
Hint two: The parish bulletin includes the readings for the day. Read them even if you are unable to get to Mass.
Feast of the Immaculate Conception:
Saturday, Dec. 8th
Collection for retired and infirmed religious:
Sunday, Dec. 9th
An important pastoral reality is that belonging comes before believing. This is especially true for Catholics. We believe that we connect to God as members of his family, the Church, indeed through a particular Parish. Every parish has the same functions and responsibilities but will accomplish them in different ways. We at St. Charles are blessed with many young professionals. Some are part of married couples who have their children in our religious education program. We are happy to serve them with superior formation. Others however are not married or do not have children of school age. Many are road warriors who travel a great deal for work others are working through a pre-natal bucket list: doing all the things they will not be able to do post childbirth. Almost everyone works ungodly hours. Although many of them- indeed you – consider this your parish family and may even attend Mass weekly, it may not in the same place many weeks in a row. This does not develop the sense of belonging which is so necessary for spiritual growth. We do not know how to serve you and need new ways to communicate and connect. To accomplish this, there will be a meeting of anyone interested
with Fr. John Grimowich
on Monday, Dec 17th
in the Rectory Parlor.
Fr. John is a resident at St. Charles continuing his studies in media at the University of California, Berkeley and is uniquely qualified to assist us to the next steps. I am not. This will require increased use of social media, virtual learning and Skype, all things I don’t understand and really don’t want to. The creativity of the entire community will be necessary for us to create a Parish in which we can all belong.
Hoping that you will be able to attend, I remain
First Sunday in Advent
Dec. 2, 2018
We first read Jeremiah in July in a passage that was quite typical of him. Speaking of and to the leaders of the Jews the Lord said through Jeremiah: “You have not cared for (the sheep), but I will take care to punish your evil deeds.” (Jeremiah 23:2) Not a man noted for ambiguity. Yet todays reading is ambiguous on several levels but will reveal an important truth.
Let us first review Jeremiah’s place in history and scripture. He was an aristocrat active from 627 to 585 BC: two very important dates. A we saw previously in the 100 years following the fall of Israel in 721, the northern kingdom of the Jewish people, Judea, the southern kingdom, was subject to the Assyrians. Like all subject peoples they were looking for a chance to escape.In 627 disturbances following the death of the Assyrian King seemed to provide the opportunity. For a while they were able to carve out some space amid the warring parties but then the Babylonian’s grasped so much power that the Assyrians made an alliance with the Egyptians usually their great rivals, Josiah, he king of Judea, realized that this would effectively end any independence they could have and fought the Egyptians in 609 at Megiddo. He suffered a disastrous defeat and the Judeans needed to be rescued by the Babylonians. Things quickly fall apart. There were several kings in his period who tried both to satisfy the people’s desire for independence and the demands of their Babylonians overlords. They ultimately failed and in 597 the Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem and began the first series of deportations of the leadership to Babylon. A puppet king was installed but he could not control his people and the Babylonians deciding that this was hopeless destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the temple in 586.
It is thought that Jeremiah escaped to Egypt where there was a flourishing Jewish community. He was however arrested and imprisoned several times and the vison which he shares today began in one of these incarcerations. The chapter begins:
The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah a second time while he was still imprisoned in the quarters of the guard: 2 Thus says the LORD who made the earth and gave it form and firmness, whose name is LORD: 3 Call to me, and I will answer you; I will tell to you things great beyond reach of your knowledge. (Jeremiah 33:1-3)
The Lord begins by stating that he is the creator, but he then reveals that he is also their redeemer and savior:
6 Behold, I will treat and assuage the city’s wounds; I will heal them, and reveal to them an abundance of lasting peace. I will change the lot of Judah and the lot of Israel, and rebuild them as of old. 8 I will cleanse them of all the guilt they incurred by sinning against me; all their offenses by which they sinned and rebelled against me, I will forgive. (Jeremiah 33:6–8)
As we have seen repeatedly the Lord did not just create his people and then abandon them but entered into their lives and history.
The passage which we read today begins after the Lord detailing the good things he will do for his people.
14 The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. 15 In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land. 16 In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her: “The LORD our justice.” Jeremiah 33:14–16
Jeremiah is telling the people that this restoration will be the fulfillment of his promises to the line of King David. He has said this before:
5 The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The LORD is our righteousness.” (Je 23:5–6)
There is however a difficulty Jeremiah 33:14 to 26 is considered an addition included after the return to Jerusalem. Please note that this is still inspired and completes the idea. The next section reads:
17 For thus says the LORD: Never shall David lack a successor on the throne of the house of Israel, 18 nor shall priests of Levi ever be lacking, to offer holocausts before me, to burn cereal offerings, and to sacrifice victims.This word of the LORD also came to Jeremiah: Jeremiah 33:17–18
When the people returned to Jerusalem, they did not have a king of the line of David, but they did have a priesthood and they saw that this and the law would be the means that they would stay as a people. AS we see with Jesus the hope of a Davidic King did not die but the day to day reality required priests. Also note that Jeremiah mentions every kind of temple worship. Both palace and temple were needed.
22 Like the host of heaven which cannot be numbered, and the sands of the sea which cannot be counted, I will multiply the descendants of my servant David and the Levites who minister to me. Jeremiah 33:22
As we have seen, the final editing of the Pentateuch (Torah) – the first five books of the First Testament – was completed about the same time and place as the final editing of Jeremiah. There was a strong influence by those who wished to recognize the necessity of the priesthood. The practical reality of their situation caused them to fill out and complete the thought of Jeremiah. There is a very powerful lesson here for all of us. We can only follow God if we worship Him.