1 Dec 2012

2nd December 2012 - 1st Sunday of Advent (Year C)

On this weeks programme we enter into the season of Advent and Fr Frank Duhig joins us to discuss the meaning of Advent and how we need a time to spiritually prepare for Christmas. We have our regular gospel reflection and our usual odds and ends towards the end of the programme.

This weeks programme is available to listen to HERE.


We begin our celebration of Advent in our prayer space at the start of the programme with the playing of the Marian antiphon for Advent - Alma Redemptoris Mater (Loving mother of the Redeemer).

Raphael, The Small Cowper Madonna, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1504-05
Alma Redemptoris Mater, quae pervia caeli

porta manes, et stella maris, succurre cadenti,

surgere qui curat, populo: tu quae genuisti,
natura mirante, tuum sanctum Genitorem,
Virgo prius ac posterius, Gabrielis ab ore,
sumens illud Ave, peccatorum miserere.
Loving mother of the Redeemer,

gate of heaven, star of the sea,

assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again.
To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator,
Yet remained a virgin after as before.
You who received Gabriel's joyful greeting,
have pity on us poor sinners

It is one of the four seasonal antiphons prescribed to be sung or recited in the Liturgy of the Hours after night prayer (Compline or Vespers). It is usually sung from the eve of the first Sunday of Advent until the Friday before the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. For more information on the sequence and also a link to the 1987 encyclical letter of Pope John Paul II Redemptoris Mater exploring the theological understanding of the sequence and a reflection on Mary's pilgrimage of faith. (Continue reading HERE).

If you are looking for resources and further reading for Advent, links and suggestions are available from:
  • Limerick Diocese resources here and here
  • Blue Eyed Ennis - Phil is posting quite a number of posts on Advent so we are going to link to the blog address in general and encourage you to explore the various links that she has given in posts including her own reflections on the O Antiphons.
  • Loyola Press
  • CatholicCulture.org

Advent - A Time of Waiting, Conversion and Hope
Advent begins the Church's liturgical year.  It is a short season comprising of 4 Sundays, beginning with the Sunday closes to November 30th.  The Latin word Adventus means 'arrival' or 'coming'.  In the Roman Empire, the adventus referred to the arrival of a person of dignity and great power.  During the season of Advent we wait in joyful hope for the coming of THE King of kings, and Lord of lords, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

We read from the notes on Advent in the liturgical calendar (the Ordo):

Advent is a time of waiting, conversion and of hope:
  • waiting-memory of the first, humble coming of the Lord in our mortal flesh; waiting-supplication for his final, glorious coming as Lord of History and universal Judge;
  • conversion to which the Liturgy at this time often refers quoting the prophets, especially John the Baptist, 'Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand' (Mt 3:2)
  • joyful hope that the salvation already accomplished by Christ (cf. Rm 8:24-25) and the reality of grace in the world will mature and reach their fullness, therby granting us what is promised by faith, and 'we shall become like him for we shall see him as he really is' (Jn 3:2)
This hope is also expressed in the lighting of the first candle of the Advent wreath as John explained during the programme.  Traditionally the first candle of the Advent wreath is the candle of hope.  Hope is like a light shining in a dark place.  As we look at the light of this candle, we remember the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

Gospel - Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Each Gospel reading during Advent has a distinctive theme. In the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent we look at the Lord's coming at the end of time.  Fr. Frank explained the that Advent is a time to prepare for the three comings of Christ as described by St. Bernard of Clairveaux: the first coming of Jesus at Bethlehem, the second coming of Jesus at the end of time and the third coming of Jesus into our hearts when we reflect upon the Word of God and participate in the sacraments.  It is by becoming aware and working on this third coming of Christ every day that we can best prepare to commemorate and celebrate the first coming of Christ at Christmas and the second coming  at the moment of our death and at the end of time.  Fr. Frank offers some practical and sound advice about how we can spend our Advent season.

Fr. Frank's reflection on Advent and this weeks gospel has been excerpted from the programme and you can listen to it HERE.

Reflections on this weeks gospel:
Liturgical odds and ends

Divine Office - Week 1

As we begin a new church year we move in our cycle of readings and for the next 12 months we are following Cycle C (Sunday Readings) and Weekday Cycle 1.

Pope's Intentions for the month of December

Missionary Intention - Christ, light for all humanity: That Christ may reveal himself to all humanity with the light that shines forth from Bethlehem and is reflected in the face of his Church

General Intention - Migrants: That migrants throughout the world may be welcomed with generosity and authentic love, especially by Christian communities.

Saints of the Week

December 3rd - St Francis Xavier
December 4th - St John Damascene
December 5th - St Christina of Markyate
December 6th - St Nicholas
December 7th - St Ambrose (First Friday)
December 8th - Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Holy Day of Obligation in Ireland)

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