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Chaplain's Center

Advent Sermon: 3 December 2017

Many of you inquired about the Advent suggestions and ideas from Fr. Pat's homily yesterday. He has graciously shared the text with us...

"How many people walked into Church today, saw the Poinsettias and the violet vestments, and said – “Oh that’s right, Advent starts today” and were caught by surprise?

Yes, Advent starts today and here’s important news – Advent is only 3 weeks this year! (Technically, 3weeks + 1 day). Christmas is on a Monday, so that means we will go to Church on Sunday morning for the obligation of the 4th Sunday of Advent and then go back to Church on either Sunday evening for the Christmas Vigil or Monday morning for Christmas morning mass.

I know – two days in a row of mass or two masses on one day – oh the horror! But seriously – this 3weeks+1day Advent causes us to have to get in gear ASAP if we want to get spiritual prepared to Celebrate Jesus’ birthday on the 25th.

Just a little note about celebrating Christmas. We START the Christmas season on December 25th. --We start the Christmas season on December 25th and celebrate until the Baptism of the Lord (which is January 8th this year). So please don’t throw out your Christmas tree on December 26th.
Enjoy Christmastime! :) Celebrate for two whole weeks! When you set up your Nativity scene (as I did in my Bancroft office) please place the 3 Wise Men on the other side of the house and move them a little closer each day so they arrive on Epiphany, January 7.
Make those guys work for it this year!

Back to today--- So most of us have some homework to do today.
#1 Get out your Advent wreath, set it up and light the first violet candle and sing one verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
#2 Set up your Advent Calendar or go to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - website – there’s a link at the top for Advent. With a clickable Advent Calendar.
#3 –Pray with today’s scriptures (there is also a guide for doing Lectio Divina (divine reading with scripture) if you click on December 3 on the Advent Calendar on the website)
#4 – Do this if you only have time for one thing todayplan your approach to Advent:

This is what I recommend:
1. Remove obstacles to Advent. !Es muy imporante!!!– minimize TV and other things that eat up your time for prayer, family, etc.
2. Add some “holy time”:
a. Spiritual reading - I am going to finish reading, Confessions by St. Augustine and then start on a book on a pilgrimage to the holy land. Choose a good spiritual book to read, like Rediscover Catholicism by Matt Kelly, or The Name of God is Mercy by Pope Francis, or Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict.
b. Spiritual movies–The Nativity Story(from2006)–love the relationship between Joseph and Mary. The beginning of Jesus of Nazareth series or watch The Bible Series, The ten commandments.
i. Saints movies - Joan of Arc (1999 or 1948), Therese, Song of Bernadette, The Letters (Mother Theresa), John Bosco
ii. Also, Christian movies like Courageous, Fireproof, Facing the Giants, October Baby (A little more mature), Soul Surfer,
iii. Also good movies - The Blind side, Cinderella Man
c. Set Prayer goals – adoration 2-3x week, daily mass 1x week,
i. 20 minutes with Scripture/day – read the nativity stories with your kids Matthew chapters 1-2 and Luke chapters 1-2 (The annunciation!! – Gospel for 4th Sunday of Advent). Remember you can read the Sunday readings together, too.
d. Do Service–giving tree,serving food at a food pantry, visiting the sick or elderly. And finish your end of year donations.
e. Get to confession – we will have 12 priests here tomorrow evening 1900- 2000 or so, so come get cleansed!
f. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself with these goals, but don’t get stressed out about it.

Remember the theme of the season: Watching and waiting.

The first attitude is Waiting
We can learn about this from our friend...the CMOD. The Company Mate of the Deck – usually of Plebe or 3/C who stands at their company’s CMOD desk for an hour or 2 at a time.
What does it mean to Wait? Well, the CMOD really is just waiting to be relieved. So he/she waits expectantly to see the next CMOD come walking towards the desk to take over.

- For us, that means to wait expectantly for the Lord. Now Jesus has already come, and we wait for him to come again. In Advent, we also wait to celebrate his coming. The attitude is to remember how Israel waited hundreds of years for the Messiah to come. The person we want to imitate is Simeon in Luke chapter 2. Simeon embodies Israel’s expectation of the Messiah. The Holy Spirit told him he would see the Messiah before he died. So he waited. He eventually was able to hold the baby Jesus in his arms when his parents brought Jesus to the temple for Circumcision. Simeon’s response was “Now, Lord, you may let your servant go in peace, your word has been fulfilled, for my eyes have seen your salvation...!” Let us wait like Simeon for the Christ!

The second attitude is Watching.
Well, The CMODs are learning their job and sometimes fail to keep Watch. Many of us has seen the sailor that has not be completely diligent during watch – either they are distracted by something or they are half asleep.

- For us, we are to have the attitude of Watching. Of being alert and diligent – of wanting to encounter the Lord this season – in prayer, in the people we encounter, in the examples of faith around us.

Don’t let these 3 weeks pass you by! Let’s make them count! Plan your Advent goals. Pray for the attitude of Watching and Waiting – that your heart may desire to encounter Jesus. Surround yourselves with symbols of the real Reason for the Season. Let us grow in holiness as we journey together to encounter Christ the Lord!"

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