Sunday, November 30, 2014

Fr. Perrone on the First Sunday of Advent

Fr. John during Elevation in today's 9:30 A.M. Mass for the First Sunday of Advent

Fr. Perrone in talking about the First Sunday of Advent in his Sunday column, had this to say:

Today, the 30th of November, would be the feast of Saint Andrew, apostle of Christ, were it not for this feast falling on a Sunday this year. In the hand missal I had since my boyhood, this day marked the turning point of the calendar of the saints and it appeared at the very top of the section of saints’ day Masses. This year it is especially prominent as a moment of passage since it coincides with that other cycle of the Church, the liturgical cycle, in the beginning of Advent.

A noted theologian has said that Saint Andrew is the Apostle of the Cross. You will no doubt remember that he is depicted as being crucified on a cross in the form of an X. So, no matter whether this feast comes at the end of the Church cycle (as it does some years) or at the beginning (as this year), it is the reminder of the cross that counts. From an old account of his martyrdom we find this: When Aegeas (his judge) ordered Andrew to be hoisted on a cross, to die like Christ, Andrew cried out, ‘O good cross, made beautiful by the body of my Lord! So long desired, now at last made ready for my soul to enjoy.’ He was fastened to the cross on which he hung alive for two days, preaching without cessation the faith of Christ all the while, after which time he passed on to Him whose death he had so coveted.” The Advent connection with St. Andrew lies in this: he longed for and found the Messiah, discovering him along with his brother, St. Peter. Advent then is the season of longing for Christ and Andrew well represents this desire.

Advent has a double aspect about it: the backward glance to the time before Christ, when He was the long-desired One, and that forward looking for His return to earth as its glorious Judge. Both events have a quasi-political ring to them which perhaps makes this year’s Advent have special significance.

We are living in an age of anxiety. Uncertainty, unrest, fears, apprehension over many things: the Church in her leadership; the government’s overweening controls of more and more of our lives with the corresponding loss of personal control and freedom; worries about the security of our freedoms of speech and of the free exercise of the Christian faith; the security of our money; political tensions here and unrest in the global scene; radical Islam, etc. Of this much we must be certain: Christ is the one Lord and God for all people and of all times ever since His first coming. He is sovereign. All things refer to Him and He is in absolute control of all things.

Our utter dependance on Him, our absolute trust in Him is essential, now and for all times. Certainly, He gives freedom for men to cooperate with His will, or to oppose it; hence the consequences which befall us on account of our sins. The whole Church, and all humanity too, should cry out, “Come, Lord Jesus,” (an ancient prayer of the Church). This prayer is not so much a plea to hasten His second coming (though it is that) as it is for Him to be present now to make us saintly, Godfearing people. Were we saints, we would have no fear. But because we have been wicked people generally speaking, we do have cause for apprehension. Advent then ought to be a serious cry to Jesus for help, to be with us, His Church militant, in this time of disquiet in the world.

This morning I read an excellent post by Dom Mark at Vultus Christi that I recommend: Mary always present in the Church.

Please Note: The priests of the Holy Cross are offering an Advent Day of Recollection next Sunday after the Noon Mass in the school.  


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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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