Posts Tagged ‘Advent’

Reason for Hope: Meditations for the Advent Season

In 15 Audio on 2013/12/06 at 12:00 AM


1.Be Ready!
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_01.mp3Lord, Watch over your people, who come to you in confidence. Strengthen the hearts of those who hope in You.

Give courage to those who falter because of their failures. Lead them along in this Holy Season of Advent closer to You in Hope by the Power of Your Holy Spirit.

May they one day proclaim Your Saving Acts of Kindness in Your Eternal Kingdom.


Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_02.mp3Truly, I have set my soul in silence and peace. As a little child rests in its Mother’s arms, even so my soul. O Israel, hopes in the Lord, both now and forever.

-Psalm 131:2-3

Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_03.mp3Psalm 27:1-2
The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?… Thogh an army encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war be waged against me, even then will I trust.

4.In Hope, we were saved
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_04.mp3In Hope we were saved. But hope is not hope if its object is seen; how is it possible for one to hope what he sees? And hoping for what we cannot see means awaiting it with patient endurance… We know that God makes all things work for the good of those who love Him who have been called according to His decree… If God is for us, who can be against us? — Romans 8: 25, 28, 31

5.Trust in God
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_05.mp3This I know. That God is on my side. When I fear, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise. – Psalm 56:10

6.The Finish Line
Host – The Mo
st Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birminghamadvent2010_06.mp3Philippians 3:12-14

It is not that I have reached it yet, or have already finished my course, but I am racing to grasp the prize, if possible … Brothers, I do not think of myself as having reached the finish line. I give no thought to what lies behind, but push on to what is ahead. My entire attention is on the finish line…

7.Our Exile
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_07.mp3This life we live right now is an exile; Heaven is our real home.

8.My Father’s House
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_08.mp3John 14: 1-3 — “Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

9.Joys and Hopes
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_09.mp3Gaudiem et Spes — The joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of the people of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted, are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anguish of the followers of Christ as well.

Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
adven2010_10.mp3Heaven is the state of supreme and definitive hapiness, the goal of the deepest longings of mankind. Eternal Life with God; communion of life and love with the Trinity and all the blessed. — Catechism of the Catholic Church CV. 1023 and Glossary

11.Prayer makes a difference

Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birminghamadvent2010_11.mp3It is You, Oh Lord, Who are my hope, my trust, Oh Lord, since my youth. – My hope has always been in you – As for me, I will always hope and praise you more and more. — Psalm 71:5,14

12.Blessed are the Merciful
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_12.mp3The Church must consider it one of her principal duties – at every stage of history and especially in our modern age – to proclaim and to intoduce into life the Mystery of mercy, supremely revealed in Jesus Christ.

13.Divine Mercy
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_13.mp3Let the greatest sinners place their trust in My Mercy. They have the right before others to trust in the abyss of My Mercy. I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My Compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable Mercy. Before I come as a Just Judge, I first open wide the door of My Mercy. — Divine Mercy in My Soul: The Diary of St. Maria Faustina Kowalska

14.Why do we hope?
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_14.mp3We hope because of Our Lord’s promise of Divine Mercy. The Parables of the Prodigal Son, the Lost Coin and the Lost Sheep of Luke’s Gospel all point to that reality

15.Gaudete Sunday\

Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birminghamadvent2010_15.mp3Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again, rejoice — Galatians 4:4

16.Hope and our contemporary world

Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birminghamadvent2010_16.mp3Seeing so much false security collapse, we realize that what we need most is a trustworthy hope. This is found in Christ alone. If Jesus is present, there is no longer any time that lacks meaning or is empty. If He is present, we may continue to hope, even when others can no longer assure us of any support, even when the present becomes trying. P. Benedcit XVI, December 02, 2009

17.Hope marks humanity’s journey

Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birminghamadvent2010_17.mp3For Christians, Hope is envlivened by a certainty: The Lord is present in the passage of our lives. He accompanies us and one day will also dry our tears. One day, not far off, everything will find its fulfillment in the Kingdom of God; a Kingdom of Justice and Peace.

18.A life of Hope
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_18.mp3St. Paul in the book of Romans shows us how to allow Christ to enter into our daily struggles. — As children of God, we are heirs of God, heirs with Christ; if only we suffer with Him so as to be glorified with Him.

19.Fear of Death
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_19.mp3Matthew 25, the Judgement passage points to a basic reality in life: If we want to get ready for death want to be relieved of a fear of death, if we want to obtain Hope in everlasting life, then we can experience that Hope by helping other people.

Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_20.mp3Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta quietly witnessed to committed love by her example and her life of prayer

21.The Cenaculo Community
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_21.mp3Mother Elvira Petrozzi brings about healing from addiction through the Blessed Sacrament, Confession, devotion to Our Lady, hard physical labor and personal discipline. Mother feels that if a person needs to eat three times a day to nourish the body, they also need to pray three times a day to nourish the soul

22.The Saints
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_22.mp3In the life of each one of us, there are very dear persons to whom we feel particularly close; some are already in God’s arms, others still share with us the journey of life: they are our parents, relatives, educators. They are persons to whom we have done good or from whom we have received good. They are persons we know we can count on. It is important to have travel companions on the journey of our Christian life, a spiritual director, a confessor, persons with whom we can share the experience of faith

23.Guardian Angels
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_23.mp3In this world, the Angels attend to almost everything as they are the messengers of God and invisible

24.The Holy Eucharist
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_24.mp3Christ left to His followers a pledge of hope and food for the journey in the sacraments of faith, in which natural elements, the fruits of human cultivation, are changed into His Glorified Body and , as a supper of brotherly communion and a foretaste of the Heavenly Banquet — Gaudiem et Spes

25.John the Baptist
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_25.mp3John lived in a spirit of penance in anticipation of Our Lord’s coming

26.Simeon and Ana
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
dvent2010_26.mp3Now though dost dismiss Thy servant, Oh Lord, according to Thy Word in peace, because my eyes have seen Thy salvation which Thou didst prepare before the face of all peoples; a light of revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people, Israel

.27.Joseph and Mary, Mother of Hope

Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birminghamadvent2010_27.mp3St. Joseph, thank you for providing for us – Cenaculo Community prayer

28.They shall call Him Emmanuel
Host – The Most Rev. Robert J. Baker, Bishop of Birmingham
advent2010_28.mp3The single-most reason for our Hope is the Advent, the coming of Christ into this world as Emmanuel, as “God with us”.


Advent: The Coming of the Lord Continues

In 06 Scripture & Theology on 2012/12/21 at 9:11 AM

“The word ‘advent’ means ‘coming’ or ‘presence’, said the Pope: “In the ancient world it indicated the visit of the king or emperor to a province; in the language of Christianity it refers to the coming of God, to his presence in the world; a mystery that involves the entire cosmos and all of history, and with two culminating moments: the first and the second coming of Jesus Christ”.

Benedict XVI explained that these two culminating moments are first the Incarnation, and then the glorious return of Christ at the end of time. “These two moments, chronologically distant – and it is not given to us to know how far apart they are – touch us deeply, because by His death and resurrection Jesus has already accomplished that transformation of humanity and of the cosmos that is the final goal of creation. But before that end, it is necessary that the Gospel be proclaimed to all nations, as Jesus says in the Gospel of Saint Mark. The coming of Christ is continuous; the world must be infused by His presence. This permanent coming of the Lord in the proclamation of the Gospel requires our continual collaboration; and the Church … in communion with her Lord, collaborates in this coming of the Lord, in which His glorious return has already begun”.

The Word of God traces “a line of conduct to pursue in order to be ready for the coming of the Lord. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says to the disciples, ‘Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life … Be vigilant at all times and pray’, inviting them to simplicity and prayer. The apostle Paul encourages them to ‘increase and abound in love’ among themselves and towards others. … In the midst of the turmoil of the world, or the desert of indifference and materialism, Christians accept the salvation of God and bear witness to it by following a different way of life. … The community of believers is a sign of the love of God, of His justice that is already present and working in history, but not yet fully realised, and that therefore should always be awaited, invoked, and sought after with patience and courage”.

Vatican Information Service #121203

God’s Benevolent Plan for Humanity

In 01 Daily Meditations on 2012/12/14 at 12:00 AM

 Vatican City, 5 December 2012 (VIS) – God’s “benevolent plan” for mankind, which begins St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, was the theme of the Holy Father’s catechesis at today’s general audience. The great hymn that the apostle Paul raised to God “introduces us to living in the time of Advent, in the context of the Year of Faith. The theme of this hymn of praise is God’s plan for mankind, defined in terms of joy, stupefaction and thankfulness, … of mercy and love”, said the Pope.

The Apostle elevated this blessing to God because he “looked upon his actions throughout the history of salvation, culminating in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus, and contemplated how the celestial Father chose us, even before the foundation of the world, to become His adoptive children, in his only Son, Jesus Christ. … God’s ‘benevolent plan’, which the Apostle also describes as a ‘plan of love’, is defined as ‘the mystery’ of divine will, hidden and then disclosed in the Person and work of Christ. The initiative precedes any human response; it is the freely given gift of his love, which envelops and transforms us.

“What is the ultimate aim of this mysterious plan? It is to recapitulate all things in Christ; “this means that in the great design of creation and history, Christ is placed at the centre of the world’s entire path, as the axis upon which everything turns, drawing all of reality to Him, in order to overcome dispersion and limits, and to lead all to fullness in God”.

However, “this benevolent plan”, explained Benedict XVI, “did not remain concealed in God’s silence, in the heights of His Heaven; instead, He brought it to our knowledge by entering into a relationship with man, to whom He revealed His very being. He did not simply communicate a series of truths, but instead He communicated Himself to us, He showed Himself as one of us, to the extent of taking on human flesh. … This communion in Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit, offered by God to all mankind in the light of His self- revelation, does not merely correspond to our humanity, but is instead the fulfilment of its deepest aspirations, and introduces it to a joy which is neither temporal nor limited, but eternal”.

“In view of this, what is, then, the act of faith? It is man’s response to God’s self-revelation, by which He shows His ‘benevolent plan’ for humanity. … it is allowing oneself to be seized by God’s Truth, a Truth that is Love. … All this leads to a … true ‘conversion’, a ‘change of mentality’, because the God Who has revealed Himself to us in Christ and has shown us His plan captures us and draws us to Him, becoming the meaning that sustains our life and the rock on which it finds stability”.

The Holy Father concluded by recalling that Advent “places us before the luminous mystery of the coming of the Son of God and the great ‘benevolent plan’ by which He sought to draw us to Him, to allow us to live in full communion of joy and peace with Him. Advent invites us, in spite of the many difficulties we encounter, to renew our certainty of the presence of God: He came into the world, in human flesh like ours, to fully realise his plan of love. And God asks that we too become signs of His action in the world. Through our faith, hope and charity, He wishes us to make His light shine anew in our night”.

Vatican Information Service #121205


Advent: the Coming of Christ

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2011/12/11 at 9:11 AM


• Advent is the particular time of the year in which we meditate on the two comings of Christ: one coming which has already been fulfilled in history; and another which we still await.

• While Advent is certainly a time to prepare our hearts to receive the Christ Child anew at  Christmas so that He may be incarnate in the world once again through us, there is another coming of Christ for which we must still prepare.

• It is His second coming when Christ will come again in glory at the end of time with salvation for His people, and I spoke about this at length last Sunday.

• And I also spoke about how we should prepare for these two comings of Christ by growing in love for one another and by truly striving for virtue.

• But while it is important for us to prepare for these two particular comings of Christ, St. Bernard of Clairvaux tells us that there is yet another coming of Christ which we must not neglect.

• For those of you who may not be familiar with St. Bernard, he was a Cistercian monk who lived in France during the 12th century and who was well known for his preaching and great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

• In preaching on the two comings of Christ for which we prepare during the season of Advent, St. Bernard tells us that there is also a third, intermediate coming, that exists between these two comings of Christ.

• While the first coming and last coming of Christ are visible and manifested in history, this intermediate coming of Christ is invisible, hidden, and only seen by the elect within their own selves.

• St. Bernard tells us that “in His first coming our Lord came in our flesh and in our weakness.” “In the final coming He will be seen in glory and majesty.” But “in this middle coming He comes in spirit and in power.”

• This intermediate coming of which St. Bernard speaks is Christ coming to us through the Word, which we keep in our hearts.

• You see, my dear friends, 40 days after His resurrection when our Lord ascended into Heaven with the promise that He would one day return again, He did not leave us bereft of His divine presence.

• To the contrary, our Lord abides with us even now, and not simply in the Word of Sacred Scripture, but through the sacraments, which provide us with a visible manifestation of and encounter with the Word Made Flesh!

• As Christians we know that we always have our Lord with us. He comes to us in this intermediate way first through the sacrament of Baptism, by which He enters into our souls and makes a home there, forging a covenant of love with us.

• And throughout the course of our lives Jesus comes to us again and again through all the sacraments, most especially the Blessed Sacrament: the Eucharist, by which He feeds us with His very own flesh.

• But Jesus also comes to us through the reading of Sacred Scripture, especially when it is proclaimed at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, speaking to us His word of truth.

• And so that we may never be without Him, our Lord remains with us in the tabernacle, His divine presence signaled by the glow of the sanctuary lamp, waiting for us to come to Him.

• Yet while it is true that our Lord blesses us with His presence in the tabernacle, we must remember that Jesus did not come to earth to dwell in a tabernacle of gold. He has come to earth because He wishes to dwell within something much more valuable: the tabernacle of our souls!

• While it is right and good that we prepare for our Lord’s two comings in human history

during Advent, we must not neglect to prepare for the daily coming of the Word-made-flesh in our souls. For indeed, this is the most intimate and personal way Christ comes to us.

• Just as we’ve spared no effort in making this church a suitable dwelling place for God through the use of noble materials, beautiful and theologically rich architecture and artwork, all the more must we work to make our souls suitable dwelling places for the Lord!

• Instead of the intricate stained glass, marble, and gold that adorns this church, we must adorn our souls with virtue and good works.

• Just as the light of the morning sun pours through these stained glass windows, illuminating them and providing us with a glimpse of the heavenly realities, so too must the light of faith, hope and charity pour through our words and actions so that people can get a glimpse of the Christ within us.

• Yet, my dear friends, if we wish to fully experience the grace of this intermediate coming of Christ, then we must come to Christ!

• We do this by making every effort to avail ourselves of His grace through our prayers, through our worthy participation in the sacraments, through our obedience to His Church, and through our service to others.

• My dear friends, if we are truly going to be prepared for our Lord’s coming as man in the Incarnation and His second coming at the end of time, then Christ must reign in our hearts now.

• And when we do this, when we allow Christ to reign in our hearts, He grants us the priceless gift of joy – that same joy that our first and second readings speak about today.

• As we now prepare ourselves for our Lord to come to us in the Eucharist, let us pray that we may have the courage to rid from our lives and from our souls all that prevents us from receiving our Lord as we should.

• Let us pray that we may receive Jesus now as the welcome guest of our souls, and in so doing, let us trust that when our lives on earth are over, He will receive us as His welcome guest in Heaven.

Copyright 2009 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC

Season of Advent

In 05 Homilies by Fr. Reid on 2011/12/08 at 12:00 AM

 • High atop Mt. Carmel in northern Israel is a beautiful view of a very interesting part of the world. To the west is the clear, blue water of the Mediterranean Sea. To the north are the mountains of Lebanon. And to the south and east is the plain of Megiddo.

• While it looks like a very peaceful and beautiful area, this plain – which contains the intersection of some of the main trading routes of ancient times – has been the site of many important battles over the centuries.

• In fact historians believe that more battles have been fought here than in any other place in the world.

• And it is in this area where Armageddon is located, which the Book of Revelation records will be the place where the forces of evil will gather to wage battle against Christ and the forces of good at the end of time when our Lord will come to earth once again.

• Looking across that plain a few weeks ago, it was difficult not to think about our Lord’s second coming, and indeed that is certainly what the Church is calling us to do at this time in the year.

• Today we enter once again into the season of Advent. While we typically think of Advent as the time of the year in which we prepare for our Lord’s coming as man in the Incarnation, it is also a time to prepare for His second coming.

• Our Gospel story from Luke speaks of our Lord’s second coming. We are told that the Son of Man will come “in a cloud with power and great glory”, and that “there will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.”

• The theological word we use to describe our Lord’s second coming is parousia. This Greek word literally means “presence” or “arrival.” In secular usage it refers to the arrival of the king or emperor in a city on a royal visit.

• For Christians, the parousia refers to Christ’s Second Coming or “presence” at the end of history. Throughout the New Testament there are numerous references to it in both the Gospels and the letters of St. Paul.

• Moreover, last week’s feast of Christ the King was meant to remind us of the kingly character of Jesus, i.e., that He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus is the Sovereign King to whom we must all render an account on that last day.

• As Catholics we believe that before Christ’s second coming, the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers and there will be great persecutions from the evil one (cf. 2 Thes 2:2ff).

• Then the parousia will occur amid cosmic travail (cf. Mk 13:24ff; Rev 8:7ff, 9:1ff; 2 Peter 3:6ff); the Son of Man will come on the clouds shining with radiant light (cf. Matt 24:30ff).

• Christ’s mere appearance will obliterate Satan (2 Thes 2:8; Rev 20:9ff), and the dead will be raised. This will be the definitive triumph of good over evil.

• The great judgment will occur and the hearts of all men will be opened and their innermost thoughts will be laid bare. Each person will then be rewarded or punished according to his works and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace.

• At this time, the world as we know it will end. All creatures will recognize and acknowledge Jesus as Lord. And Jesus will fully establish the Father’s kingdom.

• It can be a fearful thing to consider that someday we will all have to render an account of our lives to this King – an account of both the good things and the bad things that we have done.

• Indeed, today’s Gospel tells us some people will die of fright in anticipation of what will happen at the second coming. Yet when this happens we are told not to be afraid, but to stand erect and raise our heads because our redemption is at hand!

• In truth, my friends, as Christians the parousia should not cause us to tremble with fear, but rather it should cause us to tremble with joy and hope!

• You see, my friends, our king is no ordinary king. Christ the King is a shepherd at heart. And if we truly know this great King as we should, we will find that there is really nothing to fear in Him at all. All that we need fear is our own human weakness.

• As Christians we know that as long as we live on this earth, we are in exile from our true home: Heaven. And Christ is coming again at the end of time to save us, to take us from this land of exile to our heavenly home. He is coming to conquer sin and death forever!

• And Advent is a time of the year that we remind ourselves of these truths and earnestly seek to prepare for this second coming of our Lord, while we also prepare ourselves for the beautiful Feast of Christmas, which celebrates His first coming as a man.

• The way that we prepare for both of these comings of Christ is by learning to love and by striving for holiness. As St. Paul tells us in the second reading today, we must abound in love for one another.

• St. Paul tells us that we are called to be blameless in holiness, conducting ourselves in a way that pleases God, accepting and living according to the teachings of our faith that have been handed on to us.

• This requires that we foster within ourselves not only a knowledge of our Church’s teachings and a deep desire to conform our lives to those teachings, but also that we cultivate a sincere contrition for those times that we have failed to live out the truths of our faith.

• It is for this reason that during the season of Advent the color violet becomes prominent in our liturgies, for violet symbolizes contrition for sin and a desire for repentance.

• And so as we enter once again into this hopeful and joy-filled season of Advent, as we anticipate our Lord’s two comings: both His coming in the Incarnation and His second coming in the parousia, let us take the time to truly prepare ourselves spiritually.

• Make the time to really pray, and when you pray, meditate on the mystery of the Incarnation and the mystery of Christ’s second coming at the end of time.

• And go to confession, especially if you haven’t been in awhile. There is no better way to prepare your soul for God’s manifold gifts than by cleaning out all the sin that weighs us down in life.

• My dear friends, our King is coming, and He shall not delay! Therefore, let us prepare ourselves well by cultivating within our souls a true repentance for our sins and by striving for genuine holiness.

• And have no fear of Him. While it is true that our Lord is the mightiest of kings, He is also the most gentle and merciful.

• May Jesus Christ be praised, now and forever. Amen.

Copyright 2009 by Reverend Timothy S. Reid

Reverend Reid is pastor of St. Ann’s Catholic  Church in Charlotte, NC