CATHOLIC LIVING TODAY
First Sunday of Advent (1AdvC), November 29, 2009
BURNING QUESTION: What is "pray without ceasing?"
FEATURED BLOG: This Thanksgiving, what are you thankful for?
PRIESTS STORIES: The Priesthood and the Mass
PASTORAL HISPANA: Adviento, tiempo de esperanza, alegría y salvación
This weekend we celebrate the First Sunday of Advent and begin a whole New Year in the liturgical calendar. The only slight puzzle is why the Gospel we are given is all about the End of the World! Our Discussion Questions this week can guide you during your Bible Study journey with your family, friends and church groups. Click here to join our Online Sunday Bible Study.
Advent is a time of vigilance and prayer. We ask for the gift of sharing the hope and courage of Christ so that we can with his trust face the terrifying experience of our own world falling apart. This is the theme of the Church's liturgical strategy in the Advent Sunday readings. Each week’s First Reading is the carrot: usually positive, a promise of good. The Gospel is the stick.
The Three Comings of Jesus
Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB tells us that as Christians, we proclaim the coming of Christ -- not just a first coming but another as well that will be far more glorious than the first. The first took place under the sign of patient suffering; the second, on the contrary, will see Christ wearing the crown of God's Kingdom. But then, Fr. Alex McAllister explains, there is another coming and that is the coming of Christ each day into our hearts. God gives us this lifetime to discover Him.
Fr. Joseph Pellegrino explains that we are called to come to know Jesus in the love of others and in the goodness of this world. Fr. Jim Kirstein, SMA adds that if we try with the help of the Holy Spirit to be alert each day through prayer and good works, then it doesn’t matter when the end of time is for the final coming of Jesus.
"Be Vigilant at all times"
Someone has suggested that every day should be considered a day of judgment. Fr. James Gilhooley reminds us that we are to always labor in the now and here. The question of the Second Coming we must place on the back burner. The Teacher will plan His own arrival and set up His own schedule. Thus, Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS preaches, the coming of this kingdom has one theme: Do penance, for the kingdom is at hand.
This kingdom is not so much a goal or a place to be attained; it is rather a state of mind; it stands for an influence which must permeate our minds if we would be one with Christ and aspire to His ideals. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio says it means we are not just to look busy but actually be busy preparing the way for His return. And Fr. John Foley, S. J. says Advent has to do with Jesus birthing into our hearts each year.
Jesus is With Us
Fr. Campion P. Gavaler, OSB tells us that Advent is also a celebration of the good news that the Risen Lord comes to be with us now -- in the Eucharist, in the words of Scripture, in the Church, in the least of our brothers and sisters, in all our joys and sorrows. Fr. Ron Rolheiser says Advent asks us not to deny our human longings but to enter them, deepen them, and widen them until we become insane enough for the light so that, like butterflies, we open ourselves to undergo a metamorphosis.
Fr. Phil Bloom reminds us that in a world and Church full of stress, we need to hear Jesus: "Stand erect, raise you heads, your redemption is at hand." Advent reminds us that God will fulfill his promise.
Finally, Lenora Grimaud shares with us a very powerful and prayerful Advent reflection. While Kathi Scarpace offers a holiday reflection on how the commercialization of Christmas has made buying things before Christmas more important than preparing for Christ.
Catholicizing Thanksgiving Day
In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued the proclamation that designated "the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens." His intent for this day can not be more crystal clear and it's as valid today as it was back in 1863. Click here to read the entire proclamation.
And this week most of us will be closely interacting with cafeteria Catholics, fallen-away Catholics and non-Catholics. In other words, we will be visiting family for Thanksgiving. So how do we evangelize those people who are closest to us? We have a few tips to help you deal with them. Plus more suggestions on how we can keep God in Thanksgiving Day and also Catholicize the occasion.
Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio reflects on the Liturgical Readings for Thanksgiving Day. He says the Bible stories of Namaan the Syrian and Jesus' healing of the 10 lepers shows us that Thanksgiving is an obligation of justice. So this Thanksgiving Day, are you grateful? Join our anonymous Thanksgiving blog and share with us the things you are most thankful for. Complete this sentence: "This year, I am most thankful to God for the gift of...."
NCYC Kansas City 2009
Last week, 22,000 teens and 3,000 adult chaperones descended on Kansas City for the National Catholic Youth Conference (NCYC). But instead of the usual damage, the teens left a wake of grace that impacted the entire city, highlighted by an amazing sight: a human ocean of 22,000 youth in a solemn Eucharistic procession.
Jamie McAdams asked the kids from his parish what their favorite thing of NCYC was and he listed the top ten, whick quickly became the "14 Amazing Things About NCYC." However, of course, there were also kids there that had a bit of a lackluster attitude. "But the Catholic Church is so booooring" tells their story.
The "Manhattan Declaration" is the manifesto that's shaking America. It has been endorsed by Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox leaders, united in defending life and the family. With the White House in the crosshairs. Find out what it's all about and how you can add your name to the manifesto list. Related to this, Carl Anderson, Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus, challenged Catholic political leaders to bring their morals to the public square, and asked them to make a principled stand.
From the Vatican, the secretary of the Vatican's congregation of the clergy explained that while priestly obedience in an individualistic world might be hard to understand, if lived rightly, it can bring conversion and "new life." Also this week, the Vatican clarified that although communication is at the heart of priestly ministry, the new evangelization does not require "showmen" priests on television. And from the Archdiocese of Washington, Deacon Curtis Turner talks about why crying babies in Church are just another reason to thank God.
And if you watched Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao make history last week by becoming the first fighter to win seven titles in seven weight classes, you know that prayer is a part of his fight ritual. In front of a cheering congregation at a post-fight thanksgiving Mass in Manila, he said, "All my strength came from God. Trust God, and he won’t fail you.”
Enjoying your Holidays
This Thanksgiving, celebrate without supersizing. The key to a healthy holiday meal is that less can be more. Less fat. Less sugar. Less salt. And less on the plate. But not less flavor.
And chances are, you’ll be traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday. we show you "How to be a heavenly houseguest" -- and keep your sanity. We also know that sometimes a little break from the family festivities can do wonders for everybody’s mood and mental health. Here are six cities that offer relief - parades, festivals and more - for Thanksgiving travelers.
And now it's the day after Thanksgiving and you have a ton of leftovers from the night before and overnight family guests to feed for breakfast. What do you do? Check out this video tip from celebrity chef Giada de Laurentiis and see how easy it is to whip up a gourmet leftover breakfast feast that will impress your family and friends.
Another eventful week in our Catholic world. The staff of ParishWorld.net and their families wish you all a happy and blessed Thanksgiving holiday.
Keep the Faith. Peace.
Publisher & Editor in chief
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