WELCOME TO ADVENT! We begin a new liturgical year with the First Sunday of Advent. This is the Year of Matthew, Cycle A, of the three year cycle of Sunday readings. The vestment and altar cloth colorchanges from green to blue, a reminder that this is a season of hope. The three main characters of Advent areIsaiah, John the Baptist and Mary. They all challenge us to look at the present as an opportunity to celebratewith renewed hope as God’s people. They stand as a challenge to us to embrace the season with the same hopethat they reflected in their lives. Sometimes, though, Advent becomes a time that too many may want to do away with. After all, it will beChristmas soon enough, and we want to celebrate that season in any way we can. Christmas decorations havebeen in the stores and malls since before Halloween, which seems to rush the season. But, the church says weneed to step back and reflect on this season of Advent because it calls us to wait with patience and hope forwhen the Lord returns again. As we light the first candle on the Advent wreath, the church reminds us that this season is one in which weneed to step back and wait, which may be difficult for some, since we are always in a hurry. Yet, the readingstoday point us to the future, when the Lord returns. Will we be ready for his return, or will we still want tomake preparations for Christmas? Advent is the time to wait, not for Christmas, but for the Lord’s return inglory to take us all home. This is also a time of patience, of listening to the Lord and all he calls us to be as his people. Jesus instillswithin us a sense of hope about the present as well as the future. If we are only waiting for Christmas, thenwhat happens after the feast? Will we be any more prepared to greet the Lord after Christmas than we werebefore? This is the time to wait, to listen and discover the wonder of Jesus in the readings of the season, andthe opportunities the church gives us to celebrate Emmanuel, God with us. On three Mondays of Advent, December 2, 9 & 23, we will celebrate Evening Prayer. It’s another opportunityfor us to step back and reflect on this sacred season. Evening Prayer begins at 7:45 PM. Come and join us. Onthe 16th, we celebrate Simbang Gabi, a traditional Filipino Advent event. That will occur at 8:00 PM in ourchurch.HAPPY ADVENT!!~ FR. JOE

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