“JUCUNDARE, FILIA SION,EXSULTA SATIS FILIA, JERUSALEM, ALLELUIA.DAUGHTER SION, BE GLAD!DANCE, DANCE, DAUGHTER JERUSALEM!  ALLELUIA.(An Advent Sourcebook, p.29) Today begins the Season of Advent, the new church year. This year is the Year of Mark, and Cycle B of the Sunday readings. Also, we have changed the color of the season from green to blue, which is the color that reminds us of Mary and the hope she engenders in each of us. Advent is a season of hope and expectation. It is a reminder that we wait for the Lord to return again in all his glory. Advent sustains in us that hope that energizes us; we need this hope at this difficult time. The hope is centered around the presence of Emmanuel, God with us, for all people for all time. As Jesus sustains us with his abiding presence and love, he also encourages us to live with the hope that he will return again to bring us home. In today’s Gospel, Mark reminds us to pay attention and watch, not just for the Lord’s return, but for the signs of his presence here and now.  We can’t just sit back and relax. We have to be active members who reflect the presence of Emmanuel in all we are, all we believe, and all we do. We are reminded that we are the presence of Jesus for one another and everyone whose lives we touch.  It is important that we are signs of hope for each other; this allows us to live as disciples and followers of Jesus. It is important that we be agents of hope, especially during this time. As the church of Jesus, we stand as a sign of hope for all who look to us for a sign of Jesus, especially at this time when everything seems to make no sense. The church is the physical presence of Jesus on earth, and as the church, so are we. That is why it is even more important that we radiate the presence of Jesus to  all we meet.  HAPPY ADVENT!!FR. JOE 

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