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Sunday, November 27, 2016

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First Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 2:1-5
Romans 13:11-14
Psalm 122:1-9
Matthew 24:37-44

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"mary" advent and christmas

"Let us live honorably as in daylight; not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual excess and lust, not in quarreling and jealousy." —Romans 13:13

Happy new Church year! Happy Advent! Today, we begin to prepare for Christ's Christmas coming. We believe that Christmas is not just a memory but a reality. We believe that Jesus comes to us and is born in our lives in a real way each Christmas. Since Christmas is a spiritual birth, Advent is a spiritual pregnancy. Since Christmas is realizing not any birth, but Christ's birth, Advent is not just a spiritual pregnancy, but a Marian pregnancy.

We know only three things about Mary's pregnancy. At its beginning, Mary traveled to visit her relative Elizabeth. This was a difficult visit because of her physical suffering as a newly pregnant woman hastening on foot into the hill country (Lk 1:39) and also because of the risk she took. If Elizabeth would have considered Mary an adulteress, Mary could have been killed. Nevertheless, Mary went on this difficult visit, and Elizabeth and her baby, John, were filled with the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:41).

At the end of her pregnancy, Mary endured another difficult journey. In submission to the Roman government, she went to Bethlehem with Joseph to register in the census (Lk 2:4-5). Mary again underwent what her Son would later call the "cross." Finally, just before Mary gave birth, she was refused a place to stay and had to give birth in a stable (see Lk 2:7).

To have a real Christmas and not a spiritual miscarriage, we must take up at least the three crosses which Mary bore — the crosses of self-sacrifice, submission, and forgiveness. "Mary" Christmas is for those who have a "Mary" Advent.

Prayer:  Father, may I "put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the desires of the flesh" (Rm 13:14).

Promise:  "All nations shall stream toward it; many peoples shall come and say: 'Come, let us climb the Lord's mountain.' "—Is 2:2-3

Praise:  Praise you, Jesus, "my Lord and my God!" (Jn 20:28)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 31, 2016

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