02 December 2007

1st Sunday of Advent

Throughout Advent the Church bears constantly in mind the twofold coming of our Saviour: His birth at Bethlehem which will enlighten the world until the end of time, and His return at the last judgment when He comes to "condemn the guilty to the flames, and call the just with a loving voice to heaven" (Hymn for Matins).
The whole of today's Mass is a preparation for this double Advent of mercy and justice. Some parts of it can be applied equally to either, (e.g. the Introit, Collect, Gradual, Alleluia), while others refer to our Divine Redeemer's lowly birth, and others again, (e.g. the Epistle and Gospel), to His coming in the splendour of His power and majesty. The same welcome will be given to us by our Lord when He comes to judge us, as we give to Him now when coming to redeem us. Let us prepare for the Christmas feast by holy prayers and aspirations and by reforming our lives, that we may be ready for the last great assize upon which depends the fate of our soul for all eternity. And all this with confidence, for those "who wait upon the Lord will never be confounded." (Introit, Gradual, Offertory).
In former times, on this First Sunday of Advent, all the people of Rome made the station at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, to be present at the solemn mass which the Pope celebrated, surrounded by his clergy. This particular Church was chosen because it is Mary who gave us Jesus and because relics of the crib in which the Blessed Mother placed her Divine Child are preserved in this Church. Taken from St. Andrew's Daily Missal.

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