Celebrant: This special season focuses our minds on the Lord's coming. As we invite Him into our lives, let us present to Him all our needs.
That the Church may effectively prepare the world for the coming of the Son of Man, and for the peace that His coming brings, we pray to the Lord...
That leaders of government may find instruction in the Word of the Lord and work tirelessly for that justice which is the foundation of peace, we pray to the Lord...
That Christians may prepare for the Lord's coming by fostering a consistent respect for human life, born and unborn, we pray to the Lord…
That the poor and the sick may "put on the Lord Jesus Christ," facing every trial with faith in Him, we pray to the Lord...
That the Lord who comes to conquer death may bestow eternal life and joy on all our brothers and sisters who have died, we pray to the Lord...
as our salvation draws nearer,
fill us with the joy that comes
from being faithful to You.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Second Vatican Council reflects upon the relationship between the coming of Christ and our activity to prepare for it. In the Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, we read, "Far from diminishing our concern to develop this earth, the expectancy of a new earth should spur us on, for it is here that the body of a new human family grows, foreshadowing in some way the age which is to come....When we have spread on earth the fruits of our nature and our enterprise -- human dignity, brotherly communion and freedom -- according to the command of the Lord and in his Spirit, we will find them once again, cleansed this time from the stain of sin, illuminated and transfigured, when Christ presents to his Father an eternal and universal kingdom...." (#39). In other words, the spirit of Advent should naturally bolster our pro-life efforts, and the progress we make in promoting human dignity becomes the "building blocks" for the eternal kingdom.
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Preaching on the First Sunday of Advent is an ideal time to remind the faithful of the nature of the entire season. Advent focuses on the Lord’s coming in two ways; the first part of the season focuses on his Second Coming, and the second part focuses on the historical fact of the Incarnation (including the Nativity).
The readings today indicate that the Lord’s coming will be unexpected (Gospel), that it will separate good from evil (Gospel), that it has the nature of an invitation (First reading), that it transforms society (First reading), and that because of all these things, we have to change our lives now in order to prepare for it (Second reading).
In particular, his coming both demands and enables a change from a culture of death to a culture of life. “Raising the sword” in the first reading does not only refer to war; it refers to any attack on human life and dignity. To “conduct ourselves properly as in the day” (Second reading) and to “walk in the light of the Lord” (First reading) mean that we treat every human life with the respect and protection that it deserves.
The Lord’s coming transforms both individual conduct (emphasized in the second reading) and the conduct and policies of entire societies and nations (emphasized in the first reading). Building a culture of life therefore involves both as well.
A rededication during Advent to efforts on behalf of the unborn is especially appropriate also because we are preparing to commemorate the birth of God as a baby, who was an unborn baby as well.