English Español Mary Immaculate
Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Happy New Year

First Sunday of Advent

Advent, which comes from the Latin word for “arrival” or “coming,” is a period of preparation for the birth of our Lord. Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and is the start of the Christmas season, which lasts through the Baptism of Our Lord. The first Sunday of Advent also marks the beginning of the liturgical year, the Church’s “New Year’s Day,” at which time we change the cycle of readings we are using at Mass.Advent is a time of joyous anticipation, but also of penance and preparation for the great Christmas feast. The liturgical color of the season is purple, a sign of penance, which is also used during Lent. The Church discourages excessive ornamentation, boisterous music and even weddings during Advent, in order to foster a sense of quiet hope.


The Advent liturgy is shot through with a great longing for Christ. But John the Baptist is constantly putting in an appearance – almost to the point of irritation. What is the meaning of this?

We have to experience the absence of Christ in order later to experience his presence. We need to learn how to wait. Waiting is one of the hardest things for us nowadays. There is such urgency about even the smallest things in our modern world, and this of course is greatly aggravated by commercial advertising. But Advent is a four-week course on waiting.

“Zero wait state,” the computer manual said the goal was. It means no waiting at all: you press the key, and the programme (or whatever) is instantly on the screen. Computers are the great accelerators of all sorts of processes (banking, accounting, shopping, etc.) and they themselves are becoming faster and faster. But for the ordinary user, such high speed is required only to run games – which are themselves the greatest time-wasters. The speed of our world today is full of contradictions. We rush to save time in order to be able to waste it.

Time is money, we say. And sure enough, we do with money what we do with time: many rush to save more and more of it in order to waste it on things they don’t need or even want.

Can the equation be carried even farther? Time is money; but what is time? What is your time? It is you, it is yourself, your life. Time is life. Do we save our life in order to waste it? It seems we do. “Whoever tries to save his life will lose it,” said Jesus (Luke 17:37).

We rush headlong into the future: it is a kind of greed for more and more life, or at least for more and more experience. The future, we feel, will fulfil us, where the past and present have failed. But we rush at it so fast that it gets no chance to fulfil us. We rush past it in the same instant that it becomes the present: because we are forever hurtling ourselves into the future. We badly need to study waiting.

Mass Readings

First Reading

The days are coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he shall do what is right and just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe and Jerusalem shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her: “The LORD our justice.”
— Jeremiah 33:14-16

Responsorial Psalm

R. (1b) To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
and for you I wait all the day.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
Good and upright is the LORD;
thus he shows sinners the way.
He guides the humble to justice,
and teaches the humble his way.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
All the paths of the LORD are kindness and constancy
toward those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
The friendship of the LORD is with those who fear him,
and his covenant, for their instruction.
R. To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
— Psalms 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14

Second Reading

Brothers and sisters: May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we have for you, so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen. Finally, brothers and sisters, we earnestly ask and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that, as you received from us how you should conduct yourselves to please God and as you are conducting yourselves you do so even more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus.
— 1 Thessalonians 3:12—4:2

Gospel Reading

Jesus said to his disciples: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand. “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”
— Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

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