Saturday, November 28, 2009

Prepare the Royal Highway

Prepare the Royal Highway
"The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in Isaiah the prophet: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way'--'a voice of one calling in the desert, "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight paths for him." ' And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins." (Mark 1:1-4)

1. Prepare the royal highway;
The King of kings is near!
Let ev'ry hill and valley
A level road appear!
Then greet the King of Glory
Foretold in sacred story:
Hosanna to the Lord,
For He fulfills God's Word!

2. God's people see Him coming:
Your own eternal king!
Palm branches strew before Him!
Spread garments! Shout and sing!
God's promise will not fail you!
No more shall doubt assail you!
Hosanna to the Lord,
For He fulfills God's Word!

3. Then fling the gates wide open
To greet your promised king!
Your king, yet ev'ry nation
Its tribute too should bring.
All lands, bow down before Him!
All nations, now adore Him!
Hosanna to the Lord,
For He fulfills God's Word!

4. His is no earthly kingdom;
It comes from heav'n above.
His rule is peace and freedom
And justice, truth, and love.
So let your praise be sounding
For kindness, so abounding:
Hosanna to the Lord,
For He fulfills God's Word!

Father Cory Sticha Teaches about Advent

"We're once again entering into a new year in the Church's liturgical calendar. Once again, we begin this new liturgical year by entering into Advent, this four-week period of anticipation, of looking forward. If you ask most Catholics to explain who or what we're looking forward towards, they'll immediately say that we're looking forward to the celebration of Jesus' birth on Christmas. They'd be correct by saying that, but it's not the complete answer. We're also looking forward to Christ's coming again at the end of time.

The word Advent comes from the Latin word "adventus", which translates roughly as "to come to". In this season of Advent, we prepare for Our Lord Jesus Christ "to come to" us, both in His birth which is celebrated at Christmas, but also in His second coming at the end of time. In this way, we join the Jewish people in the anticipation that they must have felt when they heard the promise of the prophet Jeremiah, which we also heard in our first reading. Just as the Jews were waiting for a great king who would free them from slavery and the bondage of the Babylonian exile, we symbolically await the coming of our great King who frees us from the slavery and bondage of sin.

St. Paul reminds us in the second reading that this symbolic anticipation is not the only reason we celebrate this Advent season. By praying that "the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all," St. Paul makes it clear that we should be preparing for "the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones." (1 Thess. 3:12-13)

Sadly, I think this preparation for Christ's second coming has been lost in large part by many Christians today. It seems as if many people view Advent as a period to get everything ready for Christmas. We have to decorate the houses and stores, spend lots of money on Christmas gifts, make Christmas goodies, and watch hours upon hours of Christmas specials. We're pretty clear on the preparing for Christmas, but few recognize the eternal significance of Advent."

Read the rest here.