The First Monday of Advent

Saint Andrew the Apostle

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Today is Monday, November 30, the last day of November and the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle.

Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist before he was called to follow Christ.  He was also Peter’s brother.  Here’s what Saint John Chrystostom has to say about Andrew in today’s Office of Readings.

After Andrew had stayed with Jesus and had learned much from Him, he did not keep this treasure to himself, but hastened to share it with his brother.  Notice what Andrew said to him:  We have found the Messiah, that is to say, the Christ. Notice how his words reveal what he has learned in so short a time.  They show the power of the master who has convinced them of this truth.  They reveal the zeal and concern of men preoccupied with this question from the very beginning.  Andrew’s words reveal a soul waiting with the utmost longing for the coming of the Messiah, looking forward to his appearing from heaven, rejoicing when he does appear, and hastening to announce so great an event to others.  To support one another in the things of the spirit is the true sign of good will between brothers, of loving kinship and sincere affection.”

Chrysostom goes on to point out that this conversion didn’t happen over night.  It was a process then and it’s a process now.  Even some of the Apostles, the men who lived with Jesus during His earthly ministry didn’t “get it” until after the Lord’s death and resurrection.  For one of them, Thomas, it took even more.

Here in the early days of Advent would be a good time to examine our own conversion process and to ask ourselves if we’re following Andrew’s example of sharing the good news with others.

To support one another in the things of the spirit is the true sign of good will between brothers, of loving kinship and sincere affection.”

A new web site from the U.S. Bishops

Here’s some news from the Catholic News Agency.  The U.S. Bishops have launched a new web site for the Advent and Christmas seasons.  It features a virtual Advent Calendar.  Clicking on a day of the calendar takes you to a page of prayers and activities for that particular day.  Pretty neat!

The site also features other prayers and blessings for the season, facts about Advent and Christmas, and a resource page.  Check it out!

The First Sunday in Advent–A New Start

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My name is Mike Buckley.  I’m a permanent deacon in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.  I’ve been married to my lovely and talented wife, Janet for just over forty-one years.  We have four grown (?) children and two grandchildren.  You will be hearing more about them in the future.  I’m assigned to a small parish in suburban Saint Louis and to a brand new hospital nearby.

I’ve told you a little about who I am.  Now let me tell you who I’m not.  I’m not a theologian.  I’m not a liturgist.  I’m not what you’d call a deep thinker.  There are other sites on the web that fill those needs.  I’m just an ordinary Catholic who has been blessed to be called to fill a special function in the Church.  I try to speak to other ordinary Catholics who may have the same needs or feel the same frustrations as I do.

I’ve been thinking and praying about this blog/podcast for a while.  I think the first Sunday of Advent is a proper time to begin something like this.  So here it is!

This will be an evolving effort, beginning as daily reflections during the Advent and Christmas seasons.  Only time and the Holy Spirit will tell what’s to come but I thank you for joining me. I suspect that, after the Christmas season, it will become a little longer and less frequent.  Your comments on what you’d like to see and hear here would be greatly appreciated.

In today’s Gospel Jesus speaks of the day of His return.  He warns us,

“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.”

This 2,000-year-old advise couldn’t be more appropriate in 2009, could it?  If it ain’t the eatin’, drinking, and carousin’ that gets us, then it’ll probably be the anxieties of daily life.  Anxiety is so bad for us that we pray at every mass that God will “keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Here’s my suggestion for you during this time of anticipation of the birth of our Lord.  Find yourself a good source of daily reflection for the Advent season and devote a specific time for it each day.  Find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed and make an appointment with yourself every single day.

That little daily respite from the anxieties in your life may be all you need to enjoy a really blessed Advent season and get you ready for that Holy Night that’s just a few short weeks away.