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Advent is a Latin word for ‘coming’. It is a time of anticipation and waiting, mostly waiting with our Blessed Mother in her personal Advent of carrying Jesus in her womb for 9 months. But there is another thing we are anticipating: the return of the Lord. The time is approaching fast; this is the reason we wear rose (no, they are not pink) vestments this weekend. This is reflected in nature as well, as Dr Pius Parsch reflects on in The Year of Grace. He writes: ‘Nature’s annual cycle is characterized by two phenomena, light and life. Out of the darkness comes light, out of death comes life. The translation from night to light characterizes the winter season; the transition from death to life is proper to summertime. The holy year of the church is likewise divided into two phases which have similar characteristics.’
Violet calls to mind the diminishing light during Advent and the silence of life in the winter preparing for a new birth in the spring. Black is not a liturgical color, because black is the absence of all color, and we are never in complete darkness. Violet is a dark and penitential color, but it is also the ancient color for royalty and wealth. Through our baptism, we are immersed in light and life, and have the dignity of being children of the King of Heaven.
In this sense, we see the significance of the color rose, a softening of violet, the promise of the light that is approaching, anticipating the birth of Christ during Advent and his resurrection during Lent. Gaudete Sunday is an anticipation and foretaste of the good things to come, things that we experience partially today and confident that we will experience them fully when Christ returns.
The focus of our readings during the first 3 weeks of Advent is on the end times. Since the time of Christ, this has been on the minds of Christians throughout the world. Many have tried to predict the exact date or at least the correct year of the Lord’s return. Thus far, none have been right. But one thing is certain: we are living in the end times. This has been true since Jesus’ Ascension into heaven.
‘When is Jesus coming back?’ is the wrong question. Are the readings from Revelation or the prophets to be taken literally or symbolically? Again, the wrong question. It is a waste of time to speculate about the when or where or looking for signs. These are distractions from what we should be doing: actually preparing our hearts for his return.
St Bernard teaches there are 3 comings of Christ. The first was fulfilled some 2000 plus years ago with his incarnation; this coming was cloaked in human flesh, and was hidden from many of his contemporaries. The 2nd will be his coming in glory, and there will be no such confusion. Lastly there is a third coming, and this is the one we live, as Christ is born in our hearts and minds. It is fulfilled in each heart throughout our lives, and this coming involves a birth as well. Like all births, there is pain involved and we are put to the test; as St John the Baptist puts it ‘He must increase, I must decrease’. This expectant birth does not just come about. We must prepare and plan for it. Much like a couple expecting a child, they want to prepare the home in the best way possible for the new arrival. This new arrival, whether it is the 1st or the 6th, will bring change into the life of the family. As we accept Christ into our lives, it will change us in ways we cannot imagine.
The Lord is Near: so how do we prepare for such an event? Just as The Light approaches, his light is reflected in our liturgies; the violet of the season approaches the white of Christmas morning, and appears as rose. We rejoice in the fullness of the Truth; Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago, we rejoice in the promise of his return, and we rejoice now as he is born into our hearts today. We also prepare by calling others to faith in Christ, something all baptized Christians are called to do. As a beautiful way to evangelize this Christmas, consider inviting a neighbor, friend or family member to join you in celebrating Christmas and the birth of our savior at one of our Masses.
God blessings upon your families and loved ones this Advent season
From the Bishop
Brother James Miller—born and raised in central Wisconsin, martyred in Guatemala, and living today in the Heavenly Jerusalem—will be declared “blessed” Saturday, December 7, in Huehuetenango Guatemala.
Like all others who have been declared “blessed” by the Church, Brother James was remarkable—indeed, heroic—in sanctity. He lived, served, loved, taught, and died after the example of Jesus. Through Brother James’s own flesh and blood, Jesus became incarnate to those whom Brother James served.
Yet, even in his holy heroism, James Miller was one like us. He was born in Stevens Point, raised on an Ellis dairy farm, and graduated from Pacelli High School. In these and many other respects, Brother James was no different from you or me.
Updated Pilgrimage for Life info is posted on the website, the deadline for registration and payment is December 27th. Please contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
FROM THE ASSOCIATE PASTOR’S DESK
As we enter the second week in Advent, we look at where the season is leading us. For many, it is just another month, days in which we accomplish the same things we accomplish any other day. We may make plans for a weekend getaway, looking toward Christmas day and what we will eat and who we will invite, or where we might travel during the Holidays!
Sometimes, this time of year just becomes a time of hassle, a time that we stress out over decorating the house, a time we get anxious about all the Christmas gifts we have to buy, a time we worry about what we have to cook and how many people will be coming over. The list can go on and on and on.
Advent (meaning “coming” in Latin) is meant to make us aware that we are not immortal simply by being born. Through our baptisms we are called to be more than ourselves, and as we prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord we see beyond the business of the season. We see that looking back at the things we have neglected or fallen short in, those things that have led us to sin, are just holding us back from being the person God has created us to be. Those sins that don’t allow us to be the people we were intended to be because we keep pushing ourselves farther and farther away from God, and it doesn’t allow us to be the loving, generous, caring person God created each of us to be.
As we continue through this Blessed Advent Season, may we see each candle lit in the Advent wreath as time passing away, drawing us closer to the day we will meet our Savior and King, closer to that end of time where we will be held accountable for what we did here on this earth. Are we ready? Is there room for improvement? If the answer is yes, make a plan to unite to our Lord; through prayer, in adoration, at daily Mass, in reconciliation, through meditative literature, through the people we encounter, through the person we have been putting off to go see, through being the best person possible, the Holy person God created.
May this Advent bring you in closer relationship with our Lord and Savior!
CHRISTMAS at St. John’s
December 24 - 4:00, 6:00 and 8:00pm
December 25 - 7:00, 9:00, and 11:00am
Commissioned extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, lectors, and servers are asked to assist. The sign-up sheets are in the sacristy.
Jars for Life Youth will be fundraising for the Pilgrimage for Life in Washington D.C. by selling hand-crafted jar mixes. You can buy jar- mixes after Masses December 7th-8th Thank you for your support!
Monday - Friday: 7:00 AM
Saturday: 8:00 AM
Saturday: 4:30 & 7:00 PM
Sunday: 7:00, 9:00 & 11:00 AM
Tuesday–Friday: 6:30 - 6:50 AM
First Friday: 6:00-7:00 PM
Saturday:3:45 -4:15 PM & 6:15 -6:45 PM
PERPETUAL ADORATION: The Marshfield Deanery has the John Paul II Adoration Chapel located in the basement of St. John the Baptist Parish, at 201 W. Blodgett St. The chapel is accessible from the rear parking lot. For more information or to sign up:
contact Jean Kaiser 715-503-0118. Click on the image below for more information.
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Welcome From Our Pastor
Welcome to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church! Ever since 1877 this parish has been assisting souls in their quest for deeper union with God. Pope John Paul II called the parish a “school of prayer” and St. John’s is committed to promoting growth in holiness in every state in life. Each of us is called... Read More
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