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Our Pastor's Corner, November 30, 2014, First Sunday of Advent
Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all, ‘Watch!’ ” (Mk 13:33-36)
Welcome to the season of great expectations. This Thanksgiving weekend, it is estimated that 141 million people will do some form of holiday shopping. From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, many stores are enticing consumers with the expectation of finding the latest gadget at discount prices. In some places, long lines are formed around retailers eagerly awaiting their opening in anticipation of finding value bargains. Last year, I recall seeing an interview with a young man who was the last one to purchase the newest technology before it sold out. The joy that radiated from his face glowed as he described his adventure to procure his treasure, and how he resisted offers to sell it at double the price. He arrived early, kept his focus and rejoiced in his success.
The season of Advent is also a time of great expectation. When we think about Advent expectations, we instinctively consider the historical nativity of the Word made flesh in a cave at Bethlehem. However, the expectation of Advent is twofold. First, we anticipate the parousia (Greek for “advent”), the second coming of Christ in glory to judge the world. In the Gospel, Jesus says, “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” (Mk 13:33-36) Jesus’ admonition to be alert to his second coming is the basis of our belief in Him as our King and the foundation of our Advent joy.
Second, between the historical and future comings, there is the preparing for the coming of Christ in our minds and hearts in a personal way. In the first reading, Isaiah prophesies the advent of the promised Messiah. This promise shaped (and continues to shape) the core of the Jewish faith: God’s promise of a Redeemer directs and focuses all Jewish worship, ritual and covenant. This is why the Old Testament (or Hebrew Scriptures) is still relevant for us as Catholics. Just as Moses and the prophets yearned to see the day of the Messiah, so too, we eagerly wait for the coming of Christ both now and in the future. By looking to the heroes and saints of the past, we learn how to live in the present and prepare for the future. This expectation opens our hearts to receive the gifts God has for us. For this reason, Isaiah says, “No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him.” (Is. 64:3)
As we begin our Advent journey together, we are invited to consider our expectations. If we’re not expecting Christ to come to us this season, chances are we’ll miss out on His presence in the midst of the hustle and bustle of these holidays. One practical way to cultivate a sense of Advent expectation is to make use of the Advent booklets that we offer here at St. Dominic’s. By taking six minutes a day in prayerful reflection, our hearts and minds are open and ready to receive the gift of Christ’s presence in our lives. May this Advent season be a time of great expectation as Christ comes to birth in our lives.
~ Fr. Michael Hurley, O.P.
Sunday, November 30
Advent Lessons and Carols
St. Dominic's Catholic Church, San Francisco, CA invites you to its annual service of Advent Lessons and Carols, Sunday, November 30, 7:30 p.m. This service begins with a candlelight procession.
The Schola Cantorum will sing motets by the living composers James MacMillan, and former Music Dir...
Remembering Loved Ones
Remember loved ones during the month of November. Pick up an All Souls envelope and write the names of deceased loved ones. Drop the envelope in the collection basket at Mass or at the Parish Office. The envelopes will be on the altar at Masses this month.
Thursday, December 04
Natural Family Planning - Intro Class
Attend an Introductory Natural Family Planning class. Thursday, Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m., Aquinas Room. Deacon Bill Turrentine and Pat Turrentine, volunteers with the Couple to Couple League, offer an overview of NFP - what it is and why it is important. Engaged or married couples are welcome. To register ...(more)
Friday, December 05
Silent All-Night Adoration is a time of quiet prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. It is scheduled to take place on First Friday, from 9:00 p.m. until 7:30 a.m. the following morning. Most attendees spend one or two hours in prayer with the Lord. Because Adoration occurs after the church is locked, ...(more)
Class II: Life-Giving Marriages, second Wednesday of the month, 7:30 p.m. in the Siena room
No sign-up is required for the class.
Monday, December 15
Our annual Christmas Concert with St Dominic's Schola Cantorum and The Festival Orchestra. Featuring works by Vivaldi (the Gloria) and choir carols (Pietro a Yon; John Rutter; James MacMillan; Praetorius; Pearsall and Eccard) with carols for all to sing.
Our CHRISTMAS GIVING TREE is up in the south transept of the church for Advent, with suggested gift items on angel tags, such as toys for children, gift cards for families, and clothes for our guests at Lima Center. All items are to be unwrapped. We have a day set aside called, “The Christmas ...
Registered parishioners are invited to have their children baptized at St. Dominic’s. Parents and Godparents must participate in our Baptismal Preparation Classes. Both parents and at least one of the godparen...(more)