Monthly Archives: November 2013

Scripture Commentary for First Sunday of Advent

Here is the Word to Life series commentary for Sunday from Catholic News Service.

Advent awakens us from our stupor

Toronto, November 29, 2013 (
by Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB

This year the liturgical season of Advent begins at sundown on Saturday evening, November 30, 2013. Advent culminates with the birth of the Savior at Christmas. The Advent season in its liturgical observance is devoted to the coming of God at the end of history when Jesus shall reign as king. The time is chiefly a celebration of “the coming of God” in ultimate triumph. Advent confronts us and wakes us from our stupor.

Advent, far from being a penitential time or a time of despair, is a time of rejoicing in hope and a time of patient waiting. Christians are invited to quietly prepare our hearts and our lives for the coming of the ever-greater one in the flesh. For what or for whom are we waiting in life? What virtues or gifts are we praying to receive this year? What material things do we seek? The people, qualities, things we await give us great insights into who we are.



522 The coming of God’s Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the “First Covenant”. He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming.

523 St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. “Prophet of the Most High”, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.

524 When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Long ago St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote that almost everything about our Lord Jesus Christ is twofold:

He has two births: one from God before the ages,
the other from the Virgin at the end of all ages.
He has two comings: the one is hidden and resembles the falling of the dew upon a fleece;
the other – the future one – on the contrary will be manifest.
At his first coming, he was wrapped in linens and laid in a manger;
at the second, light shall be his robe.
In the first coming he endured the Cross-,
heedless of its shame;
in his second coming he will be in glory
surrounded by an army of angels.
Let us therefore not stop at his first coming
but look forward to the second.
We hailed him at his first coming with the words,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
And we shall hail him in the same way at his second coming.
For we shall go out to meet the Lord and his angels,
and, prostrating ourselves before him, we shall cry,
‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’

Advent teaches us that there are two ways of looking at history: one is sociological and the other is religious. The first, chronos, is essentially unredeemed and cyclic. The second, xairos, is redeemed by God in Christ Jesus and becomes the possibility of providence and sacrament.

You may appreciate part of a homily by Blessed John Henry Newman, the great 19th century English Cardinal and teacher:

They watch for Christ who are sensitive, eager, apprehensive in mind,
who are awake, alive, quick-sighted, zealous in honoring him,
who look for him in all that happens, and who would not be surprised,
who would not be over-agitated or overwhelmed,
if they found that he was coming at once…
This then is to watch: to be detached from what is present,
and to live in what is unseen;
to live in the thought of Christ as he came once,
and as he will come again; to desire his second coming,
from our affectionate and grateful remembrance of his first.

Each week I offer a reflection on the Sunday Scripture readings that are proclaimed in most Christian Churches throughout the world. These readings are posted on the Salt and Light Television Network website on the Tuesday preceding the Sunday.

Fr. Thomas Rosica CSB is CEO of the Salt and Light Catholic Television Network.


News Briefs, Nov. 27

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read their news briefs for Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Pope Francis issues Apostolic Exhortation

Pope Francis has issued his first Apostolic Exhortation, “The Joy of the Gospel.” Read the Vatican Radio Report.

Reflections for the Mass Readings for Tuesday

Read today’s readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Everything that’s built by human beings can be destroyed. That’s why something like the Great Pyramids of Egypt are so awesome: not simply because they are so colossal, but because they have—to an amazing extent—survived the ravages of time. You can think of one of the large cities on the West Coast of our own country (Los Angeles, for example): from the air, as you fly into the area, you can be filled with awe. And yet an earthquake could destroy everything in the area in a matter of minutes.

Through the prophet Daniel, God wanted King Nebuchadnezzar to know that his kingdom, so dear to him, could and would undergo destruction. Other kingdoms would take its place, but they, too, would last only a time. The prophecy of Daniel foreshadowed the words of Jesus, when he spoke of the Temple of Jerusalem: it, like everything built by human beings, will be destroyed. These are not the sorts of things to place our hope in.

Daniel also prophesied that God would set up a kingdom that would not be destroyed. There was no way that Daniel could understand this prophecy, but through Daniel, God was speaking about the Church: not church buildings (even Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome will someday fall), but the Church herself, made up of “living stones”. Those who place their faith in Christ the King will have eternal life.

The Catholic Diocese of Wichita

News Briefs, Nov. 25

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read their News Briefs for today.

Pope Francis meets Putin

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis had a private meeting in the Vatican on Monday afternoon with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin. It’s the fourth time the Russian leader has been here to the Vatican – he met twice with Pope John Paul II in 2000 and 2003 and had an audience with Pope Benedict in 2007.

In September this year, Pope Francis also wrote directly to President Putin, as the city of St Petersburg prepared to host the G20 summit of world economic leaders. In that letter, the Pope spoke of the need for a more just global financial framework, stressing that “the world economy will only develop if it allows a dignified way of life for all human beings, from the eldest to the unborn child, not just for citizens of the G20 member states but for every inhabitant of the earth, even those in extreme social situations or in the remotest places… “Pope Francis also focused in that letter on the need for an urgent solution to the Syrian conflict, saying: “It is regrettable that, from the very beginning of the conflict in Syria, one-sided interests have prevailed and in fact hindered the search for a solution that would have avoided the senseless massacre now unfolding..”

Vatican Radio

Commentary for Tuesday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s Readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Zacchaeus is a rich collector of taxes. Each of us, like him, is attached to worldly things. Zacchaeus, like you, wants to see who Jesus is. But Zacchaeus has two strikes against him.

The first strike against Zacchaeus is the crowd, because everyone wants to see Jesus. It’s easy to get lost and not to be loved in the crowd. One might ask himself, “How can Jesus love everyone?” The second strike against Zacchaeus is his small size, which may represent the size of our soul. One might feel unworthy of God’s love, and ask himself, “How could Jesus love little old me?”

So Zacchaeus climbs up into a sycamore tree to see Jesus. This is all Zacchaeus wants: to see Jesus. But that’s not enough for Jesus.

Here’s the turning point in this gospel passage. When Jesus reached the place where Zacchaeus had climbed the tree, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly; for today I must stay at your house.” Jesus takes the initiative to reach out to this individual. And just as he reached out to this little sinner, he is trying to reach into your life.

Catholic Diocese of Wichita

News Briefs, November 18

Catholic News Service is the official news agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Read their news briefs for today.

Papal Prescription

Pope Francis, at yesterday’s Angelus Message, gave a prescription for all your ills and needs. Read about it.