EF: Introit: Ps 25 (24), 1-3; Epistle: Rom 13, 11-14; Gradual: Ps 25(24), 3-4; Gospel: Lk 14, 26-33; Offertory: Ps 25 (24), 1-3; Communion: Ps 85(84), 13, 1-3
OF: Introit: Ps 25 (24), 1-3; 1st Reading Jer 33, 14-16; Gradual: Ps 25(24), 3-4; Epistle: 1 Tess 3, 12-4, 2; Gospel: Lk 21, 25-28. 34-36; Offertory: Ps 25 (24), 1-3; Communion: Ps 85(84), 13, 1-3
Tis the First Sunday of Advent, and unfortunately in many of your parishes the beautiful Scripture propers (The propers are the same for the Novus Ordo (OF and EF this Sunday) (Introit, Gradual, Offertory, Communion) will be hijacked for hymns that center around us and have absolutely nothing to do with what Holy Mother Church is trying to teach us on this particular Sunday. I'm going to focus on 2 passages this week...they're quoted in the Catechism.
"If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." (Lk 14, 26)
Now perhaps at 1st glance at this verse one might be tempted to say how can someone hate their own father, mother, wife, children, and brothers and sisters? They are our family, we're supposed to love them....Of course this probably excludes those moments where our family makes often questionable (to put it politely) decisions.
The CCC points out rather nicely what this passage is supposed to mean:
"Christ is the center of all Christian life. The bond with him takes precedence over all other bonds, familial or social." (CCC 1618)
The point is that our lives should be centered around Christ. All that we do, all who we are should be centered around Him, and Him alone, to do otherwise is to place ourselves in the temptation of false gods, and the 1st commandment "Thou shalt not have any gods before me."
EVERYTHING comes after our relationship with the Holy Trinity....What kinds of things do you place above God? I'm sure that all of us have this struggle.
"So, therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." (Lk 14, 33)
In light of the 1st explanation earlier, it's not meant that one must not have any worldly possessions at all, though some are called to that exact thing ala the Franciscans or other mendicant orders.
"Jesus enjoins his disciples to prefer him to everything and everyone, and bids "renounce all [they have" for his sake and for that of the Gospel." (CCC 2544)
We have culture of materialism, that often needs the latest gadget or the latest device. I too most certainly fall into this trap. Many are excited about the new Ipod, or the Samsung Galaxy, which of course aren't in of themselves evil and can definitely be used to bring souls closer to Christ and His Church.
The question to ask is this: Do these material possessions become the point of our lives? Do they take us away from God or do they bring us closer to Him?
We must detach ourselves from worldly things as to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ. Being close to Him through the Sacraments in particular Confession and the Holy Eucharist...this way, we can pray with joy and devotion:
"To You O Lord I lift up my soul. O my God in You I trust." Amen!