First Timers Visiting
A group of 20 gathered, Brian Durocher leading, and welcomed two new participants, Skip Mouradjian and Keith Brinkmann. Skip is a friend of and former co-worker with Mike Carroll, and Keith is a St. Peter’s parishioner (since about 2011) who works at the Richland County Library on Main Street.
Departing From Mass
We had some discussion about the issue of early departures from Mass and concluded that little can, or should, be done beyond improved catechizing with emphasis on the importance of mental preparation for, presence of mind and body during, and reflection following, the Mass. There is always room for improvement for all of us. Can I be so present in mind and body that I don’t even notice if someone leaves early?
Advent (English) Adventis (Latin) or Parousia (Greek)
Then we turned to Advent, its history and meaning and appropriate celebration. Father Fryml encouraged us to prepare with a plan for personal growth during Advent. There were several suggestions, one of which was reading of Jesus of Nazareth by Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, an unread (by me) copy of which I happen to have. It has 343 pages so I will endeavor to read 20 per day between now and Christmas, praying for enlightenment as I read. It is $10.99 on Kindle.
Brian suggested use of an Advent Calendar available at the USCCB Website. Just click on a day on the calendar for suggestions for worship and observance for that day.
Advent in Sacred Scripture
Advent comes from Latin Adventis which comes from Greek Parousia. Here is information from Strong’s Concordance about the Greek word Parousia. Below are the New Testament verses that use the word parousia in reference to Jesus:
From Matthew 24:3-44 As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately and said, “Tell us, when will this happen, and what sign will there be of your coming, and of the end of the age?”…27 For just as lightning comes from the east and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be….37 For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man….39 They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be (also) at the coming of the Son of Man. (Read the whole passage)
NAB 1 Corinthians 15:1-58 23 but each one in proper order: Christ the first fruits; then, at his coming, those who belong to Christ; (Read the whole passage for this in context plus earliest form of Creed.)
NAB 1 Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope or joy or crown to boast of in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming if not you yourselves?…3:13 so as to strengthen your hearts, to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. (Amen.)…4:15 Indeed, we tell you this, on the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not precede those who have fallen asleep….5:23 May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (The whole book, 1 Thessalonians, is only four pages and is probably the earliest of Paul’s letters, all of which predate the Gospels.)
NAB 2 Thessalonians 2:1 We ask you, brothers, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with him,…8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord (Jesus) will kill with the breath of his mouth and render powerless by the manifestation of his coming, 9 the one whose coming springs from the power of Satan in every mighty deed and in signs and wonders that lie, (And 2nd Thessalonians is only three pages.)
NAB James 5:7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. (Only about four pages. A book Martin Luther didn’t like because it emphasized good works too much.)
NAB 2 Peter 1:16 We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty….3:4 and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? From the time when our ancestors fell asleep, everything has remained as it was from the beginning of creation.”…12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved in flames and the elements melted by fire. (2nd Peter is only two or three pages, and Chapter 3 is all about delay of the Parousia, the Second Coming.)
NAB 1 John 2:28 And now, children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at his coming. (In context here.)
History of Celebration of Advent
Here is the whole story including evidence that Advent was first celebrated in the Church in the late 500’s or early 600’s.
Advent in Austria
In 2007 we were in Austria during Advent and visited this village market with building sized Advent Calendar for all to share. I have a photo below, not nearly as pretty as this one taken to promote tourism but better showing the Advent Calendar. Looks like we were there on day 5 while the photo below was taken on Day 11. I had to zoom in to see the numbers in this photo.
And below is the photo I took. No snow!
Catholicism is dominant in Austria, claiming about 58% of the population. Catholicism was much stronger in 1731 when on October 31, the Church/State ruler, Count Leopold Anton Eleutherius von Firmian, signed the Edict of Expulsion, expelling all the Lutherans, many of whom settled in South Carolina and Georgia and some of whom founded Wachovia Bank. I wonder why Firmian chose October 31. Here is a colorful description of The Great Expulsion. Thank God for the religious freedom we enjoy in much, but not all, of the world today.
If you want to visit Austria, mid-December is a wonderful time to go.
Die Hard a Christmas Movie?
And here is the final word. Do your own research.