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Sunday, November 29, 2015

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First Sunday of Advent

Jeremiah 33:14-16
1 Thessalonians 3:12—4:2
Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

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happy new year?

"Men will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with great power and glory." —Luke 21:27

Happy New Year! Today is the first day of Advent and of the Church year. The Church's new year not only begins earlier than that of the world, but is also ushered in differently. The world's new year is inaugurated with New Year's Eve parties, much drinking, and self-indulgence. The Church begins its new year with the warning: "Be on guard lest your spirits become bloated with indulgence and drunkenness and worldly cares" (Lk 21:34).

Another difference between our new year and the world's is that our new year actually is new. The only new thing about the world's so-called new year is new numbers on a calendar. The world's new year is nothing but a rerun of a rerun — just more selfishness, escapism, compulsive behavior, confusion, and sin (see Eccl 1:9-10). Conversely, the Church's new year is truly new. It is centered as always on Jesus and begins with His Christmas coming (Rv 21:5-6). Moreover, Jesus is infinite; with Him we always have more, always something new (2 Cor 5:17). When Jesus comes into our hearts during Christmas, we will experience His love in a new way.

One other difference between the Church's new year and the world's is that ours really is happy because it is Christ-centered. Happy new year!

Prayer:  Lord, increase us and make us "overflow with love for one another and for all" (1 Thes 3:12). Strengthen our "hearts, making them blameless and holy before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His holy ones" (1 Thes 3:13).

Promise:  "The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made." —Jer 33:14

Praise:  Praise our Lord Jesus Christ, "the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End" (Rv 21:6), for Whom we await with joyful hope.

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 20, 2015

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