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Sunday, December 3, 2000

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First Sunday of Advent

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

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"strength for everything" (phil 4:13)

"The day I speak of will come upon all who dwell on the face of the earth." —Luke 21:35

Happy Great Jubilee, brothers and sisters! Happy Advent! Happy new year of the Church! This is the time we have been preparing for throughout the last six years and even earlier. "This is the day the Lord has made; let us be glad and rejoice in it" (Ps 118:24). "Now is the acceptable time! Now is the day of salvation!" (2 Cor 6:2)

Jesus' coming this Christmas season may well be one of His greatest comings in history. "But who will endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears?" (Mal 3:2) Throughout history, the times before Jesus' comings have been those of great trials and stress. "Men will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the earth. The powers in the heavens will be shaken. After that, men will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud with great power and glory" (Lk 21:26-27).

Therefore, "pray constantly for the strength to escape whatever is in prospect, and to stand secure before the Son of Man" (Lk 21:36). "May He strengthen your hearts, making them blameless and holy before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus" (1 Thes 3:13).

Christ is coming this Christmas, in the year of the Great Jubilee, and at the end of the world. Before He comes, all hell may seem to have broken loose. We need this Advent to pray for strength. May God the Father "strengthen you inwardly through the working of His Spirit" (Eph 3:16).

Prayer:  Father, may Your coming grace far surpass our past sins (Rm 5:20).

Promise:  "May the Lord increase you and make you overflow with love for one another and for all." —1 Thes 3:12

Praise:  Praise Jesus, coming to free us! (see Jn 8:36) Praise Jesus, eternal and incarnate!

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, July 15, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 17, 2000