Pastor’s Corner for the First Sunday of Advent, Year B, by Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ
Advent is a period of spiritual preparation in which many Christians make themselves ready for the coming, or birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Celebrating Advent typically involves a season of prayer, fasting, and repentance, followed by anticipation, hope, and joy.
Many Christians celebrate Advent not only by thanking God for Christ’s first coming to Earth as a baby, but also for his presence among us today through the Holy Spirit, and in preparation and anticipation of his final coming at the end of the age.
The word advent comes from the Latin term adventus meaning “arrival” or “coming,” particularly the coming of something having great importance. Advent season, then, is both a time of joy-filled, anticipatory celebration of the arrival of Jesus Christ and a preparatory period of repentance, meditation, and penance.
Lighting an Advent wreath is a custom that began with Catholics and Lutherans in 16th-century Germany. Typically, the Advent wreath is a circle of branches or garland with four or five candles arranged on the wreath. During the season of Advent, one candle on the wreath is lit each Sunday as a part of the corporate Advent services.
The advent candles and their colors are packed with rich meaning. Each represents a specific aspect of the spiritual preparations for Christmas.The three main colors are purple, pink, and white. Purple symbolizes repentance and royalty. (In the Catholic church, purple is also the liturgical color of the season). Pink represents joy and rejoicing. And white stands for purity and light.
Each candle carries a specific name as well. The first purple candle is called the Prophecy Candle or Candle of Hope. The second purple candle is the Bethlehem Candle or the Candle of Preparation. The third (pink) candle is the Shepherd Candle or Candle of Joy. The fourth candle, a purple one, is called the Angel Candle or the Candle of Love. And the last (white) candle is the Christ Candle.
The Jesse Tree is a unique Advent tree custom that dates back to the Middle Ages and has its origin in Isaiah’s prophecy of the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:10). The tradition can be very useful and fun for teaching children about the Bible at Christmas.
For the sick
Let us continue to pray for the sick members of our parish especially Benedicta Ngwebelele,Phoeb Ngwenya and Andrew Ledwaba
Rev. Fr. N. Munekani SJ