The Catholic Week Ahead – 1st Week in AdventPosted: November 28, 2011
This is the 1st Week in Advent. We are at the beginning of the liturgical year and the countdown to Christmas. The highlight of the week is Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle on Wednesday.
First, the Mass readings for the week. I encourage everyone to follow the readings throughout the week.
During Advent, we focus on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah for the First Reading. The book itself was written by several authors and focuses on prophecies during the reign of three kings of Judah during the 8th Century B.C. In this period, Israel had been split into two kingdoms with the northern kingdom having already been taken over by Assyria. During the service of Isaiah, Assyria was also threatening Judah (the southern kingdom) and Jerusalem. Isaiah focuses on the sins and faithlessness of the people of Judah and their need for repentance and faith in God. Isaiah tells us of the coming of a messianic king and the deliverance of the faithful by God. Every reading prepares us for Christmas morning and leads us through a period of self-examination, repentance and anticipation.
On Monday, we hear how the nations and peoples of the world will go to the Lord’s mountain, the “highest” mountain “raised above the hills,” so “[t]hat he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” We also hear about the peace that will come to man. On Tuesday, we hear how a great king will sprout from the root of Jesse and how this king will bring knowledge and peace throughout the world. On Wednesday, we sidetrack to Romans 10 for a reading for the Feast of St. Andrew. St. Paul writes on the necessity of evangelization and spreading the word of God to others. On Thursday, we’re back to Isaiah and learn about the strength of God and the need to trust in him. On Friday, we hear about the glories that will come to the world and to man through God. How “[t]hey shall keep my name holy; they shall reverence the Holy One of Jacob, and be in awe of the God of Israel.” Saturday continues the prophecy of the glories that will come to man from God with the assurance that “a voice shall sound in your ears: ‘This is the way; walk in it,’ when you would turn to the right or to the left.”
The Responsorial Psalms are tied to the reading (in quotes are the responses but they are often taken from another Psalm.)
On Monday, we pray Psalm 122 with the response – “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.” On Tuesday, Psalm 72 – “Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.” On Wednesday, Psalm 19 – “The judgments of the Lord are true, and all of them are just.” On Thursday, Psalm 118 – “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” On Friday, Psalm 27 – “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” On Saturday, Psalm 147 – “Blessed are all who wait for the Lord.”
During Advent, the liturgy skips around the Gospels but each day points us directly to the hope of Christmas. This week, we hear about the necessity to have faith in Christ and the belief that he is the king of heaven and earth.
On Monday, we hear from Matthew 8 about the centurion whose servant was dying. As Christ agrees to come and cure him, we hear the centurion’s statement of faith – “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” On Tuesday, we hear from Luke 10 in which Christ affirms the faith of the disciples – “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” Christ also, in prayer to the Holy Spirit, proclaims for us – “No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him” On Wednesday, for the Feast of St. Andrew, we hear from Matthew 4 about the calling of St. Andrew by Christ. On Thursday, it’s Matthew 7 and we hear about building our house (of faith) on rock and not sand. On Friday, we hear from Matthew 9 in which the two blind men cry out “Son of David, have pity on us!” Christ heals them because of their faith. On Saturday, it’s Matthew 9-10 in which Christ sends out the disciples to “[g]o to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’”
Saints in the Liturgical Calendar
(The Mass Celebrant must celebrate feasts and memorials. They may, if they choose, celebrate optional memorials).
Wednesday - St. Andrew the Apostle - Brother of St. Peter. They and the brothers, James and John, were the first apostles called by Christ. He preached in the Black Sea region in modern day southern Russia, Georgia and Iran, as well as in Greece. He was crucified in Greece reportedly in the form of an “X” (the Cross of St. Andrew). He is the patron saint of Scotland and Russia. (Feast)
Saturday – St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552) – Spanish priest who was a friend and classmate of St. Ignatius of Loyola and one of the first Jesuits. He was a great missionary in India and Japan. He is the patron of foreign missions. (Memorial)
The Feast of St. Andrew is also a great day to begin a Nine-Day Novena to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary which is celebrated on December 8th.
Have a blessed and holy week.