Today we begin the season of Advent, which marks the start of a new liturgical year for the Church. The readings for Sunday Mass are arranged on a three-year cycle. Each year features a different Gospel—Matthew, Mark, or Luke. Readings from the Gospel of John are interspersed throughout all three years. With this year’s first Sunday of Advent, we begin Cycle B of the Lectionary, which focuses our attention on the Gospel of Mark. This week and next week, our readings from Mark’s Gospel present two important Advent themes: the Lord’s return at the end of time and John the Baptist’s preparation for Jesus.
Today’s Gospel is taken from the end of Mark’s Gospel, the chapter that immediately precedes Mark’s account of Jesus’ Passion. Having been questioned repeatedly by the scribes and the Pharisees, Jesus is now questioned by his disciples—Peter, James, John, and Andrew—who want details about his prediction of the destruction of the Temple. Jesus answers with many warnings about the difficulties that the disciples will face.
Today’s passage comes at the conclusion of Jesus’ warnings to his disciples. Jesus emphasizes the need for watchfulness. The Son of Man will come without warning; only the Father knows the exact hour. The disciples must not be caught unprepared when this time comes.
Scholars believe that Mark’s Gospel was written around the time of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70. Mark’s audience consisted of Christians who were living in difficult social and political times, times of conflict. They were likely beginning to face persecution as followers of Jesus. In this difficult time, it helped to recall that Jesus had foretold of such difficulties. Early Christian communities took courage from Jesus’ warning to remain alert and watchful, and they found in his words a way to persevere through suffering.
Today’s Gospel reminds us that Advent is about more than our preparation for the Church’s celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas. Advent is also about preparing ourselves for Christ’s return in glory at the end of time. Like the disciples and the faithful in Mark’s community, we must also stay alert and watchful. Our faithfulness to God, through the good times as well as the difficult times, shows us to be ready for the coming of the Son of Man
The first candle is lit on the First Sunday of Advent, shortly after November 30th. It is called the Prophecy Candle and reminds us that Jesus’ coming was prophesized hundreds of years before He was born. The candle’s purple colour represents Christ’s royalty as King of Kings.
Prayer as we light the first purple Advent Candle
The Candle of Hope
(The Patriarchs, Abraham, The Old Testament, Ancestors of Jesus)
Stir up thy power, O Lord, and Come, that by thy
Protection we may be rescued from the dangers that beset us through our sins, and be a Redeemer to deliver us; Who lives and reigns with God the Father in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen
St. Marys Cemetery is considering installing a columbarium in the spring/summer of 2021.
We would like to see what kind of interest there is.
Please contact the parish office for more details.
Chalice (a Catholic charity) invites you to share the blessings of Christmas with children in the developing world. Our Christmas Gift Catalogue allows you to purchase a gift for someone in need in honour of a friend or a loved one. A beautiful handwritten card will be sent to the recipient, telling them of the gift that has been given. Any gift purchased through the catalogue will receive an official tax receipt. As we are not able to have catalogues in the parishes this year, please call or visit our website, see below.
The CWL wishes to thank SSVDP for their generous and timely donation. The full amount of $500.00 was re-directed to the Good Shepherd Shelter on Queen Street in Toronto. We were pleased to be able to meet our annual commitment to this shelter that we have supported for more than 10 years.
Thanks and God Bless
The CWL, St Mary's Church
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines is struggling through one of the worst typhoon seasons in decades after six significant storms made landfall on the Southeast Asian nation in just three weeks. The Archdiocese of Toronto is now accepting humanitarian relief donations to help those affected by these devastating disasters.
The Archdiocese of Toronto has partnered with Development and Peace – Caritas Canada to help the people of the Philippines. Caritas is working to provide essential emergency needs for 9,750 people affected by the typhoons in provinces of Catanduanes and Albay, Philippines. At this time, we ask the faithful to please donate to the Philippines relief effort, if they are able. Those wishing to help may do so in the following ways:
· Online through the Archdiocese of Toronto website (click on the “Donate Now” button at the top of the page): www.archtoronto.org
· By phone through the Development Office – 416-934-3411
· Through the parish, making cheques payable to: Name of Parish – Philippines Relief Effort – Disaster Relief