Fourth Sunday of Advent – 2011

Last Sunday, a snowy day in Anchorage and Third Advent Sunday, I visited Our Lady of Guadalupe in Turnagain for the 11:30 a.m. Mass. The service was in Spanish and the church was packed.

December 12 was the anniversary of the tradition of the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City in 1531, 480 years ago. It was very interesting to see the pageant of roses and veneration of this significant icon of the Hispanic world. [img_assist|nid=159098|title=Archbishop Schwietz, and Clergy at Mass|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=201]

In fact, the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City is one of the most visited Catholic shrines in the world. I’ve had the privilege of visiting there several times, and was impressed with both its grandeur and simplicity.[img_assist|nid=159099|title=Homily Time at Our Lady of Guadalupe|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=275]

Archbishop Schwietz was present and assisted with the mass. My Spanish is rusty, and I can’t claim to understand all of the proceedings, but it was a significant day for Hispanic Catholics. I particularly enjoyed the various musical presentations and groups of dancers in native (Mexican) regalia as they presented dances and floral offerings in the grotto area of Our Lady of Guadalupe church.[img_assist|nid=159096|title=Fourth Advent Sunday 2011|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=350|height=272]

This Sunday marks the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Another candle on the Advent wreath will be lit, signifying this is the last Sunday before Christmas. The meaning ascribed to the fourth candle is peace.

Per the Revised Common Lectionary, the readings for Fourth Advent Sunday are:

First reading –2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Psalm – Luke 1:46b-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
Second reading – Romans 16:25-27
Gospel – Luke 1:26-38

Advent season is a beautiful time of waiting, hoping, sharing, and giving to those who have nothing. There is no better season to demonstrate the love of God and its effect on the heart than this season. Our churches should be the friendliest extending extravagant hospitality to all who enter its doors. My wish is that you may find the imprint of God’s love for you in every church you regularly attend or visit.

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