This Sunday begins a new liturgical year, and while you may have never done this in the past, I want to encourage each of you to celebrate this special time in one way or another.
For the past few years my wife and I have hosted a liturgical new year party on the liturgical new years eve, which is on Saturday.
I am going to tell you how we celebrated just to give you an outline but I do hope you do something.
We kind of invited everyone and asked them to bring a dish so while my wife did a ton of cooking the night before and the day of we still needed more food for all the people and they were happy to bring it.
At every hour, on the hour we sang a verse from "O come, O come, Emanuel." While the singing would interrupt the party for a moment my hope is that it would kind of jolt peoples conversations out of the routine and make them focus for a minute on the liturgical season to come - Advent.
Advent is such an important and paradoxical time of year. While the world is punching each other out for a pair of shoes or pepper spraying their fellow shoppers over a sale on phones, we are preparing for the second coming of Jesus. Yes advent is first in preparation for the second coming of Jesus and then secondly about the about the first coming of Jesus. You can hear it clearly in the readings at Mass. Just think, we have an entire liturgical season dedicated to the end of the world, and that is how we start our liturgical year. Only when we are finished preparing for Christ second coming do we recall the promise and fulfillment of Jesus' first coming in his birth.
Advent is not primarily about getting ready for Christmas, it is about getting ready for the second coming of Christ when he will raise all of the dead, some to eternal life and some to eternal death. The elect will be gathered together from the 4 corners of the earth and enter into eternal life forever. Now how do we know that this will happen in the future, it is because we have God's promises that it will. Just as we have his promises that he would come the first time and die for our sins so that we would be saved, which happened and began on March 25 the Incarnation and 9 months later we are celebrating his birth on December 25th. Christmas has its own season which is celebrated until Epiphany when the wise men come.
So again I am recommending that in anticipation for a new liturgical year we gather, party, eat, sing, and talk about holy things.
Listen to St. Paul he says - Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
He says think about these things - I recommend talking about these things. We can focus on the bad all day. Let's begin a new liturgical year, this year of faith, talking about and celebrating our faith with our friends and family with a party.
How many of you celebrate or celebrated New Years eve? For what? Is that helping you get to heaven? No it is probably making you late for Mass on January first which celebrates Mary as Mother of God, a holy day of obligation. I am just recommending transferring that party to this Saturday and celebrating our faith.
If you do celebrate this event. Let me know how you did it, I would be interested.