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This is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the 40 days Lent season of 2018 in Western Christianity, which will end on April 1, the Easter Sunday.
May you have an enlightening time of reflection, askesis, repentance and reorientation.
The Feast of Epiphany marks two different events in the life of Christ: in the West, the Adoration of the Magi, while in the East, the Baptism of Jesus.
However, whatever meaning is attributed to it, it marks, in the liturgical calendar, The end of Christmas season, and the beginning of progressive preparation for the other Christian feast, Easter.
May you all have a blessed Christmas!
Today we relight the first three candles of the Advent Wreath — the candles of HOPE, PEACE and JOY.
Now we light the fourth candle of Advent. This is the candle of LOVE.
Jesus demonstrated self-giving love in his ministry as the Good Shepherd. Advent is a time for kindness, thinking of others, and sharing with others. It is a time to love as God loved us by giving us his most precious gift. As God is love, let us be love also.
In the Book of Deuteronomy we find these words:
“For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them food and clothing. You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.
— Deuteronomy 10:17-19a
From the Gospel of John we hear:
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
— John 13:34-35
Let us pray:
Teach us to love, O Lord. May we always remember to put you first as we follow Christ’s footsteps, that we may know your love and show it in our lives. As we prepare for our celebration of Jesus’ birth, also fill our hearts with love for the world, that all may know your love and the one whom you have sent, your son, our Savior. Amen.
Today we relight the first two candles of the Advent wreath. The candle of HOPE and the candle of PEACE.
Now we light the third candle of Advent.
This is the candle of JOY. As the coming of Jesus, our Savior, draws nearer, our joy builds with our anticipation of his birth.
From the Book of Isaiah we read the words of our Lord:
“But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight.”
— Isaiah 65:18
From the New Testament, the words of Paul to the people of the church at Galatia:
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.”
— Galatians 5:22-25
Let us pray:
We joyfully praise you, O Lord, for the fulfillment of your promise of a Savior and what that means in our lives. Thank you for the gift of salvation through the birth of your son, Jesus. Create us anew as we wait, and help us to see your glory as you fill our lives with your living Spirit. Amen.