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Fr Roger O'Neill, Gorey

“Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight, and all mankind shall see the salvation of God”

The Advent Wreath has become the most recognizable symbol of this season of preparation, like a great clock counting down the weeks as we prepare for the celebration of the birth of the Saviour - the birth of new and eternal life. “May our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company.”

The colour purple signifies preparation and penance. We prepare for Christmas with penance - but let’s be clear - not with the gloom of ruminating on sins – penance so we can be liberated by Hope, Love, Joy and Peace, to truly celebrate the birth of Jesus.

“Jerusalem, take off your dress of sorrow and distress, put on the beauty of the glory of God.”

The evergreen and seed-cones represent new and undying life as the circle reminds us, life in God is without beginning or end. Eternal life, the glory of God! Each candle on the wreath has its own meaning:

First the Prophets candle, proclaims the Hope of the Messiah.

Second the Bethlehem candle, proclaims the Love of God made flesh. Third the Shepherd’s candle proclaims the Joy (Gaudéte) announced by the Angels to the Shepherd’s. Fourth the Angel’s candle proclaims the Peace of Christ.

Fifth the Christ candle, proclaims Jesus, God-with-us!

The Prophets are re-echoed in the call of John the Baptist. The voice that cries in the wilderness. He brings to completion the Hope of the prophets. “John saw Jesus coming towards him, and said: This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” “And a voice came from heaven, You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.”

“Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.” Born to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem.

God loves us so greatly that he became one of us and entered our ordinary life of family, to offer himself in our nature, as the sacrifice that takes away the sin of the world.

To take away your sins.

Remember God loves you this greatly and more. Loves you as you are, but not so that you remain as you are, but rather, to transform you to be like him.

In his love, he has made the sacrifice for you. Open your heart in penance and prepare for him!

Let our cry be, “Maranatha, Come, Lord Jesus!”

“And all humankind shall see the salvation of our God.”


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