May our love for one another prepare us for the Day of the Lord, when Jesus Christ returns. May his grace and love be always with you. R/ And also with you.
Introduction by the Celebrant
A. Signs Of Hope Vatican II has restored the meaning of Advent from a season of penance and conversion into its original purpose: a time of hope. We remember the coming of Christ, and we know he has to come more deeply in our Church and in our world. To dispose us to do this we need conversion, of course, but we need especially hope that, notwithstanding everything to the contrary, his kingdom will come. To deepen that hope, we have to learn to see the signs that this hope is already present among us. Let our Lord open our eyes to these signs.B. Remove The Obstacles From The Road Tremendous amounts of money are spent to build better roads, to have better communications, but there still remain a lot of obstacles among people and even nations to communicate with one another. In the same way there are still many obstacles to the coming of our Savior in our world. People put up roadblocks and we have to remove them, so that his mercy and freedom, his justice and love may reach all people. Ah, if only all could encounter the Savior and experience God's salvation in him and at work in us too! We ask Jesus our Lord in this Eucharist that we may be the road to him and that we may bring him near to people.
A. Signs Of Hope Are we really people of hope, with a faith capable of changing this world? Let us examine ourselves before the Lord. (pause) Lord Jesus, you became one of us to make us capable of love and hope: Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy. Jesus Christ, you rely on us and you give us the will and the strength to make this world God's world: Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy. Lord Jesus, you will come in glory to crown your own work in us: Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy. In your merciful kindness, Lord, forgive us all our sins and make us look to the present and the future with an unflagging hope. Lead us to everlasting life. R/ Amen. B. Remove The Obstacles From The Road We are people of the road, pilgrims on the way, and we sometimes stumble and fall. We now ask the Lord to forgive us. (pause) Lord Jesus, you brought us freedom and justice and opened wide for us the way to the Father and to people: Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy. Jesus Christ, you showed to us the path to the peace of forgiveness: Christ, have mercy. R/ Christ, have mercy. Lord Jesus, you lead us on the road of love and generosity and you want to bring your salvation to all: Lord, have mercy. R/ Lord, have mercy. Have mercy on us, Lord, and fill us with the joy of your pardon. Wipe away the tears of our sorrow and make us sing of the gladness of everlasting life. R/ Amen.
Let us pray that we may prepare the road for the Lord's coming (pause) God our Father, we know today how to pierce mountains and level hills to build highways, but we have lost the way to each other's heart and to you. Let your Son come among us to make us inventive and daring enough to build roads of justice and love that make us encounter one another and you, our living God. We ask you this in the name of him whom we expect and who is waiting for us, Jesus Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.
Liturgy of the Word
First Reading Introduction: God Will Save His Scattered People The prophet announces a message of hope: God will lead his scattered people back to their country and to himself. They will become shining signs of God's salvation.
Second Reading Introduction: Prepare For The Day Of Christ
In a warm letter, Paul thanks the Christians of Philippi for their hospitality to himself and to the Gospel. He asks them and us to prepare for Christ's coming by means of an attentive, ever-growing love.
Gospel Introduction: Prepare The Way Of The Lord
God began his salvation history with his new people when John the Baptist announced the coming of Jesus. Then, as now, people have to prepare for the Lord's coming. If we prepare the way, all will see how God saves.
Let us pray in trusting hope that all people may see and accept the salvation which Jesus offers to all. Let us say: R/ Come, Lord, wait no longer. • For the pope, bishops, priests, and lay leaders, that they may strengthen us in our faith and help us to hasten the Lord's coming, let us pray: R/ Come, Lord, wait no longer. • For all the faithful spread over the whole world, that they may be light for our times, to keep faith and hope alive and active, and to work for more justice and honesty, let us pray: R/ Come, Lord, wait no longer. • For all those who do not believe in God, that they too may place all their potentials in the service of people and the whole human community, let us pray: R/ Come, Lord, wait no longer. • For all those afraid of the future, that they may put aside their fears and distress and learn to hope in God and trust in his promises, let us pray: R/ Come, Lord, wait no longer. • For all of us gathered here, that our eyes may be open and our hearts vigilant to recognize and receive Christ our Lord when he comes to encounter us, let us pray: R/ Come, Lord, wait no longer. Lord Jesus Christ, give us the will and the courage to remove the obstacles that separate us from each other and to level the road for your coming. Stay with us, now and for ever. R/ Amen.
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God, in these signs of bread and wine you reassure us that your Son will soon be among us. May we be the humble servants of the light and joy and the great hope for which humanity is waiting. May our lives proclaim the message that you are near to us in Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord for ever and ever. R/ Amen.
Introduction to the Eucharistic Prayer
We could not find the way to God by ourselves. He has sent us Jesus as our Way and as our guide on that road. Through Jesus, let us thank the Father.
Invitation to the Lord's Prayer
Let us pray to our Father in heaven that we may seek his will and sow the seeds of his kingdom: R/ Our Father...
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil and give us dedicated men and women to prepare that peace which is the sign of the presence of your Son on earth. Turn our hearts to you and free us from sin, as we wait in joyful hope for the full coming among us of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. R/ For the kingdom...
Invitation to Communion
This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are we to be invited to prepare the way for his coming, that people all over the world may see his salvation. R/ Lord, I am not worthy...
Prayer after Communion
Lord, God of hope, in this Eucharist we have celebrated again the coming of your Son in our midst. Let this brief encounter with him refresh and restore us to become humble road signs to a justice, a peace, a dignity, and a joy that far surpass our powers, but which can be shared by all if we let your Son go with us all the way to you, our God for ever and ever. R/ Amen.
To be a highway to God, level, smooth, and straight, we need to become more Christ-like ourselves. We can show others the road to Christ and prepare the way for his full coming only if we ourselves take his Gospel seriously, if the Lord becomes visible in us: his goodness, his compassion, his love, his concern for justice and truth. May God give you this strength and bless you all: the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen. Let us go with one another the way of the Lord.R/ Thanks be to God.