I taught recently the 4th graders in school during their religion class about the liturgical season. We spent, of course, a decent amount of time on Advent. Why purple for Advent (and Lent as well)? (My brother-in-law, who is from Minnesota and is a Vikings fan will love this post.)
Purple, a fusion of red and blue, is an interesting color. Blue symbolizes calm, steadfastness, and stability. Think of a deep blue sky or sea. Red, on the other hand, symbolizes passion, energy, and movement. Think of fire. Purple combines the steadiness of blue and the fervor of red. In Advent we are called to be focused, recollected, and somewhat solemn as we prepare for our Lord's coming into our lives at Christmas. But we are also called to be alert and excited—and for the same reasons.
The segment from Isaiah (Is 40:1-5, 9-11) in our first reading has this mix of emotions. “Comfort, give comfort to my people,” we hear in the opening line. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,” continues the prophet. This is quite blue.
But it turns red quickly. “A voice cries out...cry out at the top of your voice.”
John the Baptist is also a nice demonstration of purple. He has an exotic appearance—camel hair clothes and a diet of locusts and honey. It's as if he wants attention. He wants to be red. But he doesn't. He says, in a blue sort of way, “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals (Mk 1:7).”
Can you find the right balance this Advent? Can you be purple?
If you haven't already, be sure to pick up your Advent gift, a free copy of Jesus Shock! by Peter Kreeft. Kreeft, a theologian at Boston College, has written a number of books and is insightful, substantial, and easy to read. Please feel free to pass on a copy of a book to someone you know who could benefit from reading it. The Adult Formation Commission on the Pastoral Council plans to have monthly discussions of this book. We will also be reading a Lenten book together, Broken Mary by Kevin Matthews. Please see the card inside the book for more information.
A couple weeks ago a group of parents, myself, and our seminarian, Hank Lyon, met to discuss creating a youth group at St. Juliana. We decided to start with a teen Mass, followed by pizza and open gym. It will be Sunday, January 14th beginning with the Sunday 5pm Mass. We are aiming to do this the second Sunday of each month. Please spread the word among your high school students and if any parent is interested in helping, please reach out to me.
The parish Christmas Concert is today, December 10th, at 3:30pm in the church. Thank you to Margie Shiel and the choir for their hard work in preparing for this concert.
Once again, thank you to everyone who has provided Monday night dinner at the rectory for the priests. Not only have you fed us well, you have saved the parish over $5,000! We are still in need of people to sign up takethemameal.com. If you would like to cook but have trouble dropping the meal off at the rectory, please contact the office and we can arrange to have someone pick it up from you. Fr. Laurent, Fr. Roger, and I are incredibly grateful.
Yours in Christ,