The First Sunday in Advent
Primipilus I - MMIV
First Advent Home

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

This Collect is to be repeated every day, after the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas Day.

Romans xiii. 8    St. Matthew xxi. 1

ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her
Colt tied

Today is the first Sunday in Advent. Advent begins on the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Andrew [November 30]. It is an ancient period of preparation for the Feast of the Nativity. Ancient records show that Christians celebrated Christmas on the 25th of December in the middle of the third century in Antioch. In the fourth century, under Emperor Constantine, the 25th was made the official celebration of the Nativity. In the Council of Trent in 567, the Church codified the Advent season as one of fasting in preparation of the Nativity, and the 12 days of Christmas up to the Epiphany as a festive season.

The name Advent comes from the Latin word "Adventus" - a coming. Gregory said that Bishop Perpetuss, in about 480, had directed fasting during Advent three times a week (on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays). Advent began after the Feast of St. Martin [November 11]. It was known as "St Martin's Lent". This period of 43 days reminds one of the Lenten Fast before Easter. Later, beginning in about 750 the fast was reduced to four weeks in various places and the faithful practiced abstinence rather than fasting.

" In the Orthodox Church, Advent is observed from the Feast of St Philip on November 14th until Christmas and is known as St Philip's Lent. The people abstain from eggs, milk, and butter; but may consume wine, oil, and fish, which are proscribed in Easter Lent.

During Advent, the Gospel accounts concern the expectation of the people for the coming of the Messiah. In today's Gospel, Jesus has arrived in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. He sends his disciples to get a colt for him to ride into Jerusalem so that the prophecy of Zechariah, in the last prophetic book of the Old Testament, might be fulfilled. Instead of a great military deliverer riding on a gallant white stallion, Jesus is to enter Jerusalem in meekness on a colt. The pious people immediately recognized the symbolism and hailed Jesus as the Messiah, the son of David. They prepared his way by laying their coats along his path, an act of royal homage, and by waving palm leaves in jubilation. They saw in Jesus their Savior and deliverer from the Roman occupation. They praised him saying, Hosanna (Save!) to the son of David, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord (Psalm 118:26). Hosanna in the highest (let the heavenly host say Hosanna). The sentence "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" was taken up by the Church and added to the Sanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy....) as part of the Eucharist to remember his triumphant entry and the hope of the people.

His procession took him to the Temple where he entered and immediately set about to cleanse it. He personally prepared the Temple for his preaching knowing that these actions would bring about his passion and fulfill his Father's will to save the whole world.

Let us pray the prayer of the Order:

Almighty God, our sovereign Lord, who called Cornelius the Centurion to be the first Christian among the Gentiles, who healed the servant at Capernaum in accordance with the Centurion's great faith, and who inspired the Centurion at Calvary to glorify Jesus; strengthen us in our faith that we might follow their example to love, serve, and glorify you as faithful members of the Church Militant, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Reverend Mark Carroll, Primipilus I

Blessed is he that cometh in the name 'of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest
Palm Sunday Procession and Jesus on the Colt of an Ass

Romans xiii. 8

OWE no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

St. Matthew xxi. 1.

WHEN they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name 'of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Scripture from 1928 Book of Common Prayer