Light the Candle of Hope

In the Catholic Church, reading of scripture for Sunday Mass are divided into three cycles (Cycle A the Gospel of Matthew, B the Gospel of Mark, and C the Gospel of Luke with John scattered throughout). Weekday readings are in two cycles, Cycle I for odd years, the Cycle II for even years. In that way, the entire Bible is read every three years and then repeated.

Today is the First Sunday of the Advent Season. It marks the beginning of a new Liturgical Church Year. We are in Cycle A for Sunday, and cycle I for weekday readings. These changes are fairly new in the scheme of things – a part of the Vatican II reform. The council wanted to implement a way for Catholics to become familiar with the entire Bible and not just certain sections. Hence the cycles, and a never ending loop throughout the entire Bible.

Advent is more than simply turning the Church Calendar to a new year, it is a period of spiritual preparation and anticipation not only of the celebration of Christ’s Birth, but of His return. Many believers observe the Advent Season not only as a time to thank God for His time on Earth, but for His guiding presence through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In the Roman Catholic Church, the Advent Season begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day and lasts through Christmas Eve. On those years when Christmas Eve is a Sunday, it is observed as the last Sunday of Advent. For this reason, Advent can last between 22 to 28 days. Unlike religious based Advents, commercial Advent Calendars start their countdown on December 1 and are intended to give a treat for each day leading up to Christmas. Within Eastern Orthodox churches that use the Julian Calendar, Advent begins on November 15, and lasts 40 day in a parallel to the 40 day of Lent.

Advent began as a form of observation sometime after the 4th century. It was designed as a time of fasting, in preparation for the Epiphany rather than a countdown to Christmas. Later, in the 6th century, Saint Gregory the Great was the first to associate Advent with the coming of Christ, as in His Second Coming. By the Middle Ages, four Sundays had become the standard length of the Advent Season, marked with fasting and repentance during that time.

Today the observance of Advent serves as a beautiful way to keep Christ at the center of the Christmas celebrations. In these hectic times, observing Advent Sundays with the wreath, prayer and sharing a special meal enriches our faith, and our hope. It helps to bring a greater depth of understanding to this Holy season. While our wreath has changed over the years, the moving experience of lighting candles and praying together as a family has not.

ADVENT PRAYERS
Opening Prayer: Lord God, Lamb of God
Let Yours blessings come upon us
As we light the candles of this Advent wreath.
May the wreath and its light be a symbol
Of Christ’s promise of eternal salvation.

Response: Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.

Light the first Purple Candle (Hope)
Prayer: Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation.
In the darkness and in the light, Holy is Your Name.
We place our hope in you, Oh Lord,
As we prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of the Lord

Response: Now and forever. Amen.

Advent Sunday Roast Supper
Peppercorn Wine Roast Beef
White Truffle Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Honey Garlic Roasted Carrots
Wine with Dinner


Peppercorn Wine Roast Beef
2 lb Beef Top Round Roast
1-1/2 tablespoons whole Peppercorns
2 Garlic Cloves
1/2 large White Onion
3 tablespoon packed Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
3/4 cup Port Wine
3/4 cup Red Wine

Heat oven to 325-degrees Trim fat from roast; tie with kitchen twine every 2 inches to help beef maintain shape while cooking. Set aside.

Crush peppercorns, set aside. Peel and finely mince garlic, set aside. Peel and finely dice onion, set aside.

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, peppercorns, garlic and salt. Rub the seasoned brown sugar over meat. Place the roast in a shallow roasting pan.

Place in the heated oven to cook until meat reaches desired doneness (135-degrees; about an hour for medium-rare; 140 degrees; about 90 minutes for medium-well)

Remove roast from oven, tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes before slicing. While the roast rest; in a large saucepan, sauté onion in oil until tender. Stir in tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce until blended. Add wines. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced to about 1-1/2 cups.

Slice roast, place on a serving platter. If desired, garnish platter with fresh herbs and a roasted garlic head. Serve Wine Sauce in a gravy boat alongside the roast.

White Truffle Garlic Mashed Potatoes
6 Russet Potatoes
3 Garlic Cloves
1/4 cup Half and Half or as needed
Butter as needed
Kosher Salt to taste
White Pepper to taste
White Truffle Oil to taste

Peel the potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes and place in a pot. Cover with 1-inch of water. Season the water with just a pinch of salt.

Peel garlic cloves, slice in half lengthwise. Place cloves on top of the potatoes.

Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-high heat until the potatoes are very tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return to the pot and keep over low heat.

Stir in the half and half, and the butter then mash until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper then drizzle with a little white truffle oil. Just before serving, sprinkle with a little white pepper for a hint of color.

Honey Garlic Roasted Carrots
Olive Oil as needed
1-1/2 lbs whole Carrots, rinsed
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Butter
1-1/4 tablespoons Honey
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Lightly oil the lined pan and set aside.

Scrub carrots, quarter lengthwise, keeping attached at the thickest point. Set aside. Peel and finely mince the garlic. Set aside.

Melt butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes, or until butter is lightly browned, stirring frequently. Make sure not to burn the garlic. Remove from heat. Whisk in the honey until combined.

Arrange carrots on the prepared baking sheet. Brush carrots with the honey garlic butter sauce and toss to coat evenly. Arrange buttered carrots in one layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender.

Remove roasted carrots from oven and transfer to a serving plate, drizzling with any honey butter left on the baking sheet. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve and enjoy!

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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