Tag Archives: advent

Reflections for the Second Sunday of Advent

Sunday’s Readings from USCCB

If the world—in all its unfairness, injustice and evil—doesn’t make sense, neither does the response to it that God the Father gives. Why did God send His Son from Heaven to earth, where He knew that there would be men like King Herod, Pontius Pilate, and Judas Iscariot? God did this, and He still does so today, because He is the God of the unexpected.

God chooses to love the unlovable. That is His nature: God is love. He does not love in the way that we love. He loves in a way that we cannot. He loves eternally, and boldly. He does not love you if you do something for Him first. He does not love you until you forget to thank Him, and then stop loving. He does not love you until you offend Him by your sins, and then stop loving you.

If this sounds too good to be true, we should reflect on the reason that God sent His Son down to earth. There’s only one reason why Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and that was to die on Calvary. The meaning of Jesus’ birth, was his death. The baby was born in order to crush the serpent.

Of course, because God gave us free will, we can folds our arms across our chest, say “No thank you” to God, and turn our back on this Gift. Often that’s what we do. But the choice is always there before us. That’s why every year, we hear the cry of John the Baptizer, “Prepare the way of the Lord.” The way, the road that the Lord wants to travel, is the path into the human heart, into which He wants to pour His merciful and forgiving love. But if we block God’s way, He will indeed stop, and go no further.

But if we do open a way—a channel—into our hearts, God will pour into our hearts the Gifts of the Holy Spirit: the gifts of wisdom and understanding, counsel and strength, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and piety. Through these we can grow in the image of Christ, and offer ourselves on a daily basis the way that Christ did for all eternity on Calvary.

Advent is a time to “prepare the way for the Lord”, a time to raise our expectations of ourselves and of God: to commit ourselves to daily prayer and Scripture reading, to participating in weekday Mass, and the Sacrament of Confession. Yet no matter how little we offer ourselves to God, He loves us: continually, and boldly, because His love is mysterious and unexpected.

from catholicdioceseofwichita.org

Thursday of the First Week of Advent – Reflections

Read today’s readings.

By Marcia Shadle Cusic

The readings for today, Thursday, of the First Week of Advent call us to be faithful to the Scripture messages. We are also reminded to be confident in our trust in God. “A strong city have we; he sets up walls and ramparts to protect us.” We are also reminded to keep our feet firmly planted in our trust and appreciation of how our faith and trust in God can guide us, living our lives appreciating the guidance that the Scripture messages give us.

I am reminded of the notion of “rightful pride” in reading, “He humbles those in high places, and the lofty city he brings down.” A reminder to all of us, that just when you think “you’ve got it all figured out ” and “are in charge” our lives may seem, all of a sudden, to be falling apart. We need to be reminded and live our lives remembering that God is our partner in success and in disappointment, in opportunity and in loss. And remain humbled in all that we experience in our lives. “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” Yes, we need to make decisions, and respond to situations but maybe we need to take a step back and consider how the Scripture messages call us to respond.

From Creighton University

Tuesday of the First Week in Advent – Reflections

Today we also celebrate the Memorial of St. Francis Xavier, priest and missionary

Read today’s readings from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Here we are, on the second weekday of Advent, and therefore on the second weekday of the new Liturgical year, 2013-2014. This third day of Advent builds wonderfully on the visions of the readings for the First Sunday and Monday of Advent, visions of universal peace and restoration, beginning with the restoration of the tribes of Israel, then reaching out to all the nations of the world.

Like most of the readings during this special season of Advent, today’s texts flow together to tell a single story. They speak to the deepest of human desires for rescue, healing, restoration, and the peace that embodies all that is meant by the Hebrew word shalom—the full flourishing of the people of God in covenant union with their Creator and Redeemer.
Isaiah speaks of a future son of David, who will rule with justice, with a special concern for the poor. The images that the prophet uses to illustrate the ultimate shalom of this king’s rule are expressed with an exuberance that can stretch our credulity. The lamb will offer hospitality to the wolf (which sounds like the beginning of an Aesop fable that will end up poorly for the lamb). The carnivorous lion will go vegetarian to dine with the ox. The infant will play without harm near the cobra’s den. These images evoke a peace that is beyond what we can reasonably expect either from nature or from the greatest of human efforts. And that is exactly the point: such peace requires “outside help”—the Spirit of the Lord. That is why Isaiah climaxes his vision, twice, with references to the “fear” and “knowledge of the Lord.” Only with human cooperation with the source of all creation and redemption will full shalom come about. Only when we behave as creatures of a loving God do we experience the beginnings of the fulfillment of the prophet’s visions.

Psalm 72 elaborates Isaiah’s picture of the son of David who will rule over such a peace. Again, the onset of peace is linked with special attention to justice for the poor.

Finally, four verses from the Gospel of Luke proclaim how the fulfillment of the promises of the prophet and the psalmist took a quantum leap in the revelation of God in the person of Jesus Messiah. Those of us who have come to know the love and power of God in the humanity of Jesus have begun to see what the world had been looking for.

Christ deniers will continue to taunt Christians with the question: “If Jesus is the Messiah, where is the peace and justice that is supposed to accompany the messianic age?” In faith and hope, we answer that the promises have only BEGUN to be fulfilled; we have experienced that beginning, and we continue to pray, as Jesus taught us, “Thy kingdom come.” The point of Advent, and the season’s reading, is to help us face up to the remaining gap between promise and fulfillment and to nurture the hope that the peace we still hunger for lies in the further manifestation of our risen Lord. The spectacular missionary work of St. Francis Xavier, whose feast we celebrate today, was energized by this kind of faith and hope. The promised “outside help” depends on our cooperation with our Creator and our acknowledgment that we can’t do this on our own small strength. Lord Jesus, come!

By Father D. Hamm, SJ

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.
dhamm@creighton.edu

From Creighton University

Pope: allow the Lord to encounter us in preparation for Christmas

(Vatican Radio) Preparing for Christmas through prayer, charity and exhaltation. With this hope, Pope Francis called on the faithful Monday to open their hearts and allow themselves to encounter the Lord who renews all. Read more.

Monday of the First Week of Advent

Monday’s Readings from USCCB

Collect:
Keep us alert, we pray, O Lord our God,
as we await the advent of Christ your Son,
so that when he comes and knocks
he may find us watchful in prayer and exultant in his praise.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. *

Today’s Readings

Daily Meditation:
That He may instruct us in His ways.
Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

We want to begin this journey by rallying ourselves
to turn to the Lord with great hope.
In the midst of many discouraging challenges in our lives
and the violence in the world around us,
we desire to spend this day in anticipation of the graces
our God desires to give us.

They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again. Is. 2

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you;
but say only the word and my soul will be healed.

Today’s Daily Reflection

Intercessions:
Christ the Lord, Son of the living God, light from light,
leads us into the light and reveals his holiness.
With confidence, let us make our prayer:
Come, Lord Jesus!

Light that never fades, dispel the mists about us,
– awaken our faith from sleep.

Guard us from all harm today,
– may your glory fill us with joy.

Give us unfailing gentleness at all times,
– toward everyone we meet.

Come to create a new earth for us,
– where there will be justice and peace.

Closing Prayer:
Loving God,
I sense that all is your creation
and everything, and all of us,
are being drawn back toward your loving heart.

Help me to be a person of peace,
to speak about it in an uneasy world,
and to live it among the people
you have put into my life every day.

Light in me a desire to prepare for your coming
to stand in the darkness, waiting, eager and filled with joy.

From Creighton University

Advent awakens us from our stupor

Toronto, November 29, 2013 (Zenit.org)
by Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB

This year the liturgical season of Advent begins at sundown on Saturday evening, November 30, 2013. Advent culminates with the birth of the Savior at Christmas. The Advent season in its liturgical observance is devoted to the coming of God at the end of history when Jesus shall reign as king. The time is chiefly a celebration of “the coming of God” in ultimate triumph. Advent confronts us and wakes us from our stupor.

Advent, far from being a penitential time or a time of despair, is a time of rejoicing in hope and a time of patient waiting. Christians are invited to quietly prepare our hearts and our lives for the coming of the ever-greater one in the flesh. For what or for whom are we waiting in life? What virtues or gifts are we praying to receive this year? What material things do we seek? The people, qualities, things we await give us great insights into who we are.

FROM THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

II. THE MYSTERIES OF JESUS’ INFANCY AND HIDDEN LIFE

522 The coming of God’s Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the “First Covenant”. He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming.

523 St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. “Prophet of the Most High”, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.

524 When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
____________________________________________

Long ago St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote that almost everything about our Lord Jesus Christ is twofold:

He has two births: one from God before the ages,
the other from the Virgin at the end of all ages.
He has two comings: the one is hidden and resembles the falling of the dew upon a fleece;
the other – the future one – on the contrary will be manifest.
At his first coming, he was wrapped in linens and laid in a manger;
at the second, light shall be his robe.
In the first coming he endured the Cross-,
heedless of its shame;
in his second coming he will be in glory
surrounded by an army of angels.
Let us therefore not stop at his first coming
but look forward to the second.
We hailed him at his first coming with the words,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
And we shall hail him in the same way at his second coming.
For we shall go out to meet the Lord and his angels,
and, prostrating ourselves before him, we shall cry,
‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’

Advent teaches us that there are two ways of looking at history: one is sociological and the other is religious. The first, chronos, is essentially unredeemed and cyclic. The second, xairos, is redeemed by God in Christ Jesus and becomes the possibility of providence and sacrament.

You may appreciate part of a homily by Blessed John Henry Newman, the great 19th century English Cardinal and teacher:

They watch for Christ who are sensitive, eager, apprehensive in mind,
who are awake, alive, quick-sighted, zealous in honoring him,
who look for him in all that happens, and who would not be surprised,
who would not be over-agitated or overwhelmed,
if they found that he was coming at once…
This then is to watch: to be detached from what is present,
and to live in what is unseen;
to live in the thought of Christ as he came once,
and as he will come again; to desire his second coming,
from our affectionate and grateful remembrance of his first.

Each week I offer a reflection on the Sunday Scripture readings that are proclaimed in most Christian Churches throughout the world. These readings are posted on the Salt and Light Television Network website on the Tuesday preceding the Sunday.

Fr. Thomas Rosica CSB is CEO of the Salt and Light Catholic Television Network.

from Zenit.org