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Happy new year everyone! It is advent in the Catholic church and thus has begun our new liturgical year. For these next four weeks leading up to Christmas, I would like to offer to you some weekly gospel reflections.
Before I get into this week’s though, I want to talk about what advent means. The word “advent” means “coming.” And it is true that during these four weeks of Advent, we are preparing for the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. These reflections are meant to prepare ourselves for Christmas. In addition, similar to Lent, were are preparing ourselves for the Lord’s second coming.
Here is the Gospel reading from 12/3/17, the first Sunday of Advent:
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!'” (Mark 13:33-37)
Bishop Robert Barron tells us that it is true that Christianity is a religion of fulfillment (Jesus has already come to save us), but it is also a religion of waiting. We wait and watch for Jesus second coming in the fullness of his power. And we know that all great things must take time.
So we wait. But as Jesus tells us in the Gospel, we cannot fall asleep. We know not the day nor the hour. Sleep here is analogous for turning away from the faith. Faith is something that we shouldn’t just go through the motions with. We must stay active within it. If we go through the motions, it is easy for us to miss what God is trying to tell us.
So what is Advent for? As I mentioned above, it is a time of preparation, a time for us to remind ourselves that there is more to this life than just us. Everything a Christian does should be to work towards their salvation. Advent gives us a time to think about ourselves and where we are spiritually.
As we enter this first week of advent, ask yourself these questions. Am I just going through the motions? Have I been paying attention in mass? Where am I now with Jesus? Finally you should ask yourself, if he came today, would I be ready?
For the majority of people in the world, the answer to that latter question would be no (it is certainly a no from me), but we can work towards that point. I believe we should start by treating Advent similar to Lent. Both are times of preparation, so in order to right ourselves towards God, perhaps we should give up something, make a sacrifice, or begin to do something that will further our lives spiritually. Whatever short term goals you have now, just remember, the ultimate goal is Heaven.
I am going to leave you with this link to a site run by Loyal Press. They offer some good resources to prepare yourself for Christmas.
Arts & Faith: Advent—First Sunday Imaginative Prayer Exercise (Cycle B)
Have a great week.
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