|advent (Photo credit: Gerard Stolk (vers l'Avent))|
Week of December 2, 2013
(Rom 13:11-14) And that, knowing the season, that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is passed And the day is at hand. Let us, therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ: and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences.
ICN REFLECTION: Unlike Lent, the four weeks preceding the great feasts of Christ’s birth and Epiphany are not times of great penance. We are asked to prepare ourselves to welcome these feasts, but more in prayerful anticipation and silent prayer, it is the season for wakefulness, being attentive to the call of God right in our daily lives. It is also a reminder that we anticipate not only the festivals of light and joy but look beyond the limits of our world into that dark winter sky and see in the twinkling of those so far distant stars a hint of the glory and majesty of Christ our God who one day will come again.
Perhaps in our security of life we might feel that this is a long way off, we have another Christmas to get through, plenty to do, friends to contact, relations to visit. It is a season of giving! And yet, the insistent voice of scripture tells us that we have been promised that the Son of Man will come. Matthew in his direct way prepares us for that second coming, reminding us to stand ready and be prepared. That is very much the message of Advent; that He will come again as surely as He came into the world as a little child. This is why Isaiah tells us to walk in the light of the Lord, why Paul tells us that the night is nearly over and the day is at hand!
RON ROLHEISER, OMI: Advent - A Time To Learn How To Wait
EXCEPT ARCHBISHOP CHARLES J. CHAPUT, O.F.M. CAP.: The Gift of Thanksgiving and the Advent Season
This weekend, on December 1, we also celebrate the First Sunday of Advent, which opens the new Church year. It’s a chance to begin again; a time to examine our hearts in the light of the Gospel, repent of our sins and look for the coming of our Savior.
We can’t really experience or understand Christmas unless we first conform our hearts to the longing of Advent. Advent calls us all to refocus our lives on God’s promise of deliverance and the flesh-and-blood reality of Jesus Christ, our Deliverer – who came to us first in Bethlehem, comes to us today in the Eucharist, and will come again at the end of time.
As the Church reminds us throughout our lives, our Catholic faith, if it’s genuine, must have consequences – first in our private choices and conduct, but also in our public witness. If we really believe in the coming of a Messiah, our lives will reflect that in the way we treat our families, our friends and business colleagues, the poor, the homeless and the suffering.
Real faith will drive us to live our lives in a spirit of humility, hope and courage, as Mary of Nazareth did. It will also guide us to press our elected leaders – of both political parties — for laws and social policies that respect the dignity of the human person, from conception to natural death.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph knew the reality of poverty firsthand. They knew the fear of being without shelter; of being hunted by enemies and being “strangers in a strange land” as refugees in Egypt. This week might be a good time to remember that millions of immigrants in our own country – many of them undocumented; men and women who in many ways underpin our economy – feel that same uncertainty and vulnerability. That’s why continuing efforts at immigration reform are so urgently necessary and so in need of Catholic involvement.
But immigration is only one of a dozen pressing issues like defending the unborn child, religious liberty, strengthening marriage and the family, and support for the elderly and disabled, which now face our country and cry out for prayer and action by Christians. All genuinely Catholic action begins and ends in the worship of Jesus Christ. If we want to change the world, we begin by saying “yes” to God, as Mary did. We begin with our own obedience to God, using Mary as our model.
The Thanksgiving holiday and the season of Advent give us a chance to start over; to begin the new Church year with a longing for God that leads to Bethlehem, to our own renewal, and to the conversion of the world.
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50. He also said, 'Do not let your mouth speak an evil word: the vine does not bear thorns.'
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