Advent Reflections

The daily Advent reflections below are written by members of the parish Worship Commission.   We thank you for taking time during this busy season to join us in prayer and reflection.  May your season of preparation for Christmas be filled with the peace and light of Christ.

December 9 No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: “This is the way; walk in it,” when you would turn to the right or to the left. In the Gospel today Jesus sends out his disciples to tend to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” proclaiming ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ We are left with an image of Jesus and disciples reaching out to the troubled and abandoned. As we reflect on this Gospel we are called to reach out to others who may be “lost” or “abandoned” and comfort them; reminding them with Christmas approaching that ‘the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand’. December 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar and the elements will be dissolved by fire, and the earth and everything done on it will be found out. In our readings today the theme is of God coming for his people and to be prepared.  Isaiah declares, “In the desert prepare the way of the LORD!” Similarly, Peter states that “the day of the Lord will come like a thief” and while we wait, we should be eager to be found without spot of blemish. As we continue through Advent the readings call us to be mindful that God will come among us and we should be prepared. December 11 They will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. Here is your God, he comes with vindication. In the Gospel we see Jesus heal the paralytic, both physically and spiritually. Jesus asks: “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.” As we continue through Advent we should be mindful of God’s prophesized return in his son Jesus and also focus on preparing ourselves spiritually for his return. December 12 A familiar gospel stretching back to memories from my childhood. The angel Gabriel appears to the Virgin Mary in the town of Galilee called Nazareth where he proclaims to her, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” Mary, most likely is thinking--Who is this crazy man? Where is my closest exit?  But instead of fleeing the scene she hears the man out. He tells her to not be afraid because she has found favor in God and she will conceive a son, named Jesus. Mary’s faith is tested in many ways in this very moment. Besides the anxiety of sharing this news with Joseph and her community, why was she chosen? What does this mean? God calls on each of us but often times we don’t hear this call or don’t recognize the ask.  Lord, keep my eyes and ears open to heed your requests and hear your words during this season of distractions, social and family commitments and holiday gatherings. December 13 Jesus said to the crowds: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves, for my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30) Today’s brief gospel from Matthew is a timely reminder from God to keep things simple. God wants to be our father, teacher and comforter. Once we let go of the unnecessary burdens in our lives, the troubles and tribulations that only weigh us down, we can truly lighten our load to live our lives with the faith that allows us to rest. What in your life is keeping you down? What do you need to let go? Sometimes the biggest challenge is realizing what you can and cannot control and trusting God to grant you the insight to know the difference. Spend a few minutes today with the Lord to think about what would be better placed in the hands of the Lord than weighing on your mind. Let it go. December 14 In today’s reading from Isaiah, at first read I soak up the literal meaning—our Lord is powerful, He will heal the sick, make barren lands plentiful, make us strong to meet our physical needs, soothe our fears, etc.—but I know there is a deeper reflection I’m meant to find. Then this verse struck me: “The afflicted and the needy seek water in vain, their tongues are parched with thirst. I, the LORD, will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17) The afflicted and needy represent all of us at some point in time. When our focus shadows our faith, our priorities become misaligned, we are unbalanced and at times blinded but whatever we so badly are working towards. I believe in Isaiah’s reading today, he wants to remind us God is truly all we need and all powerful--He created everything in our world, even us. Let us remember to reach out to God in our moments of need. Amen to that! December 15 “Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I, the LORD, your God, teach you what is for your good, and lead you on the way you should go.”  One of the most difficult questions one can receive during a job interview is “where do you see yourself in five years?” For some of us, it’s hard to imagine where we see ourselves next week, much less five years. Trusting that God has a path and plan set for us can be difficult sometimes. We only know our current situation and the life experiences leading up to it. We cannot imagine the life experiences needed to get us to where we are going. It is important to take the time to sit down and reflect on where God is calling us this day, whether it’s to a vocation, a relationship, a job change, or something smaller, like a call to pray. We may not know where we see ourselves in five years, but God does, and it is only through trusting him that we will get where we need to go. December 16 “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths, All flesh shall see the salvation of God”  We are only nine days away from Christmas. Soon, many of us will be travelling, finishing up year-end projects, doing last-minute shopping, and hopefully taking some time to enjoy the season. This time of year comes with many distractions so it is important that we intentionally stop and prepare ourselves for what is to come: the celebration of the birth of Jesus. It is in these busy times especially that we must turn ourselves toward God and ask how we are called to prepare the way for him. Maybe it’s donating clothes or food to those who need it, or donating time through volunteering. To prepare the way of the Lord, follow this quote from St. Vincent de Paul: “Go to the poor: you will find God.”