Reflection for the Fourth Week of Advent
by Sister Mary Parks
On this Sunday we meet Joseph, the Dreamer. His dreams were not the easy sort. God tells Joseph in his dreams that he should take the pregnant Mary as his wife. His first born would not be of his blood. He probably had friends who were saying to him something like, “Man, don’t do it!”
But his faith in God was so strong that he heard God even in his sleep! I believe God’s invitations are often not easy. Other choices may seem better for us. But in the end Joseph had the great blessing of living his life with Mary as his wife and Jesus as his son! Now that’s what I call a happy home!
Do we hear the voice of God even when we are wide awake? I believe God is always leading us, but sometimes we are just too busy to hear the invitations. As Christmas approaches this holy season, let’s take at least ten minutes of contemplative silence with God and listen, just listen. Can we listen like Joseph did – with humility, faith, hope, and love?
Reflection for the Third Week of Advent
by Sister Dolores Montini
When we are in the third week of Advent, we can become distracted by the culture of consumerism as we prepare for Christmas. In the midst of our busyness we need to refocus our attention on the true meaning of this sacred season. It is not about gifts but rather the giving of ourselves to a broken world.
Today’s Responsorial Psalm gives us a hint of what this season is all about. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me – He has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” Luke 4:18 calls us back to the true meaning of Advent. Instead of getting caught up in the world’s activity of gift-giving, we are to give the gift of ourselves, like Jesus did, to heal our brokenness and to bring peace and joy to the down-trodden.
Take time today to refocus your energy on what gift you are bringing to our broken world. Consider: How do you with the gift of your life bring hope, peace and love – the gifts Christ gives to us – to your preparation for Christmas?
Reflection for the Second Week of Advent
by Sister Betty Adams
The symphony we are waiting to hear is the kingdom of God where the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid. Today, we are invited to a new world with new laws, those set by God not man.
As we each live within the prelude that is being played in our own lives, may we listen intently for the sounds of the beauty being promised to us.
Reflection for the First Week of Advent
by Sister Anne Clifford
Since the sixteenth century “Advent Wreaths” have been displayed in Christian homes. The Advent Wreath with its four prominent candles draws attention to Jesus as “the Light of the world,” who came to dispel the darkness of sin and radiate the love of God (cf. John 3:19-21).
The circular shape of the wreath symbolizes the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus. The choice of a wreath’s evergreens also is symbolic: branches of laurel symbolize victory over sin; cedar branches signify healing; and pine branches suggest immortality. The candles placed on the wreath represent Advent’s four weeks, with the first week anticipating not only the birth of Jesus Christ but also His Second Coming, which is proclaimed every Sunday in the Creed: “Jesus will return again to judge both the living and the dead.”
During the first week of Advent, I invite you to prayerfully reflect on the Gospel reading from Matthew in which Jesus calls his followers to “be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come” (Matthew 24:44).