Monday, November 27, 2017

Dec. 3, 2017 - Advent, a Season of Love

The First Sunday of Advent  - Year B

Reading I:  Is. 63:16-17,  19; 64:2-7

Psalm:  80                                                                                     
Reading II:  1 Cor. 1:3-9                                                                                   
Mark:  13:33-37

Advent is truly a Season of Love in so many ways!!!  First, we recall that God the Father so loved us that he sent his only Son to be our Savior. The Son was willing to come as an Infant and live among us, to love,  and to sacrifice Himself for us. The Holy Spirit came to dwell in our hearts and spread love throughout the world. Even in the secular world, there is a tangible Spirit of Love. The celebration of Jesus’ birth at Christmas is a source of joy for the world.

Secondly, we prepare for the second coming of Jesus as judge of our practice of love toward one another.  In Matthew’s description of the Last Judgement, it is all about how we showed love for one another, especially those in need. Did we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, reach out to our brothers and sisters? We are reminded that what we do for them Jesus accepts as done for him.

During Advent, we try to remember that when we meet one another, we are meeting Christ. How we treat one another is the measure of our loving Jesus. It
is a time when we pause from our busyness and try to connect with those who have been a part of our lives. It is a time when we try to reach out to those who might have lost loved ones or who might be lonely during the holidays.

It is also a time to examine ourselves to see if we will be ready to meet the Lord when he comes for us.  We are reminded that we know not the time of his coming. St. Augustine said: “It is by design that Jesus hid the last day from
us — so that we would be on the lookout for him every day of our lives.”

In the days of my youth, when I taught the sixth grade, I used to watch for a student who was doing something good. I would compliment him or her. Then, other students would imitate that person.  They liked being “caught doing something good.” They never knew when that would happen. The goal is that we try to act in a loving manner at all times so that on our last day, God will find us with loving hearts ready for heaven.

Finally, love is not always easy. Sometimes we have been deeply hurt by someone, even by someone in our own family. Christmas is also a time for forgiveness and healing. It is an opportunity to reach out to call, visit, send a card
to someone from whom we have been estranged. It doesn’t matter who was
right or who was wrong. The healing of the relationship is what is important.

Even if the estranged person has passed, we can speak to or write a letter to the person since we believe that the person’s spirit is still alive. It is very important that all are at peace. Let us ask the help of the Prince of Love and Peace so that His Kingdom will come on Earth.

 Reflection Question:  In the busyness of Christmas preparations,
what gift of love do you think the Lord would like to receive from you
this year?

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

Adviento, estación del amor

El Adviento es realmente una Temporada de Amor de muchas maneras. Primero, recordamos que Dios el Padre nos amó tanto que envió a su único Hijo para ser nuestro Salvador. El Hijo estaba dispuesto a venir como un Infante y vivir entre nosotros, amar y sacrificarse por nosotros. El Espíritu Santo vino a habitar en nuestros corazones y difundir el amor en todo el mundo. Incluso en el mundo secular, hay un Espíritu de amor tangible. La celebración del nacimiento de
Jesús en Navidad es una fuente de alegría para el mundo.

En segundo lugar, nos preparamos para la segunda venida de Jesús como
juez de nuestra práctica de amor mutuo. En la descripción de Mateo del Juicio Final, se trata de cómo demostramos amor el uno por el otro, especialmente los necesitados. ¿Alimentamos a los hambrientos, vestimos a los desnudos, nos acercamos a nuestros hermanos y hermanas? Se nos recuerda que lo que hacemos por ellos, Jesús acepta como hecho por él.

Durante Adviento, tratamos de recordar que cuando nos encontramos, nos encontramos con Cristo. Cómo nos tratamos unos a otros es la medida de nuestro amoroso Jesús. Es un momento en que hacemos una pausa de nuestro trabajo e intentamos conectarnos con aquellos que han sido parte de nuestras vidas. Es un momento en el que tratamos de llegar a aquellos que podrían haber perdido a sus seres queridos o que podrían estar solos durante las vacaciones.

También es un momento para examinarnos a nosotros mismos para ver si estamos listos para encontrarnos con el Señor cuando venga por nosotros. Se nos recuerda que no sabemos el momento de su venida. San Agustín dijo: “Es por diseño que Jesús ocultó el último día de nosotros, para que lo estuviéramos buscando todos los días de nuestras vidas”.

En los días de mi juventud, cuando enseñaba el sexto grado, solía mirar a un estudiante que estaba haciendo algo bueno. Yo lo felicitaría a él o ella. Entonces, otros estudiantes imitarían a esa persona. Les gustaba que los “sorprendieran haciendo algo bueno”. Nunca sabían cuándo sucedería eso. El objetivo es que tratemos de actuar de manera amorosa en todo momento para que en nuestro último día, Dios nos encuentre con amorosos corazones listos para el cielo

Finalmente, el amor no siempre es fácil. A veces hemos sido profundamente lastimados por alguien, incluso por alguien de nuestra propia familia. La Navidad es también un tiempo para el perdón y la curación. Es una oportunidad para contactarnos, visitar, enviar una tarjeta a alguien de quien nos hemos distanciado. No importa quién tenía razón o quién estaba equivocado. La curación de la relación es lo importante.

Incluso si la persona enajenada ha fallecido, podemos hablarle o escribirle una carta, ya que creemos que el espíritu de la persona aún está vivo. Es muy importante que todos estén en paz. Pidamos la ayuda del Príncipe de Amor
y Paz
para que su Reino venga a la Tierra.

 Pregunta de reflexión:  En el ajetreo de los preparativos de Navidad,
¿Qué regalo de amor crees que el Señor quisiera recibir de ti? ¿este año?


  1. Sr. Annette, you beautifully outlined how we should “do the Season,” and I thank you for doing so because you remind us that the birth of Jesus was not just an event that happened long ago. Rather, as Christians we are to live the Christmas miracle every day of our lives. Living as Christ instructed us, and as He modeled, is the only way that we will have the lasting peace, love, and joy that Christ promises. An encounter I had at the supermarket on Thanksgiving Eve awakened me from my self-absorbed state to the awareness that many people are not in sync with the energy of the Holidays.
    I was rushing through the store buying some last minute items I needed to prepare our meal and as I was heading to the register I was distracted by a display of pumpkin salad dressings – five different varieties! I was so amazed by the unusual blends that I just had to get one, even though I was not serving a tossed salad. While pondering my selection, I noticed the young woman about two feet away from me searching through some “finds” as well. She was talking on her cell phone and I overheard her saying she just was not into going to Thanksgiving dinner…she was not in the spirit of anything. She sounded so sad and empty. I hung around extra-long hoping she would finish her call so I could approach her. But she stayed on the phone and I needed to go. However, I left with a sense of compassion which, by the time I arrived home, had expanded to encompass everyone who was grieving, feeling isolated, disillusioned, or disconnected in any way. That incident also shifted my perspective. I went from somewhat dreading the dynamics that table conversations typically take when everyone comes together (ranging from 2 years old to 87 years old) wanting to express their opinions, to thanking God for the blessing of my loved ones. I was absolutely certain that my coming upon that young woman was divinely guided for my benefit. I, too, had fallen out of the Spirit of the Holiday and had forgotten the treasures I have been blessed with. To answer your reflection question, I think the Lord would like me to journey through this Christmas season with intention, awareness and expression of the love He is and which my behavior should also reflect. I am making it a point to include in prayer anyone who is feeling alienated during this time of year.
    While searching for my Christmas card address list from last year I came across a poem which I cut out and tucked into the folder. I’d like to share it with you and your readers for this first Sunday of Advent:
    “If Every Day Were Christmas”
    By James Dillet Freeman
    If every day were Christmas,
    how different life would be,
    if not one day but all the year
    were ruled by charity.
    Had we the faith in miracles
    a child has Christmas morn,
    each day would be love’s manger
    and Christ would be reborn
    in us again to change and heal
    our outworn wars and ways-
    had we a child’s or shepherd’s gift
    for wonderment and praise!
    Yet every day is Christmas
    when we have learned to live
    by love’s law, learned not how to get
    but only how to give;
    and like a child can wonder
    and like a child can play,
    but have the grown-up wisdom
    to give ourselves away.

    Let’s live this Holy Season as a prayer,
    Peace and Blessings to all,
    Pat C., ASBS

  2. Sr. Therese M. Warner,SBSNovember 28, 2017 at 9:30 AM

    Yes, Advent is a unique time of intense preparation for the arrival of the God of love and there are many ways in which we can welcome Him. Thank you for the excellent suggestions, Sister.

    The following excerpts are from a homily delivered by the Most Reverend Jose H. Gomez:

    "Advent, as we all know, is a word that means 'coming'. For us, it means the coming of God into our world and into our lives. It is a time for us to increase our desire for Christ to be with us. It is a time to increase our desire to know and imitate the divine life He revealed to us."

    "In our First Reading, the prophet Isaiah prays a beautiful prayer about waiting for God. He asks our heavenly Father to once more turn his face to his children, to come down from heaven and enter our lives."

    "In his great love for us, Jesus Christ is always coming to us, again and again knocking at the door of our hearts. He is always inviting us to conversation, always promising us his pardon and his mercy. He calls us in a special way during the Advent season."

    "We need to ask during this holy season for the grace to know ourselves better. We need to ask Him to show us what we need to work on to improve our spiritual lives. Advent is the moment to take note of things that separate us from God, to loosen their hold on us and cast them away from us."

    "That is what St. Paul is talking about in the Second Reading of today's Mass. St. Paul promises us today, 'You are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you await for our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end. God is faithful.'."

    "God the Father loves us so much! He keeps us alive and nourishes us with his grace. He gives us every spiritual gift we need through the sacraments of his church, especially in the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation."

    "So let us ask our Mother Mary to help us use this time of Advent to really prepare our hearts for the coming of her Son so that we may follow in his footsteps and live the life He has modeled for us."

    The Most Reverend Jose H. Gomez
    Archbishop of Los Angeles
    Nov. 27, 2011

    advent is the moment to take note of the things that separate us from God, to loosen their hold on us and cast them away from us.