Advent marks the beginning of the church’s liturgical year. It is a season of joyful expectation, hope and preparation for the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.
We all know how crazy busy the holiday season can be, but if we just spend a few minutes each day of Advent in prayer and reflection, our Christmas will be so much richer, and we will rejoice with the angels who proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14)
Advent is a journey to Bethlehem. So, my fellow sojourners, let us begin.
Sunday, November 27, 2022
The First Sunday of Advent
On this first Sunday of Advent, the Gospel reading points us to the Second Coming of Jesus. Before delving into the Incarnation – Jesus’ First Coming – we look at His return. Since we don’t know which day the Lord will come, we must stay awake and aware, always striving to live our lives in a state of grace. Each of us has a choice to make, a choice with eternal consequences, a choice with or without Jesus. No one can make the decision for us. And it’s not just a one-time decision. Each day we are to renew our love and trust in Him.
So, we ask ourselves, are we serving Him now with our thoughts and actions? Do we seek His will, His plans and purposes, to be accomplished in us throughout the day?
This Advent, for those of us who are able, we should try to visit the Confessional. Whether it has been five weeks, five months or five years, our Lord is patiently waiting for us to go to Him, to ask His forgiveness, and to benefit from the graces He so wants to give us. The entire Advent season is about merciful love. We look upon God’s Infinite Mercy and know He finds such joy in coming to us, and that He finds joy in forgiving us.
As we are now at the beginning of Advent – and the liturgical year – we have a fresh start, an opportunity to grow in the love of Our Savior. let us not miss the opportunity!
Reading I: Isaiah 2:1-5
Reading ll: Romans 13:11-14
Sunday, December 4, 2022
The Second Sunday of Advent
On this second Sunday of Advent, in the Gospel reading, we hear about Jesus’ cousin, Saint John the Baptist. From the time that John was in the womb, he recognized the Lord (see Luke 1:41). As an adult, he prepared the way for Jesus, with preaching and baptisms. Today, let’s reflect on the words of Saint John the Baptist: “(Jesus) must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30). Advent is a graced time of making Jesus more and more the love of our hearts and the center of our lives, while humbly acknowledging that anything good in us comes from Him.
The Lord is the Divine One, and we glorify, worship and adore Him. Like the pearl of great price, we are to seek Him with the intensity of deep love. St. Francis of Assisi prayed, “My God and My All!” It is also important to point others to Him, just as Saint John the Baptist did, serving others with our time, gifts, and love, which pleases the Lord.
As we continue our journey this Advent, let’s walk with Saint John the Baptist: decreasing, by growing in humility and pointing toward the Lord with our words and actions, showing others His goodness and love. May Saint John the Baptist help us prepare our own hearts for the joy of Christmas.
Reading I: Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm: 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
Reading ll: Romans 15:4-9
Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12
Sunday, December 11, 2022
The Third Sunday of Advent
On this third Sunday of Advent, known as Gaudete Sunday, we rejoice, as Jesus’ Coming at Christmas is only two weeks away!
Imagine the Blessed Mother’s anticipation that she felt deep in her heart as she was expecting the Lord. As the celebration of Christmas draws near, we can sit with the Blessed Virgin, awaiting, with her, for the Lord’s coming at Christmas. After the miraculous conception by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, Mary sang her Magnificat with the Child Jesus present in her womb. Let us, with her, ponder the Incarnation and sing our own Magnificat to the unborn Jesus for the marvelous things He has done for us, too!
Today, we can rejoice that the Lord came to earth after many centuries of prophecies. We can rejoice that He lived among us for 33 years, teaching us about the Kingdom of God. We can rejoice that He died on the Cross and rose again on the third day, opening the doors of Heaven for each one of us. And we can rejoice because He continually gives us His Body and Blood in order to remain with us all days until the end of the world (see Matthew 28:20).
Today, we can thank Jesus for each one of these gifts and, along with Mary, “ponder them in our hearts.
Reading I: Isaiah 35:1-6, 10
Reading II: St. James 5:7-10
Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11
Sunday, December 18, 2022
The Fourth Sunday of Advent
On this last Sunday of Advent, there is only one week until the joyous celebration of the Nativity of the Lord!
In the first reading today, we hear the prophecy of Isaiah, “The virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14). This is only one of the hundreds of prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in His lifetime.
For centuries, the Israelites were waiting for the Messiah – waiting and hoping. We can never allow the events recounted in Sacred Scripture to become commonplace and taken for granted. The Bible tells us that God became Man. The Lord of the universe came to earth for us, and He wants a relationship with each one of us. He’s not like a distant ruler living from afar. No, the Lord knows each one of us personally and calls us to be friends with Him in our daily lives. He loves us personally and teaches us personally.
Are we listening to His Voice that speaks to us through the Sacred texts? Are we entering into this dialogue of love? Every moment of our lives, we are invited by the Lord to grow closer to Him.
During this final week of Advent, let’s open our hearts by telling Him of our Faith in His goodness, our Hope and confidence in His promises, and of our love for Him who has loved us so greatly. May this last week of Advent prepare us well for the celebration of our Savior’s birth.
Reading I: Isaiah 7:10-14
Reading II: Romans 1:1-7
Gospel: Matthew 1:18-24