Advent Reflections 2021

Advent Reflection for November 28- First Sunday of Advent

Jeremiah 33:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Invitation to Prayer: Let us lift up our souls to the Lord, Who will make known to us His ways, and teach us His paths.

Reflection: “Are we there yet?” This is a question we have probably heard, and probably asked, multiple times throughout our lives. It is a question that frequently comes up in a journey, whether by those hiking in the woods trying to find a campsite for the night, or the kids in the backseat wondering when they would finally arrive at Grandma’s house for a holiday gathering. And it is a question that we may be tempted to ask during the Advent season upon which we are embarking today.

We’ve just celebrated Thanksgiving, and we know that many people have now jumped right into their Christmas festivities, barely taking a breath in between. But, with this Advent season, we are being reminded that we’re not there yet. This season of Advent, this beginning of the Church’s new liturgical year, is an opportunity for us to take the time to enjoy the journey. To proceed a little more slowly and intentionally towards Christmas – to notice what God is doing in our lives, and in the world around us, to help us be better prepared to welcome Jesus anew.

So, we may not be “there” yet, but, even now, Jesus is here, with us, as we begin this journey through Advent.

Prayer: Jesus, through Your Holy Spirit, grant us the light and strength needed to journey through this Advent season, so as to always be prepared to encounter You.

Father Tim Ralston is pastor at St, Bernadette Parish in Amelia.

Advent Reflection for November 29 – Monday of the First Week of Advent

Isaiah 2:1-5; PS 122:1-2, 3-4b, 4cd-5, 6-7, 8-9; Matthew 8: 5-11

Invitation to Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us the eyes to see the heavenly destination that You have prepared for us.

Reflection: What are you walking toward? One of the beautiful things about our Catholic Faith is the way in which we experience time. One liturgical year has just closed, and another lies open before us on day two of Advent. The readings for today begin with the prophet Isaiah and the Psalmist both describing the desire to journey toward the dwelling place of God. It speaks to a worldview that has God firmly at the center – a time when the entire earth desires to “stream toward” this mountain of the Lord.

The difference between the secular and Catholic understandings of Advent can be profound. For the world, it is a time to seemingly celebrate Christmas in advance, run to the finish line of December 25th, and move on. For the Catholic person, we wait in joyful anticipation and inch closer and closer to this great celebration of Christ’s Nativity. Once we’re there, we take time to be enveloped by the mystery of God’s own Son coming to us in the fullness of time. Then we set off anew into the rest of our year: traveling through Judea, walking after the Cross, and eventually celebrating Jesus’ universal kingship again before the cycle repeats.

The Christian recognizes that this entire life is a pilgrimage to our heavenly home. We use the rhythm of the year to show us how to anticipate, prepare, and walk this journey. Let us take this Advent, like no other, to truly place ourselves in the mindset of the traveler. Let us walk the way to Bethlehem with our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph her spouse. As we travel, let us see that mountain of the Lord draw ever closer and feel rejoicing well up in our hearts to return to the House of the Lord. For one day “many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven,” (Mt. 8:11) and we hope to be included in that number.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, may my days be numbered and oriented toward you. Help me during this Advent season to keep my sight joyfully fixed upon the mountain of the Lord and give me the grace to walk this pilgrimage journey of life that You have given to me.

Closing: Think today about how you can turn your week into a mini-Advent. What ways can you joyfully anticipate the Second Sunday of Advent here at the beginning of the first?

Bradley Barnes has served as the Coordinator of Youth Ministry at Guardian Angels Parish since 2014.

Advent Reflection  for November 30 – Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle

Rom 10:9-18, Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11, Mt 4:18-22

Invitation to prayer: Lord, we thank you for the gift of another day, and we pray that we can faithfully follow you and your way of love.

Reflection: Today is the Feast of St. Andrew, a very special day to me. As the husband of a Spaniard, we’ve adopted a number of Spanish traditions into our family, including the celebration of ‘santos’ – the celebration of your namesake’s feast day. So as an Andrew, this day is especially lovely for me for on this day I get to decide what we have for meals and am treated extra well (not that my wife and kids don’t always treat me well). </div></body></html>