Advent 2021


Advent Reflection - Dec 3, 2017

1st-week-web-500.jpgYou, LORD, are our father, our redeemer you are named forever. Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not?

The readings for this First Sunday of Advent work together incredibly well to bring home a message of our sinfulness, God's perfect love, and how we should prepare to receive that love. The Old Testament portrays a people who have strayed from God and, more importantly, know their failings and ask for forgiveness. At the same time, they put forth their desire for God to come down and show his great power for all to fear. Interestingly, unlike many cases in the New Testament where Jesus must correct his disciples' misunderstanding of his teachings, the Israelites here move past the urge to see God's strength and instead they remember they are the "clay" and God is the "potter." He has created all things to serve a purpose in their own time.  Our failures can be used to make us stronger and to return more fervently to the Lord. We do not need a demonstration of his power. We just need to stop resisting his love.

The Second Reading from Corinthians focuses the spiritual journey for this week on Jesus's perfect love for all of us, but also serves as a reminder that he has given us all the 'tools' we need, through the gifts of the Holy Spirit, to stay close to Him as we await his second coming. As in the First Reading, there is assurance of God's love as we wait, and as we make mistakes, on this long and difficult journey of life.

The gospel is the classic call for the beginning of Advent to "stay awake and be ready." Jesus himself tells us we must treat each day as if the Kingdom of God is imminent. However, we must look to the Holy Spirit and our spiritual gifts for guidance on what this means for each of us. We should not act like the Apocalypse is near and renounce our worldly possessions and quit our careers. We can be instead spiritually ready by using the readings this week to keep our hearts and minds focused on the bigger picture. Death is not the end, but the beginning of eternal life.  As temporary stewards on this Earth, we must always remember God's love and the strength he gives us to be the best version of ourselves every day. Stay awake and be ready as we commence the Advent season.