Reading I Baruch 5:1-9 - Jerusalem consoled
Reading II Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11 - Gratitude and hope
Gospel Luke 3:1-6 - John the Baptist
Key Passage “John went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:3)
Adults: In what areas of your life do you need God's forgiveness right now? What Advent practice would assist you in expressing your repentance?
Kids: What do you want to ask God to forgive you for? What can you do during Advent to show you are sorry?READ MORE
We are given Advent each year as a time to prepare. But the readings today remind us that it is also a time of hope and promise. Listen to the first reading: “Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory” (Baruch 5:1). Between this sentence and the next, Baruch used “glory” and “splendor” five times. He imagines looking over Jerusalem and seeing mountains laid low, deserts populated with trees, and the faithful streaming in. The start of John the Baptist’s ministry echoes a similar trek: the Exodus from Egypt. John went into the desert where the word of God came to him. Leaving the desert, he crossed over the Jordan River. Crossing over from slavery to freedom in the Exodus was a sign of God’s providence. Crossing over from sin to forgiveness through repentance became a sign of John’s baptism. Advent is the time to prepare. Heed Isaiah’s words, John’s words: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths” (Luke 3:4). Let us answer this call, so that with God’s grace we can cross over from desolation to salvation.
How can you make straight the paths for Jesus’ coming?READ MORE
We tend to think of Advent as a time to prepare for Christ’s coming as a baby in a manger, the “just shoot” foretold by prophets like Jeremiah in the first reading. But today’s Gospel reminds us that it is also time to prepare for a different coming of the Lord: his return at the end of time. Jesus speaks of frightful events that will occur at that time, warning his disciples to be vigilant, not to let “the anxieties of daily life” distract them (Luke 21:34). How appropriately timed, for over the next few weeks we will face countless sources of anxiety as we prepare for Christmas. These anxieties can easily overwhelm us and make it difficult, if not impossible, to prepare for Christ’s coming in any way. Let us heed what Saint Paul wrote when exhorting the Thessalonians to prepare for Christ’s return: “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all” (1 Thessalonians 3:12). If we increase in love for other, we prepare ourselves for Christ’s coming into the world, whether two thousand years ago, at the end of time, or right now, in our hearts.
How can you show your love for others this Advent?READ MORE
Reading I Jeremiah 33:14-16 Restoration of Jerusalem
Reading II 1 Thess. 3:12–4:2 Plea for growth in holiness
Gospel Luke 21:25-28, 34-36 Coming of the son of man
Key Passage Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36)
Adults: What have been the strengths of your prayer life? What habit of prayer could you strengthen during this Advent season?
Kids: What prayers will you say each day and each week during Advent?READ MORE