Sunday, 2 December 2012

First Sunday of Advent

Jer. 33:14-16

Ps 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14

1 Thes 3:12-4:2

Lk 21:25-28, 34-36

The readings for the day can be found here.

 

The first Sunday of Advent this year, 2 Dec., is an already busy time for us involved in a University academic year: exams loom in the near future, final papers, and quizzes come rapidly, we’re preparing to wrap it up so many can go home for Christmas with our families and friends for a much-needed, much-anticipated, break.

In all of this, though, Christians—all men and women of faith–can still make some space and take some time in Advent to prepare for the birth of Jesus  and, also to prepare for the return of Jesus at the end of time.

In the readings for the first Sunday of Advent 2012, Jeremiah tells us The days are surely coming, says the LORD, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah…

And Luke, in the Gospel, encourages us with the same sense of urgency: 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…

Last year, at approximately this time, we recommended Longing for the Lord: an Advent Examen, by Fr. Joe Tetlow, SJ, a prayer and process recalling St. Ignatius and his examen, linking the Ignatian Examen with another treasure of Church tradition, the O Antiphons from the Liturgy of the Hours for the week before Christmas. The O Antiphons give us a way of looking at Jesus and finding the events in his life that speak to us… The web site for your own thought, prayer and reflection can be found at: www.jesuitsmissouri.org/examen

Among all the other things we’re called, or expected, or need to do as we wrap up a calendar year, and bring to a close the first semester of this academic year, and get ready for the holidays—the holy days–this examen gives us the opportunity to take some time, to make some time, to prepare for a new beginning…to understand that the long-promised days are surely coming… The examen gives us the chance step back a bit, take stock of ourselves, and really prepare for what is to come…

Advent 2012 begins for Christians on Sunday 2 December, and ends Monday, 24 December, and gives us the opportunity to alter our schedules and to prepare our lives, before the routine sets in again.

Have a blessed Advent.  Let’s always remember to pray for each other…  May God bless each of you, and all of us.

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First Sunday of Advent 2 Dec ‘12

REFLECTION:  PROMISES MADE, PROMISES KEPT

All of our preparations for Christmas and the holidays notwithstanding, this and every Advent is a time re-alerting us to promises made and promises kept–promises made to the house of Israel and Judah, promises kept in the birth and life of Jesus.  In those times, we shall all be safe, we shall all be secure, we’re promised.

As we make our own preparations in these days leading up to Christmas, we can learn—appropriate for members of a university community—the ways of the Lord: how we can walk the paths of the Lord, how we can keep the covenant God first made with our forebears, millennia ago.

St. Paul prays we may grow in love for one another, that our hearts will be strengthened, all prayers appropriate for this or any other season, all prayers appropriate for whatever community we call our own, words to live by, for now, for ever.

Finally, today’s Gospel calls us to read the signs of the times, now and in the future, on campus and globally …an encouragement St. Ignatius made hundreds of years ago, as well …as we receive in fact what we’ve asked for in faith.  Advent calls us to read the signs of the times announcing the coming of Jesus, when the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Our scriptures, now and throughout Advent, tells us that Jesus coming to us will be a fearful time for those who do evil, a time of great happiness for those who remain faithful, to Jesus, to the promises God made in the Covenant…

For those who keep the faith, nothing will surprise us…and the Gospel tells us we all need to be alert, to be on the watch.  Jesus tells us to pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man….so we won’t be surprised.  The day and the hour are not known, an even more compelling reason to keep the faith, to try to do God’s will, to be ready.

As we enter this glorious season of Advent, preparing for the Lord to come to us, once and again, we can all ask ourselves how we will keep the faith, how we will remain alert and awake, how we will be watchful of the signs of the times…do not become drowsy. This season is a great opportunity for us to begin to answer those questions.

Enter Advent profitably, developing a healthy relationship those you love, with God, in your hearts, in your minds, in your body, in your spirit.  We can all realize and keep the promises…

God bless you…

 

Lawrence Biondi, SJ has been the President of Saint Louis University since 1987.

 

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