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Daily Reflections


Have you ever been moved by the sight of a mom or dad holding the hand of their toddler as they walk on the sidewalk or cross the street?  For whatever reason, that image grabs a part of me that readily recognizes the beauty of parental love in all its simplicity.  I seem to be led to recognize that scene as an image of God’s wonderful care for all of creation.  The parent easily represents God’s care and love.  At times like this I sometimes find myself seeped in the greatest of all realities: God’s love.

Memorial of Saint Lucy, Virgin and Martyr
Lectionary: 184


Recently my friend, Sister Catherine Kuper RSM, appealed to our Saturday night Mass community at St. John’s to help the Sisters of Mercy assist asylum-seeking migrants in El Paso, Texas. The sisters are collecting funds, gift cards, toiletries and other necessities for the migrants, most of whom have only the clothes on their backs. Many carry a picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe, their protector...That night as we left St. John’s, most of the conversations I heard focused on the best way to respond to Sister Catherine’s appeal. The following Saturday she collected boxes of supplies and over $7,000 in donations. It’s a drop in the bucket but I’m sure Our Lady of Guadalupe was smiling.

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe


Each and every one of us can hear this reading as our Advent liberation announcement.  Today, let us experience our hearts welcoming this promise.  Let's feel the anticipation and longing.  We can read today's gospel now and be filled with joy as we imagine Jesus healing us, from the inside-out - first forgiving our sins and then telling us we can get up and walk with him.

    "Nothing will be impossible for God."

Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent


As the Christmas gift-giving season approaches, this might involve spending time with someone in need of your “presence” more than your “presents”.   Or in this culture in the U.S. of status and recognition, it is audacious to give to someone in need anonymously.   I simply encourage us all to be bold in our faith and in our giving, like those friends of the paralyzed man. 

Monday of the Second Week of Advent


All too often we pick the smallest of “hills to die on” because our hearts are closed off and we have not let the Holy Spirit take control. Through the daily practice of discernment, we can grow closer to God, so we can learn to take notice when our actions and personal motives are interfering with our freedom to live our lives in faith, hope and love.

Second Sunday of Advent

 


As a mom of two little ones, I’ve found myself in conversation with Mary about all the juggling that a working mom does.  Certainly my life in 21st century United States entails different daily struggles than hers.  But, the invitation to listen well to God’s request and trust in his guidance for big and small events in our lives is the same for all of us.

Saturday of the First Week of Advent

 

 

 

 

 


Today’s readings are really wonderful! Advent readings in general are wonderful! They fill me with joyful hope. In reflecting upon these readings, I asked myself, “why is this time of advent such a hopeful time for me?” Because in fact, I often feel very drained, beaten and in despair by all the awful things going on in the world, in our society: wars for political and economic gain, climate catastrophes, forced migration due to war, land mismanaging, famine, and lack of opportunity; the way immigrants are treated in our country, racism, intolerance, gun violence, …, but yet, when I read these passages I felt filled with hope.

Friday of the First Week of Advent

 


Foundations – many meanings in many contexts – foundational knowledge, or the foundation of a building, or a non-profit organization that does good works.  A foundation is something that supports other things, usually structures. 

Thursday of the First Week of Advent

 

 



This also leaves me a sense that the Psalm of the Good Shepherd, which was initially meant for the people of Israel, has a universal meaning.

My grandson is just starting to walk. It is challenging task for him. He falls, but he immediately gets back up and tries again. He does not exhibit fear or frustration, just persistence. My prayer today focusses on my need to go beyond what might have previously been viewed as limitations following in the spirit of the Canaanite woman and of my grandson. 

Wednesday of the First Week of Advent


The one we had been waiting for has come…. and he lived among us, died and is now with us for all time. Now we, the Body of Christ, is the one we are waiting for. This advent let’s pray in hope for this Body of Christ. We pray that we may be voices of hope. We pray that God make find a home in us that we may notice and bless and nourish every movement towards peace, justice, compassion, reconciliation; every moment that leads us back to God.

Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

Weekly Guide


This week, we can imagine the prophet saying, “There will be a path between what is separate or divided or at a distance in your life!” or “What is desert, barren, dry and life-less in you will come to life!” We can hear, “You will find freedom and comfort, where you have been finding yourself in a captivity to pattern and routine, where you have felt weak and weary.” “Learn from the Lord and learn real wisdom.”

 

Second Week of Advent


Advent is about our coming to a felt sense of our need for a Savior and letting our Savior into our hearts to save us. Advent comes alive for us as we identify our desires and let them be expressed as longing and expectant hope. Into this space our Lord comes with good news, healing and a peace the world can't give.

 

Second Week of Advent

 

 

 


Each morning this week, we can turn to our God, when we first wake up, while in the shower or getting dressed, and simply ask: “Come, Lord. Come into this place, into this embarrassing place of need in my life.” We may be able to be specific and ask, “Please, Lord, come and be with me and bring life and hope into my morning as I face this meeting.”

Second Week of Advent

 


Finding intimacy with God in the midst of our busy lives begins with getting in touch with our own desires. Advent is a wonderful time to ask myself, “What am I looking for? What do I desire? What longing can I recognize in my heart?” The answers to those questions will be our best guide for daily prayer. The readings this week offer some possible ways to talk with the Lord about our desires.

Second Week of Advent


“Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever.” Those words from Baruch are in the first reading for the Second Sunday of Advent.

Second Week of Advent

 

 


The gospels for this first part of Advent are chosen from several gospels. They are meant to match the first readings and to show that the promises are fulfilled in Jesus. Jesus brings healing. He raises up the childlike. And Jesus calls and sends the twelve apostles to continue his ministry.

First Week of Advent

 

 

 

 

 

 


All of this preparation can happen in the simplest way, before the first Christmas decoration goes up. And, for each moment of each day that we encounter a place that we desire, that we long for our Lord's coming, we can express our thanksgiving. Each night we might pray:
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid?” (Ps. 27)

First Week of Advent

 

 


When we have a hard time seeing, we ask for the grace to be able to believe the promise that we shall see. When we seem deaf, we place our trust in the One who assures us that we will hear. And when we feel beaten down and awfully lowly, we turn to the One who promises that we will “find joy in the Lord.” And, who among us doesn't have days on which we are aware of various kinds of wounds? On the day of promise, “the Lord binds up the wounds of his people.”

First Week of Advent


Our goal this week is to let ourselves feel like those to whom the promises of our God are made. We want to get in touch with ourselves, especially those parts of ourselves that are in need of a Savior. We do this by keeping our focus on the places that feel like a desert, the places that feel like we've been through a war, the places that feel like a lifeless stump.

 

First Week of Advent

 


Each morning this week, while we are first coming to consciousness, we can name a desire, name an emptiness or feeling of anxiety or worry that we can feel. It is into the raw places in our lives such as these, that our Lord came to be with us. So, this week, we can begin to invite our Lord to be Incarnate in our lives, in the places we need him the most.

First Week of Advent

Pope Francis


In this second week of Advent, Pope Francis continued, “we ask for the grace to prepare ourselves with faith to celebrate Christmas”.

He noted that Christmas is often marked in a worldly or pagan fashion, but reiterating the Lord’s request that we do so with faith, the Pope said “it's not easy to keep the faith, it's not easy to defend the faith… it's not easy!”

 

Pope Francis: Celebrate Christmas with Faith


"...He said that in the name of human rights we now face the risk of “modern forms of ideological colonization by the stronger and the wealthier, to the detriment of the poorer and the most vulnerable”. Nothing, not even the “traditions of individual peoples” can be used to disrespect the “fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, the Pope said.

Pope Francis: Everyone has the Right to Life and Happiness

 

 


John the Baptizer’s invitation to conversion was strong, vigorous and severe, yet tempered by actions that communicated tenderness and pardon. Thus he reawakened the expectation for the Messiah in the multitudes of people who came to him for his baptism of repentance.

Conversion is the way to wait for the Lord

 

 


In this second week of Advent, Pope Francis continued, “we ask for the grace to prepare ourselves with faith to celebrate Christmas”.

He noted that Christmas is often marked in a worldly or pagan fashion, but reiterating the Lord’s request that we do so with faith, the Pope said “it's not easy to keep the faith, it's not easy to defend the faith… it's not easy!”

Prepare for Christmas with the courage of faith


In this period of Advent, the Pope said, it would be helpful to ask ourselves certain crucial questions: “Am I a Christian of words, or of deeds?” “Am I building my life on the rock of God, or on the sand of worldliness, of vanity?” “Am I humble, always trying to go along the lowly path, without pride, so as to serve the Lord?”

The Lord is the Rock on which to build our lives


The Pope then turns to the third pair of terms, high and low, which contrasts the path of the proud and the vain, on the one hand, with the footsteps of the humble on the other. Quoting the reading from the Prophet Isaiah, Pope Francis noted that the Lord, “humbles those in high places, and the lofty city he brings down; He tumbles it to the ground, levels it with the dust. It is trampled underfoot by the needy, by the footsteps of the poor.”

This passage from the Prophet Isaiah has the air of the Magnificat, the song of our Lady: The Lord raises the humble, those who are in the concreteness of every day, and beats down the proud, those who build their lives on vanity, pride… these things do not last.

The Lord is the Rock on which to build our lives


Peace leaders, the Pope underlined, “are not those politicians who do not know how to dialogue and confront each other: a leader who does not strive to meet the ‘enemy’, to sit with him at the table as you do, cannot lead his people towards peace. To do this we need humility and not arrogance.” Peace, Pope Francis concluded, “is everyone’s responsibility.”

Pope Francis: Peace is everyone's responsibility

 

 

 


Drug addiction, he said, is an open wound in our society, whose victims are ensnared into exchanging their freedom for slavery. He thus called for combatting the production, processing and distribution of drugs worldwide, and urged governments to courageously undertake the fight against those who “deal in death”

 

Pope Francis calls for solidarity and nearness to victims of addiction

 


Seek “all possible ways to build and reawaken in public opinion the need to be committed to the common good and to assist the week and the poor”. And he asked that Mary might grant them “strength of soul and trust in God so as to always be a gift to others”.

Pope to members of volunteer center: 'Always be a gift for others'



"In a world wounded by conflict, the unity of Christians is a sign of hope that must radiate ever more visibly," Pope Francis said. "United we give a more effective response to the needs of so many men and women of our own time, especially those who suffer from poverty, hunger, illness and war."

Pope: Christian unity is hope for suffering, wounded world

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