Jesus said to his disciples:
"As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
The approach of the holiday season usually finds me in search of what I like to call the “lost Christmas”—a fantasy combination of my childhood memories.
A treasured ornament, a worn, shabby Santa figure, an heirloom nativity scene—all these can evoke powerful recollections of how I remember Christmas as a child, when life was less complicated. It’s probably closer to fantasy than reality, since I can easily “edit out” unpleasant memories.
It’s easy to get caught up in Christmas nostalgia and to forget the central truth of the season: God is breaking into our troubled world. The Scripture readings for this first Sunday in Advent urge us to wake up to what is happening here and now. This is the hour of salvation, Paul tells the Romans. And he echoes Jesus’ words in Matthew’s Gospel: We must be prepared, focused on making our hearts ready to receive God at every moment of our lives.
Without letting go of fond memories, it’s my hope this year to focus more on the good news which the season celebrates—the birth of hope into our midst. It might make a difference in how I relate to all the frantic preparations for the externals of Christmas; a true change of heart might open me to the peace promised by Isaiah in the first reading. That would make for some new memories of this season to carry into the future.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
• In this week's first reading, Isaiah envisions a time when people of all nations will “stream toward Jerusalem. Why will the Gentiles do so?
There is a famous line in today’s reading from Isaiah that is engraved on artwork outside the United Nations Building in New York City. It envisions a world at peace. What is that line?
• St. Paul says in the second reading, “…now is the hour for you to awake from sleep.” What is he talking about?
How does this reading call for spiritual reform during the time of Advent?
• How is the “coming of the Son of Man” going to be like the days of Noah that we hear about in the Gospel?
What does Jesus mean when he says: “You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come?”
Did you notice that the Sunday Gospel reading now comes from Matthew? It will be that way for most of the Sundays in 2020.
by Susan Hines-Brigger
• This Sunday marks the beginning of the Advent season. One way to observe the weeks until Christmas is with an Advent wreath. If you already have one, place it on the table beginning today. If you don't have one, take the time to make one. Learn more about the Advent wreath here.
• The Gospel reminds us to stay awake and aware. For one evening, have everyone in your family put away his or her phone and other electronic devices. Spend an evening together without distractions.