Lk 21:25-28, 34-36
Jesus said to his disciples: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
UNDERSTAND | By Father Greg Friedman, OFM
I once worked with a secretary who could not wait patiently for a birthday or Christmas. She wanted to know what gifts she might receive and didn’t really care about being surprised. “Tell me what you’re getting me,” she’d joke, as the holidays approached.
The Advent season might make such people a bit impatient. It’s all about waiting—waiting for the coming feast of Christmas, and waiting for the glorious coming of Christ at the end of time.
On this first Advent weekend we hear about that second coming. The events which Jesus predicts before the end are terrifying—enough to make anyone want to put off those final days as long as possible. But he urges his disciples to be vigilant and pray. He wants us not to be surprised, but rather fully awake and aware.
The Lord’s advice, coupled with Paul’s words to his mission church, the Thessalonians, in the second reading, can apply to us in the twenty-first century as well. If the final revelation of the kingdom demands our vigilance, so does the day-to-day unfolding of that same reality: God is at work all around us. The prophecy of Jeremiah in the first reading promises a reign of justice. The Lord wants to invite each of us to participate, and to act in harmony with that wonderful promise.
DISCUSS | By Father Dan Kroger, OFM
In the first reading (Jer 33:14-16), Jeremiah foresees the time when the Lord will fulfill the promise he made to the house of Israel.
What is that promise?
What will people call Jerusalem?
In this week’s second reading (1Thes 3:12-4:2), St. Paul starts this chapter with his hope that the Lord will make them continue to grow stronger in what ways?
What Paul ends his letter to the people of Thessalonica with is his hope that they will live more and more in accord with the instructions that he gave them. What does that mean for us today?
According to the Gospel (Lk 21:25-28, 34-36), Jesus tells his disciples that “There will be signs in the sun, the moon and the stars.” Will these signs cause people to die of fright?
What does Jesus want his disciples to do when these signs appear?
He warns the disciples to be always vigilant and pray that they will be strong enough to “escape the tribulations that are imminent.” What does that mean for us today?
Get your Advent wreath out and prepared for the upcoming Advent season. Light the first purple candle and say a prayer before eating dinner.
If you don’t have an Advent wreath, make one of your own. Many parishes have wreath making events, so check with yours.