Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.
by Father Greg Friedman, OFM
The box-office success of the film version of J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings introduced thousands of moviegoers to the fantasy world of “Middle Earth.” The characters who inhabit this world move between despair and hope. Their hope comes in part because of the prophecies in the story that promise the triumph of good over evil.
Our world seems often to be at the mercy of the forces of evil. We’ve learned to fear the sudden, unexpected violence that can strike close to home. Where do we find hope?
As Christians, our answer comes in the Scriptures we read during the Advent season. In the first reading today, Isaiah utters a hope-filled prayer, imploring God to intervene in our world. “Watchful waiting” is the command of Jesus in Mark’s Gospel today, and we might ask ourselves: “Why wait and watch, unless we also have some hope that God will indeed intervene in our world?”
But isn’t that the way Christians are to be? We’re a people who lives in the world, yet awaits God’s revelation of a new and glorious world to come. To live that way means transforming our relationships with one another and with the world around us. It means making choices that reflect the life that Christ has given each of us. Such a life is better than any fantasy story might promise.
by Father Dan Kroger, OFM
What is the question from the prophet Isaiah that starts the first reading (Isaiah 63:16b-17, 19b; 64:2-7)?
What does Isaiah ask the Lord to do?
Isaiah says to the Lord: “You are angry, and we are sinful?” Why is the Lord angry?
In the second reading (1 Cor 1:3-9), Paul gives thanks to God. Why is he so very thankful?
What does Paul say that God will do for them in Christ?
What are the first words of Jesus in today’s Gospel reading?
Does anyone know when Lord will come again? What does Jesus say to all?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
This Sunday marks the beginning of Advent. Get out your family’s Advent wreath or, if you don’t already have one, make one. It can be as simple as four candles placed on your table or as intricate as a live wreath adorned with natural elements that you can find in your yard.
Each night before you light the candle, have each family member answer a question. Some questions you might ask are: Name one thing for which you are grateful? What does Advent mean to you? What are some things you can do during the Advent–either individually or as a family–to demonstrate the spirit of the season?