Tag Archives: Advent

Season of Waiting – An Advent Reflection by Anne Wasielewski

(Today’s reflection is offered by parishioner Anne Wasielewski.)
waiting-webShow us your mercy, Lord, and grant us Your salvation. Psalm 85:7

The season of Advent is upon us – a time of waiting, but waiting with expectation. It is a time of hope in the midst of uncertainty and the busyness of the season. Its symbols, songs, and rituals reflect the promise of the return of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. In a world torn apart by war, injustice, secularism and greed to name just a few, it is so very easy to become discouraged, and ask where is God? Has God forgotten us? Advent reminds us that our wait is not fruitless, for God is at work bringing about God’s purposes and promises to us. Be still, and know that I am God…Psalm 46:10

Though God may seem silent, God is always at work. God’s “light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5. We know the God who has come and who will come again, and that hope is a hope that will not disappoint us.

As a Church and faith community, we begin the third week of Advent. Our week begins with Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means rejoice in Latin. The spirit of joy is upon us. We read of stories of faithful people who prepared our way to salvation, and we enter into the story of how Jesus’ life began, and the promises of what Jesus’ life will mean for us – salvation

In this season of waiting, we must prepare our hearts and ask for God’s healing grace – the reign of God is becoming closer and closer. No matter how busy our days and evenings are, we must set aside a few minutes to give thanks for a little more spiritual freedom to walk by the light of our Savior in joy. With God, all things are possible.

We will continue with our daily routines, but it is my hope that we will experience the difference of what our faith can bring to not only us, but others we may encounter on an everyday basis. May we quite our hearts, and be still, and know that God is truly present in the now.

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Rejoice Always – A reflection for Gaudete Sunday by Chris Hannan

1-Thes-5_16-18-1024x416 (Today’s reflection is offered by parishioner Chris Hannan.)
For two weeks we’ve been turning inward trying to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Christ. In our busy lives it becomes easy to wander out into a desert of our own making. Dry, lifeless times where we’re so busy, that thinking about prayer seems like just another job to cross off the list. Times when being so connected by electronics leaves no time for real friends, real people, so we are parched with loneliness even in a crowd of hundreds of ‘friends’. A desert is also full of abrasive sands, like the constant flurry of messages that try to convince us that if we accumulate more, or change our looks, we’ll be happy. A desert is full of shifting sands, sending us in directions we hadn’t thought of going.

Enter Continue reading

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Redeemer – An Advent reflection by Bill Thornton

This reflection on today’s readings is from Bill Thornton.
scrooge-cratchit-e1381236911525In Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol,” two “gentlemen” come to Scrooge’s office to ask for a donation for the poor, and this conversation ensues:

           “Are there no prisons?” asked Scrooge.

            “Plenty of prisons,” said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.

            “And the Union workhouses?” demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”

            “They are. Still,” returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”

Scrooge was asking why the gentlemen were collecting money for the poor since the state had made “accommodations” for the poor, by throwing the debtors into jail and their families into workhouses where they could get subsistence food and shelter in return for work. The wages charged for the work would go to the local official in charge of the workhouse.

In today’s world, government in developed countries usually have some sort of “safety net” provisions so that most of the poor will not die in the streets. Depending on the government, these provisions have greater or lesser actual benefits for the poor, and depending on the agency that administers the provisions a greater or lesser amount of dignity and compassion.

In ancient Israel, government was not involved in these problems. Society was Continue reading

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Tolle Lege – thoughts about Advent reading by Bill Thornton

image_large[From parishioner, parish librarian, Hosanna prayer group member, lector, dedicated long time blog contributor and all around great person, Bill Thornton: In past years, I have written little sharings on the Mass readings for the day during Advent, and I probably will again as we progress into Advent. But today, I am taking a different approach by speaking of my one-person campaign to encourage spiritual reading during Advent.]

I am the self-appointed librarian at St. Edwards, and I am trying to encourage my fellow parishioners, i.e. you, to do a little “spiritual reading” during Advent to prepare in another way for the coming of Christmas. With all of the reading that we do for work, for home, and for a little relaxation, it would be hard to add a new reading stream of any length. What I am suggesting is maybe 15 minutes (or even 10 or 5) to put a little spiritual thought in your head (and your soul) that might come back to you over the course of the day to help you grow nearer to God.

45_tolleWhy should Catholics do spiritual reading? In his Confessions, St. Augustine tells of a vision or a dream in which a child speaks in a sing-song way , “Tolle, lege,” translated “Pick it up and read it.” So for Augustine, reading led to conversion of heart. In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul says, “Thus faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ.” Rom 10:17. For Paul, then, reading meant the growth of faith. St. Peter wrote, “Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.” 1 Pet. 3:15. And for him it meant an ability to evangelize people who ask you questions about your faith, but he adds, “but do it with gentleness and reverence.” And so on and so forth. There are many reasons for doing spiritual reading, and many testimonies of the saints. In today’s parlance, Continue reading

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May I make a temple of you? An Advent Reflection by David Carvalho

(This reflection is offered by David Carvalho, who is our Youth Minister at St. Edward’s.)

With the Second week of Advent kicking off this past Sunday, we come one step closer to both the beautiful encounter that is Christmas and realizing that we have one less week to order our gifts unless we have Amazon Prime!

As I try to avoid pondering what my final present selections will be, this past Sunday’s scripture readings offer ample opportunity for procrastination. Oh Isaiah, ever ready to call us back to God. He paints a beautiful picture for us of reconciliation, one given freely to us by God and of which we Continue reading

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Waiting for comfort

(I expect a reflection to come in today, but I am posting this in the meantime.)

Isaiah40_1-2Comfort, give comfort to my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her
that her service is at an end,
her guilt is expiated;
indeed, she has received from the hand of the LORD
double for all her sins.

Just a few short words for today, this being the Second Sunday of Advent. The first reading from Isaiah hits a soft spot in my heart, a spot that left me with a question.

Can we and will we accept the comfort offered to us by God? I’m not so sure that as the Body of Christ that comfort means the same thing to everyone. I’m not sure? I’m certain that it is not the same. I find myself pondering the role of the other brother in the parable of the Prodigal Son. That brother could not accept the comfort given to his wayward returning brother.

This is what is on my heart today, this is my prayer for today. And may we not deny comfort, in some crazy “I’m-not-worthy” mindset that can derail us from the grace of not only Advent, but the quotidian grace that God showers us with every day.

Have we waited so long that our hearts are hardened in a manner that prevents us from all from accepting the gift that we await?

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Quicksand and Solid Ground – An Advent Reflection by John Longacker

image1Today’s Gospel reading, Matthew 7:24-27, brought back a memory of sandy ground from when I was about 6 years old. Apparently having seen at least one Tarzan movie where jungle explorers were up to their necks in quicksand I developed a fear of getting myself stuck in the same predicament. I was not alone in this fear as my best childhood friend Bob expressed his dread of it also. This presented a problem since we wanted to explore the vacant lot on the corner of Manning and Washington. The lot was overgrown with sumac and head high weeds (the perfect “jungle”). Bob was sure the lot had quicksand and exploration was deferred until we were a more mature 7 years old.

The Israelites may not have had a fear of quicksand, but they were familiar with the shifting sands of the Negev desert. No structure would be fully stable if built on this ground. A solid foundation was needed before building.

Our Christian faith must also be build on a solid base. We cannot let the trials and adversities of life weaken our faith. This isn’t easy when your family is experiencing severe illnesses, financial difficulties, family breakups and other struggles in life. Jesus didn’t say we wouldn’t have troubles. In Matt. 7 verse 2 “the rains poured down, the rivers flooded over, and wind blew against the house” even though it was built on rock.

In St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, 3:11, he tells us that “…God has already placed Jesus Christ as the one and only foundation…“.

We are to put our trust in Jesus and his promises. He walks beside us. His arms are always around us. We are never alone in times of adversity. In Isaiah 43, we are told “Do not be afraid…you are mine” and “…you are precious to me“. We are precious to Him. We are His beloved. He will never abandon us. He holds us in the palm of His hand.

Remember the refrain from the hymn written by Edward Mote:

            On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
            All other ground is sinking sand,
            All other ground is sinking sand.

Amen.

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