DECEMBER 8 SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Repent, the Kingdom of God is at hand…why did people in today's Gospel go out to see John the Baptist in the desert? He warns the people to be prepared, and he challenges the Pharisees who presume to be in good standing with God. He warns us as well. Our waiting for Christ is not to be a passive hanging around. Rather we need to repent, turn around, and make changes in our life. If John the Baptist were addressing us today (and he is!), what changes would he call us to make? What is keeping us from meeting Christ when he comes? At the same time, how can we be like John the Baptist today? Can we clear a path for others to come to meet Jesus this week? Can we show others the way?
DECEMBER 1 FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
Advent: a time of waiting, anticipation and vigilance. The readings this Sunday are about comings and goings. Isaiah speaks of people going up to Jerusalem, for worship and receiving instruction. In the Gospel, Matthew anticipates the Lord's second coming, arriving at a time and place we do not know. We too are on pilgrimage, a journey through life, moving always closer to the time of our salvation, when Christ will come to meet us. This advent, can you invite someone along on the journey so that they too, can meet Christ when he comes again?
(click HERE for the previous blogpost for reading suggestions for Advent)
The Office of Family Life has an Advent Resource Page filled with link and ideas for bringing advent into the home with many age appropriate projects and prayers.
The Catholic Apostolate Center has a page filled with Advent links, resources and videos
Loyola Press: A page filled with articles, projects, retreats and prayers.
Crossroads Initiative Advent Reflections Reflections on the coming of Christ
Catholic Relief Services offers reflections, activities and prayers
Formed offers daily reflections which will be sent to your email. Click the link to sign up.
...Have you ordered your advent candles and calendars yet?
If you are like me, you have probably scrambled around the night before Advent starts to get a semblance of an advent wreath in the house. Usually I end up painting white candles purple and pink or otherwise end up with some minimalist version of an advent wreath:
Yes, last year's "wreath" was a dessert plate with four (appropriately colored!) tea-lights.
As you prepare for advent this year, and check to see if last year's candle-stubs can be used one more year, I would like to suggest some resources for reading:
First, check and see what your parish is offering this Advent. Many parishes offer special programs during Advent or maybe distributing books or other resources such as:
Bishop Barron's Advent Gospel Reflections: This book contains the gospel reading for each day of Advent, a daily reflection by Bishop Barron, reflection questions and space for journaling.
Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Mary: This is a lovely way to enter into the season traveling with Mary. For each day, there is a word, a reflection, a psalm, a reading and a prompt for journaling. It is a beautiful book to help you prepare for the coming of Christ with his mother.
Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph: is new this year and is similar in setup to the Advent Meditations with Mary, but this time seeing the story through Joseph's eyes and experience. This book also comes with supplemental videos available for FREE HERE
With the canonization of now St. John Henry Newman, another set of beautiful Advent and Christmas Meditation can be found in Augustine Institute's Waiting for Christ
Or encounter Christ anew and let Pope Francis be your guide for Advent with daily scripture, selection from homilies and speeches by the Holy Father and questions for reflection in Advent with Pope Francis
Next week, we will post more Advent resources…
At the beginning of this week I received a call from a friend about a FREE resource that I had not yet heard about. I am sure that everyone is familiar with Dynamic Catholic, the organization run by Matthew Kelly that works to re-energize the Church and Catholics through books, programs, retreat, and parish events. I was familiar with all these, as well as many of the resources Dynamic Catholic offers.
What I had not heard about, and what I would like to share with all of you, is a program Dynamic Catholic offers called Parish Champion. What is a parish champion you might ask. It is a way to distribute FREE resources to people in your parish. Basically, every month, the Parish Champion receive a case (!) of free books or cd's in the mail, that you can then share with your pastor, your parish leadership team and fellow parishioners . In addition, you will receive materials and information about Dynamic Catholic Programs, as well as inside information about new programs and resources before they are released.
There is an application process to become a Parish Champion. Basically you have to fill out a form and the about you and the size of your parish. The application forms are reviewed at the end of each month after which Dynamic Catholic will contact you whether you have been accepted.
For more information see https://dynamiccatholic.com/parish-champion