Objective of the week:
To reflect on the year’s journey of expectant waiting for the promise of God to be fulfilled
Throughout the year, we have deepened in the whole life of Jesus. We prayed as well with His life being formed in us and in others. Now, as we enter Advent, we are invited to reflect on the year’s journey. To stop. look back and read through the riches of our personal experiences in the light of expectant waiting for the Lord. What does Advent mean in this phase of my life? What am I deeply expecting and hoping for?
In our Catechism, it says, “When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. "(CCC #524).
True enough, this celebration unites us to our personal pilgrimage. In the reality that I live now, what did the Lord promise me? What are the specific life experiences that I have lived?
In the same way that the Israelites journeyed to enter into the promise of God for them, we too embark a journey of waiting for the promise of the Lord to be fulfilled. As human beings caught up in a society where everything is a click away or everything is fast and easy results, waiting is not easy. In those moments when we are beset by human limitations, crossroads, relationship conflicts, believing in the promise that God gave is a challenge. Sometimes, we question His promise, His presence, and complaints come quite often.
However, Pope Francis in his message of Advent in 2013 encourages us and says, “The time of Advent that we begin again today returns us to the horizon of hope, a hope that does not disappoint because it is founded on the Word of God. A hope that does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful.” This remains true until today, may our hearts not grow weary and continue hoping in Him. May through our personal experience of Advent lead others to a joyful and expectant waiting for the Lord and put our hope in Him.
Reflect on my personal experience of Advent
I will remember your great deeds, Lord; I will recall the wonders you did in the past.
12 I will think about all that you have done; I will meditate on all your mighty acts.
13 Everything you do, O God, is holy. No god is as great as you.
14 You are the God who works miracles; you showed your might among the nations.
15 By your power you saved your people, the descendants of Jacob and of Joseph.
As we look at the year that has passed, we enter into the process of how God fulfills the promises He has made. In your life, what did God promise you? What is your personal journey of Advent- the journey of fulfilling His promise?
Advent entails an internal preparation
It was the fifteenth year of the rule of Emperor Tiberius; Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip was ruler of the territory of Iturea and Trachonitis; Lysanias was ruler of Abilene,
2 and Annas and Caiaphas were High Priests. At that time the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert.
3 So John went throughout the whole territory of the Jordan River, preaching, “Turn away from your sins and be baptized, and God will forgive your sins.”
4 As it is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:
“Someone is shouting in the desert: ‘Get the road ready for the Lord; make a straight path for him to travel!
5 Every valley must be filled up, every hill and mountain leveled off. The winding roads must be made straight, and the rough paths made smooth.
6 The whole human race will see God's salvation!’”
As we journey through our personal experience of Advent, we notice that we pass through many different experiences in life. Sometimes joyful, challenging and even unexpected. In this journey, what are the virtues that God is building in you that prepares the way for His promise to be fulfilled?
Advent teaches me to wait
I wait eagerly for the Lord's help, and in his word I trust.
6 I wait for the Lord more eagerly than entries wait for the dawn— than sentries wait for the dawn.
7 Israel, trust in the Lord, because his love is constant and he is always willing to save.
8 He will save his people Israel from all their sins.
Advent is a Church celebration that reminds us the value of waiting. Waiting in the contemporary world is oftentimes ignored because it is often perceived as unproductivity and losing valuable time. However, if we practice waiting, we earn the virtues of patience and trust in God. To trust in His love and providence.
Advent is a waiting of joyful expectation
When the Lord brought us back to Jerusalem, it was like a dream!
2 How we laughed, how we sang for joy! Then the other nations said about us, “The Lord did great things for them.”
3 Indeed he did great things for us; how happy we were!4 Lord, make us prosperous again, just as the rain brings water back to dry riverbeds.
5 Let those who wept as they planted their crops, gather the harvest with joy!
6 Those who wept as they went out carrying the seed will come back singing for joy, as they bring in the harvest.
When we realize the hand of God in the midst of all that we live and go through, we experience a profound peace and joy that the world cannot give. We surrender to the givens of life – both the pleasing and what’s not. We recognize that indeed, God works for good to those who love Him.(Romans 8:28)
Advent is to trust and to hope in God’s ways and time
13 When God promised Abraham and his descendants that the world would belong to him, he did so, not because Abraham obeyed the Law, but because he believed and was accepted as righteous by God. 14 For if what God promises is to be given to those who obey the Law, then faith means nothing and God's promise is worthless.
15 The Law brings down God's anger; but where there is no law, there is no disobeying of the law.
16 And so the promise was based on faith…
19 He was then almost one hundred years old; but his faith did not weaken when he thought of his body, which was already practically dead, or of the fact that Sarah could not have children.
20 His faith did not leave him, and he did not doubt God's promise; his faith filled him with power, and he gave praise to God.
21 He was absolutely sure that God would be able to do what he had promised.
22 That is why Abraham, through faith, “was accepted as righteous by God.”
23 The words “he was accepted as righteous” were not written for him alone.
24 They were written also for us who are to be accepted as righteous, who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from death.
25 Because of our sins he was given over to die, and he was raised to life in order to put us right with God.
In the Bible, we can see people who have made their personal journey of Advent. Abraham is one of them. His personal experience of Advent led him to a deeper experience of faith. What does your personal experience of Advent teach you or lead you?
Advent is to hope in Someone who doesn’t disappoint us
Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 He has brought us by faith into this experience of God's grace, in which we now live. And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God's glory!
3 We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance,
4 endurance brings God's approval, and his approval creates hope.
5 This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us.
May we share our conviction of the Promise whom our hope rests – Jesus Christ.
2nd Sunday of Advent
1st Reading: Baruch 5:1-9
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 126:1-6
2nd Reading: Phil 1:4-6;8-11
Gospel: Luke 3:1-6
Weekly Prayer Guidelines
Read this week's guidelines to help you deepen in the Word of God for today.