Monday First Week of Advent 2010 Mass and Reflections Update

All the Scripture Readings for Today's Mass can be found here

Gospel from Matthew Mt 8: 5-11

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying,“Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” 

He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” 

The centurion said in reply,
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof;
only say the word and my servant will be healed.
For I too am a man subject to authority,
with soldiers subject to me.
And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes;
and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes;
and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,
“Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. 

I say to you, many will come from the east and the west,
and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”


I think it’s because when we are in situations where we cannot depend on anything but God’s provision, some dimension of our humanity comes out that otherwise is hidden in the numbness of comfort.
The first candle of Advent symbolises Hope and the centurion's words embody that hope in Christ beautifully.

So this year, as another Advent begins, I give thanks for what the liturgical season calls me to : To admit my utter uselessness and to be patient enough to wait and ask for the word of God to heal me. 

The word Advent derived from the Latin adventus,  means coming, namely the coming of Christ more fully into our world, our families, and into the lives of each of us during this holy season.

Yet I am keenly aware that  for many people this coming Advent , fear has replaced hope ; the life challenges facing people  and the grim present they are living through are stark and real.

The gospel readings for the first couple of Sundays of Advent are anything but joyful. Jesus predicts that we know not the day when the Lord will come. This is realistic and grim.

Then we hear the prophetic denunciations of John the Baptist against the religious leaders collaborating with the Romans: "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?"


Yet an underlying confidence emerges from the complementary reading of the Prophet Isaiah: "

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,

and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;

the calf and the young lion shall browse together,

with a little child to guide them.

In this Advent season, we are invited to anticipate the hymn,"O Little Town of Bethlehem" ; "The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight." 

James Tissot

I am definitely not there yet , but Advent invites me to take the time to prepare myself to meet Christ with an eagerness of hope.

Advents invites me to bring all my hopes, hurts, fears and dreams, all the things I am made of; the good the bad, the ugly and indifferent;- 
I can bring them all to place in front of the Son of God.

These are the same things that the centurion brought  to Christ in his words when he asked for healing of his servant and redemption.


In a world of instant gratification, the concept of advent as a time of waiting and reflection may seem quaint and old-fashioned. 

However, impulse control, or the ability to wait, is a key factor in a healthy emotional life. Another important aspect of emotional literacy is the ability to reflect, to think about oneself and others. 

I am retired now but when I was working I was always rushing, impatient to get things done  and the so called virtues that stood me well in my working life don't sit so easily with the life I lead now. 
I loved the work I did for the church too but having rheumatoid arthritis has made me slow down and I cannot do all the things I used to enjoy so much. I have often felt frustration these last few years in the limitations of what I can do.

Yet I am thankful for the time I have been given away from the bustle of work and I pray that this Advent will help me to take and build on the ability to wait. 

The waiting I do in my life now has a vastly different quality to it than the years when I was working, but there is a rich texture to the stillness and the rich canvas of solitude where I am now.  

Paul Tillich said
Language has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone, and the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone. 
This is my training ground. I need to remember that this waiting time places me on holy ground. Fear is holy ground; but I know it holds the possibility of transformation.

"Solitude is where spiritual ministry begins.
That's where Jesus listened to God.
That's where I will listen to God."
-Henri Nouwen.

For all my friends and family I pray that this Advent :

In whatever you are going through in your life, may Jesus come to you!
and that

The light of Christ in glory shining may scatter the darkness from before your path’.



Meanwhile, the activist in me that is not quite dead yet was thinking on the Christmas present giving front... 

The Advent Conspiracy is a great site and their mission to provide clean water to people who desperately need it is a worthwhile venture that needs our support.

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