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Scripture Reflections - November 28
First Sunday of Advent

JER. 33-14-16
1 THES 3:12 4:2
LK 21: 25-28; 34-36

Archives Msgr Paul E. Whitmore
Msgr. Paul E. Whitmore

As our Advent preparation for Christmas begins this Sunday, we are grateful that all the trials, mistakes, and sinful discoveries of this past year are a whole new start on the part of the Church for repentance and healing. The shoot from Jesse’s seemingly dead tree is springing to new life. Advent is a chance for us to act on the promises of God the Father. On this first day of the Church’s new year, we get valuable direction and instruction from those readings. First of all, we need to begin this Advent in a spirit of genuine humility. Only if we accept the real relationship we have with our God can we accept the beautiful suggestion that we’re like clay in the hands of God the potter. We find that toward the end of today’s first reading. We can well take this as a central theme for our Advent – a lump of clay being shaped each day of Advent by the loving hand of God.

St. Paul stirs us to courage, reminding us how much God has gifted us and that He is the source and guidance in our use of His gifts – a good challenge to making this Advent more creative and serious than ever before.

The core of Advent is watching and waiting with sharp eye. Do you remember that wonderful story of Martin the Cobbler? While reading his daily Scripture one night, Martin was sure that Jesus had spoken to him, promising to come and visit him the next day. All day long he waited, somewhat impatient at just ordinary folk coming to him with their problems. Sadly, he prepared for bed, seeking consolation as usual in Scripture, when Jesus revealed to him that he had come in the shape of all those ordinary people, in their poverty and pain. What a great lesson Martin learned that day.

We need to keep out a sharp eye for Jesus long before Christmas day. If our hearts make us more alert to the needs of our family, to all those hungry and homeless that insistently knock at our door through the many December appeals – Campaign for Human Development, Collection for Retired Religious, food for the poor, and Christmas gifts for needy children – then we will surely get so much more from our Advent prayer and Liturgies, our Advent wreathes and our Jesse trees. We will see Christmas day as the climax and joy of the waiting, for we have spent four weeks learning how and where to recognize the face of the Christ Child. If we can’t recognize him in all the people around us, then we’ll never recognize Him when He comes this year and next year, and then when He comes to take us home with him. In these troubled days, our world needs our faith and prayer.

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