Peace

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December 11, 2018  Tuesday of the Second Week of Advent Simply stated in graffiti on a wall in Bethlehem, is this message true for all human beings: “We need peace.” Peace is something we all yearn for, and hope for, yet something that not many people actually work for. In a letter to a community of Christians (1 Thessalonians 5:12-28), …

Barriers

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December 10, 2018  Monday of the Second Week of Advent Sometimes life seems like a maze, with numerous blind alleys, places that lead nowhere. So many of us scurry busily from place to place, but in fact appear to make little progress, physically and spiritually tired at the end of the day. In today’s reading from the Hebrew Scriptures (Isaiah …

Wilderness

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December 9, 2018  The Second Sunday of Advent John the Baptizer heard the Word of God while in the wilderness, a dangerous, lonely and inhospitable place. Coming to John in today’s Gospel lesson (Luke 3:1-6), the message must have been very clear, as he immediately went forward, bizarrely dressed, to offer baptism to those who were willing to change their …

Prayer

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December 8, 2018  Saturday of the First Week of Advent It seems that praying should be a natural, straightforward undertaking. Yet when someone asks you to pray, or when you yourself wish to pray about something, you may be at a total loss for words. Jesus reminds us in today’s Gospel lesson (Matthew 6:6-15) that more words do not make …

Preparation

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December 7, 2018  Friday of the First Week of Advent If only we knew exactly when and where to expect the Savior to arrive! Then we could organize ourselves, get our lives aligned, perhaps even forgive someone or (even more amazingly) ask for forgiveness. If only! That is precisely the problem. Jesus keeps reminding us that the Unexpected One is …

Innocence

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December 6, 2018  Thursday of the First Week of Advent In today’s Gospel lesson (Mark 10:13-16), the first followers of Jesus tried to block the little children from approaching him. Jesus sharply criticized them, stating that those who are child-like are precisely the ones who will enter the kingdom of God. By no means did Jesus recommend that we be …

Sustenance

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December 5, 2018  Wednesday of the First Week of Advent There is something wondrous about the aroma of freshly-baked, warm bread. Bread (or an analogue, depending on one’s culture or preference) provides something basic, satisfying, and necessary for physical life itself. No surprise that bread in an unleavened form is featured in the Passover remembrance, or in the form of …

Hope

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December 4, 2018  Tuesday of the First Week of Advent An image of a burial ground in Advent? A bit incongruous, you may think, perhaps better suited to an approaching Easter. Yet Jesus announces in today’s Gospel (John 5:24-27) the presence, here and now, of the Voice that gives life to those who are thought to be dead. Consider some …

Patience

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December 3, 2018  Monday of the First Week of Advent Pottery jars, now “fired” to perfection, sit empty. Unadorned. Waiting to be decorated. Waiting to be filled. Waiting to serve some purpose. Simple objects have no difficulty waiting, but we complicated humans are another matter altogether. We are short on patience, too busy, too occupied, too self-absorbed, perhaps too “important” …

Signs

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The First Sunday of Advent   December 2, 2018 People everywhere look for signs in nature. At times, we see breath-taking beauty; at other times, we see signs of impending catastrophe, such as those described in the apocalyptic vision of today’s Gospel (Luke 21:25-38). Our news media expose us relentlessly to the signs of the times, with a narrative saying that …