First Week of Advent: Hope
Light the Advent Candle of Hope
The first candle, which is purple, symbolizes hope. It is sometimes called the “Prophecy Candle” in remembrance of the prophets, especially Isaiah, who foretold the birth of Christ. It represents the expectation felt in anticipation of the coming Messiah.
Light the Advent candle, pause and quiet yourself to remember that God is, even in this very moment, present to you.
Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God
Optional Centering Song
Play it for the amount of time that you determine for your personal prayer experience.
Contemplate the Mystery of God’s love at work in the world.
Read today’s Gospel a few times slowly.
- Does today’s Gospel have any relevance to your life?
- How do you try to share the message of this Gospel with those with whom you live and work?
- If you choose to allow this Scripture passage to come alive in you now, what would you have to change in your life? What are the obstacles to this change?
A Reading from Mt 24:37-44
Jesus said to his disciples:
“As it was in the days of Noah,
so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
In those days before the flood,
they were eating and drinking,
marrying and giving in marriage,
up to the day that Noah entered the ark.
They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away.
So will it be also at the coming of the Son of Man.
Two men will be out in the field;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill;
one will be taken, and one will be left.
Therefore, stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
Be sure of this: if the master of the house
had known the hour of night when the thief was coming,
he would have stayed awake
and not let his house be broken into.
So too, you also must be prepared,
for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
“Prepare a path for God so that he can enter your heart.”
How are you preparing yourself for your spiritual journey this Advent season?
God of hope, as I begin my Advent journey, I turn to you, the source of all hope, fill me with hope in your accompaniment of me during this sacred season of preparation for the celebration of the Incarnation. Amen!
Reflection for Week One
Maryann Donohue-Lynch, Office for Mission & Formation
The story is told that the ancient Rabbis used to say, “The Messiah is coming, the one who will heal us and save us and change all things. And he walks to the edge of the city. And it is nighttime. And he walks from one end of the city, through the whole city, and he comes to the end. And nobody stops and nobody asks, and nobody cares. And the Messiah walks out the other end and nobody is touched.”
Could this be a reflection of our times as well?
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us to “Stay awake!”
To read the signs of the times, to be aware, to be alert.
God is with us. The question is, “Are we awake?”
Do we see God’s salvific action alive in our world today?
Do we see God’s salvific action alive in our own life?
As Lasallians, Saint John Baptist de La Salle left us a spiritual legacy, a practice for staying spiritually awake. The Founder shared his understanding of the interior life with the community of the early Brothers and fortunately for us, through his numerous writings. *
As part of our Advent journey, let us deepen our practice of the Lasallian spiritual heritage gifted to us by the Founder:
- Recall that we live in the holy presence of God: This allows us to participate in God’s mission, to hold all things, all we do and say, as participating in God’s plan for humankind.
- See all things through the eyes of faith: Reflect upon daily experiences and encounters to see God’s actions alive and present in your life and in the world.
- Reflect upon the Scriptures: “the substance of things hoped for, the assurance of things not seen.”
- Deepen your understanding of the meaning of Divine Providence: Be attentive to the plan that God has for your life.
St. John Baptist de La Salle wrote that God “who guides all things with wisdom and serenity, whose way it is not to force the inclinations of persons, willed to commit me entirely to the development of the schools. He did this in an imperceptible way and over a long period of time so that one commitment led to another in a way that I did not foresee in the beginning.” +
As we journey this Advent, let us open our hearts more fully to the presence of the Divine in our life. Let us stay spiritually awake!
*For the writings of Saint John Baptist de La Salle visit https://lasallianresources.org
+Jean-Baptiste Blain, The Life of John Baptist De La Salle, Founder of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, trans. Richard Arnandez, Vol. 1, Bk. 1: 60-61.
Optional Contemporary Reflections
In the Bible people who have hope are very different from optimists! This video reflects upon how biblical hope looks to God’s character alone as a basis for trusting that the future will be better than the present.