Advent Resources

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Christmas Day, 25 December 2019

Readings: Isaiah 52:7-10, Hebrews 1:1-6, John 1:1-18 or 1:1-5, 9-14

Christ is come, alleluia. God has prepared space for us and will never abandon us. Though God spoke through the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures, God’s own child now lives on Earth and walks among us. St. John Chrysostom writes, “For this day the ancient slavery is ended … the power of death is broken. For this day paradise is unlocked, the curse is taken away, sin is removed, error is driven out, truth has been brought back, the speech of kindliness diffused and spread on every side … On every side all things commingle.” New ways of thinking of God and God’s connection with creation lead us to acknowledge the interrelationship of all Earth and its content. We are one with this whole little world we trod; how could we be separate? God’s mercy and love is for all creation, and so we must extend our love and care to everything God has touched.

Follow up question to reflect:

In what ways do you share God’s light? How are you fulfilling God’s message of mercy and love for all?

Reflection and prayer offered by Pax Christi France (French only) taken from journal de la Paix ‘’Paix à cette maison!’’

Fourth Sunday of Advent, 22 December 2019

Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14, Romans 1:1-7, Matthew 1:18-24

Growing up as an dutiful Jew, Joseph must have known about Isaiah’s prophecy – “the young woman is with child and shall bear a son and shall name him Immanuel” – so when he is told in a dream that he is to have an integral role in God’s plan for humankind, he must have been surprised, and probably petrified. Joseph, obedient to God’s will, had to realize that this baby would not be the warrior, David-like king they were expecting to save them from Rome’s oppression. Joseph ignored the legal rules — which told him to break off with Mary – and instead chose to take God’s path. May we find guidance from St. Joseph to choose the path of faith.

Follow up question to reflect:

Today, what does it mean to follow God’s plan, and when does that put us in conflict with the laws of humans? How do you find the strength and faith to follow God’s plan?

Reflection and prayer offered by Pax Christi France (French only) taken from journal de la Paix ‘’Paix à cette maison!’’

Third Sunday of Advent, 15 December 2019

Readings: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10, James 5:7-10, Matthew 11:2-11

We are halfway through Advent; we still have time to reflect and pray in a quiet Advent atmosphere. But this time of darkness soon will be over, and we will celebrate God with us again. Do we see the signs of God with us? In his encyclical Mater et Magistra, Pope John XXIII offered us a technique for all of us to evaluate and respond the signs around us: See-judge-act. As Maryknoll Fr. Jim Noonan wrote in a reflection on today’s readings, “[See-judge-act] is a simple but profound way of discovering the message that God is giving us and calling us to have the courage to respond. Reflecting on the signs of the times with a community of faith and love is the best way to discover the message that God gives us to share at this particular moment of history.”

Follow up question to reflect:

Who is your community? With whom do you reflect on the signs of the times?

Reflections and Prayer by Pax Christi UK taken from article ‘’Call of Advent’’

Reflection and prayer offered by Pax Christi France (French only) taken from journal de la Paix ‘’Paix à cette maison!

Second Sunday of Advent, 8 December 2019

Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10, Romans 15:4-9, Matthew 3:1-12

Today’s reading gives us the promise of the peaceable kingdom, where everyone is relieved of fright since “the earth was filled with the knowledge of God.” Ignorance breeds fear, but as the reading teaches us, when we open our minds and hearts to the “other,” we dismantle the ignorance which stifles love and we receive the security that God promises. It is our responsibility to do this – to open ourselves to others – even when this effort is sometimes challenging. We read about John the Baptist whose deep faith is thrilling and a little frightening.

Follow up question to reflect:

Do we have John’s clarity of purpose? Are we ready for what is coming?

Reflections and Prayer by Pax Christi USA taken from booklet ‘’The Time to be Awake: Reflections for Advent & Christmas 2019’’.

Advent Service 2019 by Pax Christi UK at St Aloysius Church

Reflection and prayer offered by Pax Christi France (French only) taken from journal de la Paix ‘’Paix à cette maison!

First Sunday of Advent, 1 December 2019

The reflections for each Sunday in Advent are taken from “The Presence of God,” published by Pax Christi USA in 2010.

Readings: Isaiah 2:1-5, Romans 13:11-14, Matthew 24:37-44

The readings during the holy season of Advent include some of the most beautiful passages from the Bible, specifically the words of Isaiah. On December 1, as we light the first candle of the Advent wreath and enter our waiting time, we are greeted with the Creator’s great promise: Peace will come, and swords will be beaten into plowshares. While we must prepare ourselves for this time of darkness and silence, we should not be afraid; rather, as Romans tells us, dress in Jesus Christ, put on that armor of light, and stay awake. The darkness is descending, and things will change when we least expect it, but fear not: We walk in the light of God.

Follow up question to reflect:

As you pray for those who struggle for justice around the world, can you identify the signs of hope?

Reflection and prayer offered by Pax Christi France (French only) taken from journal de la Paix ‘’Paix à cette maison!’’

Réflexion et prière proposée par Pax Christi France extraitent du journal de la Paix “Paix à cette maison!”