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First Sunday of Advent – November

Thoughts to consider

  • The advent message today is very simple. “Be watchful and alert.”
  • God and the goodness of God are available.
  • The call to work together for justice and the common good is all around us.
  • All we have to do is be alert and watch and not miss it.

Unfortunately, sometimes our world is not watchful or alert and we miss God and the goodness of God. Sometimes we miss the call of God to get into action. Sometimes we don’t connect with God in the poverty and struggles of the people of the world. As individuals or as a society, we wander away from God and God’s values. The question is: “why?”

Today might be a good time to reflect on those things in our society and culture that keep us from being alert and alive to God and God’s values. There seem to be so many pressures and values that indoctrinate us and keep us from being what God wants us to be. So many ways of thinking and seeing are in tension with the values of Catholic Social Teaching. We need to be aware of them so that we can be truly free and alert.

As we look at our culture, we might want to reflect on

  • The individualistic mentality that keeps us from solidarity and the common good.
  • The temptation to rely on power and even violence instead of love and active non-violence.
  • The tendency to accumulate wealth instead of sharing material resources.
  • The practice of judging things from the limited view of our culture alone.
  • The lack of seamless, all-inclusive respect for life.
  • The excessive power of the media which limits our vision
  • The ideological perspectives from left and right which keep us from seeing clearly.
  • The lack of direct contact with those in need or different than ourselves.

The list could go on and on. The challenge is to open our eyes and be alert and aware so that we can know the biases of our culture, make this list concrete, and begin to see things from a bigger viewpoint.

In the face of all these challenges, we are invited to have hope. The second reading from the first letter to the Corinthians reminds us to rejoice in the spirit of Jesus who will help and set us free.

If we are alert we begin to see the needs of our world and its people. We notice injustice and economic inequality. We become sensitive to discrimination and racism.

Those who are worried about the poor are hoping for policies that help those who are most in need. As Christians we are always called to be people of hope. This is a good thing. However, as Christians we know that no political system or leadership will be perfect. We know that we will always need, as Jesus says today, to be “watchful and alert.” We are called to open our eyes to the needs of all our brothers and sisters.

Questions for Reflection

What things in our culture keep you from being watchful or alert?

What are the things or values that keep you from the spirit of God?

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