United In Prayer As A Family This Advent
Readings: 1st: Jr 13, 33-37; Ps: 24; 2nd: I Th 3, 12. 4, 2; Gos: Lc 21: 25-28, 34-36
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
The term Advent comes from two Latin words Ad-ventus or ad-venire, which simply means “to arrive” or “to come” respectively.” It marks the beginning of the Church’s liturgical calendar. It is a four-week period leading up to Christmas.
For us Christians and Catholics in particular, it means a time of expectation and preparation for the Lord’s birth. So, the prophecy of John the Baptist: “a voice of one calling in the desert, prepare a way for the Lord …” (Mk 1, 3), echoes loudly to us this season.
Advent is a time when we expect mercy and liberation because our Lord, the King of the universe whose solemnity we celebrated last Sunday comes with power to reign over his people. This Advent is special because it marks the beginning a special year dedicated to the family.
The first reading from Jeremiah reminds us that we expect the fulfillment of God’s promises to us this season. The promise is about our deliverance, and the restoration of our lost integrity which has been stifled by fear of the unknown. It is equally a time of restoration of our hope and faith. Jesus comes also to liberate us from shame and sorrows.
How do we begin this preparation? Paul gives us a clue in our second reading when he says: “May he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God…when our Lord Jesus comes with all his saints.”
Holiness of life in our world today appears to have lost its meaning or perhaps is one concept that sounds so abstract or even relative. In other words, it is believed by many, even Christians, to be unattainable. Yet, it is a necessary condition for seeing and meeting the Lord when he comes because, “without holiness no man can see the Lord” (Heb 12, 14).
In spite of the difficulties we face in attaining holiness, this season Paul admonishes us to “conduct ourselves in the way that please God.” This is a call to strive for perfection. If it were not possible, Christ would not have demanded it from us.
So, this season, let us endeavor to avoid greed, licentiousness, inordinate ambitions, anger, malice, backbiting, gossips, abortion, drunkenness, immodesty, and all sorts of vices. We must prepare and equip ourselves with good virtues like a bride waiting for her groom.
Today’s gospel reminds us of something very important in our Christian journey. It calls us to be awake and watchful. Therefore, this is a call for us to intensify and strengthen our prayer life. This is because prayer purifies the soul and casts away all fears. It prepares and strengthens us in joyful hope.
Importantly, prayer provides us the spiritual energy, courage and confidence to stand firm. Therefore, as a family, this Advent offers us the opportunity to unite in prayers as we wait for the Lord. So, rather than engage ourselves only with mundane preparations, let us engage ourselves in intensive prayers. We must prepare together as a family through prayer.
May our Lord find us awake and ready when he comes in glory. So, with the psalmist let us proclaim: “To you, O Lord I lift up my soul.”
Peace be with you!