Wake up and get ready for the Advent of the Lord!

Listen to mp3 file
1st Sunday of Advent, Year A: Dec. 1, 2013
Isa 2:1-5; Ps 122; Rom 13:11-14; Matt 24:37-44

A few weeks ago, I was visiting one of our classes in the school; and in their religion textbook they were beginning a chapter entitled “Christ Will Come Again.” It was a chapter that presented to them this truth that we believe and that we profess each week: that Jesus will come again in glory; that we look forward to his Second Coming.

And this is the primary focus of Advent. The word “Advent” itself comes from the Latin for coming or arrival: it is Jesus’ coming, his Second Coming, that we called to look forward to, and to prepare for. (more…)

Advertisements

Surprised by joy

Listen to mp3 file
4th Sunday of Advent, Year C: Dec. 23, 2012
Micah 5:1-4; Ps 80; Heb 10:5-10; Luke 1:39-45

Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah had had a long, gray life, filled with a certain sadness. They were good people—sincere and faithful—among the People of Israel, living out lives characterized by faith and treating others decently and fairly. St. Luke tells us that “both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly.” (1:6)

But they had never been able to have children. Year after year they had tried, before there was medical science that could discover and heal the problem in Zechariah’s body or Elizabeth’s body. Year after year they had prayed, in a culture that emphasized having children much more than ours does. (more…)

In darkness, choosing the path to joy

Listen to mp3 file
3rd Sunday of Advent, Year C: Dec. 16, 2012
Zeph 3:14-18; Isa 12; Phil 4:4-7; Luke 3:10-18

We hear St. Paul say in our second reading, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!” Rejoice: Gaudete! It is from this verse that this Gaudete Sunday takes its name. But how should we take these words of his? Is this just superficial, like glitter or tinsel or wearing rose-colored vestments? Is St. Paul just an overly cheerful person, a Pollyanna?

No, St. Paul is writing this letter from prison! He is probably imprisoned in Rome and is awaiting trial; he doesn’t know whether he might be executed. (more…)

Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths

Listen to mp3 file
2nd Sunday of Advent, Year C: Dec. 9, 2012
Bar 5:1-9; Ps 126; Phil 1:4-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6

“All flesh shall see the salvation of God.” Our readings today paint us a glorious picture of what the Lord will accomplish when he comes: the wrongs he will set right, the blessings he will bestow. The prophets Isaiah and Baruch were speaking to the People of Israel in a difficult time of suffering and exile, with their cities destroyed, their people separated from each other, and everything looking quite hopeless. And they promise: mourning and misery will change into splendor and glory; joy and peace, mercy and justice will be restored; when the Lord lays out the way back home. (more…)

Un Adviento hermoso y transformativo

Eschucha mp3
I Domingo de Adviento, Año C: 2 Diciembre 2012
Jr 33, 14-16; Sal 24; 1 Tes 3, 12—4, 2; Lc 21, 25-28.34-36

Cuando leemos los libros de los profetas en el Antiguo Testamento, antes de la venida de Cristo, vemos muchas referencias al “Día del Señor.” Y, por la referencia primera, en el libro del profeta Amós, podemos discernir que ya hubo una esperanza popular de que, cuando llegara ese día, sería un día de bendiciones para ellos, un día de luz, un día de recompensas. Y respondió Amós: “¡Ay de los que desean el día del Señor! ¿Para qué quieren este día del Señor? Será de tinieblas y no de luz.” (Am 5, 18)

Y, por los profetas, fue revelado que el Día del Señor tendrá dos aspectos: castigo para los pecadores, y salvación para los justos. Y oímos esto también de nuestro Señor Jesús, en la lectura del Evangelio de hoy, cuando habla de su Segunda Venida. (more…)

Advent: Be vigilant, be prepared, live in expectation!

Listen to mp3 file
1st Sunday of Advent, Year C: Dec. 2, 2012
Jer 33:14-16; Ps 25; 1 Thess 3:12–4:2; Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

When we read in the books of the prophets in the Old Testament, before the coming of Christ, we find many references to the “Day of the Lord.” Indeed, from the very first reference, in the book of the prophet Amos, we can tell that there was already a popular expectation among the people that, when this day came, it would be a positive day of blessing for them, a day of light, a day when the Lord would make everything good for his People. And Amos responded: “Woe to those who yearn for the day of the Lord! What will this day of the Lord mean for you? Darkness and not light!” (Amos 5:18ff)

And what we then see unfolded more clearly by the prophets is the understanding that the Day of Lord will have two sides to it: punishment for sinners, and salvation for the righteous. And this is what we also hear in the words of our Lord Jesus in today’s Gospel reading, about his Second Coming. (more…)

Por la Navidad, tu familia nunca será la misma

Eschucha mp3
IV Domingo de Adviento, Año B: 18 Diciembre 2011
2 Sm 7, 1-5.8-12.14.16; Sal 88; Rom 16, 25-27; Lc 1, 26-38

En esta época del año, pensamos mucho en la familia. Aún los norteamericanos—famosos por enfocarse en el trabajo y en las cosas materiales—paran las actividades del empleo para pasar un rato con la familia. La Navidad, el Año Nuevo, la Epifanía o el Día de los Tres Reyes Magos—toda esta época trae los viajes para reunirse, para pasar días muy amables con la familia. Habrá juegos, deportes, cuentos, canciones, y comidas—mucha risa, mucho gozo. Y, cuando no podemos reunirnos con nuestra familia, sentimos la falta. Porque así es la época.

Y hoy, en el cuarto domingo de Adviento, mientras nos preparamos a dar la bienvenida al Señor en su segunda venida, y a celebrar dignamente su primera venida, oímos en las lecturas cómo la promesa de su Encarnación afectó a dos personas y a sus planes para sus familias. (more…)

This season, don’t forget the Lord’s gift!

Listen to mp3 file
4th Sunday of Advent, Year B: Dec. 18, 2011
2 Sam 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16; Ps 89; Rom 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38

How has the season been going for you? Crazy? Full of work? Maybe I should ask: How are you doing on all your Christmas tasks? Almost done? Still making progress? All that shopping, decorating, wrapping, baking, mailing? All those parties and pageants to go to, trips to make, cards to sign? It’s a lot of work, this Christmas season, as most Americans currently observe it—especially for adults. A lot of work to make it a “magical” experience for children; a lot of work to demonstrate to others that you love and appreciate them.

But have you forgotten something? (more…)

Gaudete Sunday: Find your joy in the Lord

Listen to mp3 file
3rd Sunday of Advent, Year B: Dec. 11, 2011
Isa 61:1-2, 10-11; Luke 1; 1 Thess 5:16-24; John 1:6-8, 19-28

John the Baptist is one of the great figures of the Advent season. For during this season we look toward Christ’s Second Coming; and who better to help us prepare for that than John the Baptist, who helped the people of the first century prepare for Christ’s first coming. And how did he do that? He preached repentance—change; a turning away from sinful thoughts and attitudes and actions inside and sinful actions outside—to prepare the way of the Lord.

But it wasn’t just in his words and his action of baptizing that John prepared for the Lord. He also did so by who he was. (more…)

Esperar con emoción la venida del Señor

Eschucha mp3
II Domingo de Adviento, Año B: 4 Diciembre 2011
Is 40, 1-5.9-11; Sal 84; 2 Pe 3, 8-14; Mc 1, 1-8

Lo que oímos en la primera lectura es un mensaje de gran gozo. El Señor dice: “Consuelen, consuelen a mi pueblo.” El contexto era el exilio a Babilonia: cuando el reino del sur de Judá había vencido, el capital de Jerusalén destruido, el Templo del Señor encendido, y tanta gente noble y educada deportada a la tierra de Babilonia. Era el gran trauma para el Pueblo de Israel, con dolor y confusión.

Y en esta situación viene la palabra del Señor: ¡los exilios regresarán! Un camino será preparado en el desierto—con valles elevados, montes rebajados, y torcidos enderezados, para hacer este camino, desde la tierra del exilio, hasta la Tierra Santa, su hogar. (more…)