From the desk of Ms. Kathleen Cook, Director of Religious Education
Theme: Jesus teaches his disciples to be vigilant so that they will be ready when the Son of Man comes in glory.
Summary: Just as the previous year ended, this new liturgical year begins with visions of the end times. Today’s Gospel passage reflects Saint Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians as it instructs us not to become relaxed in living a life of goodness and integrity. Although the passage is somber, it also includes hope that spurs us into living a life of integrity. As we proceed through the Gospel, it becomes more and more obvious that each of the virtues are related to each other.
Scripture: “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars… At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:25a, 27-28
Christmas is a not only a wonderful time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is also a time to remember that Jesus promised that he would come again. We don’t read much about that in the newspapers and we don’t hear much talk about it on the radio or television, but Jesus told us to be prepared and to watch for his return.
As we look forward to Christmas day, we also look forward to the day when Jesus will come again. Today we light the candle of hope on our advent wreath. Just as the people of Israel found hope in the promises of God, we find hope in Jesus’ promise that he will come again.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for keeping your promise to send a Savior. We also thank you for the promise that he will return again to take us to our home in heaven. Amen.
Suggested book that compliments today’s Gospel:
Stand Tall: A book about Integrity
Written by Elizabeth Allen
Family Discussion: In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns his disciples against the fatigue that can emerge if one becomes consumed by the anxieties of daily life. Many families are too familiar with the kind of fatigue Jesus refers to here. We may be concerned about a family member’s health, our job security, our children’s education, or any number of other concerns. All these are important matters. Jesus does not promise an end to daily worries and fears, but he does teach his disciples that they will have the strength to withstand anxiety if they stay focused on him, remaining vigilant for his return and praying for strength to endure all tribulations. Through prayer, God helps us stay focused on that which is most important in our lives.
As you gather as a family, recall the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions in preparation for the new calendar year. Observe that today is the first Sunday of Advent, which is the beginning of the new Church year. During the season of Advent, our Gospel readings ask us to consider what is most important to us as we prepare for Jesus’ coming, at his birth and at the end of time. Read today’s Gospel, Luke 21:25-28,34-36. Jesus describes signs that may disturb many people, but he says that these should not to disturb his disciples. Why? (because these signs indicate that redemption is near) What does Jesus say that his disciples should do? (Be vigilant and pray for strength.) At this start of the new Church year, consider as a family what “Advent resolutions” your family might make to help you stay focused so that you will be prepared to receive the salvation we celebrate at Jesus’ birth and anticipate at Jesus’ second coming. Pray together for God’s help in following through on these resolutions. Pray together today’s psalm, Psalm 25.