The New Gasparian
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

A journal dedicated to the life and mission of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, and to a life lived in response to the call and the cry of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our on-going mission is to share good news of hope and communion.

Sunday, November 30, 2003
First Sunday of Advent
Readings: Jeremiah 33:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2; Luke 21:25-28, 34-36

Some people go to church to get away from the hectic and disturbing aspects of life. Some people complain that church is unreal since it bears no resemblance to the life they lead. What are we to believe? Is what we do during the celebration of the liturgy an escape from the realities of life?

In reflecting on the season of Advent, we have the means for seeing that the liturgy is real, that it reflects life as it is, but the liturgy is also an ideal since it gives a direction and purpose to life.

What gives us hope in a world often marked by war, violence, desperate poverty, and religious and racial intolerance? As we enter this season of hope, does the world seem any more humane than when we gathered to celebrate the beginning of Advent Last year?

In spite of staggering world issues and problems, we take hope in the promise of rescue from Jeremiah: “I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David.” Throughout the Hebrew scriptures, God promises and fulfills these promises. Those in bondage are led out of the desert of oppression. God hears the cry of the blood and sends prophets to serve as advocates to those who are suffering, oppressed, alienated, and hurt.

Looking to the future is an inescapable part of life. Advent, therefore, reflects life in that it looks to the future. What God promised was fulfilled in the first coming of Christ and what God still promises will be fulfilled in the Second Coming of Christ. Because we believe that Christ came once, we believe he will come again. One promise fulfilled is a pledge of a promise yet to be fulfilled.

Jesus fulfills Jeremiah’s prophecy: he is the “righteous Branch” who will lead people out of the bondage of sin to the freedom of love and healing. In Luke, Jesus promises that even during human history’s most fearful times we will not be left alone – Jesus rescues all who place their hope in him. His prodigal love leaves no one behind.

This Advent offers us another opportunity to heal relationships, encourage those who have little hope, and build bridges in our communities. As we have reclaimed our dignity through the Incarnation of Jesus so too are we redeemed through the shedding of his most precious blood. It is through this Incarnation and future shedding of his blood that we recognize our duty and responsibility to the oppressed and marginalized. Our hope is strengthened by the realization that we are not alone, but continue the ministry of Jesus.

Reflection by: Rev. Mario Cafarelli, C.PP.S. (Atlantic Province)

posted by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. on 10:18 AM link
. . .

. . .