Students Celebrate Advent with Scripture Reflections (By Dennis Hodapp, Director of Campus Ministry)

Senior Leadership Team students are writing reflections for each week of Advent, including a special personal prayer. The following were submitted by Roberta Gonzalez and Brett Malone for the weeks of December 2 and this coming Sunday, December 9. Happy Advent!

First Sunday of Advent Gospel Reflection
By: Roberta Gonzalez
Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36
Jesus said to his disciples:
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy
from carousing and drunkenness
and the anxieties of daily life,
and that day catch you by surprise like a trap.
For that day will assault everyone
who lives on the face of the earth.
Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”
The word “Advent” means the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event. In the Gospel reading, Jesus prepares his disciples and their hearts for the event of his second coming: “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.”

Like every year, I see myself approach Christmas with an anticipation for a time with family, friends, and the finals. I find my heart drowsy with the “anxieties of daily life,” not pointed towards what is truly the heart of Advent and Christmas: Christ. As Jesus prepares his disciples for his second coming, the gospel prepares us for Christmas, and Christ’s words even prepare us for daily life. It’s often I find myself drowning in school work, studying, and after-schools activities and move my faith to the side.

These words remind me to not only open my eyes, but to awaken from the drowsiness of every day and instead find Christ in every moment, taking every chance to live his mission and my faith through kindness and compassion.

Dear Lord,

I thank you for this day you have given me, another chance to see your light. Help me find the strength to awaken from drowsiness and relieve me from the anxieties of the moment, to instead find the capacity to live with compassion and resilience through your grace.

May you, too, grant relief and grace to those suffering from anxiety and distance from you; please show them the love necessary to spurn them into wakefulness, to see you and hope for you.

In Your name, I pray, Amen. 

Second Sunday of Advent Gospel Reflection
By: Brett Malone
Luke 3:1-6
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
Advent is the time of preparation for the coming of Jesus and remembering the true meaning of Christmas. It is a time to prepare, cleanse, and open up our hearts for the Lord. This upcoming Sunday, December 9, is the second Sunday in the Advent season. The Gospel passage calls for preparing for the coming of Jesus. Word came to John the Baptist in the desert to “Prepare the way of the Lord.” He went out proclaiming the repentance for the forgiveness of sins to all.
All are called to make ready their hearts for the coming of Christ. During this Advent season we are to forgive others, ask for forgiveness, hope, make peace, love, and rejoice. In this Gospel we are reminded of not only His first coming, but also the Second Coming of the Lord. Everything will be made perfect and “all shall see the salvation of God.” Advent is a time all of us can truly better our relationships with God, each other, and ourselves. In doing so we are preparing our hearts as a home for God.

            The theme of the Second week in Advent is peace, so may we pray for peace to all.
God may You stir up our hearts in preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ. During this time may we seek out goodness and peace. We ask You to move us to action so we can ready ourselves for Your coming. May we all prepare our hearts as a home for You. Amen.