November 29th, 2015, First Sunday of Advent
Discussion Questions for Reading 1Hope is a virtue. Virtue means "strength." Why do you think hopeful people are strong people?
Our hope is not in ourselves. We are sometimes weak and we sometimes fail, despite our best efforts. Our hope is in God. What does it mean to you to put your hope in God?
Reading 1 Jeremiah 33:14-16
Reading 1 ReflectionThe voice of the prophet Jeremiah greets us as we enter the season of Advent. Called by God, Jeremiah preached a message of hope to the people. In today's reading we hear the promise that God will raise up, from the ancestors of King David, a ruler who will "do what is right and just." This message reminds us of Jesus our Savior.
Advent is a season of hope. We prepare for the coming of God's kingdom and for Christmas. Don't delay. Begin today by praying that God will open your eyes to all the ways you can live as a person of hope.
Discussion Questions for Reading 2How do you prepare for an important visitor to your family or your school? When Jesus comes, he will not be looking for ceremonies or special songs. What will Jesus be looking for? How will you use the time of Advent to follow Paul's advice in this reading?
Reading 2 1 Thessalonians 3:12—4:2
Reading 2 ReflectionPaul's letter is addressed to the newly formed Christian community at Thessalonica, the capital of Macedonia. He expresses his love for them and his urgent desire that they continue to make progress in living as followers of Jesus Christ. He reminds them of the second coming of Christ at the end of the world. How will they prepare? By loving one another.
How do you keep watch for the Lord?
Discussion Questions for GospelJesus does not want us to be afraid at the time of judgment. He wants us to "stand . . . and raise our heads." He wants us to greet him as our "ransomer," for it is he who will lead us from captivity.
Advent is a good time to ask: What holds me captive? Why do I need someone to ransom me or rescue me? And what is my attitude toward this Someone who, when he comes, will set me free?
Gospel Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
Gospel ReflectionToday's reading might seem to be a real "downer." Just as we are beginning the new liturgical year, we hear Jesus' reminders to "be vigilant" and "pray." Advent is a time of preparation for Jesus' final coming. Jesus, the just one, who will judge us in the final days of human history, wants us to be able to stand up like true Christians when that time comes.
Decide how you will show that you have heard Jesus' words on this first day of Advent.