Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
(Baruch 5:1-9; Psalm 126:1-6 ; Philippians 1:4-6,8-11; Luke 3:1-6)
Advent, A Time to Allow God’s Word to Transform You
“A voice of one crying out in the desert.” (Luke 3:4)
Tiberius. Pilate. Herod. Philip. Lysanias. Annas. Caiaphas. These men ruled the secular and religious worlds at the time of Christ. Mighty Rome, led by Tiberius Caesar, held Judea in its grip, and Pilate exercised Rome’s power there. Herod, Philip, and Lysanias governed, with Caesar’s blessing, the rest of the kingdom. Caiaphas was the reigning high priest, and Annas, though retired, still held great sway.
But then came a voice, just one voice in the desert, heralding the coming of One who is above all powers and principalities. One single voice! God didn’t have to send a host of angels to herald the coming of his Son, Jesus—although he did send one, as a grand display of his joy. A single voice, residing not in the halls of power but in the wilderness of the desert, was all he needed. And the people flocked to that voice!
Such is the authority of the word of God—a word spoken by the lone voice of the prophet John and his mighty successor, Jesus. Their voices proclaimed a foolishness that is wiser than human wisdom and a weakness that surpasses our strength.
Even today, God’s voice has the power to silence all the other voices in our lives. The devil may accuse us. Our own flesh may croon words of self-indulgence and self-pity. Even the world may offer us an unremitting barrage of “wisdom” and woe and invitations to the next best thing. But God’s voice can still them all.
What is that voice saying to you today? Listen for it. Pay attention to it and treasure it. Know that every time you hear that voice, Jesus is drawing you a little bit closer. His promises become more real to you, and his power becomes more believable. Turn to that voice. Absorb its words of love and encouragement and hope. Follow its gentle leading. This still, small voice has the power to silence all others!
“Father, I want to hear your voice today. Open my ears, so that I can hear you; open my heart, so that I can embrace you.”
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Questions for Reflection/Discussion
- In the first reading, we are encouraged to take off our “robe of mourning and misery”. What are the things in your life that weigh you down: Sinful habits? Family circumstances? Job situation? How do you believe God wants you to deal with these areas this Advent?
- In the Responsorial Psalm, God promises that our sorrow will be turned into joy; and not just some temporary external “joy” but an inner joy. The psalmist goes on to say that our mouths will be “filled with laughter”. God wants you to experience his blessings and be filled with joy. Can you share a time when God’s actions brought a special joy into your life?
- St. Paul’s beautiful prayer in the second reading speaks of his confidence that God will complete his “good work” in each of us (Philippians 1:6). Therefore, we ought not to be discouraged. Are you willing to make a commitment to pray this same prayer for certain family members and others during Advent? Why or why not? Advent is a special season of grace. Be expectant that God will answer these prayers.
- Again St. Paul prays that our “love may increase even more” (Philippians (1:9). St. Alphonsus says that loving God is the greatest work we can do on earth, and since our ability to love God comes from God, we must ask him for the grace to love him. Have you ever asked God for that gift? How can your prayers during Advent allow your love to “increase even more,” especially for those you find hard to love?
- In the Gospel, we are introduced to John the Baptist, whose words echo the prophecy from the first reading: mountains will be flattened and valleys filled in to make our path to him easier so we “shall see the salvation of God” (Luke 3:6). During Advent, how can you be a witness to your family members and others so that they “shall see the salvation of God.”
- In the meditation we hear these words: “Even today, God’s voice has the power to silence all the other voices in our lives. The devil may accuse us. Our own flesh may croon words of self-indulgence and self-pity. Even the world may offer us an unremitting barrage of “wisdom” and woe and invitations to the next best thing. But God’s voice can still them all.” What steps can you take during Advent to allow God’s words to you to deepen your faith and help you win the battle against the world, the flesh, and the devil?
- Take some time now to pray that the Lord would open your heart and mind to hear more clearly his voice during this Advent Season. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.