“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
One of the skills that new teachers have to learn is how to redirect a misbehaving student to the appropriate behavior by stating what the student should be doing. Often, novice teachers think it is enough to tell the drowsing student, “Please lift your head off your desk,” without realizing the importance of continuing with “and sit up, with your eyes facing the smart board.” This season of Advent that we are embarking on today is one devoted to redirecting us from drowsiness to standing erect and raising our heads; that is, to paying attention. During these weeks we’re invited to be more attentive to how God’s grace is active and alive in the world and in our lives, to take notice of even the most mundane signs that tell us our redemption is at hand.
—Fr. Martin Connell, S.J. is Professor of Education at John Carroll University, University Heights, OH, and Rector of the John Carroll University Jesuit community.
God, during Advent, may we remember the greatest gift ever given: your only Son, Jesus Christ. Fill our hearts with wonder and gratitude as we think of our Savior putting aside his heavenly glory and coming among us. As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, grow our understanding about the impact of our Lord’s birth. By Christmas day, may our hearts overflow with thanksgiving as we embrace the greatest of all promises: God with us!
—The Jesuit Prayer Team