Sunday Gospel reflections: Keep it simple!

First Sunday of Advent (Year C)

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Today, the First Sunday of Advent, is also the first day of the Christian year. For many of us, the start of a new year is a time for new beginnings, new resolve, and new efforts. Last year may not have been all we wanted it to be, but now we can start fresh. Is there a better occasion for preparing for our own rebirth than Advent, the time when we ready ourselves to celebrate Christ’s birth?

What do New Year’s resolutions look like? I will eat better, exercise more, and lose a little weight. I will spend less time watching television and take that course I’ve always meant to. I will organize my life and get rid of the things I don’t need anymore. These are all good, but let’s leave those kinds of resolutions for Dec. 31.

Instead, let’s turn to St. Paul. We can find some good New Year advice in his almost 2,000-year-old letter to the Christians at Thessalonika. Keep it simple, Paul says. Allow God to “make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all” and “strengthen your hearts … in holiness.” Imagine what this Advent season would be like — indeed our whole lives — if we listened to Paul and resolved to renew our hearts so they move closer to God and become more open to loving those all around us.

  — Patrick Gallagher


Readings:

Jeremiah 33:14–16

Psalm 25:4–5, 8–9, 10, 14

1 Thessalonians 3:12—4:2

Luke 21:25–28, 34–36

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