ADVENT is a special season of hope and prayer as we anxiously await the birth of our Lord and Savior. To enter more deeply into the spirit of this season, the Cathedral of Saint Peter will offer a series of Sunday Evening Prayer services and Advent reflections which will refresh in young and old alike the spirit of hope, peace, joy, and love that Advent brings.
First Sunday of Advent | December 1
As we begin a new liturgical year and the season of Advent, Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel of the need to “Be vigilant at all times and pray...” He paints a frightening picture: the sun, moon, and stars are in dismay and the waves of the ocean are being tossed about. Even heaven is shaking! God’s very creation—the world in which we live and work—is trying to tell us something, and Jesus is encouraging us to pay attention. God reveals his greatness through creation; creation is beautiful and gives us what we need to live and to eat. But if we do not care for creation today, we may be in trouble in the future.
How do you care for creation in your daily life?
Second Sunday of Advent | December 8
Today’s Gospel is very specific. We are told the names of the ruling leaders of the government and the church, leaders like Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate and Caiaphas. And we hear the names of the lands over which they ruled: Judea, Galilee and Abilene. At first glance, all this information may feel unnecessary, even a bit overwhelming. It seems to take forever before we meet our main character, John the Baptist. Why all this information? The Gospel is specific because God is specific. God works through the people, places and situations in our everyday lives. Each moment is a new opportunity to meet God—and God wants to be present to us in those very specific moments.
Think about your own life: your family, your school, your work and your friends. How is God trying to talk to you?
Third Sunday of Advent | December 15
John the Baptist answers a familiar question in this week’s Gospel: “What should we do?” How many of us ask ourselves this question when we see members of our global family living in poverty? John provides a very simple answer. He tells us, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none.” But John the Baptist does not stop there. In fact, as different people in the crowd question him—tax collectors, soldiers and more—he gives answers that are specific to each person. John recognizes that each of us has unique gifts to give—and unique needs based on where we are in our lives.
How can I serve those in need in my community?
Fourth Sunday of Advent | December 22
In this Gospel reading, Mary travels to see her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. When Elizabeth sees Mary, John the Baptist leaps within her. Elizabeth immediately knows this is because Mary is carrying Jesus, the son of God, in her womb. Nobody expected that Mary—a lowly Nazarene woman—would be the person to bring the Messiah into the world. And yet Elizabeth recognizes Jesus in her. We can still recognize Jesus in our world today. He tells us that whatever we do for those who are suffering and in need, we do for him (Matthew 25:40). But it can be difficult to recognize Jesus in others—especially in those who are suffering or left out.
Who in your life is most often left out? Why do you think that is? What can you do to include them?