Advent, Peace Spirituality

The Evolving Incarnation

by James Hug, S.J.

“Be Watchful!  Be Alert!  You do not know when the time will come!”  [Mk. 13:33]

This opening line from the gospel for the 1st Sunday of Advent seems in no way unusual. We hear a similar message each year at this time. But this year it may be providing the context for a new sense of the season—and an invitation to take part in the incarnation of God’s Spirit in a world so terribly in need of it.

In early October, Fr. Bruno Cadoré, Master General of the Dominican Order, wrote to the members of the Dominican family—priests and brothers, nuns and sisters, lay associates—with a special request. Following upon last year’s 800th Jubilee of the Order, he asked all members of the Dominican family to join in a new, annual work of solidarity for peace. He proposed that, during the period from the 1st Sunday of Advent to January 1st, the Church’s World Day of Peace each year, the Dominican family pray in solidarity for peace and together offer solidarity for a particular project for peace.

He identified that focus of solidarity for 2017 as Colombia, where Dominican brothers and sisters have long been working for peace. Just a year ago, November 30, 2016, a peace treaty between the major combatants was signed in what was effectively a civil war of over 50 years. Rebuilding the nation and the peace after so much trauma and destruction is deeply challenging and is at an early and fragile stage…

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* Artwork by Jasmin Roberts,
Advent, Peace Spirituality

ADVENT 2017: A reflection for the First Sunday of Advent, 3 December

by Judy Coode
Project Coordinator, Catholic Nonviolence Initiative

Isaiah 63:16B-17, 19B; 64:2-7 | Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 | 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 | Mark 13:33-37

“… No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for him. Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! [But] all of us have become like unclean people, all our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves … [You] have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt. …”

Our season of waiting and watching starts with a pain-filled lament, a self-recriminating plea for mercy, a cry for reconciliation. The readings today remind us that it is time to reflect, and to remember that, one day, the sense that God is present will return to us.

Our faith tells us that God never leaves us, but our human sides make it easy to forget this, or to disbelieve it. We look at the terrible conflicts around the world, the power of war-makers, the ugliness towards others borne of greed and fear, and we cry because God’s face is hidden – will it ever return? – and we feel we have not done enough to stop the awful actions that swarm around us.

But we know the light has really never been extinguished. We wait these few weeks in December and light our purple and pink candles and wait for Mary’s baby boy to arrive, but we also watch our friends and colleagues continue to do what they can: shelter those who need protection, feed those who are hungry, comfort those who mourn, and remind everyone around us, especially those in power, that our Creator is with us and will always hold us close.