Expect the Unexpected

Advent Message Series

Week 1: (12/3) Expect Good
This first week of Advent we’re challenged to expect good in our lives and especially to discover and recognize it in others.
I’m humbled by the charity and sacrifices that I see you making on behalf of children, the sick and lonely, the homeless and especially the poor. Let us use our talents beyond gifts to provide sustainable conditions of dignity and life for the needy.

Challenge: Watch for good in someone else and acknowledge it in some way.

Week 2: (12/10) Expect Unlikely People
This second Sunday of Advent we’re encouraged here at St. Mary’s to “expect the unexpected” and to “expect unlikely people” to bring us the good news of Jesus in our midst.
While last week our challenge was to look for the good in someone and acknowledge it some way, this week we’re challenged to reach out to someone who wouldn’t expect to hear from us. Like John the Baptist in the Gospel reading today, would family and friends consider us to be unlikely heralds of Jesus’ presence in their lives? And yet our baptism has set us precisely on such a mission. We may know that we are unfit to take off Jesus’ shoes, but we are also filled with His Spirit and having been ourselves forgiven can prepare a straight path. We are sent to make this proclamation by feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, welcoming the stranger, and visiting the sick and imprisoned.  Through us others will experience God’s care for his flock and His kingdom on earth will come.

Challenge: Reach out to someone this week that wouldn’t expect to hear from you.

Week 3: (12/17) Expect Challenges
Obviously the voice of John the Baptist in today’s Gospel reading is being tested by the officials from Jerusalem who ask “Who are you?” They are actually asking John the Baptist “Who do you think you are?” riling people up with talk about the Messiah and repentance. John humbly replies that he is a voice in the desert calling people to prepare the way of the Lord.

Just as John was challenged for his work and message, we too find ourselves questioned and challenged when we put our faith into action. Following Jesus isn’t always the most popular thing to do, especially when it involves shaking up the status quo or exploring new ways to serve the lost and forgotten. For example, the Church’s message about respect for life and the dignity of every person often creates heated debates when it comes to issues like nuclear war, medical care, serving the poor, immigration, and the death penalty. Is there a spiritual GPS that gets us to the right answer and action?

Challenge: What do you think will be the most challenging question for you about Christmas?

Ask this question to someone else, and share your response with them.

Week 4: (12/24) Expect Surprises

Challenge: Share what surprised you this Christmas season with your family.

Advent Schedule

Advent Penance Service
With Private Confession
Tuesday,  December 19 at 7 PM

Private Reconciliation
Monday, December 18 at 7:45 PM
Thursday, December 21 at 9:45 AM
Saturdays at 3 PM