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Joy

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ADVENT | YEAR B

“These Sunday reflections by Sister Donna L. Ciangio, OP, provide a perfect opportunity for you, personally or within your small group, to contemplate, pray, and share your faith. As you do, dream along with God about a future marked by compassion, generosity, and peace, and about the part you can play in creating it.” From the foreword by Joseph W. Cardinal Tobin, C.Ss.R. Archbishop of Newark

Sister Donna L. Ciangio, OP Chancellor, Archdiocese of Newark

THE MISSION of RENEW INTERNATIONAL To renew personal faith and parish life— unlocking the power of small groups by equipping laity and clergy to share their Catholic faith and live it every day.

WWJB/20/E

RENEW INTERNATIONAL

RENEW International 1232 George Street Plainfield, NJ 07062-1717 www.renewintl.org

SISTER DONNA L. CIANGIO, OP

“You can’t have an intense relationship with God and not have a peaceful heart that wants to right the struggles of people and the world. Advent scripture calls us to examine our hearts and to change what stands in the way of our communion with God.”

WAITING WITH JOY: WEEKLY REFLECTIONS ON THE SUNDAY READINGS

Waiting

ADVENT | YEAR B

Waiting

Joy

with

WEEKLY REFLECTIONS ON THE SUNDAY READINGS

Sister Donna L. Ciangio, OP


ADVENT | YEAR B

Waiting

Joy

with

WEEKLY REFLECTIONS ON THE SUNDAY READINGS

Sister Donna L. Ciangio, OP


© 2020 RENEW International All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written consent of the publisher. Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner. NIHIL OBSTAT Rev. Msgr. Robert Wister, Hist.Eccl.D. CENSOR LIBRORUM IMPRIMATUR Joseph W. Cardinal Tobin, C.Ss.R. Archbishop of Newark Cover and interior design by Kathrine Kuo ISBN: 978-1-62063-170-6 RENEW International 1232 George Street Plainfield, N.J. 07062-1717 www.renewintl.org RENEW International is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Printed and bound in the United States of America


Contents Foreword.........................................................v Advent the Time of Preparation and Longing...........vii Week One: The First Sunday of Advent....................1 Week Two: The Second Sunday of Advent................ 9 Week Three: The Third Sunday of Advent............... 17 Week Four: The Fourth Sunday of Advent...............25 Praying with the Psalms..................................... 34 The O Antiphons.............................................39 APPENDIX.................................................... 42 Family Devotion: Blessing The Advent Wreath............................ 42 Family Devotion: Blessing of the Christmas Tree......................... 46 The Structure and Flow of a Session...................... 51 Resources from RENEW International...................55


FOREWORD My brothers and sisters in Christ: The Advent season seems to me to be a time for dreaming. I don’t mean dreaming of sugar plums or dreaming of a white Christmas, but rather dreaming the dream of God. It may seem odd to attribute to God a human experience such as dreaming, but the meaning of the word isn’t limited to “fantasizing”; a dream can also refer to our vision of a better future for the world, not a fantasy one but one that is possible. For example, I think we can say that God dreams of a world in which there is no division among people based on nationality, race, economic or social standing, religious faith, or gender—divisions that often lead to bitterness, oppression, violence, or even war. We see division all around us, maybe in our own communities or even our own families, but God dreams of something better. We hear about God’s dream through the prophet Isaiah: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. … Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together. …” Advent is about anticipation. It’s the season in which we anticipate our celebration of the birth of Jesus, truly v


God and truly human. One of our carols describes that event this way: “then he appeared, and the soul felt its worth.” That’s one way to describe God’s dream, that each human soul will see in the child we are about to celebrate, and in the man that he would become, an image of what human nature can be: healer, comforter, peacemaker, source of hope. These Sunday reflections by Sister Donna L. Ciangio, OP, provide a perfect opportunity, for you personally or within a small group, to contemplate, pray, and share your faith. As you do, dream along with God about a future marked by compassion, generosity, and peace, and about the part you can play in creating it. May Mary, mother of the Church, pray for us. Joseph W. Cardinal Tobin, C.Ss.R. Archbishop of Newark  

A NOTE ABOUT THE MUSIC Musical settings are suggested for the psalms in each session. Recordings are provided by our partners at OCP. The music is available for purchase through RENEW International at www.ocp.org/renew-music. vi


Advent the Time of Preparation and Longing

Advent the Time of Preparation and Longing This has been a difficult year in so many ways. The COVID 19 virus claimed so many blessed lives, caused us to deal with facemasks, shortages of sanitizing supplies, our churches closed and later opened with social distancing. We could not go to our favorite restaurants, and many sadly lost their jobs or had them suspended. Kids were longing for school, and parents and teachers learned how to teach online and Zoom! As one person said, “In February, I knew ‘zoom’ to mean only zooming down the highway!” We also experienced incidents of racial injustice, immigration issues, natural disasters, street violence, and other local problems. So, we have learned to live with the constraints of the “new normal” and have to face those things that pull us apart from each other. The important thing this Advent is to take time to reflect on what we have learned and what we can do to make the world, our world, a better place for all people. We want people to have what they need to live healthy and happy lives: lives that are productive, peaceful, filled with the necessities of life, great families, and good friends. There is a deep longing in all of us for the ability to do something wonderful with the gifts that God has given us. Advent is a time when we especially long for a beautiful and peaceful world where everyone is cherished equally and where the reign of God is enjoyed, and former enemies can co-exist and spend time with each other without harm. vii


Much of what we long for is the deep desire to know and be in relationship with God. You can’t have an intense relationship with God and not have a peaceful heart that wants to right the struggles of people and the world. Advent scripture calls us to examine our hearts and to change what stands in the way of our communion with God. Join with your parish small groups to explore the scripture, prayers, and preparation time that are so important in this season. As we long for the coming of Christ, we prepare homes, gifts, and hearts to receive him. Also, take time during these Advent days to seek some time alone with God to feed your holy longing for intimacy and communion. Use this booklet, take a walk, sit in a quiet place, enjoy the sights and sounds of the season, and know that God is with us, speaking to us in the depths of our being and asking us to truly be his disciples.

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Advent

WEEK ONE The First Sunday of Advent Be Watchful! Be Alert! ENVIRONMENT FOR A SMALL GROUP On a table in the center of your group, place a purple or dark blue cloth, and an Advent wreath with the first violet or Sarah blue candle lit. You may want to have a votive candle for each group member to use for prayer at home. READINGS • Isaiah 63:16-17, 19; 64:2-7 • Psalm Response 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 • 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 • Mark 13:33-37 ICE BREAKER If you are meeting as a small group, introduce yourselves. • What will you do this year to prepare your home for Christmas? • What will you do to prepare yourself for the coming of Jesus?

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GATHERING PRAYER All:

Loving God, You desire that we grow ever more deeply in our relationship with you. As we begin our Advent journey waiting eagerly for the coming of your Son, Jesus, bless our prayer, our contemplation, our sharing, and our service to others. Amen

LISTENING TO THE WORD If in a small group, pray together: Lord, be in our minds, on our lips, and in our hearts as we listen to your Word. If you are meeting as a small group, read each of the following passages aloud. Pause in silence before those who wish to do so share their response. READING 1: Isaiah 63:16-17, 19; 64:2-7 You, LORD, are our father, our redeemer, you are named forever. Why do you let us wander, O LORD, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we fear you not? Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage. Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you, while you wrought awesome deeds we could not hope for, 2

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such as they had not heard of from of old. 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! Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful; all of us have become like unclean people, all our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind. There is none who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to cling to you; for you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt. Yet, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands. Take a moment to reflect: What word, phrase, or image in this scripture passage speaks to you? If you are in a small group, feel free to share. PSALM: Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19 You may download a musical setting for this psalm at www.ocp.org/ renew-music. If you are meeting in a small group, you may sing the refrain together. Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.

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READING 2: 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 Brothers and sisters: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge, as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Take a moment to reflect: What word, phrase, or image in this scripture passage speaks to you? If you are in a small group, feel free to share. GOSPEL: MARK 13:33-37 Jesus said to his disciples: “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come. It is like a man traveling abroad. He leaves home and places his servants in charge, each with his own work, and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch. Watch, therefore; you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming, 4

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whether in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning. May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’” Take a moment to reflect: What word, phrase, or image in this scripture passage speaks to you? If you are in a small group, feel free to share. APPRECIATING THE WORD— BE WATCHFUL! BE ALERT! At one time, I was able do a lot of pottery, and I loved it. I learned to build a pot from coils, do glazing chemistry, firing methods, and eventually throw pots on a wheel. Each one of these techniques was a learning experience and very satisfying when a piece was successfully finished. One key learning was that I had to be watchful and alert in every area. If you had an air pocket in your coiled pot, it would explode. If you mixed too much of one element of glazing material, it would not adhere to the fired clay or would just look plain ugly! Firing a pot means a gradual increasing of temperature over a period of hours. If you moved too slowly or too quickly in any of these areas, you would not have a successful piece of art. God is our potter. It is God who guides us in all stages of our growth and development. This happens best if we are aware, if we are prayerful and in communion with our God. In the pottery process, the clay does not make choices. In our growth, we make choices. WEEK ONE: The First Sunday of Advent

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We are not inanimate but have the will to be in touch with the gift of faith and relationship that God freely gives us. As we begin Advent, we are called to be watchful and alert. Advent is about how we prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas as well as the second coming of Christ. The second coming may be at death or the actual coming of Christ at the end of time. But more than that, it is about how we welcome Christ into our hearts and how we become Christ to others each day as we do our usual things. It is about being aware of how God is shaping us and how we need to be aware and be malleable. Advent is the time to “go up to the high mountain” (Is 40:9) and spend joyful time with God, watchful and alert! REFLECTION QUESTIONS • In the first reading we are reminded that it is God who fashions us, but we need to allow the molding as clay in the hands of the potter. Describe a time in your life when you were aware of being changed and molded by God. • What is it that you need to hear from God this Advent? • The Gospel is all about readiness—Jesus gives a stern warning: We must always be ready for the coming of the Messiah – we know not the day nor the hour. How do you consciously live in readiness? • How does our parish remind you and prepare you to be ready to meet Jesus? 6

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ACTION – LIVING OUT THE GOSPEL • What action(s) will you do to make the most of this season of Advent to be ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus? • Take the opportunity to begin an Advent journal. Start by looking back over your life and noting where you see God at work shaping and molding you. INTERCESSIONS Christ the Lord, Son of the living God, calls us to be ready and watchful. With confidence, let us fervently pray: Come, Lord Jesus! 3 Christ, the Light that never fades, lead us to your holy mountain — awaken our faith from sleep. 3 Keep us watchful and ready — that we may greet you with joy. 3 Give us unfailing kindness — toward everyone we meet. 3 Help us, your disciples, to reach out to those in need of hearing your Word in our broken world — we pray for justice and peace. 3 For what else shall we pray? (Pause for prayer intentions of the group) Come, Lord Jesus!

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SENDING PRAYER If you are meeting in a small group, the leader begins the prayer. Leader: Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us! Keep us wide awake and send us forth as your disciples to enliven our world by our actions. All: May this coming week keep us watchful and ready to see you in all the people and situations we encounter. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen Leader: Let us go forth in joy, sharing a sign of peace.

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Waiting with Joy, Year B

Profile for RENEW International

Waiting with Joy, Year B  

Waiting With Joy invites us into Advent with scripture, engages us with reflections to live our faith in-between our Sundays and compels us...

Waiting with Joy, Year B  

Waiting With Joy invites us into Advent with scripture, engages us with reflections to live our faith in-between our Sundays and compels us...