Fourth Sunday of Advent- Reflection for December 20, 2020

Written on: December 14, 2020

First Reading: 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8B-12, 14A, 16
Psalm: Psalm 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29
Second Reading: Romans 16:25-27
Gospel: Luke 1:26-38

Advent seems to be such a lovely period of the liturgical year. There is a feeling of expectation and yearning, beautiful passages from scripture are read every day, the news is replete with stories of people helping or gifting one another, and twinkling, colorful lights appear on houses. The season of Advent is too brief, almost ending before we soak in its beauty.

Several times during these weeks we have heard the story of Gabriel’s visit to Mary. It is familiar to us and so we think we understand it’s message. It was certainly startling for the young girl, Mary, and she must have been confused and excited at the same time. I imagine she was quite perplexed about how she would explain her circumstances, especially to Joseph and her parents. Perhaps she did not know it, but it was her acceptance that would set the stage for the coming of the Messiah and for the events of the remainder of her life. Mary’s willingness in spite of her misgivings led to Christmas and, ultimately, to Calvary. Her “yes” was a costly one.

Often, we fail to recognize that Gabriel’s message was initiated by God. God always initiates. We sometimes try to do things that we think will be pleasing to God, while ignoring the life circumstances that God places us in.

It takes a quiet and loving heart to see what is right before us, or in us.

Our lives are filled with everyday situations which we ignore easily, because they seem uncomfortable or mundane, yet it is there where our invitation lies. We fail to recognize declining health, our familiar surroundings, opportunities to use our hidden gifts or talents, a relationship seeking forgiveness or strengthening, as invitations from God which will in turn invite us to deeper union.

As we approach the final days of Advent and prepare for Christmas, let us ponder these thoughts:

    • can I feel BLESSED in my present situation? Can I give a wholehearted “yes” to it?
    • can I have faith in the journey ahead of me and be convinced that in every part of It, God will be present?
    • can I give an enthusiastic “yes” to the unknown, trusting in God’s love?

As we approach Christmas this year, let us be reminded that God-with-us makes even the impossible possible!

Christmas blessings!

For a printable copy, click here.

Sister Denise Roche, GNSH is the current President of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart. A buffalo native, she was President of D’Youville College for 36 years, and also a Buffalo Bills fan (and not just this year). Sr. Denise enjoys long walks and believes she does her best thinking then.

Featured image courtesy of Jude Beck/Unsplash


7 thoughts on “Fourth Sunday of Advent- Reflection for December 20, 2020

  1. Michael McClure says:

    Those are good questions throughout the year. I continue to think about them.

  2. Sister Anne Zita Crudden, gnsh says:

    Dear Denise,

    Many thanks for your beautiful reflection on this last Sunday of Advent. Mary’s response exemplifies what each of us must dare to make. As the Angel Gabriel assured her -(and us)- “Nothing is impossible to God!” May we each have a blessed Christmas Season.

  3. Michael McClure says:

    Thank you for your profound reflections. I have been thinking about them since you have challenged us with them. So simple, yet so thoughtful.
    Thank you for helping me better understand Mary in a way I never have.
    I walk early in the mornings. I pass a church with a billboard every day. I read their sign. They speak about the dark days of Advent. I don’t understand. For me Advent ushers in the days of joy.

  4. Jo Patti says:

    Thank you for the reflection and for the thoughts to ponder. For me these thoughts are well worth pondering throughout the year not just in Advent. Thank you for the reminders.

  5. Ann Neale says:

    Hi, Denise! Thank you for this reflection. I am particularly helped by the closing thoughts you ask us to ponder. So important as I try to be open and responsive to this closing chapter in my journey.
    I wish you and all the GNSH community the blessings of the season and a happier, healthier New Year.

  6. Sr. Maria Christi Drysdale says:

    Thank you Denise for your beautiful reflection of the Advent Season which has quickly passed and never enough time to really ponder the Event and emotions of the people involved.

  7. Diana May Turrisi says:

    I feel such comfort when I read the mail from the Sisters. I was a student of theirs for 9 Years in Corona. I always felt safe with them.

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