From the Newman University campus and the reflective hearts of generous persons, you are invited to journey with the greater Newman family in preparing for Christmas. Each week, new reflections will be shared for each day of the week. Blessings and a peaceful journey.
Be a living Amen to God’s love. Walk the Advent preparation with a more conscious awareness of God’s coming into each day.
Sunday, Dec. 11
Scripture readings: Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10, James 5:7-10, Matthew 11:2-11
Reflection video with Sister Tarcisia Roths, ASC, former president of Newman University
Newman University endeavors to empower its graduates to transform society. The Adorers of the Blood of Christ are challenged by their foundress, Saint Maria De Mattias, to work toward achieving “that beautiful order of things which the great Son of God came to establish by His Blood.”
I am an alum of Newman University, and a member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ. How do I live in a way that strives to achieve those goals? If you struggle, with me, in how to respond to Christ’s call to his followers to live life in such a way as to be his messenger, today’s readings are a guide for us, especially in Advent, in how we might be true to our calling.
The prophet Isaiah promises: The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice and shall flourish like the lily. It shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy. … Say to the fainthearted: Take courage and fear not. God Himself will come and will save you.
James in his letter to the early Christians, exhorts them to “be patient and strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
St. Matthew tells of John the Baptist, who had been imprisoned by King Herod, sending his disciples to Jesus to ask him: “Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Jesus said: “Go and tell him what you have seen: the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.”
So what does this mean for me, who wants to “transform society” from its desolate and impassable situations to a time of achieving “that beautiful order of things”?
In these readings, we hear the challenge: Take courage — fear not —rejoice with joy. And realize: I can only do this one day at a time.
At the end of each day, can I look back and see any evidence of my efforts to follow Jesus? Perhaps it was in listening to someone who needed to be heard, in smiling to the stranger on the street, to feed the hungry, to reach out to heal a breach with another member of my family or a fellow worker or friend, in reaching out, as Jesus did, to touch someone in pain.
I only have this day — this moment — to be a faithful follower of Christ. I cannot put it off. Tomorrow may not come for me.
Monday, Dec. 12
Reflection by Stephanie (Bustamante) Vasquez ‘09:
As we journey through life, we must remember that we walk not by sight but by faith. The race is not for the swift, nor the battle for the strong. As we go through different seasons in our lives, we remember that all things work together for good. As seasons change, so will our circumstances, events, trials and tests. When we place our trust in God, we understand that there is a time for everything, but we will not be alone.
Luke writes that an angel appeared to Mary bearing a message from God that she will bear a child. A woman could be stoned to death if she was suspected to be with a child before marriage, but Mary understood her purpose and her faith was strong. Mary knew that God would never forsake her. I encourage you today to put your faith in God knowing that all His plans for you are perfect. When fears and doubts cloud your mind, when you feel burdened and forsaken and when you feel unworthy, unloved, or unseen, trust in God’s promises. You are loved. God will never leave or forsake you. Thus, instead of asking, “why me?” pray that you may run and not get weary, that you will walk and not faint and that God gives you the strength, courage, resilience, and patience to reach your purpose. Pray for the unwavering faith that Mary had. Do not question God’s plan for you. Instead say, “I am the Lord’s servant … may your word to me be fulfilled.”
Today, let’s rejoice in knowing that, amid the current world events, we are blessed. Like Mary, let’s have faith in God. Let’s receive God in our hearts. May God’s dwelling within us be alive and cause life to stir in those who meet us.
Tuesday, Dec. 13
Reflection by Dr. Joshua Papsdorf, professor of theology:
Advent is a time of preparation. Of course, we prepare to celebrate Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, but we also prepare ourselves for His return in glory. It is a time of hope, but also a time for reflection and repentance.
In Zephaniah 3, the prophet makes it very clear that when God comes to His people, He “will remove from your midst your proudly exultant ones, and you shall no longer be haughty in my holy mountain” (v. 11). But, those who follow the example of our Savior, who humbled Himself in a manger, will have their sins forgiven. “They shall pasture and lie down and none shall make them afraid” (v. 13).
We hear the same message from Jesus in Matthew 21. He welcomes those who repent and rebukes the self-righteous who don’t see repentance as necessary. And so, as we prepare for Christmas, let us take time to reflect on our sins and seek God’s forgiveness. Then, we can rejoice in the fact that no matter what we may have said or done in the past, we can share in the joy of Christ’s birth and His eternal kingdom.
Wednesday, Dec. 14
Reflection by Janet Eaton ‘86:
“From the Rising of the Sun” There is a sense of contentment to know that from the rising of the sun to the setting of the sun, there is ONE Lord, One God, One Messiah, One Immanuel. … He is ready and waiting with open arms for each one of us. We need not look any place else. He is our Savior. Let Him not only walk with you today, let him be you today!
Thursday, Dec. 15
Reflections by Alpha Magafu, Student:
This passage from Luke made me reflect on the fact that we always have to humble ourselves before God. For God, it is not about our outward appearance but how we act and interact with others.
The passage shows how Jesus speaks highly of John the Baptist, who of all people was humble and could care less about splendid clothes and luxury. His actions made him greater among those born of women. Therefore, we ought to be meek servants of others.
Friday, Dec. 16
Reflection by Zach Brake, assistant AD for marketing & communications:
It is written in Isaiah, “I am the LORD, there is no other; I form the light, and create the darkness, I make well-being and create woe.”
Despite all the physical wants of this world, Advent reminds us of our one, true desire which is God. Where there is light, God is near, and where there is darkness, God is near. We must lift our triumphs and struggles of this life to Him in prayer.
“Seeing is believing.” Luke writes that Jesus said, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
Growing up, I was always awestruck by the many miracles of Jesus in Scripture. Although Jesus walked this earth some 2000+ years ago, my faith is strengthened each day as I see Him working through the hands of others. This season of Advent is spent preparing ourselves to “see” the full Glory of God upon his return.
Saturday, Dec. 17
Reflection by Alma Winger, parent of a Newman student:
As I reflect on Matthew’s genealogy today, I am reminded that three is a powerful number in Christianity.
First, in the reading itself, Jesus’ genealogy is a winding path filled with imperfection and sinners that ultimately ends with perfection in Christ himself.
Second, in the Advent season, we try to make straight our paths in faith, partake of reconciliation and prepare ourselves for Christmas and, ultimately, the arrival again of Christ in his perfection.
Third, in our lives we pursue a close relationship with God and the church to ultimately again be rewarded with perfection with Christ.
Find all Advent Reflection Series
From the Newman campus and the reflective hearts of generous persons, you are invited to journey with the greater Newman family in preparing for Christmas. A new reflection will be shared for each day of the week. Blessings and a peaceful journey.