Working for Justice and Peace – Fourth Week of Advent

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Hibiscus (2017)

On Thursday, we concluded our four-week program on Advent: Wondering in Stillness, Walking in the Light, Waiting with Joy, and Working for Justice and Peace. As with the previous weeks, this is not so much a reflection as an outline of our final session.

Opening Prayer

Open with “We Are the Light of the World” by Jean Anthony Greif, 1966, based on the Beatitudes. We continue to emphasize the theme of “light” during Advent. The Beatitudes are our guidelines for working for justice and peace. (You can find a performance by googling the title and composer.)

 

 

 

We Are The Light Of The World

Blessed are they who are poor in spirit,
theirs is the kingdom of God.
Bless us, O Lord, make us poor in spirit;
bless us, O Lord, our God.

We are the light of the world;
may our light shine before all,
that they may see the good that we do,
and give glory to God.

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Golden Candles (2017)
  1. Blessed are they who are meek and humble;
    they will inherit the earth.
    Bless us, O Lord, make us meek and humble;
    bless us, O Lord, our God.
  2. Blessed are they who will mourn in sorrow;
    they will be comforted.
    Bless us, O Lord, when we share their sorrow;
    bless us, O Lord, our God.
  3. Bless those who hunger and thirst for justice;
    they will be satisfied.
    Bless us, O Lord, hear our cry for justice;
    bless us, O Lord, our God.
  4. Blessed are they who show others mercy;
    they will know mercy too.
    Bless us, O Lord, hear our cry for mercy;
    bless us, O Lord, our God.
  5. Blessed are hearts that are clean and holy;
    they will behold the Lord.
    Bless us, O Lord, make us pure and holy;
    bless us, O Lord, our God.
  6. Blessed are they who bring peace among us;
    they are the children of God.
    Bless us, O Lord, may your peace be with us;
    bless us, O Lord, our God.
  7. Bless those who suffer from persecution;
    theirs is the kingdom of God.
    Bless us, O Lord, when they persecute us;
    bless us, O Lord, our God.

Readings for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Reflect on the readings of the Fourth Sunday of Advent, taken from 2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38. Following each reading, write a verse that speaks to you today. Here are the ones I chose:

I was with you wherever you went . . . I will make your name like that of the greatest on earth. . . I will assign a place for my people. (2 Samuel 7:9-10)

My mercy is established forever; my faithfulness will stand as long as the heavens. (Psalm 89:3)

. . . to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Romans 16:27)

For nothing will be impossible for God. (Luke 1:37)

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Stillness and Light (2017)

Reflections

You may want to consider the reflections of other spiritual writers. We have chosen Waiting in Joyful Hope 2017-2018: Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas by Mary DeTurris Poust (Liturgical Press, 2017) as our main source of reflections. The one for December 24 is called “The Challenge of Free Will.”

Like Mary, we are presented with choices, opportunities, obstacles in this life. We can trust and move forward or refuse and freeze with fear. I think sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that saying yes to God means not having any doubt, not addressing the gnawing questions, but we wouldn’t be human if we could manage that. I don’t think God expects unquestioning agreement. . . God expects faith. . . We don’t have to be perfect. We just have to say yes and trust in God. (Excerpt from DeTurris Poust for December 24, 2017)

Advent Practices

Las Posadas

Las Posadas, Spanish for “lodging” or “accommodation,” is a traditional nine-day novena from December 16 to 25 that includes a procession with individuals portraying Mary and Joseph searching for a place to give birth to Jesus. During the novena, believers accompany the couple, walking from door to door each evening until Christmas Eve, when doors open to feasting and welcome. Las Posadas is celebrated in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, and portions of the Southwestern United States. During the time of this novena, you might explore other seasonal customs from around the globe and learn the traditions of other cultures, races, and nations.

Working for Justice and Peace Practices

Start with the word “JUSTICE” or “PEACE.” Write an Advent practice that begins with each letter of the word. Here is an example:

J – Just for today, be an example of loving service.

U – Up the ante when it comes to sharing my time with others who need my presence.

S – Speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. (Isaiah 50:4-5)

T – Take action for others, especially those who are voiceless and powerless.

I – Include in my prayers those who are already tired of Christmas before it even arrives.

C – Clean out a closet and share my possessions with others through a local thrift shop.

E – Extend myself today to give generously of my time.

The Week Ahead

This year there is no “Advent” week ahead. In the afternoon of the Fourth Sunday of Advent, we are already celebrating Christmas Eve. However, we can still think of last-minute preparations.

St. Joseph’s Staff/Candy Cane Cookies

We continue to focus on the main figures of Advent. This week, the focus is on St. Joseph, the foster-father of the Child Jesus. The food we will use to remember St. Joseph this week is the candy cane, either in a cookie, or the simple candy itself. Part of the pious legend of St. Joseph is that his staff is the one that bloomed with lilies so that everyone knew that he was to be the spouse of our Blessed Virgin Mary. Many nativity scenes have St. Joseph carrying or leaning on the staff, which is also a symbol of authority. A recipe for Candy Cane Cookies can be found at Catholic Cuisine, www.catholiccuisine.blogspot.com

Closing Prayer

Close your reflections with “Light of the World” by Jaime Cortez from his album, Adviento, 2006. A friend gave me this CD when I was leaving Massachusetts for Florida. I think the reason was that I had been trying to learn Spanish and she knew I was headed to a pastoral ministry program. After listening to this CD in my car for most of a week, it soon became one of my favorite collections of songs. You can find one of the selections from Adviento as a YouTube video.

Thank you for participating in our Advent series. May the experience of waiting in stillness, peace, and joy continue long after the Advent Season concludes.

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