1. Advent is a process of looking to Christ’s birth and the inauguration of his kingdom on earth. What does Advent awaken in you? Does anything in your daily life interfere with your spiritual Advent preparation?
2. In the First Reading, Jeremiah reminds the people of the Lord’s promise to them. What is that promise? How does such a promise relate to hope? Why is Advent called the season of hope? What would your life be like without hope? What can you do to bring hope to people you know?
1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2
1.“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all.” According to Pope Francis, this prayer from the Second Reading presents the Christian life as a journey of growth in love.
The Lord’s missionary mandate includes a call to growth in faith. … “Evangelization aims at a process of growth which entails taking seriously each person and God’s plan for his or her life. … It would not be right to see this call to growth exclusively or primarily in terms of doctrinal formation. It has to do with “observing” all that the Lord has shown us as the way of responding to his love. Along with the virtues, this means above all the new commandment, the first and the greatest of the commandments, and the one that best identifies us as Christ’s disciples: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12).
Evangelii Gaudium, Session 14
Why is this reading used in Advent? Is your journey of growth in love flourishing this Advent?
2. St. Paul prayed that the Thessalonians “increase and abound in love” to strengthen their hearts. Discuss “abounding in love” as an effective method of supporting hearts or eliciting change of any kind. Do you think great change or growth ever happens without immense love?
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
1. Much of this Gospel could have been written today (roaring sea, drowsy hearts, dying of fright, anxieties, carousing, tribulations)? Do you believe that if you ask for strength you will receive it? Could God send it through other people? Could you be a source of strength for others?
2. Is Jesus is God’s last Word to us? Discuss Christ’s Incarnation as it influences us today.