1. “The days are coming, says the Lord.” We welcome a new year of grace. What do the coming days of Advent awaken in you? How will you prepare?
2. In this reading Jeremiah reminds the people of the Lord’s promise to them. How does that promise relate to hope? Why is Advent called the season of hope? Is hope a risky virtue? Is it ardent expectation? 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. Pope Francis says that St. Paul’s prayer, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all” presents the Christian life as a journey of growth in love. Why is this reading used in Advent? Will your journey this Advent be a growth in love?
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, 161 ff
2. St. Paul said he “abounded in love” for the Thessalonians to strengthen their hearts. Discuss “abounding in love” as an effective method of strengthening hearts or eliciting change of any kind. Do you think great change or growth ever happens without love, in fact, immense love?
Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
1. Could much of this gospel have been written today? (roaring sea, drowsy hearts, dying of fright, anxieties, carousing, tribulations) Jesus tells us to pray for strength. Do you believe that if you pray for strength you will receive it? Could God send it through other people? Could you be a source of strength for others?
2. Jesus is God’s last Word to us (Christ’s Incarnation). Discuss this idea.