Sunday, November 30, 2014

Reflection for Sunday, November 30, 2014

First Sunday of Advent
IS 63: 16B-17, 19B; 64: 2-7
PS 80: 2-3, 15-16, 18-19
1 COR 1: 3-9
MK 13: 33-37

Welcome to Advent, 2014.  This beautiful time of year, filled with faith and possibilities, offers us a designated period of time to think about and to pray about our own purposes in life…and Who really forms us to enter into those larger opportunities and purposes.

As we begin these Campus Ministry reflections for Advent, we can all begin with prayer, whether we know, exactly, what we want, or need or are waiting for, or what we hope.  We can pray, anyway, with gratitude and for all we might still need.

Simply asking God to be with us, to help and to assist us suffices as we begin Advent is not only helpful, but will, as St. Ignatius told us, bear much fruit.  As each Advent day begins, we can enter more fully into the moments, the Scriptures, and the reflections, and the thoughts and prayers offered by members of our University community.

The readings, throughout Advent, as you know, ask us to prepare, to hope, to anticipate what God offers us, and to seek the grace to receive it, always with gratitude.

My prayer for you and our entire SLU community, then, is one of restful anticipation and thoughtful preparation, in this Christmas season. 

May God bless all of us at Saint Louis University.
-Fr. Paul Stark, S.J.
Vice President of Mission and Ministry

"Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come!" We read those words every Advent, and I always think of the bumper sticker that says, "Jesus is coming - look busy!" If we are not careful, we can lead ourselves to imagine that this season is about putting on a good front and "getting ready for Christmas," as if it might get here before December 25 just to keep us on our toes. The language of repentance is never far away during Advent, and the word in the New Testament for repentance, metanoia, literally means a change of mind - to see things with a new heart and a new perspective. Now, we can't just convince ourselves out of the blue to suddenly understand things in a different way, to see black as white and up as down. We see anew by seeing new things, by being exposed to worldviews and experiences that do not simply reinforce our prejudices. We in St. Louis have had plenty of opportunities in the past weeks and months to challenge ourselves to see new things and hear new perspectives, if we have been willing to do so. I suggest that "Be alert!" may mean for us, "No more business as usual - get out of your comfort zone!" If you think that the best way to get a SLU education is to shut your eyes and ears to the outside world and focus that much harder on your books, think again. The circumstances of the past months have put an endless stream of opportunities in front of us to educate ourselves, engage in conversation, and get involved, if we choose to do so. Pay attention to the kairos of the moment - the possibility of newness and the invitation to help make it a reality. We may never know when the time will come, but when it is here, we have the chance to take it seriously enough to put ourselves in the thick of it, knowing that we have the potential to help advance the reign of God in people's lives.
-Patrick Cousins
Campus Minister