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Reflection on the First Sunday of Advent

Posted on December 3, 2023, by Elisa Rodriguez SL

“Be watchful and alert: you do not know when the time will come.”

The readings at the end of the liturgical year are dark and almost frightening. These reminded me very much like walking into a mine, where the only light you see is the light you are carrying with you as you are totally enveloped by darkness. Then as I reflected on the season that opens our new year of worship, I had a new awareness that Jesus is speaking to each one of us.

Our darkness may not be as dark as a coalmine, but dark is the weariness we experience as we hear about the violence in our society, the wars that further produce innocent victims, the hunger and sickness of the poor in our world.  

There is another darkness, those are the relationships that dim our ability to live fully our lives with God.  These relationships call up our shadow side. They may be experiences or hurts that remain with us and we allow them to disturb our peace. Sometimes ignorance of others’ intentions breaks friendships.

 I saw Advent as a beautiful healing light in my darkness. God has sent us the Son Jesus. Jesus has bestowed upon us jewels of grace that we need to let light in.

In 1975-76 I studied at the Mexican American Cultural Center San Antonio and was taught by Gustavo Gutierrez, a Latin American theologian and author of liberation theology.  What impressed me was his very simple explanation that we cannot liberate the ills of the world if we do not begin with ourselves.

We need to understand how God works to encourage us to change. I am sure that most of us have experienced moments of grace that cast a light on something that bothered us by a sentence in a book, a line spoken. As our relationship with God grows stronger, our community changes.

 As our community is strong, we are able to listen to each other and live more secure in peace. Grace-filled communities can be beacons of light where peace and love can be found.

We may never see the relationships of nations change, but we cannot give up. We must continue to ask God’s healing for them. Patience and perseverance is what we can offer, not despair.

Let us review our relationships this Advent and find the jewels of grace in our mine.

Elisa Rodriguez SL

Elisa Rodriguez SL

A longtime educator, Elisa served for many years in Texas, in particular in San Antonio, where she worked for the San Antonio Archdiocese as director of the Office of Hispanic Affairs and Archdiocese co-director, and in El Paso, where she taught school and served as co-vicar for women religious for the El Paso Diocese, director of spirituality programming for Loretto’s El Convento and as administrator and chaplain at Nazareth Hall Nursing Center. She also served for many years as a member of Loretto’s Executive Committee. Elisa now resides at Loretto Motherhouse in Nerinx, Ky., serving the Community there.