Welcome to Green Reflections, the blog dedicated to reflections on the readings from the Roman Catholic Sunday Lectionary, with particular sensitivity to the needs of the earth. Use this blog to deepen your own awareness of our Creator's desires for the planet and ways that we can appreciate God's goals for the earth,giving it the loving care that it deserves.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

November 29, 2010 – 1st Sunday in Advent

Is 2:1-5 Rom 13:11-14 Mt 24:37-44

Stay awake! As we enter into the season of Advent we are told both in the gospel reading and Paul’s letter to the Romans to stay awake. We might wonder, “What for?” Advent is a season that many people celebrate as the period of preparation for Christmas, but Christmas in only a part, a small part of Advent. At Christmas we remember the one-time event when God entered into human history as one of us. The Eternal and Ever Present One came as the Baby Jesus and it can be easy to get all caught up in setting up the Christmas crib and decorating the house or buying gifts for family and loved ones.

Even with all our happy memories of that first Christmas, we will miss the point of Advent if we forget the promise of Jesus to return again. Advent points to this Second Coming. Jesus tells us that the second coming will be like the days of Noah, unexpected and with evildoers swept away. At the same time he tells us to stay awake, keep watch for his return. It is this “staying awake” that I want to ponder as the first week of Advent begins.

To be alert takes some effort. Like the marathon runner who prepares for the great race by challenging herself to run a distance every day, trying to get faster and faster day by day, the preparation that we do for Jesus' return takes effort and constant improvement. It is not easy. We are not trying to be faster runners in Advent, but we are trying to become more and more like Jesus in every way, especially in our love and service of others. We might even think to ourselves, “I am a pretty good and loving person already.” St. Paul tells us that experiencing redemption in Jesus is not the end of the story. He tells us to “lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light by living honorably.”

Ah, it is so easy to get a bit too comfortable with our spiritual lives! Over time we may even become complacent. Advent is a season to examine ourselves and see just how faithful we are to loving Christ in others, serving Him in the poor, the sick, the imprisoned and the alien. We assess just how deeply we live our Christianity so that we may continue to grow closer to the Heart of God through Jesus.

For those of us who see and love the world around us as expressions of God’s beauty and grandeur, we need examine our practices of loving the Earth in order to see if we are consistent in our efforts to conserve energy, restore habitat or reduce our water usage. We may find that our appreciation of the Earth and all her creatures has waned over time as we revert back to the use of toxic pesticides or letting water flow down the drain while brushing our teeth. Or we might be very faithful to green practices at home, but we have given up our efforts to heal the earth through participation in letter writing or action steps done together in organized environmental groups like those listed below on this web page. Or we might even have failed to extend our love to all God’s creatures preferring to focus our love solely on human beings.

This Advent is a renewal time, a time to remember that Jesus will return and when he does he will look for those who are faithful disciples in order to repay their love with Divine love. This is the season for us to become alert and active in our love of both human beings and all other creatures. Let us all hold one another in prayer as we courageously take a self-inventory and embark on a season of increasing love.

Key words

Bible, Scripture, Christian, environment, ecology, lectionary, reflection, homily, sermon, Catholic, green, environmentally friendly, sustainability, the common good, the commons

About Me

The Green Nun earned an MA in theology from the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley and is currently completing a Masters degree in Earth Literacy from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana. This blog spot is being done as an integration project for the MA.