Redemption is near

First Sunday of Advent

We have started a new year! The Church starts its year on the First Sunday of Advent. During this coming year, we will be reading from the Gospel of St Luke. Advent is a time when we prepare for the coming of the Lord. The Church, gives us again the opportunity to take stock of what we are doing. If during the last weeks or months, we have put our faith aside, the Church again encourages us to wake up and be vigilant so that when the time comes, we will be ready to “stand before the Son of man.”

What is this coming of Jesus that we need to prepare ourselves for? Today’s Gospel theme, is similar to the one of two Sundays ago. It speaks about our preparation for the moment when we will meet Jesus face to face. Advent reminds us that we should not only remember when Jesus was born in Bethlehem but also that every day, we are invited to welcome him in our lives and hearts. We also welcome Jesus daily, in those whom we meet. Whatever we do to others, we are doing it to Jesus. This is our preparation for our meeting with Jesus.

As Christians we believe that our life does not end with our last breath on earth. We believe that after this life we will live in the glory of Heaven. However, as Jesus says, although no one knows the time or day, we need to prepare from now, no matter our age. 

The first sentences of today’s Gospel are frightening. Nevertheless, if we are prepared, this fear quickly changes into joy and hope, because as Jesus says, “your redemption is at hand.” Jesus does not want to scare us, he only wants us to be vigilant, we should not postpone what we have to do, until it may be too late. Jesus does not want that the distractions around us, attract us so much, that we fall into their trap and we will not be ready to “stand before the Son of man.” Jesus wants to save us all. Jesus paid for our freedom, when he died on the cross. He wants us to enjoy this freedom, by being prepared, by being ready for his coming.

How can we prepare ourselves? We need to stop and evaluate our life. We live in a rush, from one thing to another. In all this haste, what is our focal point? Who is leading us? On what do we base our decisions and actions? Are we finding time, each day, to stop and be with the Lord? Jesus warns us to not overdo things. He mentions excessive partying and drinking, together with anxieties. The anxieties of daily life may rob us of hope and the will to live. Jesus tells us that prayer will give us the strength we need to have the will “to escape the tribulations that are imminent.” Prayer helps us overcome the anxiety we may feel because of the decisions we need to take or because of situations that we are going through. Jesus does not promise us that we will not face the daily worries, he promises instead, that if we focus on him, if we trust him and pray, we will have the strength to face difficult and challenging situations. Through prayer, we will also be able to decide what is truly important and what is of value to us and our family.

A reading from the Gospel of Luke (Lk 21, 25-28, 34-36)

Jesus said to his disciples: There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.

“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel story is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. Advent invites us to stop and reflect on our way of life. What are your priorities? If you had to put this list in front of Jesus, would he agree with your choice? Why?
  4. If after reflecting, you have found that your time is burdened with activities and things which are doing you no good, how can you stop doing them? Instead, you can use this time to prepare yourself, so that in time, you may “stand before the Son of man.”
  5. Discuss with your family, how you can live this Advent in a way which will be fruitful, in a way that you allow Jesus to daily dwell in you.
  6. Together with your family find the right time to read this Gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare;
    i. The Bible reading from St Luke (21, 25-28, 34-36)
    ii. The Advent Wreath, light the first purple candle
    iii. Cover the table with a purplecloth
    iv. A computer/laptop with the reading and clips
  7. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested)
  8. Feel free to adapt to your situation
  9. Be creative 😊
  10. Go to the Prayer Corner section to continue praying as a family

Happy New Year! Happy New Year!

No, I am not mistaken! Today, the Church celebrates the beginning of a new liturgical year. The Church starts its year on the first Sunday of Advent, and not on the 1st January. Advent is four weeks long and it helps us to prepare for Christmas. Today’s Gospel, tells us that we need preparation, not only for Christmas but also for something which is far greater. 

  • We need to prepare for when we meet Jesus
  • A manger for Baby Jesus
  • Strips of paper, four different colours (green, yellow, red, blue; if you are using different colours, adapt the activity accordingly)

Have you ever invited friends for your birthday party? Did you ever have your grandparents and relatives invited for lunch? What do you do before the party or before the lunch? (give the children time to reply)

We need to prepare for these occasions or else our friends or relatives, will arrive and find that nothing has been prepared and they will be disappointed. They would have thought that since they were invited, they would find something special ready for them.

Jesus tell us, that one day, he will return. However, no one knows when it will be. Although we do not know, Jesus tells us that we need to prepare ourselves. 

How can we prepare for Jesus’ return?

We can prepare ourselves, for this big day of Jesus’ return, by living the way he wishes. Can you mention some things, Jesus would like us to do?

We can prepare ourselves for the meeting with Jesus, by praying, by loving others, by being good friends, helping at home and wherever we can. Although today’s Gospel may be difficult for us to understand, this is Jesus’ message: love God and others, do what Jesus would like us to do, and in this way, you will be preparing yourself for the day when you shall meet him face to face. Jesus also tells us, that when we are afraid or when something bad happens to us, we can talk to him, and he will help us and give us the courage we need. Jesus really loves us!

For Christmas we prepare a crib. We put baby Jesus in the manger. Do you think Jesus is comfortable on straw?

Do you know that whenever we do something good, we make Jesus happy? This is how, as we said, we will be preparing for his return. During Advent, you are going to pay more attention to what you do. It is important that you continue doing these good things, even after Advent … this is what Jesus wants.

You have a manger but you shall only put baby Jesus in it on Christmas day. In the meantime you are going to prepare a comfortable bed for him. You have strips of coloured paper. You have four colours: green, yellow, red and blue. Every time to say a prayer, put one green strip of paper in the manger. Every time you help someone, put a yellow strip of paper in the manger. When you do something which is wrong and you ask to be forgiven, put a red strip of paper in the manger. Put the blue paper in the manger, after reading or listening to a story from the Bible. For Christmas you would have prepared a comfortable bed for Jesus, filled with the good things that you did.

Today, we understood that Jesus helps us to prepare for our meeting with him, so Jesus is like the way that leads us to our destination! Let us sing and dance, to the song, One way,

Sign of the cross.

Come Lord Jesus and be born in my heart, I want to love you more, I want to please you with what I do and say. Thank you Jesus.

Today we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. Today, the Church celebrates the beginning of a new year! Advent is a special time, which helps us to prepare for the coming of Jesus. Advent leads us to the joy of Christmas. However, today’s Gospel is not about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, but about the time, when Jesus will come again.

  • Jesus will come again; we do not when this will happen, however, we are to start preparing ourselves from now

To watch the suggested clip.

Do you know how the Bible is divided?

The Bible is divided in two: the Old and the New Testament. In the New Testament, we read about the life of Jesus. In the Old Testament, we read about the People of God and the time they waited for the Messiah. None of these people knew when the Saviour was to be born, however, the prophets warned them and prepared them for when the time arrived. Do you remember how a new star shone and led the wise men to Jesus, when he was born? Do you remember that the Gospel speaks about an earthquake when Jesus died? Jesus did not remain dead for long, because he rose from the dead after three days. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that before he returns, there will be signs in the sky. We do not know exactly what these signs will be, but we know for sure that they will bring good news … Jesus is coming. When Jesus returns, we will see the Kingdom of God, we will go to live in heaven. Jesus does not want to frighten us, he simply wants to prepare us for this meeting. Jesus wants us to do what God wants, he wants us to know God and love him. Jesus became man like us, to teach us how we are to live. This is why, we need to learn how Jesus lived, so that we can imitate him. When we do this, we will be preparing ourselves for our meeting with Jesus.

There are many things we prepare for. For example, we prepare to go to school. We also prepare our home, when we have visitors. We also prepare ourselves before going out with our family.

What happens, if we do not prepare ourselves well?

What happens if we leave all our preparations for the last minute?

When we do not do the things well, we will suffer the consequences. At times the consequences are not that pleasant. If I do not prepare my school bag diligently, and forget to take my homework, there will be consequences for my carelessness. 

Jesus loves us, he does not want us to be unprepared for the day that we meet him. He wants us to start preparing even from today, even if perhaps many years will pass before we meet with Him face to face. How can we prepare for this meeting? (the examples the children give, need to include: how to know Jesus better: prayer, mass, reading the Bible, confession, also how to live like Jesus: loving and helping others, forgiving, they are peace makers, they take care of creation)

At this time, many buy an Advent Calendar, with chocolates and treats. However this kind of calendar will not help us to welcome Jesus in our hearts! One way of doing this, is listening daily to the clip found here: You may choose to listen to this: or this:

The choice is yours! Enjoy getting to know Jesus better in the coming days! Everybody Get Walkin’, reminds us when we live like Jesus, we will be preparing for the day that we meet.

Sign of the cross.

Lord God, you love us so much, that you sent your Son Jesus, to become man like us. You sent him, so that he teaches us how to love you and how to love others. Help us prepare ourselves for the day we meet and we come to be with you in heaven. Amen. 

1. According to today's Gospel, Jesus announces that at the end of time, when he is about to return, the powers of heaven...

Correct! Wrong!

2. Jesus says that when that time comes, people in the world will see someone coming in a cloud, with great power and glory. Who would be the one coming?

Correct! Wrong!

3. Jesus not only warned his disciples but encouraged them and told them that when these things happened, something good for them would be near. What is this thing?

Correct! Wrong!

4. One of the most important means that Jesus gives to the disciples so that they prepare for what was to happen, is ....

Correct! Wrong!

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.