Advent reflections with Animate Youth Ministries

'Be prepared for the coming of the Lord'

The Animate team provide a Gospel reflection for each Sunday in Advent.

1st Sunday – Matthew 24:37-44
We hear Jesus talk about his second coming at the end of time. Jesus says that it will be similar to the time before ‘the flood’. Back then, people were so focused on worldly matters – ‘eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage’ – that when the flood came it was too late and they were swept away. It will be the same when the Son of Man comes. Jesus is warning us to not let our worldly concerns distract us from God. And when His call comes, we must be ready. So as we begin this season of Advent, let’s remember to be ever vigilant and prepared for the coming of the Lord.

2nd Sunday – Matthew 3:1-12
John the Baptist calls the people to repent, to turn away from their sinful ways ‘for the kingdom of heaven has come near’. They have a choice: they can repent, and move towards God’s kingdom, or they can continue to be set in their ways and be condemned. John then accuses the Pharisees and Sadducees of being ‘vipers’ who seek to escape judgement without repenting. They believe they’ll be saved through their ‘pedigree’ as children of Abraham. This is a warning for us too. Sometimes we may believe we’re better than others and have done enough to merit salvation, but we mustn’t let ourselves fall into that way of thinking.

3rd Sunday – Matthew 11:2-11
Jesus has already begun His ministry and John has been arrested and imprisoned. John hears about Jesus’ miracles and tells his disciples to ask Jesus whether or not He is the Messiah. John has been preaching about the Messiah’s coming for a long time, yet now feels the need to ask if He really is the one. Why? Clearly John had a different image in his mind of who Jesus would actually be; He’s not behaving as John would have expected. Jesus says there is none greater than John the Baptist, yet John still seems to harbour doubts. Perhaps he wonders why, if Jesus really is the Christ, He hasn’t saved John from prison, or delivered Israel from the Romans. Sometimes we can think in a similar way, that God is ignoring us, or wonder why He hasn’t done something to help us in a certain situation. What we must remember is that the Lord does things in His own way, in His own time, and we should put our faith and trust in Him, confident that there’s a plan for each of us.

4th Sunday – Matthew 1:18-24
Joseph discovers that Mary is pregnant and plans to divorce her quietly. Then an angel appears to him in a dream and tells him the truth. Joseph accepts what the angel says and takes Mary home as his wife. Joseph could have easily ignored the angel and divorced Mary while remaining faithful to the law, but he didn’t. He, like Mary, put his trust in the Lord. Do we follow Joseph’s example? Or do we choose to go our own way, ignoring God’s wishes and thinking we know best? As we approach Christmas, let’s try to emulate the Holy Family’s willingness to welcome Jesus into our lives.

Animate+
Animate+ is a new initiative to help develop young leaders in our schools and parishes. We are inviting any young person from Year 10 up to the age of 21 to apply to be part of the Animate+ team. Suitable applicants would be keen to grow in their faith through interacting with the full Animate team and Animate+ colleagues as well as to develop new skills such as public speaking or working with small groups. This is a fantastic opportunity to discover more about youth ministry. Animate+ members will be expected to attend monthly meetings, where Animate’s work will be discussed and opportunities will arise to get involved. The application deadline is Thursday 28 November.
For more information, visit www.animateyouth.org.

Dates for the diary
1 December – Advent Youth Alive at St Anne’s, Ormskirk
7 December – Eucharistic Minister Training at Lowe House