Adventus Domini

Advent Faith Formation

Session II

Prayer For Formation: 


Day by day, dear Lord, of thee three things I pray: to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee more nearly, day by day.  

Part II:  The Infant King


Watch:  This Isn’t the Sentimental Christmas Story You’ve Heard


For Reflection:

Read the Birth of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke: Chapter 2 

  • The historical setting during the reign of Caesar Augustus is significant. There is an implicit comparison between the Roman emperor and Jesus, who is announced as savior.  Reading through Luke 2:   What are the points of comparison between these two kings?  How does the conflict that exists in the comparison come to fruition in the Cross?  
  • How do you understand C.S. Lewis’s remark on Jesus coming into the world so quietly and unobtrusively because he was meant to slip ” clandestinely behind enemy lines”?  Do you agree with him and if so, why?  
  • Bishop Barron highlights the integral connection between the Nativity and the Cross:  what connections does the evangelist Luke draw between the two?  How is Christ’s self-emptying on the Cross foreshadowed in the infant swaddled and laying in a manger?
  • Both the manger and the cross reveal the “unexpectedness of God”, namely that God is love and therefore self-emptying.   In accepting this revelation, how are we left to respond?    Are there ways in which you experience this “unexpectedness in your own life? 

Let’s consider the image of the Warrior King:

  • When you of a think of a “king” what comes to mind? 
  • Compare your image of king with that of God as king:  see the following:
  • What qualities are most important or compelling when you consider God as King?  How might contemplating God as King provide hope and comfort?  
  • From the above passages, what are some of the characteristics that describe the Kingship of God that are also found in the Gospels in reference to Jesus?
  • What do you see as the biblical connection between king and warrior?  

The Messiah:

In scripture warrior and king are united in the Jewish expectation of the Messiah, the anointed one of God.  The Messiah was to fulfill four tasks when he came:  he was to gather the scattered tribes of Israel, he would cleanse the temple, he would deal with the enemies of Israel and finally, he would reign as Lord over all the nations. 

  • Read Luke 4:14-28 In what way is Jesus revealed as the expected Messiah?  What is unexpected about Jesus?  What do you think made it difficult for people around him to recognize who he was?  Are there ways in which Christ’s presence may be obscured in the world today?    
  • How is Jesus, as in Bishop Barron’s words, a “weird or unusual” warrior?  In what way is Jesus armed for battle?  
  • How do you understand the “scandal” of the Cross: an instrument of worldly torture, turned on its head and used as an instrument of love to combat sin and death.  How does this reveal the the Kingdom of God?
  • Reflect on what it means for us to make the Sign of the Cross.  What does it reveal about who you are?  About what you believe? About how you choose to live your life?

Participating in the Reign of God:

The primary message we hear in the Gospel is that the Kingdom of God is at near and is inextricably linked to the person of Jesus.  The Catechism teaches the following on the Kingdom of God:

    • The Kingdom of God has begun through Christ so that we might share in the divine life.  The Church itself is the “seed and beginning” (CCC 541)
    • The coming of the kingdom is brought about through the Paschal mystery of Christ’s death and Resurrection (Catechism, 542).  
    • The kingdom is present and growing in the world,  through the Church (CCC 764).
  • Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his book  Jesus of Nazareth that “Jesus himself is the Kingdom.”  What do you believe he means by this (to go deeper, consider the following passages in the Catechism:  CCC 541-42; 763-66; 2816-21)?
  • How do we, especially the laity, share in the kingship of Christ here on earth?  (Genesis 1:27-30; Matthew 20:25-28; CCC898, 2013, 2015)
  • What are some of the words you would use to describe the kingship of Christ?  The Kingdom of God?  What are some of the characteristics of Christ as King you may not have considered or thought about before?
  • If the Kingdom of God is, ultimately, the person of Jesus Christ, how can that shape your understanding of your place and work in the kingdom?  What are some of the areas of your life that could benefit from a “kingly ” perspective. 

In Advent we anticipate the Return of Christ and fullness of God’s Reign.  But as baptized believers, we have a taste for it in the here and now.  

  • Where do you experience the Kingdom of God in your life and in the world?
  • How does your participation in the life of the Church ( in sacrament and mission) open you to the grace of God’s Kingdom here and now?

Part II:  Coming Home


Watch:  It’s Time to Come Home

For Reflection: 

The passage from Isaiah 40 that we hear on the 2nd Sunday of Advent speaks of the experience of exile and oppression.  Bishop Barron encourages us to move into the space of exile, cultivating the longing and desire for return.

  • Read  Psalm 137
  • What does it mean to live in a place of exile, isolation, loneliness and disruption?  How do you experience them in your own life?  Where do you see them in the world?  
  • What experiences in your own life help nurture the necessary longing for God and for His salvation?  

John the Baptist assumes the identity of the prophet when he calls on the people to make straight the highway that will facilitate the journey back to the Father.

  • The exile John the Baptist speaks of is not so much a political one as a spiritual exile.  How do you experience this spiritual exile – a distancing from God due to sin? 
  • How is sin like “a journey into the land of unlikeness” (St. Augustine)

A Highway is needed:

  • We sometime hear of Jesus referred to as “the bridge.”  How is Jesus a bridge for you? 
  • Jesus says of himself:  “I am the way, the truth and the life”  (John 14:6)  Thomas Aquinas taught that in Christ’s divinity, he is the truth and the life and in humanity he is the way.  How do you understand this statement?  How does Christ’s humanity show you the path?

Listen to what God speaks to the people in exile:  “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and proclaim to her that her services is at an end, he guilt is expiated.” God is now declaring that He will bring the exiles back home. 

  • Where in your own life have your heard God “speak tenderly” to your heart?  What enabled you to listen? 
  • Spend time reflecting, dreaming, about this “home” that God has prepared.  Allow your senses to help you anticipate it, long for it, prepare for it.
  • The highway has a name – Jesus Christ – advent is an invitation to walk his Way.  What grace are you asking for at this time?

Lord Jesus, I believe in your love for me! Come, Lord Jesus, come!

This concludes the 2nd Session of our Advent Faith Formation.  Session Three will be available Sunday, December 17