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Campus Ministry » Advent Reflections 2022

Advent Reflections 2022

Once again, the Church begins a new year with the start of the season of Advent. Some parts of Advent are familiar: the Advent wreath, Advent calendars, and the colors purple and pink. But what is Advent? 
Well, there are really two aspects to the season. First, there is the sense of anticipation and preparation. But this is not a preparation for Christmas, but a preparation designed to focus our attention on the Second Coming of Jesus. Second, there is our recalling the miraculous Incarnation, which is the celebration of Christmas. 
The season is, then, about the beginning of the Messiah’s arrival on earth and the end of time when Jesus returns in all his glory in his Second Coming. So the season is an interplay between the “already here” (the arrival of Jesus) and the “not yet fully realized” (the Second Coming of Jesus).
The catechism of the Catholic Church says this: “When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor's birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: "He must increase, but I must decrease." (524)
There are also liturgical changes we will see. Many churches have an Advent wreath. People will notice the priest wearing purple vestments (or violet if you prefer). The one exception to purple vestments may be Gaudete Sunday (the third Sunday of Advent), when the priest wears pink (or rose if you prefer). Gaudete Sunday is why one of the candles on the wreath is pink. It is also the case that the Gloria is not said. Gaudete is the imperative form of the verb, to rejoice, and so Gaudete Sunday is Rejoice Sunday.
The Season of Advent is a special time where the celebration of the Sacrament of Confession is made more available. Many parishes have communal celebrations with the chance to celebrate the sacrament individually. This serves as a reminder that preparing our soul is the best way to prepare for the coming of Jesus.
Each day during the season of Advent there will be posted a reflection written by the students, faculty, or staff at Christian Brothers College High School. Go to the CBC web page, for each day’s reflection. If you would like to listen to an audio podcast of each reflection, visit
-- Fr. DePorres Durham, OP
To hear Fr. DePorres' recorded homilies, visit

November 27, 2022 Two Questions: Who Is God? Who Am I?

November 28, 2022 Absolute Trust in God or Freak Out

November 29, 2022 The Powerful Lessons of Second Grade

November 30, 2022 A Simple Lesson

December 1, 2022 What to do when things feel like they are all crashing down

December 2, 2022 Gloom and Darkness: Can Things Get Better?

December 3, 2022 Lost and alone: Sometimes that is the best place to start

December 4, 2022 Tying it all together

December 5, 2022 Faith does not spring from the miracle but the miracle from faith

December 6, 2022 Making Room for the Reckless Love of God

December 7, 2022 To whom can you liken me as an equal?

December 8, 2022 The Immaculate Conception is also about Us

December 9, 2022 Are you smarter than God?

December 10, 2022 Sometimes the strange are prophetic

December 11, 2022 How to be prepared

December 12, 2022 An ordinary person becomes God's messenger

December 13, 2022 The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor

December 14, 2022 The place of the Cross in the Life of a Christian

December 15, 2022 Rescued by the Lord

December 16, 2022 Rejoice: Your Salvation is about to come

December 17, 2022 The Importance of King David

December 18, 2022 Do You Like What You See?

December 19, 2022 God Can Never Be Outdone

December 20, 2022 How can this be?

December 21, 2022 God just can't wait

December 22, 2022 My heart exults

December 23, 2022 What are you expecting?

December 24, 2022 Blessed Be the Lord


Monday, November 29, 2021
Each day during the season of Advent students, faculty, and staff of Christian Brothers College High School will write a reflection about Advent.

In today's readings, there is a central theme of acceptance and universalness in the people's faith that Jesus wants us to have. In the first reading from Isaiah, he says that "the mountain of the LORD’s house" would be the tallest mountain, and people of all nations would come to it to climb towards the house of God. From this, I see God and the faith acting as beacons for which people can come together and unite in something despite differences.

The Gospel reading had similar connotation to me, in which Jesus says that a centurion had greater faith than all those he had met in Israel because the centurion states that he is not worthy for Jesus to enter his house, and instead asks him to heal his servant with the power that he knows Jesus has, showing respect and trust in God.

Jesus also says that people would come from the East and West to "recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven". This ties into the ultimate message of unity and the universality of the faith as it calls to people from all places in the world.

--Samuel Unnerstall, Class of 2022


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Tuesday, November 30, 2021


Today’s reading is from Romans 10:9-18 and in it, Saint Paul tells us to put all our faith in God. He says this: “Brothers and sisters: If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

God always has our back. When things are going great it is so easy to thank God but when adversity hits that’s when it gets tough to understand the blessings in negative situations.

But there is always a blessing in every situation. Often, we never see or appreciate the bad lessons. We should learn how to thank God and believe in God no matter our circumstances.

-- Ayden Robinson Wayne, Class of 2021


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Wednesday, December 1, 2021
             There are only three stories that appear in all four gospels. Resurrection? Not really, Mark’s original ending concludes with the empty tomb and fearful disciples. The Last Supper? John omits the meal and tells the story where Jesus washes his friends’ feet. Good Samaritan? Only Luke. Jesus’ birth? Only Matthew and Luke, and they have different versions. No, there are only three: the Passion, the Baptism, and the one where he multiplies food to meet a crowd’s needs. 
              That last story is today’s gospel. One standard interpretation emphasizes Jesus’ ability to perform extraordinary things. Another is that those gathered reached into their own stashes of food and shared with those who had not. Each has its place. But briefly I want to take on that first interpretation, where Jesus can do extraordinary things. Because I don’t think they’re extraordinary by nature; rather they’re exceedingly ordinary and simple, but we just don’t want to do them. 
               Right before the crowd’s hunger becomes the focal point, Matthew mentions how busy Jesus is healing all sorts of people. He’s sitting, presumably teaching, and “they placed them at his feet, and he cured them.” Matthew doesn’t describe anything Jesus says. Maybe he didn’t say anything new. Maybe no one remembered it. I like to imagine he kept getting interrupted, and eventually he just threw his plans to teach out the window (when I imagine this, Jesus is chuckling to himself about the futility of making plans). He’s compassionate, and that’s the teaching. Be compassionate. 
               There’s a bunch of clichés that could be used here. Put your money where your mouth is. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words. And there are some good saint quotes too. St. Francis of Assisi’s “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary,” comes to mind. And that’s just it. The gospel is simple: be compassionate. To this person. Right now. Right here. Yes, this will probably disrupt my plans. And not be beneficial to me. And cost. And take time I’d rather spend doing something else. 
The gospel is simple. Am I willing do it?
-- Michael Finucane, Religion Teacher
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Thursday, December 2, 2021
In today's readings the theme is centered around trust. The prophet Isaiah says, “A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace; in peace, for its trust in you.” I have grown an immense amount in my trust this year, especially in my relationship with God. Through prayer asking God to help me everyday to put my faith and trust in his plan for me. 
In the Gospel the theme of trust connects directly within the passage. Jesus says, “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock." Putting trust in God is hard because moving rocks is not easy, but when you allow God to establish himself in you, the reward will be eternal life.
--Johnny Wagner, Class of 2022
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Friday, December 3, 2021
In today’s gospel, there are blind men who wish to be healed. Jesus asks, “Do you believe that I can do this?” “Yes, Lord,” they said to him.”
When I read this quote from today’s gospel, this quote stood out to me the most. How were the two blind men able to trust in Jesus? They had only heard stories of Jesus and what he had done yet were able to completely trust and believe in him. This shows me that no matter how much of a stranger I am to Jesus, he will always be there for me and care for me as long as I am truthful when I say I believe. I believe the same is true for you.
--Spencer Keith, Class of 2022
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Saturday, December 4, 2021
The prophet Isaiah tells us in the first reading about how God heals the wounds of his people. God expresses that in all the difficulties everyone is having, he will provide anything and everything to help meet their needs. An example I really liked was, “The light of the moon will be like that of the sun and the light of the sun will be seven times greater like the light of seven days.” I like this because it will bring brightness to everyone such as joy and kindness. Overall, I really liked this reading because it shows me that God is good and cares about others and is willing to help and lift spirits up.

--Riley Reynoso, Class of 2021

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Sunday, December 5, 2021

In today’s reading, we hear about John the Baptist and his prophetic ministry to “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.” When I think about John the Baptist (and really any historical or modern prophet), the phrase, “comfort the afflicted but also afflict the comfortable,” always comes to mind. John served as the “voice of the desert,” crying out that the world is not as it should be, and we as a community are called to repent and put on “the cloak of Justice” (from Baruch).


In a straightforward and loud way, John calls those who are comfortable to see the afflicted in our community and do something about it. This time of year, the Post-Dispatch shares stories from “100 Neediest Cases,” and people are compelled and encouraged to help when they hear the following:

Ms. R is a 59-year-old woman who lives alone, is visually impaired and has eight grandchildren. She’s on a fixed income and has nothing to spare, considering her meager disability payments. She’s barely able to pay her bills and hasn’t been able to afford Christmas gifts for her grandchildren for years. She wishes for help in providing them with a bright holiday.


Only the most cold person would not want to help Ms. R and her family in some way. The sad truth is that there are THOUSANDS of cases each year, and they must limit the number to 100. Are we able to hear the cry of those seeking comfort? Or is our comfort more important? How will we as a community of faith be changed by the call to action?


--Mr. Timothy Halfmann-Morris, Religion Teacher


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Monday, December 6, 2021
Today, in the Gospel, Jesus healed a paralyzed man. However, the Pharisees and Scribes that are watching said Jesus spoke blasphemies but were in awe after the paralyzed man rose and walked away carrying his stretcher. 
This Gospel teaches a very important lesson for this Advent season. Jesus healed this man simply by forgiving him of his sins. Jesus knows our thoughts and feelings, and He saw the deep faith the man had. On the other hand, Jesus knew that the Pharisees and the Scribes did not believe, but He made them believe through healing the paralyzed man.
During this season of hope, we need to be on the right path to God. This means that we must seek forgiveness to fully prepare ourselves for the birth of the Lord. Our sins and problems should drive us to God, but for that to happen, we must seek forgiveness. 
-- Andrew Purcell, Class of 2022
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Tuesday, December 7, 2021
Today’s message from Isaiah is one of hope and comfort. It comes at a time in Israelite history when they had been exiled from Israel by the Babylonians. A time when hope was desperately needed. The Israelites are called to do this by making straight the path for the Lord. This is a great message for us today.
We all experience times when things seem hopeless, and God seems far away, especially in these last couple of years. Yet, we know when we look back at difficult times in our lives, we recognize how God was actually right there with us the whole time.
That is still true today, but we must make straight the path for the Lord. I often make it difficult for the Lord to come into my life by focusing on the wrong things. Usually, it is focusing on myself instead of others. When we focus on what we can do to love others we no longer focus on our suffering, and we participate in the love of God. This brings us comfort and joy.
--Mr. Ed Hamer, Religion Teacher
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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The Church presents us with the stories of two women – Mary and Eve – both conceived without the stain of original sin but with two entirely different responses to what God is asking of them. First, we look at Eve’s response to God when the serpent questions her about the limits God has put on her and Adam. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.”  She thinks that God is trying to control her - that He does not have her best interests at heart. That she could not trust God. Contrast that with Mary’s response to what God is asking of her. First, she is frightened and confused. “How can this be since I have no relations with a man?” She did not understand, but still she stepped out in faith. “I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to your word.”  She decided to trust God even though she did not understand, because she knew that God was trustworthy.


Because of Eve’s sin, death entered the world and condemned us. Because of Mary’s trust, Love entered the world and saved us.


God’s Mercy is unfathomable. And for this I am eternally grateful.


-- Mrs. Lynn Kelly, registrar


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Thursday, December 9, 2021
Today is the feast of St. Juan Diego, and the readings for his memorial speak both to his character and challenge us evaluate our own character during this time of Advent. In the first reading, we hear some powerful assertations from St. Paul. He reminds the Corinthians that they are not necessarily the greatest by “human standards.” Most of them are not wise, not powerful, and have little affluence. However, because of their calling as Christians, they are the ones who, through their failings, can be lifted up as an example to others.
Often, we can find ourselves measuring our worth against others. In our society – and in high school –, it is easy compare ourselves to others based on what they wear, their academic or athletic success, or simply their “popularity.” By choosing to set our standards based upon those around us, we can lose sight of the values by which we truly are defined. By choosing to judge ourselves, we ignore the fundamental truth that our worth comes from being made in the image and likeness of God.
One virtue we can strive to grow in this Advent is humility. Especially today on the feast of St. Juan Diego, we can realize that God can lift us up from the most ordinary circumstances. By recognizing our gifts – both our worldly talents and the divine gifts of grace and salvation –, we can choose to grow in humility, and by doing so, realign our vision with God’s vision. Through our humility, we can free ourselves from selfish ambition, enabling us to give more generously and be truer in our relationships this Advent.
-- Brendan Benigno, Class of 2022
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Friday, December 10, 2021
Today’s readings touch on the importance of following God and his word no matter how difficult it may be.
In the first reading from Isaiah, the Lord says through the prophet, “If you would hearken to my commandments, your prosperity would be like a river”. In this verse, God explicitly explains how if one follows his commandments, prosperity will flow from them like a river. However, doing so is often very difficult, and changing oneself to follow these commandants can require a great deal of courage and willingness to be uncomfortable.
Jesus reflects this sentiment in the gospel when he talks about how both He and John were rejected for the message they brought to the people. For John they said, “He is possessed by a demon”, and for Jesus they said, “Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” Ultimately, these are excuses from the people to justify themselves not listening to the life-altering messages of Jesus and John because changing would have been difficult and uncomfortable to them.
We do many of the same things every day. We make up excuses for why we are not going to help someone or do something Jesus would want us to do because it would challenge us or make us uncomfortable. To prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus this Advent, I am challenging myself and those reading this to make a change or do something in your life for Jesus that will be difficult and get you out of your comfort zone. As Pope Benedict XVI said, ““The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness”.
-- Manny Hamer, Class of 2022
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Saturday, December 11, 2021

Once again, O LORD of hosts,
    look down from heaven, and see;
Take care of this vine,
    and protect what your right hand has planted,
    the son of man whom you yourself made strong.
Psalm 80:15-16

The ancient world is filled with kings who claimed not only absolute power but even divinity.  And yet this psalm (written to be sung in the court of King David) is a reminder that not only is the king of Israel unlike all those other kings, his kingdom is ultimately not even his!  The vine he tends is not a vine he planted.  In other words, his task is not to govern according to his own will, but rather to ensure that he acts in accord with the will of the true King, the one who planted the vine in the first place.

At our Baptism, each of us was invited to participate in the kingship of Christ, meaning that like Jesus (and like King David) we are made stewards of God’s people, albeit in a different way.  Maybe this means we are entrusted with the care of our family, our friends, our class, or our business.  Maybe we are called to roles of civic leadership or to serve in our local faith community.  Whatever “vine” we are charged with tending, we have to remember that our royal charge is not to impose our own will on others—it is rather to uncover and get out of the way of the will of God.  We’re vine-tenders, not vine-planters.

During this Advent season, as we prepare for the coming of the King, let’s commit to doing a few things.  First, let’s be grateful for all those God has put into our lives, like our students, our friends, and our family.  Second, let’s remind ourselves that it is indeed God, the Vine-Planter, who has appointed us to be vine-tenders.  Caring for those entrusted to us is therefore a holy task.  And finally, let’s join in the prayer of the king and ask God to strengthen us as we do this: “Take care of this vine, Lord, and protect what your right hand has planted.”


--Mr. Tom Eichwald, Director of Mission and Ministry


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Sunday, December 12, 2021

     As an English teacher, I am interested in the creative processes of the writers I like to read. Before I actually studied the matter, I imagined that a writer, struck by the muse, would retreat from normal life to some secret, perhaps exotic location, enter a world of magical, uninterrupted creativity, and emerge with a flawless, profound utterance. But then I read that Shakespeare would frequently compose in bustling taverns, mostly because of the free lighting at night (candles and lamp oil weren’t cheap), but also to keep an eye out for a possible colorful character sketch or conversation that might work its way into a play. Stephen King writes daily for the same amount of time, as if he were punching the clock for a job, and Jonathan Franzen, one of my favorite living writers, writes in an office with only a desk, a lamp, and a computer with just Microsoft Word on it. Many writers note that they wrote their best material when they weren’t feeling particularly inspired. I read an interview with another writer who sums up all of this nicely:  “I do my best work and am most creative when I am connected to the business of real daily life.”

     John the Baptist, who is featured in today’s Gospel, is viewed by the people with the similar hyperbolic image I once had of writers. The crowds gather eagerly around John, whom they suspect may be the Messiah, the truth bearer, their new moral and spiritual compass incarnate.  They question him as if he were an oracle:  “What should we do?”

     I could almost hear John sighing peevishly before he answered. He seemed overwhelmed and irritable about having to address their inflated expectations. His answers, and I paraphrase:  “Be charitable. Don’t cheat or bully people or gossip about them. Be thankful for what you have.”

     Later on, Jesus, particularly in his parables, provides similarly un-glamorous commands for living a life pleasing to God:  The Good Samaritan:  be compassionate; the Prodigal Son:  forgive people even when they screw up royally; The Persistent Widow:  be steadfast in prayer.  

    Writers eventually have to deal with the critics, some of whom will pan even their best work. But Jesus has taught us just a few simple qualities to make the story of our life an enduring masterpiece in God’s eyes, and they are nothing more profound than love, humility, kindness and compassion.  


-- Mr. David Brumfield, English Teacher

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Monday, December 13, 2021
I often lack boldness in my faith.
Whether it is because I am uncomfortable sharing my opinion in matters relating to my faith; or just that I do not want to “make waves,” I often choose to be silent.
This was the case with the chief priests and elders in today’s Gospel. Jesus challenged them in front of the people gathered in the temple area when they asked by what authority he was teaching. They were afraid to answer his question with boldness and chose to remain in their comfort zone.
Lord, teach us to be bold in our faith. Help us to rise to these occasions with confidence in you and the willingness to break out of our comfort. You alone know how many lives may be impacted by our listening to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and speaking in the boldness of Christ.

Mrs. Lynn Kelly, Registrar

To listen to this as a podcast, go to thefriar,org.