Today’s reading from Mark’s Gospel marks the start of a new liturgical year. Entering the season of Advent, our reflections for the next two weeks will focus on the Lord’s return at the end of time and John the Baptist’s preparations.

We start at the end of Mark’s Gospel, after Jesus has been questioned by the scribes, the Pharisees, and later, his disciples. To his disciples, Jesus offers a series of warnings about the difficulties they will face as his followers. Today’s passage follows directly after these events.

Jesus urges his disciples to remain watchful and alert. For the Son of Man will come, but only the Lord knows when. The disciples must remain prepared for whenever the day arrives.

Historical context can help us better understand the lessons in today’s reading. It’s believed that Mark was writing to Christians, who were living amid great conflict and political turmoil. Jesus’ predictions of these challenging times likely offered comfort and the courage to continue on.

Today, we’re also living through challenging times. People around the world go without enough food to eat, water to drink or the resources to receive a proper education. At the same time, a pandemic is leaving no part of the world untouched. But as a global community we all must push forward.

A mother and child are screen for COVID at CMMB's Bishop Joseph Sullivan Center for Health hospital in Haiti in July 2020.

A mother and child are screen for COVID at CMMB’s Bishop Joseph Sullivan Center for Health hospital in Haiti in July 2020.

At CMMB, we continue to respond to the new challenges presented by COVID-19, while innovatively continuing the programs and projects that the communities we serve rely on daily. We forge ahead with Jesus beside us. His words give us the courage and the strength to continue on despite the challenges. You can click HERE to learn more about our emergency response in our latest COVID-19 Situation Report.

As we’ve just celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., we see it fitting to end this week’s reflection with a special prayer. Published in “The Catholic Prayer Book” compiled by Monsignor Michael Buckley, it reminds us to give thanks, appreciate others, and find comfort in the Lord. In challenging times, it’s a reminder that empowers us to continue forward no matter what tomorrow brings.

We thank you, Father, for the gift of Jesus your Son who came to our Earth and lived in a simple home. We have a greater appreciation of the value and dignity of the human family because he loved and was loved within its shelter. Bless us this day; may we grow in love for each other in our family and so give thanks to you who are the maker of all human families and our abiding peace.

In grace and peace,


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