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As we contemplate Jesus as a child, vulnerable and fragile, we are able to see his greatness.
Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent

December 1, 2019 – by Liliana Montoya

Leer en español.

Advent is a liturgical season of great significance to Christians. We have the opportunity to reflect on, and prepare for, Jesus entering the world as a child in need of love and care.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:6-7).

As we contemplate Jesus as a child, vulnerable and fragile, we are able to see his greatness. The example of his life reminds us of the fact that we do not need great wealth, power, or prestige in order to be accepted and loved. We spend our lives chasing positions, seeking recognition and admiration without realizing that one glance at the child Jesus is enough to see our own fragile needs as humans. When we welcome God, we let his purity and love manifest itself in us and in our world. His love saves and transforms us, so that we are able to discover that our ability for greatness lies in our vulnerability and the places we seem poor.

Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness (Phil. 2:6-7).

Advent invites us to look inward at who we really are in the eyes of God; to notice who we really are in our hearts. It is by staring into the tender eyes of the baby Jesus that we allow him to enter our hearts.

Jesus invites us during Advent to embrace him in his own vulnerability, because he fills the vulnerable places in us — our sadness and loneliness. He is with us in our suffering and fear, bringing his light and his peace. He nourishes us with his unfailing love.


Liliana Montoya and her family live in Dayton, Ohio, where she serves as the Hispanic Initiative Coordinator at the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives at the University of Dayton.

This reflection from translated from the original Spanish version.






Recent News

December 8, 2019 – In the Gospel for the Second Sunday of Advent, we notice three concrete invitations for the way we live: to preach, to repent, and to announce the good news.

December 1, 2019 – The Universal Apostolic Preferences give us ways into contemplating the mystery which Advent itself unfolds for us. They invite us to a ‘contemplative listening’. In each we are directed to hear and follow the Spirit who is calling to us. Often, too, we will come to recognize those who are already on the way before us; those who can lead us and teach us.

December 1, 2019 – This Advent, the Jesuit network will be inviting you to engage more deeply with God through Ignatian spirituality, a spirituality that challenges us to be both contemplative and active. Through your Advent prayer, ask: Do I hear the cries of the earth and the poor? How do I respond? Does my response point to a hope-filled future?

November 8, 2019 – Our Fall 2019 workshop, "Spiritual Direction for Young Adults" was held on Saturday, November 2, 2019, at Ignatius House in Atlanta, Georgia. The workshop was recorded, and the video is now available on our website. Thank you to all who participated!

November 6, 2019 – Sr. Sheila Smith is a Religious of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She is presently serving as the Representative for her congregation at the United Nations in New York. Sheila completed her doctorate in theology at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, where she also helped found PACT-Ottawa (Persons Against the Crime of Trafficking in Humans). We spoke with Sr. Sheila about her work to prevent human trafficking on October 25, 2019, as part of our “Works of Love” campaign.

October 30, 2019 – This year, there are two Comunidades at the Parish of Mount Carmel in Staten Island, one offered in Spanish and the other in Mixtec, an indigenous language of southern Mexico.

October 24, 2019 – Fr. Joseph O’Keefe, S.J., is appointed the first provincial for the Jesuits USA East Province. He will assume office on July 31, 2020.

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