Advent Reflections from Carmel Students

Week 4

Everyone has times where they “have” to do something. Whether it’s driving a little sibling to their friend’s house or doing the dishes, we all have our callings. But the difficult thing about responding to these callings isn’t doing the act itself, it’s finding the time and effort to do them for someone else. I’ve found one of my own callings in the form of driving my younger brother. 

Although it’s not the biggest deal in the world or the first thing that comes to mind with the word “calling”, giving my brother rides sometimes feels like the toughest thing in the world. Picture this: Monday morning, you woke up ten minutes ago, rushed to get into the car, and are now waiting for someone else to leave for school. I ended up waiting for another 10 minutes. While I was sitting in the car waiting for my brother to come out, a flurry of thoughts rushed through my mind. Why am I even waiting? How has it taken him twice as long as it took me to get ready? Should I just leave without him? But as I was thinking about how ready I was to simply leave without him, I realized why I should give him some leeway. Waiting to drive me to school was once my dad’s calling as well. As a freshman and a sophomore, I held him back from taking me to school much more often than my brother prevented me from leaving, and every time I did, I would have the perfect excuse as to why I was late to come out of the house. I realized that answering the calling to drive my brother to school meant that putting up with lateness was part of the job. Just as my dad showed compassion for me and answered his calling without complaint, I should do the same for my brother. 

After interpreting the two readings and the gospel of the fourth Advent week, I was able to draw parallels between them and my situation. Both passages focus on answering God’s callings with joy. Although it was difficult for me to respond to my calling with joy, I was able to realize that I should be treating my brother with the same compassion that my dad treated me with. Everyone should answer their own callings, and be more compassionate to the issues of others and seek to help them while doing so. 

Kyle Pulido, CCHS Class of 2022

Week 3

In my household, St. Nicholas comes to give us gifts on December 6th and Baby Jesus comes with gifts on the 25th with Santa as his helper. When I was little, my mom would tell us to put out shoes on the night of December 5th so that when St. Nick came in the middle of the night, he would have some place to put our presents in. I always thought that if I put out a bigger shoe, St. Nick would be able to fit more presents in my shoe, and so I’d put out the biggest snow boot I had. On the morning of the 6th, I would wake up to only a couple bills in my boot. If I had put out my biggest boot, how come I only had a couple dollars? I’d ask my mom, but she’d reassure my brother and I that the celebration wasn’t over. Something bigger and better would soon come later on in the month--Christmas. On Christmas, we’d get all of the presents we’d asked for and Baby Jesus would come and visit us. The Feast of St. Nick was just an indication that Christmas was near. It was the beginning of the Christmas season and joy all around.

 

When reading the Gospel for the Third Week of Advent, I could relate it to the coming of Jesus on Christmas starting with the Feast Day of St. Nick. St. John the Baptist was preaching and baptizing followers as people started questioning whether he was Christ. But, John answered, “One mightier than I is coming.” (Luke 3:16) The rose candle lit this Sunday is the candle of joy. We pivot from the period of repentance to the period of celebration and angst to receive Christ Jesus in our hearts. It is a sign that His birth is near. Just as we decorate our homes with a Christmas tree, lights, stockings, and other decorations to prepare ourselves for the season, we must also start preparing our hearts to receive such joy and merriness these last two weeks of Advent before Christmas.

 

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En mi casa, San Nicolás nos trae regalos el 6 de Diciembre y el Niño Jesús nos trae regalos la noche de Navidad con Santa Claus como su ayudante. Cuando estaba chiquita, mi mamá nos decía que pusiéramos zapatos afuera de nuestros dormitorios para que cuando San Nicolás viniera durante la noche, él tuviera algún lugar en donde poner nuestros regalos. Yo siempre pensaba que si ponía un zapato más grande, podrían caber más regalos dentro de mi zapato. Entonces, yo ponía la bota de nieve más grande que tenía. En la mañana del 6, despertaba para ver solamente unos billetes dentro de mi bota. Si yo ponía mi bota más grande, por que recibí solamente unos dolares? Le preguntaba a mi mama, pero ella nos aseguraba a mi hermano y a mi que la celebración todavía no se terminaba. Algo más grande y mejor vendría pronto en el mes de Diciembre--la Navidad. En Navidad recibiremos todos los regalos que habíamos pedido y el Ninito Jesus vendrá a visitarnos. La Fiesta de San Nicolás solamente era una indicación de que la Navidad estaba cerca. Era el principio de la temporada de Navidad y júbilo para todos.

 

Leyendo el Evangelio de la Tercera Semana de Adviento, yo lo podía relacionar con la venida de Jesús en Navidad empezando con la Fiesta de San Nicolás. Cuando San Juan Bautista estaba predicando y bautizando seguidores, la gente empezó a cuestionar si era Cristo. Pero, Juan les contestó, “Ya viene uno más poderoso que yo.” (Lucas 3, 16) La vela rosa encendida este Domingo es la vela de júbilo. Del periodo de arrepentimiento pasamos al periodo de celebración y ansias para recibir a Cristo Jesus en nuestros corazones. Es un significado que su nacimiento está cerca. Así como decoramos nuestros hogares con un árbol de Navidad, luces, y otras decoraciones para prepararnos para esta temporada, también deberíamos de empezar a preparar nuestros corazones para recibir júbilo y alegría estas últimas dos semanas de Adviento antes de Navidad.

Juliana Soto, Class of 2022


Week 2

Link to the readings for Sunday II of Advent

The past few months have been a wild adventure! With senior year starting I was excited! With college applications in full swing, I was nervous! Finally, with my final year of high school closing out my time at Carmel I was happy. I reflected on the past four years and all the wonderful, fun, tough, and crazy things my classmates and I have experienced. I am blessed to have learned so much from the school and to have had so much fun with all my friends. From freshman year when I first walked through the 400 hall to Sophomore year where I waited in the lounge until soccer began, I thought high school was going as planned! Then COVID hit and the “normal” high school experience I was expecting was quickly ruined. For many, the normal path through high school to college and beyond became a twisting and rocky road. I quickly realized and adapted to our new way of “life” and found more refuge in God. A refuge from the craziness of COVID where I would go one morning runs every day. A nice time to be alone with God just thinking and asking for advice on what to do next. During COVID I have experienced a sense of peace and happiness because I know that life will work out and God is helping me as I face new challenges. 

When reading Gospel for the second week of Advent, I can relate it to my experience during COVID. The passage is about God coming down to earth and that everyone should prepare for him. Throughout the Gospel, there is the message that God is coming and that everything that seems wrong will be made right. The word of the Gospel reminds us that when we fully commit our lives to God then our problems and the challenges we face will be made right. This relates to me because I know that college applications are in and that it is out of my control and I can only pray to God that the twisting road of college will be made straight as I continue my future in education. The final line of the Gospel is, “all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” This is important because it reminds me that the more I grow closer to God the more peace I will find in my life. Salvation is the state of being protected from harm and God is my protection. I know I can put all my trust in him and that he will help guide me. This reminds me of Romans 8:31 which is, “ If God is for us, who can be against us?” and this is a message that you should seek peace and comfort with God and give him all your trust. An important message I believe all should hear. 

Nathan Rastovac, Class of 2022


Week 1

Link to the readings from Sunday I of Advent

A few Fridays ago, my alarm started ringing at 5:30 am. I had been up past midnight the night before studying for my calculus test and working on my physics homework. I hit the snooze button and threw my phone back on my nightstand, every fiber of my being wanting to stay in bed and not even show up for school. But I knew it would start ringing again in another five minutes and I would have to get up eventually. I had promised my friends that I would go to 7:15 morning Mass with them before school. I got ready in a mindless haze, too tired to even start thinking about all of the things I had to get done that day. I drove silently to school, my mind then awake and planning out the best way I could get through my busy day. When I got to school, I set my backpack and coat on the floor and turned the corner to walk into The Brandsma Chapel. The light was already hitting the stained glass window, and my gaze shifted to the right where I saw my friends all sitting in the front row, smiling and waving at me. My smile back to them was natural and automatic, as I immediately forgot everything I had been worried about in the car and went to sit with them. A sense of peace and contentment washed over me from the moment I stepped into the chapel. We had the chance to celebrate the Mass together and I noticed how genuinely happy I was as we were hugging during the handshake of peace.  My experience of their love was an experience of Christ, even as we also received Christ in the Eucharist together.

When reading the Gospel for the first week of Advent, I could relate it to my experience that Friday. Although this passage is speaking about the end of time, I think everyone can relate to feeling overwhelmed with so many frustrations and getting wrapped up in daily obstacles. The words of this Gospel remind us of the importance of prioritizing our relationships with God and nurturing the parts of our lives that bring us closer to Him. When I do this I feel more whole and truly happy. For me, I know that things like going to morning Mass or volunteering with my friends are the things that help me do this. The last line of this Gospel that calls us to pray for strength, resonates the most because I know that having God at the center of my mind and life gives me the strength to handle difficult and frustrating things with grace and peace.

Eleanor Cappelle, Class of 2022


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