Saturday of the First Week

Readings

IS 30:19-21, 23-26

MT 9:35–10:1, 5A, 6-8

Reflection

During this first week of Advent, I find myself thinking of my mother especially when we light the first candle of our Advent wreath. My mom handed down this tradition to me. The first candle represents hope – not the ordinary hope where we trust things will improve when we encounter a hurdle in our life, but rather it symbolizes ultimate Hope in the eternal life in the Kingdom of God. In the last years of her life, my mom’s health failed as she struggled with the affects of Alzheimer’s. During this time, Glen Campbell’s song, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” came out. In it, he sings about his struggles with Alzheimer’s. The song pains me greatly, but at the same time reminds me of love and hope. The lines of the song that resonate with me are: “You’re the last person I will love, you’re the last face I will recall, and best of all, I’m not gonna miss you.”  

I used to question the quality of my mother’s life. I thought how awful to lose your memories and forget your loved ones. But I learned a valuable lesson. These “moments” do count. My mom always had a zest for life and maintained her joyful disposition to the end. She enjoyed talking with people, going places and sitting quietly in a room filled with her family. She may not have known who we were, but she felt safe and loved. It didn’t matter that she forgot about things a few minutes later. In the moment, she was present and happy. When most vulnerable, mom had Hope, which was her strength.

Today’s Gospel reading (Matthew 9:35-10:1, 5a, 6-8) also makes me think of my mother. She was a nurse, a healer by training, and had a way of affirming and comforting people. In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus travels from village to village proclaiming the Good News of his Kingdom and healing those in need. Seeing the magnitude of suffering, he gives his apostles the power to heal. Jesus also gives us the power to heal. We can heal by giving the gift of our time or ability. We can also heal with a touch, a kind word or being present for one another. My mother had the gift of healing. We all do. The Advent season invites us to reflect on how our faith gives us Hope and encourages us to more fully use our gifts of healing.

Sharon Qualls
Parent of Julia Qualls, Class of 2022
Member of Parents Association Board