“Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; / teach me your paths / Guide me in your truth and teach me.”
After more than a year of hard work and fruitful collaboration by many individuals, the faculty and staff of the Biblical and Catechetical Schools are thrilled to finally launch our brand-new website and blog! Welcome! We have always wanted to improve the design and layout of our website, not only to serve our students and alumni more efficiently, but also to strengthen and expand our mission of adult catechesis in the crucial work of the New Evangelization in the digital era.
I believe we will be more successful at this work through the resurrection of an old Biblical School newsletter called The Scribe, now appearing as a new blog which will carry the same name. Our hope and prayer are to connect with people of all walks of life through our various articles. We want to inspire and encourage our readers to “fight the good fight” (1 Timothy 6:12) and “run the race to win the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24). Every week we will post a new article written by a member of our faculty or another insightful contributor belonging to a local ministry, parish, school, or apostolate. Our posts will be on a variety of Catholic topics that relate to our Biblical and Catechetical Schools or Enrichment Courses. Therefore, there will be something for everyone every week!
The liturgical context for this exciting debut is providential. Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year, is a focused season of renewed expectation for the coming of the Son of Man. Every week we patiently wait for the magnificent mystery of our Lord’s Incarnation, the day that YHWH fulfills his promise by the mouth of the Prophet Isaiah that the “virgin will conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). The readings of the first Sunday of Advent set the stage for the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy and call us to foster a spirit of more intentional prayer, penance, and study during these few, short weeks.
In the first Scripture reading this Sunday, Jeremiah assures us that the Lord will “raise up for David a just shoot, he shall do what is right and just in the land” (Jeremiah 33:15, see also Isaiah 11:1–3). After the complete destruction of the House of David by the Babylonians in 587 B.C. the Jewish people would have to wait and prepare patiently for almost 600 years to welcome the Son of David who would bring justice to all nations. That was a long time and it was assuredly filled with many challenges and struggles until Jesus was finally taken up in the loving arms of Mary and Joseph. Indeed, only a few had prepared themselves well to receive him while many completely missed out because they were absorbed in other matters.
Time spent thinking, praying, and studying over that long period of anticipation before the Incarnation is very profitable for us as we also wait for that joyful communion with Jesus, not only when the adorable infant was born to the Blessed Virgin in Bethlehem 2000 years ago, but specifically for the coming of Jesus either at the end of time or—more likely—at the end of our earthly lives.
Therefore, the season of Advent intentionally points forward in time to teach us to prepare ourselves for the second coming of our Lord, for the first has already joyfully occurred. But we must discipline ourselves lest we be unprepared for his coming. Saint Paul encourages us in the second reading to “increase and abound in love for one another and for all… to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones” (1 Thessalonians 3:12). Along the same lines, the Gospel reading admonishes us to be “vigilant at all times” and “pray to have strength” lest the day of our Lord’s return catch us “by surprise like a trap” (Luke 21:25–36).
Such thorough preparation takes conscious and committed work! We must pray and study the Word of God in the Scriptures to be sure, but also in the perennial teachings of the Catholic Church. That is the meaning of this Sunday’s responsorial psalm, which is a perfect prayer for all of us disciples of Jesus Christ: “Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me” (Psalm 25:4–5).
In conclusion, that psalm helps us understand our mission of the Lay Division in light of these Advent readings. The Biblical and Catechetical Schools exist to help instructors and students alike study the “ways” and “paths” of the Lord, growing “in love for one and for all” in order to be “blameless in holiness” and “vigilant at all times” as we wait for his return. That is what we strive to do in every class, and if our new website and blog are able to help anyone towards that purpose, then praise be to God!
Considering that Advent follows on the heels of Thanksgiving, I would like to personally thank our Lord for all of our incredible faculty, staff, students, and alumni. I ask our heavenly Father to pour out the graces of this holy season over us all so that we will delve into the mysteries of Advent together as we wait for the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Happy Advent everyone! God bless you and your families!