Saint Theresa Parish

A Roman Catholic Community
5045 E. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018
(602) 840-0850 Parish Office
(602) 840-0871 Parish Fax  

Parish Email

Parish Office Hours
Monday through Thursday
9:00AM-Noon & 1:00PM-5:00PM
Friday 9:00AM-Noon          Sunday 8:30AM-12:30PM

Closed Saturdays
& most Federal Holidays.

Liturgy Schedule
Saturday Vigil Mass 4PM
Sunday Masses
9:00AM (Liturgy with Children)
11:00AM and
5:00PM (Teen and Young Adult)

Daily Masses
Monday through Friday
6:30AM and Saturday at 8:00AM
Holy Day Masses as announced in bulletin prior to the Holy Day.

Sacrament of Reconciliation
Saturday, 9:00AM to 10:00AM
Wednesday, 5:00PM to 6:00PM and by appointment


Rev. Charles G. Kieffer

Parochial Vicar 

(Associate Pastor)

Rev. Joachim Adeyemi

Rev. J.C. Ortiz

Assisting Priest

Rev. Paul Peri


Colin F. Campbell

Mark Kriese

Ralph Ulibarri


Saint Theresa Catholic School
5001 East Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85018

(602) 840-0010 School Office
(602) 840-8323 School Fax



« Reflections - December 9, 2018 | Main | Reflections - November 25, 2018 »

Reflections - December 2, 2018

My Brothers and Sisters,

On this first Sunday of the new Church Year – the beginning of the Season of Advent – we are confronted with a “scary” Gospel reading (Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36) in which Jesus uses quite a bit of apocalyptic (end-times) imagery. It’s something like the Gospel from two Sundays ago, Mark 13: 24-32, that spoke of the end of the world being accompanied by the darkening of the sun and the moon, stars falling out of the sky and “the powers in the heavens being shaken.” 

While most Catholic Christians are familiar with the fact that we hear readings about the end of the world and the final judgement towards the conclusion of the Church Year… it may be startling to hear that theme continued in the Gospel of the very first day of the new Church Year. Wouldn’t you think that the Church would start its new year with a more upbeat, positive reading?

Actually (and perhaps unsurprisingly) this Gospel selection is very deliberate. Many of us are aware that Advent is a season of preparation for the coming of Christ. Often, though, we think that this season is all about our preparation for Christmas: the coming of Christ in history, or his “first” coming.  But in fact, Advent has a two-fold nature in helping us prepare for Christ’s coming: in the first part of Advent (up until December 17th), we focus on our preparation for Jesus Second Coming – that moment, that no one can predict, when he will return in glory at the end of time.  Hence, today’s apocalyptic Gospel passage. Then, from the 17th until the 24th, Advent focus us on our preparation to celebrate and commemorate Christ’s First Coming: in the manger at Bethlehem on Christmas Day, when “God became flesh and dwelt among us.”

So, what are we to make of today’s Gospel reading? While the images sound terrifying (“People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world…”), as Christ’s disciples we are invited to focus ourselves on the pivotal verse of this passage: “But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand” (Lk. 21:28). You see, if we make our best effort to live out our discipleship each day, we will be able to stand erect and raise our heads – rather than cowering in fear – when the Lord returns in glory at that time no one can predict. How exactly can we make our best effort to live out our discipleship each day? Well, Jesus gives us what can be considered the ultimate standard of discipleship in the Greatest Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, your whole soul, all your mind and all your heart… and love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). To see some very practical applications of the Greatest Commandment (a “how to list” of living out this commandment), check out Matthew 25:31-46.

As we begin Advent, we rely on God’s grace to be our strength so that we can practice our discipleship each day – preparing joyfully for that time when we shall behold our God face-to-face.


Advent blessings and peace,

Rev. Charles G. Kieffer