Sunday 2 December 2018

First Sunday of Advent 2018

First Sunday of Advent 2018

The readings for this weekend's mass are:

First Reading Jeremiah 33:14-16
Responsorial Psalm 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14 Response 1b
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 3:12-4:2 
Gospel Luke 21:25-28, 34-26

The new church year has begun. It is a time of waiting and preparation. It is with awe and gratitude that we begin this journey towards Christmas. The first reading ends with the words:

“And this is the name by which it will be called;
“The Lord is our righteousness.””

We eagerly await the return of Christ the King. But during this season we remember his first coming. His coming as baby, born in a manger. The second reading begins with a prayer:

“May the Lord make you increase
and abound in love for one another and for all,
just as we abound in love for you.
And may he strengthen your hearts in holiness
that you may be blameless before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”

Christ will return with his saints, and we are called to be those saints. One of the prayers I try and pray daily contains this phrase:

“Finally, I believe, my God, that you can and will make me into a saint, even if I won’t see it, even if I have to struggle all my life against vice and sin, even if I have to wait until the very end. This blind hope in your mercy, O Lord, is my only treasure.”

I likely will never be a saint here on earth. But that should not stop me from trying. That is my call, that is our call as Christians, as Catholics. We are called to be saints. We must strive to ‘strengthen our hearts in holiness’. We must fortify our will. And work on developing our spiritual disciplines so as to be found worthy at that last judgement. But in turning back to the gospel we are encouraged to live with patient expectation. And that is the season we are beginning. That of waiting. And as the days are getting darker, there is time for us to work on renovating our hearts and renovating our lives, to prepare from him. 

I pray for you my readers, for strength, for peace, and for growth. I pray for your eyes to be opened and for your hearts to be moved. 

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