GOSPEL LUKE 3: 1-6
How might you receive the grace God is offering you this Advent? Spend more time in prayer with God this Advent. Spend time with God searching for the answers to your problems. You look forward to spending time with a loved one. Look forward with anticipation to spending time with God in prayer each day during Advent. Instead of just going through the motions during this season of Advent can you celebrate Advent with your heart? May I suggest that you use the Scripture readings for daily Mass for your prayer and meditation. There are also many books available with Advent reflections. If Advent is only a time of consumerism and buying gifts for people that they don’t really want or need, it is flying in the face of what Jesus is all about. There is only one gift at Christmas, that gift is Jesus. (Where’s the line to see Jesus?) Jesus is the grace that God wants to give to you this Advent. God is always willing to give, but it is up to you to unwrap God's gift of Jesus to you. Advent is a time to renew and deepen our relationship with God. It is a time of patient waiting for God, prayerful and trustful waiting for God. Because this season of Advent is so important the Church gives us four weeks to celebrate it and in the Orthodox Churches the season of Advent is even longer, it is 40 days like our season of Lent. Celebrate Advent with your heart, it is an opportunity to step back from the consumerism of the materialistic world and make a straight way for the Lord to receive the special grace God has planned for you this Advent.
To receive the grace God is offering us this Advent let us also reflect on whether we put God first in our life always. If God is not first, we are missing out on grace God is offering us. Many people do not like Christmas because their wishes for happiness are never fulfilled and many are happy when Christmas has passed. It is a time of year when some people are lonely or depressed and they try to fill up that loneliness with things. They do not give the impression of having received the grace that God is offering. Are they seeking the grace of God or instead seeking something worldly that will never satisfy like the grace God gives? Nothing in this world will fill the longing in our hearts for the grace of God. Only Jesus will fill our emptiness.
Various Psalms remind us of this,
“Like the deer that yearns for running streamsSo my soul is yearning for you my God.” (Ps 42:1)
O God, you are my God, for you I long;for you my soul is thirsting.My body pines for youlike a dry, weary land without water. (Ps 63:1-2)
In God alone is my soul at rest;my help comes from him.He alone is my rock, my stronghold,my fortress: I stand firm. (Ps 62:1-2)
That longing will not be fulfilled by anything you find under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning but only by Jesus whom you will meet in the Eucharist on Christmas Day.
God gives us a different grace in every liturgical season and God has a grace to give you this Advent. If Advent is only a time of consumerism and buying gifts for people that they don’t really want or need, it is flying in the face of what Jesus is all about. There is only one gift at Christmas, that gift is Jesus. Jesus is the grace that God wants to give to you this Advent. Let us spend time with God to receive this grace. As we examine our consciences this Advent and see our shortcomings we are privileged to receive the mercy of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When Jesus was entering Jerusalem for the last time he cried because the people of Jerusalem did not recognize the time of their visitation (Luke 19:41-42).
Let us not miss out on the grace God is offering us this Advent.
St. Valentine Faith Community
Mass: 10AM Every Sunday
2670 Chandler Avenue
Suite 7 & 8
Las Vegas, NV 89120
Rev Sue Provost, Pastor
"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. " (1 John 4:9-10)