Greetings brothers and sisters,
We are entering the season of Advent in preparation for the birth of Jesus, the celebration of Christmas. Resist the temptation to start celebrating Christmas before it’s time! Let us give the proper time to prepare well for this celebration, in which we recognize and give thanks for God coming among us as one like us in all things but sin.
This coming of God into the world is the foundation for our salvation and redemption. If Jesus had not become man, taken on flesh, he could have not died on the cross and we would still be in our sins. We praise God for this original Christmas gift! And we recognize that this gift of Jesus does not only come to us once a year at Christmas but he comes to us each day and will come again finally at the end of time.
The final coming of Jesus we have been recalling and reflecting on over these final few weeks of the Liturgical Year as we do each year. Jesus promises us that he will come again in glory and that we will know of this coming at the moment it happens and not before. It is therefore useless to try to “guess” the date and time of his coming. He will be like a thief in the night he assures us. He will come, this is certain, and we do not know when, also certain.
As a consequence, we need to be awaiting this his final coming at each moment of each day of our lives. Because, the truth is, Jesus comes to us as well in each and every moment. There are special moments when he comes to us: during the celebration of the mass he comes to us in his word, in the communion we share (where two or three are gathered in my name…) and most especially in the Eucharist, his precious body and blood: he comes to us also in those in need as he assures us in Matthew chapter 25: and he comes to us in the love we share in our families, particularly when we pray together as family.
However, these are not the only moments when he comes because the truth is he comes in every moment as we said above. Reflecting on this, St. Joseph Marello declares: “In every moment our salvation can be found…Let us not despise the present moment! Oh the value of a moment! In the moment sin is taken away and grace is restored and in this our eternal destiny is accomplished. Oh God give me this moment as the first link in the chain of moments which will lead me to you.” He also states: “Every moment that passes is a new occasion of which we ought to take advantage and about which we will have to answer one day in the presence of God. Therefore, every minute that passes on the clock is able to measure in time that solemn point to which our eternal destiny is tending”. We are to hear in this a call to take advantage of each moment of our lives to find Jesus and to let him into our hearts. After all, it might be the last moment that I will have.
This preciousness of the present moment is particularly so for those in vocation discernment. Who knows, the experience of this present moment might be “the” moment in which my “eternal destiny”, my vocation, role in God’s plan of salvation, is made clear. Everything that happens, every word spoken, every thought, every emotion, is a link in that “chain of moments which will lead” to God. So, let us stay awake and alert in the moment and say, following the advice of Eli to young Samuel, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening”.
Wishing you all a Blessed Advent Season and, in time, a Blessed and Merry Christmas!
Fr. Brian, OSJ