Baruch 5:1-9; Ps 126:1-6; Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11; Luke 3:1-6
In the European countries they give presents to others on December 9th, the feast of St. Nicholas. Why? So Christmas can be totally focused on God’s greatest gift to humanity, his Son, Jesus Christ. The money side gets us to focus on presents, wrapping and gift-giving so we miss the greatest gift of all. Once Jesus came to earth he has never left. His presence is with us in several different ways.
The readings today remind us of God delivering Israel many times. Israel and the world are still in need of great deliverances from God’s enemies that want to destroy much of humanity. We are in need to God’s help today. Our culture is trying in many ways to take God out of public expression with nativity scenes and calling Christmas something else. NO! Christmas is celebrating Christ’s birthday. He offers himself everyday, our daily bread, at every moment all around the world. We don’t have to go back to Bethlehem although it would be nice to visit there.
Advent can be a time to ask ourselves how we can get closer to Jesus. He wants to be the joy of our lives. He wants to live inside us and give us more of his love and power. He loves to fill us with more of his love and blessings. What things can we adjust in our lives so we can spend more time with Jesus?
As we remember Jesus’ messages to St. Faustina in Poland in the 1930s, we know that Jesus gives us direct access to himself to go into his heart of love (mercy). He gives us direct access to himself without necessarily going through other mediators. He said the greatest sinner has the most access to his forgiveness and love. Jesus forgives us. He heals us. He feeds us. What a great joy to have direct access into the throne room of Jesus. He fills us with more divine power and love and sends us out into the world to bring his loves to others. Who else in your life can do that?
Find ways this Advent and every week to open your “satellite dish” to tune into more of what Jesus has for you each day. You will not be disappointed having more time with Jesus. This is one of the greatest solutions to the world’s crisis today. Because much of the world has turned to a lot of non-essential material things, God must use various means to wake us up and turn us around to his plan for our salvation, not our plan.
Remember, Tuesday, December 8th, a Holy Day of Obligation, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus. Then on Saturday, the 12th, is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of all of the American. An average of 3,000 Native Americans came to faith in Jesus Christ through Mary’s intervention and messages through St. Juan Diego in Mexico City.
Have a blessed week.
+ Fr. Bob Hilz
(© 2015 Fr. Bob Hilz, TOR)